The diaries of British Left Labourist Tony Benn


This video is about Tony Benn.

From British daily The Morning Star:

More time for politics

(Sunday 11 November 2007)

More time for politics. Diaries: 2001-2007 by Tony Benn
(Hutchinson, £20)

SEVERAL incidents in the latest instalment of Tony Benn‘s diaries sum up the special place that he has in the hearts of the British public.

It’s unlikely that the presence of any other former politician would stir delighted youngsters to launch into a spontaneous chant of their name. Nor, for that matter, would the sight of many coughing ex-MPs provoke a concerned letter from a stranger to their son.

Certainly not anyone in new Labour, whose actions repeatedly invoke the ire of the Labour loyalist former secretary of state within diary entries covering the years 2001 to 2007.

It provides a stark reminder of what a terrible six years they have been, spanning a period during which the world and the shape of British politics have entered an uncertain, dangerous new phase.

From war in Iraq and Afghanistan to increasing assaults on civil liberties at home under the guise of the war on terror, Benn’s diary entries conjure up a disturbing overview of the ongoing decline in British democracy and the Blair government‘s role in undermining international law as Washington’s representative in Europe. …

What’s more, despite his acceptance and engagements within Establishment circles, which have drawn criticism from left-wing purists, it’s clear that he considers himself to be firmly on the side of ordinary people, rather than inside the loop bowing and scraping.

It’s also interesting to read his excited thoughts on his son‘s promotions within the Blair government. Indeed, Benn‘s decision to end his Morning Star column came in the week that his son had been appointed to the Cabinet, a decision influenced, it seems, by fears of embarrassing Hilary.

But it’s difficult to begrudge the pride and loyalty that this particular father feels towards his son, especially when Benn senior remains equally loyal to the Labour left and trade union movement as a whole.

And, while he may be cutting down his gruelling schedule at the age of 82, Benn’s diary probably remains as full if not fuller than that of many serving MPs.

I, for one, look forward to the next chapter.

RICHARD BAGLEY

WILL And Testament, a new documentary on Tony Benn’s life, got an emotional welcome from audiences at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) last weekend: here.

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