Tag Archives: tony benn

Nick Clegg’s tribute to Tony Benn

Tony_BennTributes were paid in the House of Commons today to the former Labour MP Tony Benn, who died last week. Deputy Prime Minister
Nick Clegg led them – here’s what he had to say…

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg):
May I, on behalf of the House, commence the tributes to the right hon. Tony Benn, following the warm words from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition yesterday?

As others have already commented, Tony Benn will be remembered as a dedicated constituency Member of Parliament, a tireless campaigner and, of course, an astute political diarist.

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Tony Benn: an appreciation

imageSummer 1993. I’d just finished my GCSEs and so, like any other teenager, spent the next few weeks reading Tony Benn’s diaries from start to finish. They are an immense achievement, as was his life.

They had a pretty major impact on me: I joined the Labour Party aged 16.The effect wore off in time: I left Labour (in 1999), and the Labour Party left Tony Benn.

Posted in News and Obituaries | Also tagged | 19 Comments

Tony Benn: A Biography

Weighing in at 550 pages, including a long and detailed index, Jad Adams’s biography of Tony Benn is just the sort of traditional and detailed work of biography that befits a politician who was an MP for half a century and who became a government minister, won promotion to the Cabinet and served his last day as a minister all before most of the current generation of ministers were even in Parliament.

Tony Benn’s career was not only lengthy, it was high profile and – at least before the twilight years as ‘the nation’s favourite retired politician’ – deeply controversial. …

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

A political prediction which didn’t turn out too well

“Whatever happens in the election this week it is not going to make all that much difference” – Peregrine Worsthone, just before the 1979 general election in which Margaret Thatcher defeated Jim Callaghan.

Hey ho.

Mind you, even in the first few months after the 1979 general election he was far from alone in the view that the choice in 1979 between Labour and Conservative was an incremental one rather than one of major choice.

In large part that is because – with one notable exception – the 1979 Conservative manifesto avoid radical specifics and the campaign itself saw both Sir Keith Joseph …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Why politics should be about personalities

Tony Benn’s lament that politics should be about issues, not personalities, is one echoed even by many who would struggle to find any issues on which they agree with him.

But it’s not a view I share. Why? Because the detailed policies of election manifestos or conference speeches frequently get swept aside in power by events. It’s not just the unexpected new event, it’s also the fallibility of forecasts which mean that decision making is often made from a very different perspective from that used to draw up pre-election policy promises.

Take the economy. It’s hard enough to know whether it is …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 14 Comments
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