The Legacy Of Tony Benn – People’s Parliament audio clip

On Wednesday 9th of April at 7.00pm I attended a packed out committee room 14 in the House of Commons for the People’s Parliament meeting on the legacy of Tony Benn and what an inspiring meeting it was. John McDonnel and the five speakers on the platform gave very poignant and interesting accounts of their recollections of working alongside Tony Benn inside the house of Commons and also in the many campaigns and struggles both within Britain and across the world. It was clear that Tony was a tireless campaigner on a wide range of socialist issues right up until the very end of his 88 years. It is difficult to name another left wing activist in the British labour movement that put in as many hours, or travelled as many miles as he did. It is clear that he not only spent a lot of time campaigning but also spent a lot of time researching issues and talking to people in the field and on the shop floor. His pursuit of democracy and belief in the people’s ability to take decisions for themselves is very far removed from the realm of the majority of mainstream politicians for whom the electorate are just a vehicle into the corridors of power rather than a resource to be listened to and consulted on the myriad of issues that affect their everyday lives. It is remarkable that he remained in the Labour Party throughout the years of New Labour and the inexorable march towards right wing corporatist government, privatisation and war mongering. Many activists, including myself, have long since torn up their party cards out of feelings of sheer frustration and, it has to be said, total disgust at the move towards being a right of centre party. And yet, despite the fact that he retained his loyalty to the labour party all his life, whenever he appeared on a platform at a demo, on a picket line or at a public meeting, the fondness and esteem within which has he was held by all sections of the movement was clearly palpable. Quite simply Tony Benn was not only a tireless and hard working socialist he was truly inspirational, unwavering in his belief that a better world where peace, equality and justice for all is the norm. As everyone has said his death is a great loss to the cause of socialism, however, whilst the great man may be gone his ideas live on. It is encumbant on those of us who agree with his ideas to pick them up and run with them and when we are asked why we do so the reply must surely be, as he would have wanted, Tony Benn Encouraged Us.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s