Everyone will have an opinion of Tony Benn.Over the years, I’d become a great admirer of him. Yes, there were occasions when his ideas seemed so extreme that it was difficult to take him seriously and, clearly at times, the political “establishment” in both the Labour Party and Parliament did their utmost to shout him down. But I’ve certainly found myself agreeing with many of his views over recent years and have felt saddened that he seemed to be a lone voice of political reason on occasions. During the course of the past 24 hours, much has been said about how Benn had become to be seen as a “national treasure”. I think that’s absolutely right. Although Tony Benn was, to my mind, an exceptional figure, I think it’s fascinating just how many politicians (or ex-politicians) seem to talk palpable sense once they’re out of office or no longer regarded as a political threat… with a few “honourable” exceptions, of course (Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit and Tony Blair spring to mind)!
I’ve just checked out some of my blog posts which included a mention of Tony Benn:
1. He was certainly in my “Dream Team” of February 2008!
2. He and I shared similar “Railway Children” experiences. He wrote this in October 2008: “I always sob at the end of the film The Railway Children, when the father comes back from prison and the steam clears on the railway platform and his daughter runs towards him. Both sadness and great happiness bring out uncontrollable tears in me. My children tease me about these “Railway Children” moments. But I think people’s emotions should come out”. Me too!
3. I wrote about his lovely book “Letters to my Grandchildren” in October 2012.
A kind, encouraging, thought-provoking, inspirational man… who loved his family.