Hey everyone Yesterday I like the rest of Britain woke up to the sad news of the death of former Labour MP Tony Benn. A controversial figure he along with Margaret Thatcher were the two most admired and hated names in British politics in the 1970’s and 80’s. Which one of them you admired depended on which side of the political spectrum you tended to sit .
As someone from a working class background I did tend to favour the politics of Benn, who unlike almost all of today’s Labour Party actually was a socialist and who cared about the ordinary people. I think I can say with honesty and integrity that even in my late teens and early twenties as I was at the time, Tony Benn was genuinely the last hope of a fair Britain in which we could all believe.
Despite having never voted for his party since that fateful election night in 1983 though I have been asked on many occasions to join them by local councillors and MP’s I admired Benn as a man who acted with genuine sincerity and authenticity and whose views had to be respected even if the Scottish and Irish questions have always been deal breakers for me.
My respect for the man is in no small part due to the fact that unlike so many of the current brand of sycophants who infest the Labour Party benches at both Westminster and Holyrood. Benn rejected a peerage to serve the people rather than the New and unfortunately now traditional Labour route of serving themselves at the expense of the people to gain a place in the lords alongside there Tory pals. Honestly today’s Labour Party are nothing more a Tory reserve team who failed the IQ test for getting in to Eton and Oxbridge.
In contrast to the self serving culture of the modern Labour Party, Benn actually gave up a hereditary title Viscount Stansgate to be able to serve the people. Could you imagine the likes of Blair, Brown, Balls, or Sarwar doing that? If you can you either a fantasist or addicted to some very serious class A drugs because no one in their right minds could ever comprehend any of that lot giving up even an hour of that lifestyle never mind a lifetime of it.
The Labour Party of 2014 is so far removed from the socialist principles of its founders than Keir Hardie wouldn’t just be spinning in his grave at their antics over the Gulf War and calling themselves New Labour with all their associated Cool Britannia imagery he’d be doing bloody somersaults. Tony Benn was the last true Labour politician who actually represented the founding values of a real Labour Party and what’s more he was proud to do so.
In a political career stretching back to 1950. Tony Benn served as a cabinet minister in both the Wilson and Callaghan Labour Governments. It is true to say Benn often got under the skin of the establishment as he fearlessly campaigned for CND and against big business and illegal wars. Ring any bells Mr Blair? No I didn’t think it would, you see Tony Benn once said he would be ashamed to say anything he didn’t agree with them just to get on. You and that other gutless wonder otherwise known as Gordon ‘Scotland is my personal kingdom’ Brown took the road that Mr Benn refused to travel every sinful day and no that is not a misplaced word I actually meant to use it, of your lamentable political lives.
You see the difference between you and Mr Benn is that you may shared the initials and the same party card, but you had nothing else in common.
In a distinguished career Mr Benn represented both Bristol West where his defeat in the 1983 election got the biggest Tory cheer of the night, that to me showed he was doing something right, and Chesterfield which he won at a by’-election the following year with dignity and diligence never forgetting that he was elected to serve the people, not to serve himself.
However there is no doubt that to some on the right of UK political scene Benn was hated and his politics loathed. To deny this is in effect to deny reality which is the last thing he would have wanted you to do. Even the most ardent of his Benn’s supporters cannot deny he was loathed by certain sections of the press which considering the ‘sections’ of the press I’m referring to may not be such a bad thing. You see it is my considered opinion that when you are hated by the right wing Tabloids such as the Sun and The Daily Mail and their broadsheet buddies in the Telegraph and the Times you are exactly what Benn was a socialist who was able to do your job properly when it came to communicating the messages of empowerment, equality, and fairness for which he stood.
Make no mistake this was not a man for fake sincerity and in that respect at least perhaps the most truly sickening tributes paid to him came not from opponents such Alex Salmond, or David Cameron but from those two most vile and sycophantic of idiots. Tory B-Liar and Gormless Gordon Brown with their sickening ‘Tony Benn was a great campaigner for social justice’ routine. Honestly what planet are these numpties on? Tony Benn never campaigned for ‘social justice’ in his entire political life. Tony Benn campaigned for socialism. This is a word the Labour Party seem to have to banned since those two got a hold of it , except that is, when it is used by people as a stick with which to browbeat Scotland’s independence movement.
However it should be remembered that a stick is only as effective as the man or woman using it and I don’t know if I was the only who burst in to a fit of the giggles on hearing the dismal Johann Lamont have the bare faced check to describe herself as a socialist in a recent TV debate. I strongly suspect this may not have been the case, after all this was the woman who described Scotland as ‘a something for nothing society’ and the potential gains of Independence such as a trident free nation and no participation illegal wars as wee things. Let me say this very clearly Ruth Davidson is more of a socialist than Johann Lamont will ever be and Ruth Davidson is a right wing Tory.
In contrast to these small minded buffoons the movement for which I am campaigning is not interested in wee things we have a much bigger vision than that. Indeed it is significant that the Scottish Labour MP who most closely identified with the Tony Benn vision of the future is not the self seeking publicity hound that is and ever shall be George Galloway Nor is it the shadow Scottish Secretary in a state Margaret Curran but a lifelong internationalist and the chair of Yes Scotland Dennis Canavan.
You know I feel have to conclude this tribute to a real man of the people with one final comment. It is a sad but true fact In the last 20 years we have seen the slow death of the Labour Party in everything but name. It was Margaret Thatcher’s proudest boast that she had lived long enough to achieve this which she was said her dearest political dream. Indeed she even went as so far as to say that ‘In Tony Blair the people of the United Kingdom had elected a better Conservative Prime Minister than his Tory predecessor John Major. This was what had happened to the workers party of Keir Hardie, Clement Atlee, Nye Bevan, and so many others. However that party had one last survivor in Tony Benn. Now the last survivor has gone to his final rest. It is ironic that in 1981 It was his defeat for the deputy leadership of his party that the party finally began the slow surrender of its principles and beliefs. Britain gained in Diana Princess of Wales the woman that a more vacuous member of Benn’s party would one day call the people’s princess. In the early hours of yesterday morning, I woke up to hear the news that the UK had lost the people’s parliamentarian.
Love And Best Wishes