‘Labour stalwart Tony Benn dies at 88’:
A major figure on the left of the party, he narrowly missed out on the deputy leadership in 1981 and went on to be a popular public speaker, anti-war campaigner and political diarist.
In a statement his children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua said Mr Benn died peacefully early this morning at his home in west London surrounded by his family.
“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff and carers who have looked after him with such kindness in hospital and at home”, the family said.
“We will miss above all his love which has sustained us throughout our lives. But we are comforted by the memory of his long, full and inspiring life and so proud of his devotion to helping others as he sought to change the world for the better.”
One of the last few people in politics in the uk that were in it for the people, rather than themselves. And while not someone you could always agree with on everything, he was a respected debater, and his sincerity and passion were truly inspirational for all sides of the political spectrum. A good man, in a ‘bad mans’ world.
And some info at the guardian and youtube clips, just to help those that do not know about him:
On Media and Politics:
I didn’t know much about him till today, but he seems like part of the tradition of Aneurin Bevan, though coming from a different background entirely.
Yeah he was one of the last proper socialist (not communist (for Americans that get all freaked out by these terms!)) politicians of that era, along with Bevan. Yes he was left wing in a very real sense, so much so he kind of drifted away from the Labour Party as being too radical in modern times.
But the context of the man is important. He was from ‘landed gentry’ (his father was a Lord), but he changed the law via Parliament to be able to disown his hereditary title, and he spent nearly all his political career fighting for the under-privileged and poor. He also is very well read on the details of Democracy, it’s history, how it came about in Britain etc. And his video’s i linked go into some of that, worth a view just for that historic angle, and why the fight for true Democracy is on-going in the face of the power of the rich that want to undermine it.
For domestic politics, absolutely. He was a great man, and my differences with his domestic policies were only ever those of the left.
I don’t know what to make of this. Sure it IS an honour, but…well…Thatcher and Tony Benn?!
‘Tony Benn’s body to share parliament chapel honour with Thatcher’:
The Queen has given permission for Tony Benn to become the second politician in history – after Margaret Thatcher – to rest in parliament’s chapel of St Mary Undercroft on the eve of his funeral.
It was granted after Black Rod wrote to the monarch asking whether it would be possible to award him the honour, given that the chapel is a “royal peculiar” – or part of the royal estate.
Although his highest role in government was cabinet minister, the privilege is being given to Benn because he is one of only two MPs to receive the freedom of the House of Commons in recognition of his service for half a century. The other was Edward Heath. The former MP, advocate of the left and anti-war campaigner, who died last week, also placed a plaque in a cupboard of the crypt in memory of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.
A spokesman for the House of Lords said the family of Benn had made an approach to the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
A Benn family spokesperson said: “At the suggestion of the Speaker and by agreement with the Lords Speaker, Black Rod and the Dean of Westminster Abbey, an approach has been made by Black Rod to the Palace for agreement that Mr Benn’s body rest in the chapel of St Mary’s Undercroft on the night before his funeral.”
They are not being buried in the same place, just to be clear. It is just an ‘overnight’ stay before a funeral, but i wonder how Thatcher would think about sharing this same honour with Tony Benn! (probably Tony Benn would find it amusing)
Not that i love the guy or anything (i’m not that politically active), but more that in our age of ‘broken politics’ where huge sections of our societies are not bothered enough to vote, he was one actual sincere politician who was in it for the people he was meant to be serving, and not (as is mostly the case in politics today) in it for himself alone. So a few more links about the man:
Just because ‘good’ politicians are like gold dust, so it is sad (for our Democracies) when they go.