A bad couple of days, we have lost two giants of the political left, Bob Crow and now Tony Benn, we are still standing though and the struggle will go on.
A couple of years ago Tony Benn was doing a book tour and was to speak at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, 3 invites were sent to Renfrewshire Council to attend as invited guests as our constituency of Renfrewshire is where Glasgow Airport who were sponsoring the tour is located, I got one of those tickets because Labour leader of the council Jim Harkins found himself dealing with some emergency or other and had to drop out, lucky coincidence number 1. We, (provost Ronnie Burns, Cllr. Tom Williams and myself) turned up at the venue over an hour early by mistake, lucky coincidence number 2. We were shown in to the invited guest reception area where we took the only table there to wait, it was a stand around and mingle affair and we were first in and it was the only table and it had 5 chairs. Minutes later in came Tony Benn with his assistant and we sat there mesmerised as he looked over and we realised he was coming over to ask if he could join us, happy coincidence number 3.
We then spent just short of an hour talking to one of our great political heroes and it was like a personal tour of most of the twentieth century, Churchill, Ghandi, Lloyd George, JFK, Khrushchev, Mandela, Nye Bevan, Clem Atlee, Kings, Queens, Presidents were all included in the discussion and of course he had met them all. He was the most modest and genial of men, highly intelligent and kind and a great Socialist. He gave us copies of his book and I still treasure mine which has written on the inside cover "to Terry in unity Tony Benn". When people attack the Labour Party I think of people like Benn, Foot, Bevan etc. and I am encouraged that I am part of what they stood for.
I take what some might consider to be a simple stance when I say ‘if the Labour Party is good enough for Tony Benn then it is good enough for me’. Tony Benn is by no means unique in this regard, there are a great many fine Socialists like him in the party but he is famous and as such he’s a good example to use. I watched a tribute programme last night on Tony Benn and was struck by the twisted logic that was used by some of his opponents like Healey, Kinnock and Hattersley, essentially what they were saying was that his opposition to them was divisive and their opposition to him was not divisive?. I think there is great anger and jealousy now among those who fought these bitter battles with him, it was never anything else but left V right and the latter are regarded as the people who let the party down while the former Tony Benn, is regarded as a Labour hero. Be prepared for more settling of old scores over the next while as the right wingers regroup to traduce his memory.
Politics is a funny old game. Tony Benn R.I.P.
You (rightfully) praise Tony Benn and his socialist views but I find it hard to fathom how you can praise Benn and yet remain a member of New Labour a party that has moved so far to the right as to be unrecognisable. Even Benn himself noted this when he stated in an article for the Guardian:
“[Tony Blair] transformed the Labour party from being a radical alternative to the Conservatives into a quasi-Thatcherite sect that made three electoral victories possible, with the backing of Rupert Murdoch and other proprietors.
My interpretation of New Labour was that it arose when Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson concluded that Labour could never win unless it adopted the economic policy that Mrs Thatcher had set out.
In this regard it succeeded and transformed British politics in a very fundamental way, culminating in Labour’s defeat in the 2010 general election. This was brought about by the alienation of New Labour from its natural base of public support, and created a general sense of cynicism about British politics from which we are still suffering.
Those who read ‘A Journey’ would do well to discover the thinking that lay behind this move to the right and why it is that so many solid Labour supporters feel deeply disappointed by the outcome.”
It's also worth noting that when Benn wrote to the Guardian in 2010 calling for opposition to Tory welfare reforms and austerity cuts, just TWO out of 258 Labour MPs signed his letter.
Kelly, I haven't read such a gushing piece since the News of the World did an investigative article on Rupert Murdoch...who just happened to own the paper. It makes Hello interviews look like hard nosed journalism. Seems to me Benn was lucky you three groupies didn't throw your underwear at him, a la Tom Jones.
The man was the original champagne socialist. Born Viscount Stansgate, to wealth and privilege, he gave up the title, but not the wealth and privilege.
that's two comments in a row you have censored, you two faced apologist for the elite establishment at Westminster. Grow some backbone, You could try at least to defend your position but that's not the labour way is it Terry, just smear and insult and fill your pockets.
And that's why your party is going the way of the Tories in Scotland, "dead party walking" but you know that don't you. (Tip, have a look at Labour party membership over the past ten years and then have a look at SNP membership over the same period. So sad.
The problem is Terry is that not everyone in Labour today is of the same mindset.
A lot of people in the current Labour party have values that would have them classed as Tories two generations ago.
Maybe this is a reflection of the population as a whole, I sincerely hope not.
You're right: that is a very simple stance. Are you always so deferential?
Running Man said...
The problem is that you are again speaking from a position of complete ignorance. The Labour Party has never had a time when everyone was of the "same mindset".
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:33:00 pm Delete
Anonymous - Monday, March 17, 2014 11:08:00 am.
If you or anyone else wants to say something abusive about someone or damaging to someone's character or makes allegations against someone then you will have to grow a pair and identify yourself before doing it. Other wise you will be treated like the cowardly piece of crap that you are and thrown in the bin.
Byeck - Sunday, March 16, 2014 1:40:00 pm.
I should charge you for providing psychiatric counselling you are becoming pathetic.
Anonymous - Sunday, March 16, 2014 2:42:00 am.
I can praise Benn and remain in the party just as he did all his life, I get tired of hearing the touchline snipers who want to keep their hands clean and act like the pure Socialist driven snow, I find that pathetic. I am in the Party for ultimately the exact reason as Tony Benn was in it and that is that it is the only party with a realistic chance of ever delivering a Socialist society. How will you achieve that assuming that that is what you want?.
Benn was privately educated, he never had to earn a living and the Boy Hilary, attended the same (private) school as George Osborn.
Is the Benn brand of Socialism really the same as yours, Councillor?
There was a time when the Labour party was well to the left of where it is today.
Its still a normal distribution curve I'm sure, its just shifted away to the right.
Where once you were in the rump, you are now in the tail.
Scotland can itself deliver a better socialist or left of centre state than the UK establishment would ever allow.
You of course will swing forever for home runs, the rest of us want to get at least something on the board.
Running Man said... Friday, March 21, 2014 8:09:00 am
Scotland can't deliver a better Socialist or left of centre state than the UK.
Running Man - Friday, March 21, 2014 8:06:00 am.
The more of this drivel you send the more obvious it becomes that you know nothing whatsoever about the Labour Party.
Byeck said...Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:42:00 pm
For a man who never had to earn a living he certainly seemed to work hard all his life didn't he?. I am sure that The Benns sent their children to Holland Park Comprehensive in London but I doubt if George Osborn went there. lady Antonia Fraser also sent her children as did john Mortimer QC. I also believe that the great Fidel Castro was privately educated. Unfortunately none of this gives me a hint as to what you are trying to say.
Is the Benn brand of Socialism really the same as yours, Councillor?
Correct me if I am wrong, but did Benn not say "that the Labour Party was no longer a socialist party though there might still be a FEW socialists left in the party". Are you saying that in the unlikely event of returning Scottish labour to Holyrood after Independence, you could not deliver a better socialist or left of centre state than the UK?
The more of this drivel you say the more obvious it becomes that you know nothing whatsoever about Scotland.
30 Labour MP's supported Tory vote on capping benefits. How would you have voted ?
How would Tony have voted ?
Anonymous Saturday, March 22, 2014 7:36:00 pm
Tony Benn would be the first to admit that he like everyone else can get things wrong and he IMO is wrong about this. It is of course completely irrelevant as there is no chance of separation happening.
Running Man said...Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:44:00.
What is going on here is obviously above your head and I don't have the time or the inclination to explain it to you. Perhaps you should be asking yourself why the snp Mp's voted against this when alex salmond and the snp actually support a benefits cap. You really are way out of your depth aren't you.
So those crazy SNP MP's voting against Welfare caps while Labour voting for it proves that Labour are against welfare caps and SNP are for them.
Running Man said...Saturday, April 05, 2014 9:30:00 am.
alex salmond and the snp support a benefits cap.
Tory Secretary of State for works and pensions Ian Duncan Smith angrily described labour's support for a benefits cap as "a scam" and you are an idiot. This stuff is well over your head.
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