Poem on British Blairite warmonger Hilary Benn

This video from Britain says about itself:

Hilary Benn’s speech ‘reminded me of Blair’ says John McDonnell – BBC News

3 December 2015

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says the speech made by Hilary Benn supporting air strikes in Syria reminded him of that made by Tony Blair ahead of the Iraq war. Mr McDonnell told the Today programme that he was impressed by the shadow foreign secretary’s oratory.

“I’m always anxious that the greatest oratory is going to lead us to the greatest mistakes,” he told presenter Nick Robinson.

This poem is about Hilary Benn, a right-wing Blairite MP within the British Labour party.

Recently, during the debate on whether British warplanes should bomb Syria, Benn spoke for a minority of Labour MPs siding with the Conservative government that the bombing should go ahead. To justify that, Benn made a historically crackpot equation between the British government ordering its military to bomb the Middle East yet again, and 1930s British anti-fascists who against the will of the British government went to Spain to oppose Franco, Hitler and Mussolini there.

This poem is by Kevin Higgins:

Premature Elegy for Hilary Benn

Thursday 10th November 2015

A chandelier accent

comes galloping to the aid

of things as they must remain.

A perfect bag of air, with a mouth

that can sound out the word


He heroically picks up the test tube

to pour out the blood of others.

He believes, passionately, in allies

the Prime Minister invented

while smoking a large herbal cigarette

Boris gave him the other morning;

perseveres, stoically, when those

who, in traditional times,

didn’t have telephones

call his office to tell his staff

what he is, or say the truth

about him on Twitbook.

Eventually, he’ll go upstairs

to not sit at the right hand

of his father, who’ll be too busy

trying to light his pipe,

or having a difference of emphasis

with the late Vladimir Lenin

over a ginormous mug of tea,

to be bothered with Junior’s excuses

for having spent

his final years on Earth

in a vast red robe

banging on the door

of the House of Lords,

shouting for someone to, please,

let him in.

Jeremy Corbyn reveals he was ‘appalled’ by MPs’ reaction to Hilary Benn’s pro-intervention Syria speech. The Commons erupted into spontaneous applause after Benn gave the last speech in favour of attacking the ‘fascists’ of Isis in Syria – to his own leader’s disgust: here.

14 thoughts on “Poem on British Blairite warmonger Hilary Benn

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  2. Wednesday 23rd December 2015

    posted by Will Stone in Britain

    Flynn slams Benn pro-war message as ‘vainglorious claptrap’
    HILARY BENN was likened yesterday to warmonger Tony Blair following an “irrational and emotional rant” straight from the Blairite “give war a chance party.”

    Labour veteran Paul Flynn turned his ire on the shadow foreign secretary after he called on the party to resist isolationism and emerge from “the long shadow” of the Iraq war.

    “Our foreign policy must learn the lessons of the Iraq conflict, but not be shackled by it,” Mr Benn wrote in an essay for the Fabian Society.

    “It should not be a reason to retreat from the world and our responsibilities in it, or to rely on others to fight for us.”

    Mr Flynn dismissed the words as “profoundly mistaken” and “vainglorious claptrap,” adding that “punching above our weight militarily always means dying beyond our responsibilities.”

    He told the Star: “We should not forget Iraq, especially as we’ve not even seen the Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the war.

    “His words are no more than rhetoric and an irrational and emotional rant straight from the give war a chance party who believe in shooting first and thinking afterwards.”

    Referring to Mr Benn’s speech in support of bombing Syria, the Newport West MP compared him to Blair and warned that like the former Labour PM he has a knack of concealing dodgy content in soaring oratory.

    Mr Flynn’s comments come after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed yesterday that 10 British troops had been sent to Helmand, Afghanistan, just days before Christmas.

    The MoD said the troops had been sent in an “advisory role” following reports the Taliban took back strategic sites in Sangin.

    More than 100 British troops died in and around the town in fierce fighting during the Afghan campaign.

    Families of those killed have argued the government has “still not learnt the lessons” from past wars.

    Diane Dernie, whose son Ben Parkinson lost his legs and was left brain-damaged by a bomb in Afghanistan in 2006, said “it’s British troops that are going to pay the price for that failure to learn.”

    And Judy Gaden, whose son Corporal Tom Gaden was killed by a bomb in 2009, said it was “tragic” that a “fuller picture” was not looked at before troops are deployed.

    In total around 450 British troops remain in Afghanistan to provide a “mentoring and supporting” role.

    But former chief of staff Lord Dannatt said ministers must be prepared to expand Britain’s role in the region.

    Mr Flynn reminded fellow MPs that “ministers lied, soldiers died” after the Helmand campaign of 2006 left 454 British troops and thousandss of Afghans dead.

    He pointed out that at the time ministers had hoped that “not a shot would be fired” to justify the incursion.

    “Labour needs to come to terms with these military disasters before entering new ones,” Mr Flynn added.



    • Wednesday 23rd December 2015

      posted by Morning Star in Editorial

      PAUL FLYNN’S denunciation of Hilary Benn’s call to war — or series of wars — is all the more scathing for the Newport MP’s status as a former Benn admirer.

      “Hail Hilary the Brave” was the headline Flynn chose for his blog in July 2008 when lauding the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs for standing firm against farming lobby demands for a mass badger cull.

      Flynn pointed out that the main cause of bovine TB is farmers’ excessive movement of livestock, backing Benn’s rejection of calls for unnecessary slaughter by Tory and Lib Dem MPs.

      “This is schoolboy politics — seeking a cheap headline by advocating a popular policy that they know will not work,” said Flynn then.

      He could have used precisely the same formulation now to describe Benn’s recent conversion to the Blairite “when in doubt, bomb something” approach.

      Barely a fortnight before the shadow foreign secretary detonated an orgy of applause, foot-stamping and roars of approval for his House of Commons speech supporting David Cameron’s pro-bombing proposal, he had told the Independent on Sunday that the Prime Minister had failed to make a case for so doing.

      Asked if Cameron should propose military action, Benn replied: “No. They have to come up with an overall plan, which they have not done. I think the focus for now is finding a peaceful solution to the civil war.

      “The most useful contribution we can make is to support as a nation the peace talks that have started. That is the single most important thing we can do.”

      Fast forward a fortnight and, after Jeremy Corbyn made the case previously articulated by Benn, his shadow foreign secretary came out all guns blazing.

      He portrayed Islamic State (Isis) as today’s equivalent of the 1930s fascist scourge while picturing Nato air forces as latter-day incarnations of International Brigaders who defied the law to cross the Pyrenees and stand beside the Spanish people resisting the joint forces of the Spanish ruling class backed by nazi Germany, fascist Italy and the “non-intervention” policy of Britain and France.

      Benn has followed up his spurious and calculated insult to Spain’s volunteers for liberty by concocting a similarly grotesque essay for the Fabian Society.

      His weasel words about not being “shackled” by the Iraq war legacy, not “retreating” from the world and not relying on “others to fight for us” are mere verbiage to downplay the military disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan and line up behind the US for its next military escapade.

      Flynn’s observation that “punching above our weight militarily always means dying beyond our responsibilities” will matter little to Benn and his fellow humanitarian bombers. For them it’s oratorical or literary rhetoric.

      The blood price of his “vainglorious claptrap” is paid by young working-class people conscripted by poverty into the armed forces and by whichever people has been selected by Britain’s political elite as collateral damage in the latest imperialist adventure.

      Benn’s identification with ruling-class priorities, as advocated by the Prime Minister, was acclaimed by the Tories, the military top brass, the capitalist media and the state broadcaster as an indication of “we’re all in it together” national unity.

      It was doubly welcomed as the latest gesture of resistance by New Labour’s politically bankrupt but still well-connected remnants against the forces for change exemplified by Jeremy Corbyn.

      It is noteworthy that the riposte to this zombie tendency was delivered by an MP who proposed Liz Kendall as leader and has voiced doubts about Corbyn’s prospects in the role.

      Corbyn encourages comradely discussion on all issues, but party members and supporters can identify clearly those discussing the best way to win the 2020 election and others whose priority is to destabilise the overwhelmingly elected leader.



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