Tony Benn RIP (a stalwart of the Left)

  john bunyan 07:22 14 Mar 2014

Tony Benn has died. A charming and clever man with whom one could politely disagree!

Tony Benn

  fourm member 09:17 14 Mar 2014

Tony Benn's problem was that he never engaged with the real world. He, quite rightly, railed against the media's habit of measuring issues by volume not merit. That is, the way reports on a protest focus on the number taking part but ignore the speeches.

He didn't, however, realise that he needed to adapt if he wanted to be heard. He expected the media to cover an hour or more of speeches in full.

I'm not saying he should have gone down the facile sound-bite route that many politicians do but I don't think I ever heard him say anything that didn't include a reference to some person or event that only a politics graduate would understand.

If he'd found a way to convey his message in forty seconds rather than forty minutes he'd have been much more important.

  rickf 10:38 14 Mar 2014

A very sad loss. BTW, the real world is different things to different people. Depends on your experience, perspective and value of life.

  Mr Mistoffelees 11:55 14 Mar 2014

He was one of a very tiny minority of MPs who actually deserved respect.

  kad292 15:49 14 Mar 2014

A principled man whose steadfast point of view possibly opened the door to Thatcher in 1979.Always admired the man less so his politics.

  Quickbeam 18:16 14 Mar 2014

Probably the most interesting person in the world.

I didn't always agree with him, but his argument reasoning was probably the best in the world.

  Forum Editor 07:58 15 Mar 2014

He was a thinker, and one of the best political analysts of his time.He was also a very pleasant character. Unfortunately, as fourm member has said, he wasn't quite so good at communicating his thinking in a way that the ordinary person could easily understand, which was a great shame.

  Aitchbee 16:15 20 Mar 2014

"[ Wednesday the 26th November 1997; to the National Portrait Gallery for the reception to celebrate the portrait of me by Humphrey Ocean. ] "

" When you get to my age, the final corruption is that you're treated with respect as a celebrity ... a kindly old gentleman and you get honorary doctrates and busts and portaits. " ...

... " I told my friend Ralph Gibson that I was seen as a harmless old gentleman and he said:- ' Until you open your mouth! ' "

A short extract from The Benn Tapes 'Free At Last 1991 - 2001', as aired on BBC Radio 4, this morning ... a very funny man, at times.

  Simsy 22:59 23 Mar 2014

I encountered Tony Benn several times over the years, through my job, when I worked in the media covering Westminster . He was a delightful man, as many have alluded to...

However, I have to strongly disagree with Mr Mistoffelees comment; "He was one of a very tiny minority of MPs who actually deserved respect."...

Yes, he did... what I disagree with is the "very tiny majority"!

I met/ encountered many MPs during my time there... MOST of them do deserve respect! Yes there are a lot of "bad apples", but they tend to be the ones who crave, and get, high positions and media coverage...

There are something in the region of 650 MPs... how many of them do you see on TV... most certainly NOT MOST of them.

You may disagree with many of them for their political viewpoint, and indeed I do also, but MOST of the MPs, in my experience, are genuine and hardworking. They are decently paid, but do sacrifice a lot as well, and in my opinion, based on experience, do deserve respect.

I'll get me coat!



  fourm member 08:21 24 Mar 2014


A good point that was well worth making.

When the expenses business first broke I said that I would be amazed if more than 10 MPs were criminally defrauding the system and received widespread abuse for that.

Yet, now it has all been dealt with, guess what, fewer than 10 MPs have been convicted of crimes related to expenses.

I think it is a good idea to remind people that the overwhelming majority of our representatives work hard and care. Hopefully, it might dissuade some from voting for those who can't be described that way.

  spuds 10:01 24 Mar 2014

I have no allegiance to any political party, and if and when I do bother to vote, I usually pick the person who seems the most appropriate and forthcoming at the time.

But having my daily doses of the BBC Parliament broadcast, I am truly wondering if all the cheering and merriment in the house, and the nodding off in the Lords really portrays a true image of British politics?.

At least with Tony Benn, you knew where he was coming from, most of the time?.

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