RIP Tony Benn

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  • RIP Tony Benn
  • pitduck
    Member

    possibly the last honest politician 😥

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    an ineffectual politician
    Really ? Why ?……because he didn’t become prime minister ?

    Because he didn’t convince enough people to support his ideas.

    But still a top bloke.

    Because he didn’t convince enough people to support his ideas.

    He managed to get people to repeatedly reelect him as their MP for 50 years.

    He was Postmaster General, Minister of Technology, Secretary of State for Industry, and Secretary of State for Energy. I think we can safely say he had a few ideas which he implemented whilst serving those positions.

    I’m not sure a great many politicians are much more effective than that.

    mefty
    Member

    I was perhaps being overly harsh (see below) but when he had the most influence, he failed – arguably through lack of ability to compromise – to get his party elected to government.

    *He is being lauded as a “big beast”, yet he never held one of the great offices of state – so for a big beast that is relatively ineffective.

    yet he never held one of the great offices of state

    Cabinet minister isn’t one of the great offices of state ?…….what is then ? 😕

    mefty
    Member

    Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor and Home Secretary are generally regarded as the great offices of state.

    So every politician who fails to make Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor or Home Secretary should consider that they have been ineffectual, even the ones which make it to the cabinet ?

    That should come as a surprise to many MPs and councillors who are involved in decision making throughout the country.

    And I don’t understand how he ‘failed to get his party elected to government’ btw. He was himself was in two governments.

    mefty
    Member

    I obviously not making myself clear – he was one of the dominant political voices of his time – in that context a junior cabinet career of 5 years is pretty ineffective. When he was senior member of his party, he failed to be elected and his party began a long run of losing elections.

    Edukator
    Member

    Rather than use my own words I’ll quote the Guardian obituary, Ernie.

    Benn was not responsible for Thatcherism, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that the only thing that would have damaged the left more than Benn’s failed attempt to capture the Labour party would have been his success.

    Were Kinnock and Benn liabilities or assets when it came to winning votes? They were both true to Labour’s orignal ideals and totally out of step with what the electorate wanted to hear by the late seventies. Both were a PR man’s nightmare at a time when image was becoming more important than substance.

    It’s quite unusual that the death of such an ineffectual ex-politician is provoking more reaction from all sides of the political debate today than the deaths of some holders of the great offices of state.

    allthepies
    Member

    deadlydarcy wrote:

    It’s quite unusual that the death of such an ineffectual ex-politician is provoking more reaction from all sides of the political debate today than the deaths of some holders of the great offices of state.

    Indeed, I guess because people admire his conviction and oration skills rather than his legacy or political achievements.

    mefty
    Member

    It’s quite unusual that the death of such an ineffectual ex-politician is provoking more reaction from all sides of the political debate today than the deaths of some holders of the great offices of state.

    Implementing your ideas is the difficult bit, he never got the chance to do that at the highest level – subject to Ernie’s quibbles – if he had, I think he would be remembered with less reverence as changing things causes conflict.

    Rather than use my own words I’ll quote the Guardian obituary, Ernie.

    Well if it’s in the Guardian then that must be the gospel truth. Who can argue with that ?

    Although personally I find it hard to escape the conclusion that the people who did the real electoral damage to the Labour Party, and helped Thatcher so much, were the right-wingers led by Roy Jenkins, David Owen, William Rodgers and Shirley Williams, who formed a rival political party with the deliberate intention of splitting the Labour vote so that Labour would lose the general election.

    David Owen openingly and publicly admitted that he would rather the Tories won the general election in 1983 than Labour. Nice coming from a former Labour Foreign Secretary. Although there is of course nothing new about betrayal, treachery, and contempt for democracy, from the hard right in the labour movement. Unsurprisingly with the full backing of the Tory press they succeeded in their ambition.

    Still, it wasn’t mentioned in the Guardian today so it’s probably not true 🙂

    allthepies
    Member

    Although personally I find it hard to escape the conclusion that the people who did the real electoral damage to the Labour Party, and helped Thatcher so much, were the right-wingers led by Roy Jenkins, David Owen, William Rodgers and Shirley Williams, who formed a rival political party with the deliberate intention of splitting the Labour vote so that Labour would lose the general election

    That was Foot’s claim.

    Would Foot ever have got elected PM with his “suicide note” manifesto had the SDP not been on the scene ? We’ll never know 🙂 Although I very much doubt it.

    Implementing your ideas is the difficult bit, he never got the chance to do that at the highest level

    Have you never heard of the “ideas” implemented by a Labour Government ? Do you honestly believe that Tony Benn had no input into Labour government policy ? not even as a cabinet member/minister ? ffs

    with his “suicide note” manifesto

    Interesting that you use a term coined by another right-wing Labour politician, Gerald Kaufman, who chose to very publicly attack the Labour Party. The Tories could not have done it without them. The damage done by the right-wing is incalculable. But it was Tony Benn’s fault, because the Guardian says so.

    allthepies
    Member

    To be fair it was Foot’s fault also 🙂

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    The damage done by the right-wing is incalculable.

    Easy to say. Less easy to say how much damage Labour and Benn would have done. That’s why so many right wingers are saying what a good bloke he was, because he never had the chance to put his ideas into practice.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    mefty – Member

    Implementing your ideas is the difficult bit, he never got the chance to do that at the highest level – subject to Ernie’s quibbles – if he had, I think he would be remembered with less reverence as changing things causes conflict. Indeed – Uncompromising men are easy to admire. Politics is the art of the possible, though, and Benn did not shape policy at a deep level in this country. This is hardly a criticism if we were talking about the legacy of Hazel Blears or someone, but for such a significant figure in UK political culture it is a sobering thought, IMO.
    RIP Mr Benn – a good man.

    Easy to say.

    That’s little doubt that when a significant section of a political party breaks away from that party to form a rival party, with the specific aim of standing against them in elections, and they receive huge unprecedented media coverage for a new party, then they will cause some very serious damage. So yes you’re quite right, it’s easy to say.

    ….he never had the chance to put his ideas into practice.

    Check what legislation Labour governments passed and what policies they had in the 1960s and 70s, Tony Benn was part of those governments. Some of his ideas were put into practice. Or did you think he only became an MP in the 1980s ?

    konabunny
    Member

    Who is Benn’s spiritual successor then? George Galloway?!

    Surely not – he’s a grasping slimy me me me machine.

    mefty
    Member

    I did qualify my comment for your quibbles Ernie, anyway during the 70s I was more interested in Mr Benn than Tony Benn.

    I wasn’t quoting you mefty. You’re not the only one who appears to think that Tony Benn was completely detached from the Labour Party and Labour governments and didn’t support legislation such as the Equal Pay Act, the Health and Safety at Work Act, and the Race Relations Act. And presumably spent his time as a government minister making paper airplanes to fly around his office, not once coming up with a single idea.

    mefty
    Member

    You were actually, I just took a bit of time to respond. I appreciate you posted a few times in the interim. I was aware but he was only directly responsible for H&S, but lest we forget the government he was part of was bailed out by the IMF, which he opposed, but fortunately then as often, he did not get his way.

    but lest we forget the government he was part of was bailed out by the IMF

    Is it important to remember that ? Are you saying that you only want to associate Tony Benn with Labour government policy if it casts him in bad light, otherwise your position is that he had no input in Labour Party/government policy during his 50 years as a Labour MP and his numerous government posts ?

    BTW lest we forget the reason it was a Labour government that went to the IMF is because British voters kicked out the Tories. Had they not kicked out the Tories then Ted Heath’s government would have gone to the IMF.

    In fact the Tories would have gone to the IMF 2 years earlier than Labour.

    As the Daily Mail reported :

    How former Prime Minister Ted Heath nearly went to the International Monetary Fund for a loan in 1974

    Quote :

    The Tory prime minister was preparing to go ‘cap in hand’ to the IMF and to take ‘unpleasant measures’, archives reveal.

    It is an embarrassing revelation for the Tories, who still make political capital out of the 1976 crisis when Labour chancellor Denis Healey had to submit to IMF supervision to get a loan.

    The minutes read: ‘On a Privy Councillor basis the prime minister told Mr Thorpe that preparations had been made for a drawing [a loan] on the IMF.’

    The whole going to the IMF was due to Tory government incompetence, but because the Tories lost the general election and Labour won, it was Labour who ended up approaching the IMF. And you want to somehow associate Tony Benn with that decision ? Sounds a bit desperate.

    mefty
    Member

    Merely following your lead, Ernie, of crediting him with all the good tings done by the Labour Governments he was a member of, but I guess success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.

    I haven’t made any comment concerning whether his influence was good or bad.

    I’m merely challenging your assertion that he was an ineffectual politician.

    50 years as an MP of a major political party and several posts as a government minister, including cabinet minister, suggests otherwise. Most people who enter politics are unlikely to match that record.

    I suspect that your dismissive attitude has more to do with your own personal political views than any real honest assessment.

    Premier Icon boxelder
    Subscriber

    A life well lived.
    The Thatcherite train and Ali G clips will form next Friday’s Sixth Form assembly. Theme will be heroes.
    RIP

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