By poet Attila the Stockbroker from Britain:
Great Glasgow gathering to celebrate Tony Benn
Thursday 4th December 2014
On the road with Attila the Stockbroker
IT WAS an absolute honour to be asked to do a set at the celebration of Tony Benn‘s life at the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow last Sunday. He has been a lifelong inspiration to me and I wrote this poem in his honour and performed it twice on the day:
“The former Viscount Stansgate”
The Tory press would sneer.
“What does he know of struggle?
He’s just a toffy peer.”
A fighter for the working class:
A giant among men.
He wasn’t Viscount Stansgate.
His name was Tony Benn.
The reason I did it twice was that the day was split into two parts – a spoken-word section in the afternoon featuring the excellent Scottish poets Elvis McGonagall and Tom Leonard and comedian Bruce Morton alongside yours truly and an evening musical event.
I wasn’t due to be performing in the evening but when I arrived I was asked to fill in for the great radical folk singer Roy Bailey, who of course has often appeared alongside Benn, and who had sadly been taken ill.
So instead of the gentle and beautifully voiced comrade Bailey, the assembled throng were treated to a shouty Sussex poet, fortified by a few pints in the Bon Accord in between shows, singing Prince Harry’s Knob.
I’m happy to say that they joined in the chorus with gusto.
But most importantly, on behalf of all at the Star, get well soon, Roy.
I actually voted for her at the last election – she stood as Labour candidate for our constituency of East Worthing and Shoreham, a brave thing to do since a decomposing dogfish would get elected round here as long as it was wearing a Tory rosette. Although absolutely lovely, I discovered that she suffers the horrible affliction of being a Crystal Palace fan and is prospective parliamentary candidate for Croydon at the next election, which is logical and eminently more winnable.
Be good to see the family represented in Parliament again and good luck, Emily. To you. Not to Palace.
Tony Benn remembered by Saffron Burrows: here.
John Moore reviews The Best of Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone (Hutchinson, £20): here.