Tony Benn

I'd like to pay my tributes to Tony Benn, one of the giants of democracy and left-wing politics, who died today.

     

     

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18 comments:

Lyndon said...

He was a lovely chap by all accounts, but an absolutely catastrophic politician.

Anonymous said...

On average six pits closed a week in Wales when as Energy sec for Brit gov. Still think he was a great man, tho

Welsh not British said...

What did he actually do that made him so great?

Anonymous said...

Actually, an average of one pit every six weeks. Sorry

Anonymous said...

I thought only under the Tories (incl. M T) that pits closed!!! That's what we are programmed to believe!

Anonymous said...

It's all very well praising Tony Benn, but i have to say I saw him as selfish, conceited and smug. He undermined his own party at several occasions when a more nuanced (and frankly a bit of respect for his fellow Labour MPs would have been in order) could have been taken.

He was happy to get elected on the Labour ticket but didn't play by any sense of collective responsibility. He crossed the line of being a debater within a party and one who seemed to be at odds with the whole party without accepting that his views were the minority view. He should even have left the party or decided to keep his consul at times for the sake of his fellow Labour MPs.

Made some good points, but was also a selfish and pompus man who had no respect for Welsh nationality either.


M.




Anonymous said...

More pits closed under Labour than the Tories, but the percentage closed under the Tories was higher, and the Labour closures were done in agreement with the NUM. It shouldn't be used as a way of trying to excuse what Thatcher did which was an all out war. Labour's lack of support during the strike itself is a valid thing to point out (although Scargill also failed to build broader support with Labour).

Anonymous said...

Actually, not true that Labout pit closures were supported. They were often more disgusting in their approach, as you would expect from Labour. Take the Cwmllynfell pit. When it closed it was still viable and the workers wanted to buy it and operate the pit as a cooperative, but were told by the Labour party that if they did so, a nearby pit would be closed instead. Obviously, not wanting to be held responsible for losing those men their jobs, the Cwmllynfell miners gave in.

Perhaps the fact that all union meetings at the colliery were held in Welsh had something to do with it.

Labour is a grotesque institution in Wales, and has NEVER had the best interests of the Welsh at heart.

As for Tony Benn, I would have to agree - overestimated. He achieved nothing. And as is pointed out above, he had no respect for Welsh nationality. He was, ultimately, a member of the labour party. Nuff said.

LeighRichards said...

somewhat surprised to see so many posters assassinating the character of the late and revered socialist tony benn - had no idea quite so many daily mail readers followed this blog! id also be very interested to know on what evidence the assertion tony benn didn't 'respect welsh nationality' is based?

Anonymous said...

So Leigh, you can cast aspersions and make assertions, but anyone who disagrees must provide evidence?

Look at his discussion in Glasgow last year, for example. He was an out and out BritNat. Unlike, of course, Keir Hardie and the original labour movement.

LeighRichards said...

er yes anon 13.56 when someone makes an assertion about something - in this case the assertion that tony benn did not 'respect welsh nationality' - it is hardly unreasonable to ask for evidence to support that assertion? so far i havent seen any. all i ask is if there is evidence to support the aforementioned 'assertion' please point me too it?

Anonymous said...

Alot of the comments above are disappointing. He was a robust and principled figure within UK politics (not necessarily in Welsh politics).

In terms of his views on Scottish independence, he was wrong. And will be proven wrong in the referendum. It does not mean he was a bad person or should be traduced or disrespected.

Cian Rosser said...
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Lyndon said...

Oh come on Leigh, aren't you old enough to remember 1980-81? Only Benn could have greeted the victory of Thatcherism as the perfect opportunity to launch a massive internal purge of party "dissidents" in the name of ideological purity, and then spend two years in internal constitutional wrangling, producing the undemocratic dog's dinner of an electoral system Labour was lumbered with for three decades after.

A divisive, sneaky and Machiavellian politician, more interested in fighting his allies than his Tory opponents. And that's before we get onto Europe, NATO, the IRA, Bosnia.......

LeighRichards said...

yes lyndon i do recall the period you speak of and all i recall tony benn doing was proposing a socialist economic alternative to thatcherism and the ravages of the free market....free market economic policies that would devastate wales and many welsh communities of course.also, and without wanting to risk this discussion degenerating into a debate on the internal wranglings of the british labour party in the 1980s, it was in fact the left wingers in the labour party who were 'purged' by those on the right. a purge carried out with the full approval of arguably that most 'machiavellian' and 'sneaky' labour politician of all - neil kinnock, a politician who of course appeared to harbour a deep seated pathological loathing of 'welsh national identity' .

but with regards to wales i honestly am not aware of tony benn making any pronouncements that would support claims he didnt respect welsh national identity. granted he was never a supporter of independence for wales - and i disagree with him on that just as i disagree with his opposition to scottish independence - but he supported the callaghan government's proposals for devolution for scotland and wales. there is of course one prominent current plaid cymru assembly member who's on record as saying he doesnt support independence for wales yet i dont see these same people accusing him of failing to respect welsh national identity.

some of his detractors have queried tony benn's political record well its worth recalling that when in government he introduced the groundbreaking 1975 health and safety at work act and as postmaster general in the first wilson government his creation of the national girobank gave people hitherto excluded by the high street banks the opportunity to open their very first bank account. a firm republican he also tried while postmaster general to remove the queen's head from postage stamps of course.

out of government and in his later years he was of course unstinting in his support of the miners and their year long struggle with the thatcher government, and a passionate opponent of nuclear weapons, and of both iraq wars - and yes of the us puppet organisation nato.

Lyndon said...

Tony Benn certainly offered a socialist alternative to the British public in the 1983 Labour manifesto, and the British public told him in no uncertain terms where he could shove it.

LeighRichards said...

the welsh public didnt!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Lyndon but regardless of opinions on Benn "what the British public want" is not my concern or interest. Creating a strong Welsh nation, including some but not all of the principles Benn espoused, is my goal.

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