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Tony Benn (1925-2014)

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Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Dan Fante on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:54 am

Former cabinet minister and veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn has spent a fourth night in hospital.

The former Labour MP, 88, was admitted over the weekend and is understood to be seriously ill.
 
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A man of rare principles in politics and one of my heroes. I wish him all the best.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:53 pm

Tony Benn will be remembered for being Postmaster General between 1964 and 1966 during which he created Girobank a "People's Bank"  promptly squashed by the next Tory government, and replaced the Queen's photographic image on many postage stamps with a cameo.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Redflag on Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:16 pm

Tony Benn is one of the Labour parties FINEST examples of an MP, and had the courage of his convictions to rid him and his family of the title of Lord he fought this for years until at last he could return to his rightful place in the House of Commons.
 
All the best Tony please get well soon. thumbsup
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:50 am

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"All progress comes from underneath. All real achievements are collective."

If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.”

"Democracy isn't just voting every five years and watching Big Brother, democracy is what we do where we live and work."

"Don't believe that selling out wins votes."

When I see a person living in a cardboard box or a pensioner who can't manage, I see a victim of market forces.”
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Dan Fante on Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:23 am

A truly great man. RIP.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:53 am

Tony Benn once placed a secret memorial to a suffragette in a House of Commons broom cupboard:-
 
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Redflag on Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:26 am

I am sorry to hear that Tony Benn has died my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, I am glad to say he will not have went to the same place as Thatcher, St Peter would have welcomed him at the Pearly Gates of Heaven he was in my opinion one of the best Labour MPsever.

I would imagine his send off will be a sight to behold. God Rest You Tony
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by boatlady on Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:11 am

wonderful human being - we are all poorer for his loss
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:29 pm

Tony Benn: “I would be ashamed if I ever said anything I didn’t believe in
 
From an interview in October 2009:-
 
Asked what his first priority would have been if he had ever become Labour leader, Benn replied: “I think it would have been to try to bring the left together. There are all these left parties, all arguing over a small section of opinion. You have to try to build support around causes. It is uniting to campaign on a single issue, and it is never just a single issue; it's always more than that.”
 
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Thanks to Ed Miliband, Tony Benn died at peace with Labour
 
Extracts from an article by George Eaton:-
 
With the election of Ed Miliband, who interned in his basement office at 16 and whose father he knew well, he finally felt at home again in the party. Unlike Blair and other New Labour figures, who treated him as an embarrassing uncle or simply ignored him all together, Miliband was prepared to embrace him as a fellow friend of democracy and socialism. I remember a touching moment at the Compass conference in 2009 when Miliband, speaking brilliantly without notes (the first time I witnessed that now-famous feat), referred with pride to Benn's presence in the front row and the hall erupted in applause.

Benn praised Miliband's pledge to scrap the bedroom tax and his "vigorous" defence of his father. Asked last year whether he believed he could be the next prime minister he replied: "Of course. And he would be a very good one. I’m not in the business of predicting election results as that is always a very foolish thing to do. Whether or not he is left wing is not the point. The point is that he is a trustworthy and capable man that people respond to."

 
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:45 pm

Some more quotes from Tony Benn:-
 
"This idea that politics is all about charisma and spin is rubbish. It is trust that matters.”
 
We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values.”
 
"The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians."
 
"All war represents a failure of diplomacy."
 
The Labour Party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.”
 
"I’m not frightened about death. I don’t know why, but I just feel that at a certain moment your switch is switched off, and that’s it. And you can’t do anything about it."
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:03 pm

"De mortuis, nil nisi bonum." Speak only well of the Dead
 
In time, commentators will dissect the purity of Tony Benn's particular brand of Socialism, and explain why it almost destroyed the Labour Party.  Meantime,  we can marvel at the virtually unique status of a politician who never back-tracked on his expressed beliefs, and never even contemplated the kind of worm-like wriggling which has infested Government since 2010.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:35 pm

I would argue that what "almost destroyed the Labour Party" was when, in 1981, a bunch of renegades set up a rival party, the SDP, which split the left vote. They could have followed Hugh Gaitskell's earlier example and stayed to "fight, fight and fight again to save the party we love".

Here's an interesting, if flawed, eulogy of Tony Benn by George Galloway. Galloway repeatedly claims to know what the British public think (for example, that a majority wish to leave the EU, which I doubt), but also admits that Benn could have lost several general elections had he become Labour leader. Worth watching though, in my opinion!
 

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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Redflag on Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:50 pm

I have heard from other sources that Tony Benn did not want us going into the EEC (Now EU) I know a lot of people do not like George Galloway but he is been very respectful of Tony Benn, which can not be said for all those coming out most of them are just Hypocrites which gets right up my nose.
 
I know Tony Benn was no angel and is not without his faults just like the rest of us, but some that are coming out have not got the right to even mention his name.  Radio 4 today at 2.30pm was a lovely tribute to Tony Benn by David Davis Tory MP which did surprise me but he was respectful.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:57 pm

Ivan wrote:

"I would argue that what "almost destroyed the Labour Party" was when, in 1981, a bunch of renegades set up a rival party, the SDP, which split the left vote."

No argument, but for what reason did "The Gang of Four" feel it necessary to set up a socialist party that was less left-wing? Not the kind of decision that is taken lightly.

Today's Independent has a cogent first leader.

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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:17 pm

oftenwrong wrote:-
……for what reason did "The Gang of Four" feel it necessary to set up a socialist party that was less left-wing? Not the kind of decision that is taken lightly.
Who knows what motives some people have for their actions? For a start, those four didn’t want a socialist party but a social democratic one. Some of us – including the late Tony Benn – have argued that the Labour Party has never been a socialist party, and that it merely paid lip service to Clause 4 of its constitution.
 
‘The Gang of Four’ who started the SDP consisted of a geezer who looked like a tired clockmaker (William Rodgers), Roy Jenkins, David Owen and the still duplicitous Shirley Williams. I can’t begin to understand their actions because I believe in left unity. I don’t care whether party members are social democrats, socialists, environmentalists, Marxists or Christians, I’d like them all in the big tent opposing the Tories and now UKIP. I had a lot of respect for Roy Jenkins, who I think was one of the best home secretaries this country has ever had. David Owen seems to have repented and is donating to the Labour Party these days, but Shirley Williams remains one of the best friends the Tories could possibly want. Two years ago she assured Lib Dems that the NHS would always be free at the point of use, last year she was advocating charges for going to see your GP.
 
As George Galloway reminds us in his eulogy to Tony Benn, those four scabs voted in Labour’s deputy leadership election in 1981, achieved what they wanted (a victory for Denis Healey) and then promptly left the party. Isn’t it more usual to leave when things aren’t going your way? We can only guess at their motives. Was it because, as Wikipedia claims, Labour introduced an electoral college for choosing its leaders? Michael Foot was the leader of the party and maybe they left because of him, not Tony Benn. Perhaps they thought Benn would soon succeed the ageing Foot as leader, but there would have been an election for the post, so couldn’t they have waited until then?
 
David Owen, who had been foreign secretary at the age of 38, may well have had ambitions on becoming prime minister, but starting a new party is an unlikely way to get to the top of the greasy poll, as subsequent events showed. He was also a serial resigner, as Wikipedia reminds us:-
 
In the course of his career, Owen has held, and resigned from, a number of senior posts. He first quit as Labour's spokesman on defence in 1972 in protest at the Labour leader Harold Wilson's attitude to the EEC; he left the Labour shadow cabinet over the same issue later; and over unilateral disarmament in November 1980 when Michael Foot became Labour leader. He resigned from the Labour Party when it rejected one member, one vote in February 1981 and later as leader of the Social Democratic Party, which he had helped to found, after the party's rank-and-file membership voted to merge with the Liberal Party.”
 
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Whatever the motives of those four, it’s unfair to blame Tony Benn for splitting the Labour Party in 1981, simply for pursuing his socialist beliefs. On many occasions, his views on the way forward did not prevail, most notably when he offered an alternative economic strategy to an IMF loan in 1976, but he never ran away and started a new party.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:42 pm

I hope nobody thinks this is in bad taste. I suspect that both of them would probably have had a chuckle over it:-
 
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:11 am

made me smile  Very Happy 
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Redflag on Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:16 pm

Today in the House of Commons there was a tribute to Tony Benn, he is to lie in the Westminister's chapel overnight on Wednesday with the speaker of the House Mr Bercow's chaplain will keep an all night vigil by the coffin, thereafter he will be taken on Thursday morning to St Mary's for a family funeral.
 
IVAN I believe both Bob Crow and Tony Benn will be sitting up there laughing their heads off at your picture, the loss of both of these men will be felt by not just their families but Millions of ordinary people who knew them and will treasure the memories they have.  The one tribute that sounded sincere came from the Beast of Bolsover Mr Dennis Skinner Labour MP, this could be put down to my bias towards Dennis he always  calls a spade a shovel which tickles my funny bone.
 
Bob and Tony "Rest in Peace" you have done your bit it is now up to the rest of us to carry on where you both left off. thumbsup
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Penderyn on Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:53 pm

A pall of mine lost his job in GCHQ for belonging to the Union, and our friends said - 'Oh, I admire him: I could never do that'. It is a crappy message. When TB was a normal politician he, like all the rest, did what he could within the circumstances of the time. We should stop making saints, I think, and start making plans instead.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:00 pm

We should stop making saints, I think, and start making plans instead.
I have no doubt that Tony Benn would have agreed with that remark if he'd still been here with us. He thought that politics should be about policies, not individuals or personalities.
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Tony Benn - Let's remember what he stood for.

Post by James Gibson on Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:21 pm

Political giant. Brilliant speaker. A man with conviction. These are the things the likes of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the Daily Telegraph will remember Tony Benn for – rewarding his delivery but condemning his message. Of course Tony Benn was an excellent speaker and a politician that had managed to garner an unusual level of respect across the spectrum, but that is not what makes him one of the most important British socialists of the 20th century.

Unlike many on the right, my respect for Benn comes not from his good character or partisan etiquette, but his relentless commitment to socialism and common justice. Without pandering to sectarian divisions, Tony Benn put forward the most coherent case for socialism during one of the most violently right-wing and Thatcherite periods of British history. As even Labour politicians were contemplating borrowing some of Thatcher’s free market policies, Benn was not afraid to propose a radical alternative.

What would the Labour Party look like in 2014 if Tony Benn had won the leadership election in 1981? More importantly, what would Britain look like? Benn’s leadership case sought to challenge capitalism, bring nationalisation onto the agenda and introduce industrial democracy across the country. Tony Benn lost by less than one percent of the vote to Dennis Healey; beginning a journey that would eventually lead to the introduction of free market ideals into Labour’s manifesto. The left had a fantastic chance to completely undo the damage done by successive Thatcher governments, but today we need to ask ourselves this – will we ever get that chance gto reverse the damage done by David Cameron, George Osborne and to some extent, Tony Blair?

If we can tear down the sectarian walls that divide us, then I am positive that we’ll able to challenge the power of big business and the financial elite. If we can share even a fraction of Tony Benn’s passion and conviction, I am sure that the future is the people’s to claim.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by biglin on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:06 pm

Tony Benn was the most dangerous fascist produced by Britain since Oswald Mosley. This wealthy aristo dared to tell us plebs how we OUGHT to think.

Good riddance to one more neo-Nazi!

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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Ivan on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:25 pm

biglin. Why don't you sod off and come back once you've learned what a fascist is - namely, someone who believes in the merger of state and corporate power? Anyone less like a fascist than Tony Benn - the arch democrat who didn't approve of the expulsion of anyone from the Labour Party - would be hard to imagine.
 
The first thing that fascists do when they achieve power is to persecute communists, socialists and trade unionists. Does that sound like Tony Benn? How utterly absurd you are!
 
Maybe you just pop in here from time to time to do some pathetic trolling. Rest assured that your claptrap is neither taken seriously nor appreciated.
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by boatlady on Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:16 am

Goodness, that comment came out of left field as it were!
I never saw Tony Benn as a person who tried to impose his ideas on others - not like Thatcher, for example, who did her very best to stifle any dissent
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Re: Tony Benn (1925-2014)

Post by Redflag on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:06 pm

biglin wrote:Tony Benn was the most dangerous fascist produced by Britain since Oswald Mosley. This wealthy aristo dared to tell us plebs how we OUGHT to think.

Good riddance to one more neo-Nazi!

You are looking in the wrong place for facists biglin, you would be better off trying No10 & No11 Downing street and if that is not enough facists for you, you can always get onto the Eurostar train to brussels where you will find the biggest facist of all Nigel Farage

GOOD RIDDANCE TO YOURSELF from all on this forum biglin
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