Bournemouth EchoTributes paid to veteran Labour politician Tony Benn (From Bournemouth Echo)

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Veteran Labour politician Tony Benn was a regular at Dorset's Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival

Bournemouth Echo: Tony Benn at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in 2007 Tony Benn at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in 2007

TRIBUTES are being paid to the veteran Labour politician Tony Benn, a regular at Dorset's Martyrs Festival in Tolpuddle.

The former cabinet minister died at home in London at the age of 88, his family said this morning.

In a statement his children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua said: ''It is with great sadness that we announce that our father Tony Benn died peacefully early this morning at his home in west London surrounded by his family.

''We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff and carers who have looked after him with such kindness in hospital and at home.

''We will miss above all his love which has sustained us throughout our lives. But we are comforted by the memory of his long, full and inspiring life and so proud of his devotion to helping others as he sought to change the world for the better.”

Speaking at last year's festival in Tolpuddle, where he was a regular alongside singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, Mr Benn said: “I think Tolpuddle is one of the great events in the labour movement.

“It reminds us of the roots of our own faith, people who are prepared to sacrifice everything to build trade unions, which are fundamental to our survival today.”

Tony Benn retired from the House of Commons in 2001 to “spend more time involved with politics”.

He brought his successful one-man show to the Lighthouse in Poole in 2009 and spoke to the Daily Echo.

He said: “You know, the intelligence of the British public is being severely under-estimated by the media and politicians. People aren't just interested in sport, sex and gossip. Nothing excites me more than to hear a perceptive point made - I may not agree, but I want to hear it. I think things are changing again and people are willing to listen to ideas.”

He added: “I've just started a new book and it has the best title of any I've written but is easily the most difficult. A Letter to My Grandchildren is my attempt to pass on anything I may have learned that could be useful to them. I've learned that when you talk to young people you should start by saying 'My generation has made a complete cock-up of the world and you must do better, you have to.' Then they listen to you.

“I'm an old man now, I want nothing for myself, but I have 10 grandchildren and I worry about the world they're growing into. I'm frightened by war, ecological disaster, the nuclear question - we might all die of swine flu now - so you have to keep questioning.

“It's interesting that although political questions change, the moral ones never change - it was wrong to kill someone with a bow and arrow and it's still wrong to kill them with an atom bomb.”

Bournemouth East Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood tweeted this morning "Sad news re Tony Benn. One of my 1st engagements as MP was debating role of unions with him and @BBCPeterH at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival."

Lord Knight of Weymouth, formerly the South Dorset Labour MP Jim Knight, said: “He was an impossible man not to like, admire and respect – and because he had a fundamental decency in the way he wanted to relate to everyone and he showed respect to other people, that commanded respect back.

“He did what he felt people can’t do now, which is remain close to his principles, close to his beliefs and not to compromise, not be cowed by pressure of what we’re supposed to think by the media. He said what he thought.”

He said it was a tribute to Tony Benn that his children and grandchildren had gone on to make contributions in politics. His son Hilary is shadow communities secretary, while granddaughter Emily stood at the last general election at the age of 18.

Lord Knight added: “It’s a huge loss, more to them than the rest of us but it’s a massive loss for the whole of the labour movement.”

Dorset-based singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, who is in Australia, posted a tribute on Facebook He said: “I was about to go onstage at a trade union rally here in Melbourne tonight when I heard from a member of the audience that Tony Benn has died.

“Tony was responsible for educating me about the English radical tradition. During the miner's strike, he gave me a copy of his 1984 book Writings on the Wall: a Radical and Socialist Anthology 1215-1984. Having got most of my politics from pop music, it was a real eye opener, not only introducing me to the Levellers and the Diggers, but the Luddites and the Chartists too.

“I heard him speak many times since then and he never failed to connect whatever issue he was talking about with the tradition of radical dissent both here and abroad. “

He added: “I shall raise a pint of tea to him tonight here in Australia and hope that I may emulate him by becoming more radical as I grow older.”

Comments (23)

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8:22am Fri 14 Mar 14

Controversial But True says...

One of the last 'old school' MP's. They don't make them like that anymore.

RIP
One of the last 'old school' MP's. They don't make them like that anymore. RIP Controversial But True
  • Score: 12

8:37am Fri 14 Mar 14

canfordcherry says...

A terrible loss for not only politics but anywhere there was a wrong to be put right.
RIP
A terrible loss for not only politics but anywhere there was a wrong to be put right. RIP canfordcherry
  • Score: 9

8:51am Fri 14 Mar 14

bobsworthforever says...

What a player loved hearing him speak on the radio one of the few politicians worth listening to whether you agreed with him or not he could certainly fight his corner RIP
What a player loved hearing him speak on the radio one of the few politicians worth listening to whether you agreed with him or not he could certainly fight his corner RIP bobsworthforever
  • Score: 6

9:00am Fri 14 Mar 14

trolley says...

One of the greatest men that ever lived rip
One of the greatest men that ever lived rip trolley
  • Score: 4

9:11am Fri 14 Mar 14

RM says...

I disagreed with a lot of his politics but he was a man of principle & a tireless fighter for the underdog & I admired him greatly for this. His death is a sad loss, not only to his family & friends but to society as a whole. RIP Sir.
I disagreed with a lot of his politics but he was a man of principle & a tireless fighter for the underdog & I admired him greatly for this. His death is a sad loss, not only to his family & friends but to society as a whole. RIP Sir. RM
  • Score: 5

9:12am Fri 14 Mar 14

Hessenford says...

Champion of the ordinary citizen, will be greatly missed, RIP Toney
Champion of the ordinary citizen, will be greatly missed, RIP Toney Hessenford
  • Score: 2

9:13am Fri 14 Mar 14

Hessenford says...

Hessenford wrote:
Champion of the ordinary citizen, will be greatly missed, RIP Toney
Sorry, should have been Tony.
[quote][p][bold]Hessenford[/bold] wrote: Champion of the ordinary citizen, will be greatly missed, RIP Toney[/p][/quote]Sorry, should have been Tony. Hessenford
  • Score: -2

9:23am Fri 14 Mar 14

miltonarcher says...

RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him!
RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him! miltonarcher
  • Score: -13

9:31am Fri 14 Mar 14

The Seasider says...

Tony Benn was a decent man who spoke his mind, acted out of kindness and above all, was genuine. His integrity is what him so highly respected, memorable and rare amongst politicians.
Tony Benn was a decent man who spoke his mind, acted out of kindness and above all, was genuine. His integrity is what him so highly respected, memorable and rare amongst politicians. The Seasider
  • Score: 7

10:36am Fri 14 Mar 14

In Absentia says...

miltonarcher wrote:
RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him!
Yes and Mrs Thatcher called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, whilst her family made loads of money from apartheid South Africa. It's not the time to be scoring political points when nobody is as pure as the driven snow.

Why can't you just say he was a decent man who stuck to his beliefs whether you agreed with him or not.
[quote][p][bold]miltonarcher[/bold] wrote: RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him![/p][/quote]Yes and Mrs Thatcher called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, whilst her family made loads of money from apartheid South Africa. It's not the time to be scoring political points when nobody is as pure as the driven snow. Why can't you just say he was a decent man who stuck to his beliefs whether you agreed with him or not. In Absentia
  • Score: 23

11:20am Fri 14 Mar 14

mazzyf says...

I loved Tony Benn. He was caring, and he put morals before capital gain, which is very rare for a politician. He will be sadly missed.
I loved Tony Benn. He was caring, and he put morals before capital gain, which is very rare for a politician. He will be sadly missed. mazzyf
  • Score: 9

11:49am Fri 14 Mar 14

hadvar says...

This man was a battler, tenacious and stuck to the task, whatever the odds or the barriers. I particulary remember his fights with Chris Eubank during the early nineties. He'll be missed.
This man was a battler, tenacious and stuck to the task, whatever the odds or the barriers. I particulary remember his fights with Chris Eubank during the early nineties. He'll be missed. hadvar
  • Score: -7

12:54pm Fri 14 Mar 14

trolley says...

hadvar wrote:
This man was a battler, tenacious and stuck to the task, whatever the odds or the barriers. I particulary remember his fights with Chris Eubank during the early nineties. He'll be missed.
Disrespectful,but congratulations on your sense of humour,truly a wit ,oh to be that funny
[quote][p][bold]hadvar[/bold] wrote: This man was a battler, tenacious and stuck to the task, whatever the odds or the barriers. I particulary remember his fights with Chris Eubank during the early nineties. He'll be missed.[/p][/quote]Disrespectful,but congratulations on your sense of humour,truly a wit ,oh to be that funny trolley
  • Score: -4

1:32pm Fri 14 Mar 14

SPIRITCATCHER says...

A Victorian from a bygone age.
A Victorian from a bygone age. SPIRITCATCHER
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Fri 14 Mar 14

muscliffman says...

Respect the man to a point, but for some people there is something unedifying about well healed individuals campaigning for left-wing socialist politics from the comfort of an extremely wealthy right-wing capitalist background. Rich, well educated and eloquent teenagers born with silver spoons in their mouths who never stopped rebelling perhaps.
Respect the man to a point, but for some people there is something unedifying about well healed individuals campaigning for left-wing socialist politics from the comfort of an extremely wealthy right-wing capitalist background. Rich, well educated and eloquent teenagers born with silver spoons in their mouths who never stopped rebelling perhaps. muscliffman
  • Score: -3

4:30pm Fri 14 Mar 14

JB New Forest says...

I have more admiration, for someone who could live a life of privilege, but chooses not to, and stands up for the common people. These people to me are the true politicians and have a true dream.
I have more admiration, for someone who could live a life of privilege, but chooses not to, and stands up for the common people. These people to me are the true politicians and have a true dream. JB New Forest
  • Score: -2

5:53pm Fri 14 Mar 14

hamworthygirl says...

The comments he made about the ordinary people not being fooled by politicians is ver astute. They think we are all stupid and dont know what they are up to. Whether you agreed with his politics or not he stuck to his principles.
The comments he made about the ordinary people not being fooled by politicians is ver astute. They think we are all stupid and dont know what they are up to. Whether you agreed with his politics or not he stuck to his principles. hamworthygirl
  • Score: 2

8:13pm Fri 14 Mar 14

O'Reilly says...

I always remember his take on the Privatisation of the essential industries and what a great benefit it would be to general public ....oh, and the prices would come down. Dream on.....what he actually said was: "The owners of the private companies are going to be around to my office looking for handouts, just the same as the Nationalised bosses were..........." How very true.....
I always remember his take on the Privatisation of the essential industries and what a great benefit it would be to general public ....oh, and the prices would come down. Dream on.....what he actually said was: "The owners of the private companies are going to be around to my office looking for handouts, just the same as the Nationalised bosses were..........." How very true..... O'Reilly
  • Score: -5

8:16pm Fri 14 Mar 14

O'Reilly says...

The only thing I would add to this is....unfortunately his son Hillary has no where near his dad's credentials.....more a yes man than his own man.......
The only thing I would add to this is....unfortunately his son Hillary has no where near his dad's credentials.....more a yes man than his own man....... O'Reilly
  • Score: 6

8:29pm Fri 14 Mar 14

BackOfTheNet says...

miltonarcher wrote:
RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him!
A well-respected politician and brilliant speaker died today and you make those comments.

Are you determined to single-handedly prove why you and your fellow supporters are known as scum?
[quote][p][bold]miltonarcher[/bold] wrote: RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him![/p][/quote]A well-respected politician and brilliant speaker died today and you make those comments. Are you determined to single-handedly prove why you and your fellow supporters are known as scum? BackOfTheNet
  • Score: -2

8:32pm Fri 14 Mar 14

BackOfTheNet says...

miltonarcher wrote:
RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him!
A well-respected politician and brilliant speaker died today and you make those comments.

Are you determined to single-handedly prove why you and your fellow supporters are known as scum?
[quote][p][bold]miltonarcher[/bold] wrote: RIP. Mind you, Benn was a dangerous and misguided man. Lots of examples. Take his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded in an earlier volume of his diaries. He says that he was "a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does". True enough. We all make mistakes, I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history, Mao exterminated over 50 million, and Benn admired him![/p][/quote]A well-respected politician and brilliant speaker died today and you make those comments. Are you determined to single-handedly prove why you and your fellow supporters are known as scum? BackOfTheNet
  • Score: -7

7:06am Sat 15 Mar 14

rusty james says...

There goes the only politician with integrity. A great loss.
There goes the only politician with integrity. A great loss. rusty james
  • Score: 3

4:13pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Tango Charlie says...

He brought up a good point. Who are the wealth makers? The ones who invest, or the ones who produce?
I would suggest both. Shame the system is not equal.
Anyone see that the Bankers got a 44% increase on their bonuses this year? Most Nurses will not get any.
He brought up a good point. Who are the wealth makers? The ones who invest, or the ones who produce? I would suggest both. Shame the system is not equal. Anyone see that the Bankers got a 44% increase on their bonuses this year? Most Nurses will not get any. Tango Charlie
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

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