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Death of Tony Benn

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Death of Tony Benn

Post by Mirage on 14.03.14 18:22

Once described as the most dangerous man in Britain they've just said on the news.

I have heard Tony Benn speak twice at Cheltenham Literature Festival, both times on a discussion panel. The first time I saw him, must have been about 4 or 5 years back, he bounded onto the stage on introduction and took his seat. Within moments he was engulfed in pipe smoke and he sat puffing away with that contented look on his face. To this day I don't know how he got away with it. And no smoke alarms sounded.

I must say I found him very engaging and far from the Marxist bogeyman he was portrayed as in some quarters. I recall him drawing on so many influences such as Lao Tzu's philosophy on leadership and power.

The second time I saw him I went to have a book signed. He was standing there on his own and he began chatting away to me. I told him I thought he was a unique politician to be respected across all parties and amongst those who did not agree with him.  He seem very touched and took my hand, holding it and gazing intently into my eyes while talking more about Lao Tzu. He was an incredibly warm man and very sincere; a man of the people and modest. He had a wonderful sense of humour and dedicated my book in a very personal way. As he handed it back there was still no one around but he didn't seem bothered. With a twinkle in his eye, he said "Do you know it used to be very hard to find an unsigned copy of Harold Wilson's books."

I thought he was fab. RIP Tony.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Tony Bennett on 14.03.14 18:50

Here's my own tribute to Tony Benn:



It's a picture I took back in early 2008.

I arrived very early indeed for a protest at the Houses of Parliament against the continued refusal of all political parties to grant us a referendum on whether we want the U.K. to remain part of the European Union.

Tony Benn was a late convert to this cause. He eventually recognised that the E.U. was a deeply undemocratic organisation and realised that it was also unjust not to allow the British people a vote on whether or not to remain part of it.   

He had arrived earlier than me so that he could be first in the queue for a seat in Parliament that day, when MPs were debating the subject.

So he beat me to it...

...and I took this photo of him sitting patiently outside the House of Commos at St. Stephens' Gate...

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by ultimaThule on 14.03.14 18:55

Dear Tony reunited with his adored Caroline.

We won't see his like again.
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Cristobell on 14.03.14 19:29

@Mirage wrote:Once described as the most dangerous man in Britain they've just said on the news.

I have heard Tony Benn speak twice at Cheltenham Literature Festival, both times on a discussion panel. The first time I saw him, must have been about 4 or 5 years back, he bounded onto the stage on introduction and took his seat. Within moments he was engulfed in pipe smoke and he sat puffing away with that contented look on his face. To this day I don't know how he got away with it. And no smoke alarms sounded.

I must say I found him very engaging and far from the Marxist bogeyman he was portrayed as in some quarters. I recall him drawing on so many influences such as Lao Tzu's philosophy on leadership and power.

The second time I saw him I went to have a book signed. He was standing there on his own and he began chatting away to me. I told him I thought he was a unique politician to be respected across all parties and amongst those who did not agree with him.  He seem very touched and took my hand, holding it and gazing intently into my eyes while talking more about Lao Tzu. He was an incredibly warm man and very sincere; a man of the people and modest. He had a wonderful sense of humour and dedicated my book in a very personal way. As he handed it back there was still no one around but he didn't seem bothered. With a twinkle in his eye, he said "Do you know it used to be very hard to find an unsigned copy of Harold Wilson's books."

I thought he was fab. RIP Tony.


Thanks for sharing your lovely memory Mirage.

A wonderful man, we will never see his like again, RIP Tony Benn.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Stay Free on 14.03.14 19:43

A sad loss.
Respect to a great man. roses 

Rest In Peace Tony

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Guest on 14.03.14 20:00

A true gentleman in every sense of the word. Controversial and left wing? Those who feared him recognised his threat to their own selfish interests, materialistically, politically and morally, so labelled him thus. I saw a humanist with great regard for all men and women, devoting his life to win a fairer deal for all mankind. I saw a gentle and humble man of great intellect and shrewd judgement, who recognised the evils of society and fought them. A selfless and purely good man. My political hero, and one of the very few good people to sit in that filthy house.

The world has lost a great man today and most probably will not realise just how great a man he was. RIP Tony Benn.
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Nina on 14.03.14 20:45

I used to just listen in awe at him, his views and his lovely voice. RIP , a gentleman, Tony Benn.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Carrry On Doctor on 14.03.14 21:07

A fantastic politician and a wonderful spokesperson for his causes. I personally didn't a agree with some things he stood for, but I have huge admiration for him.

Irrespective of stance, all views are necessary in order to fully test our thoughts......possibly why his forum is so compelling to many !!

RIP Tony. I have little doubt you are exchanging 'tuppence worths' in a better place.

IMO of course.
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by PeterMac on 14.03.14 23:11

With Crow and Tony Benn, (Sorry - Antony Wedgwood Benn,  2nd Viscount Stansgate, educated at Westminster and New College, Oxford, President of the Oxford Union, ) passing in the same week, one wonders from where the far left Leninist - Trotskyist - Stalinist, fringe will now recruit their new members.
Smoking a pipe and drinking tea is so leftie.   Wilson actually preferred cigars, though the Press were instructed NEVER to show him so doing.
The Cold War is over.
The Berlin wall came down a long time ago. I was there the next night ! ! !
Stalin has been exposed as possibly the greatest Mass-murderer of all time
Communism has been finally exposed as "ludicrous"
Even Barbara Castle (Sorry - Lady Castle ! ) was exposed after her death as an apologist for those foul and genocidal regimes.

A very old man has died.  Which is sad for the family , but inevitable for all of us.

One of the mercies for which we may give thanks is that he NEVER got his hands on real power.
The history of his parliamentary career is one of defeat after defeat - at the hands of his own party.
For which may we be truly thankful !

RIP.  You added some spice to public life, by saying such silly things with that air of making us think you believed them and trying to make us think they were reasonable.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by frost on 15.03.14 7:27

Saddened to hear of his passing and also Bob Crow . Tony actually renounced his peerage so he could remain in the house of commons . 

I regret I never got the chance to meet him in person condolences to both Tony and Bobs family RIP .

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by tigger on 15.03.14 8:12

I was always fascinated by Wedgwood Benn. I thought of him as Saruman, Tolkien's creation.

He sounded so reasonable, so 'right'! You'd listen to him and feel here's a brilliant man, he speaks th truth - and then  you'd go over the speech or the discussion and find it was total rubbish, but so beautifully put you couldn't help but admire the skill and the presentation.

Compared to the last two Labour PMs he was a model of integrity. Unfortunately.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by plebgate on 15.03.14 9:21

RIP Tony Benn.   There was an article in one of the papers not so long ago when he said he had no fear of death since his beloved wife had died.  Very sad, but inevitable for all for us.   
Kinnock and Shirley Williams on the tv yesterday about him, came over to me as being put out by him, sour grapes came to mind.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Woofer on 15.03.14 9:36

@plebgate wrote:RIP Tony Benn.   There was an article in one of the papers not so long ago when he said he had no fear of death since his beloved wife had died.  Very sad, but inevitable for all for us.   
Kinnock and Shirley Williams on the tv yesterday about him, came over to me as being put out by him, sour grapes came to mind.

I watched that - yes, sour grapes from Kinnock, and Shirley Williams just plain arrogance to put him down like that - never liked that woman.
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by plebgate on 15.03.14 9:41

I agree Woofer, Shirley Williams - another "National Treasure" - arrogant and I think still very upset because  her breakaway party flopped.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by PeterMac on 15.03.14 18:10

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Lance De Boils on 16.03.14 17:14

Tony Benn. A man I greatly admired for his tenacity, his principles and his wonderful voice.
I know he was divisive, but he had far more integrity than so many of the next generation of politicians.
RIP.
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by tigger on 16.03.14 17:40

@Lance De Boils wrote:Tony Benn. A man I greatly admired for his tenacity, his principles and his wonderful voice.
I know he was divisive, but he had far more integrity than so many of the next generation of politicians.
RIP.

I think he was wrong on almost everything, but the point is: he truly believed his policies were good for Britain.
He was not a hypocrite like Blair and co. - he became a lot more mellow later in life.
A true politician, never in it for the money. Like Clare Short and Robin Cook, people with integrity as far as I know.

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Garrincha on 16.03.14 19:32

Whatever else people may say, I believe his “5 questions to people in power” constitute a fundamental touchstone:

What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?

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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by plebgate on 16.03.14 20:02

@Garrincha wrote:Whatever else people may say, I believe his “5 questions to people in power” constitute a fundamental touchstone:

What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by Guest on 16.03.14 20:19

@plebgate wrote:
@Garrincha wrote:Whatever else people may say, I believe his “5 questions to people in power” constitute a fundamental touchstone:

What power have you got?
Where did you get it from?
In whose interests do you use it?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?
 thumbup

Yes, me too.  Thanks for posting, Garrincha.
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Re: Death of Tony Benn

Post by PeterMac on 16.03.14 21:22

@Garrincha wrote:Whatever else people may say, I believe his “5 questions to people in power” constitute a fundamental touchstone:

Viscount Stansgate, Antony Wedgewood Benn, TONY BENN, or whoever you are at this precise moment . . .

What power have you got?    I am a member of the Commons and potentially of the Lords if I choose to be.
Where did you get it from?    I was born of a man who was made Viscount for his services to the nation, (actually because the Labour Party did not have enough 'clout'  (votes)  in the Lords and so created a host of unlikely candidates) but since then have dedicated my life to changing and buggering up everything I could.
In whose interests do you use it?   Mine, obviously.  I am a champagne socialist and live in North London, though I allegedly represented a consituency a long way "oop North"  Hence the pipe, you understand. Archetypal - and pantomime !
To whom are you accountable?   to the people of my constituency Bristol South East, (which was abolished, South - which I lost, East - Which I lost, and Chesterfield, a place somewhere else "oop North I think,  Not entirely sure where it is.  Possibly on the Duke of Devonshire's Estate"
How do we get rid of you?
 You can't.  I am here for li . . . .!  

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