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Tony Benn


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#21 Trojan

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 03:22 PM

Labour has always been a divided rabble. It's the nature of the party and has been since it's genesis. Indeed it was it's raison d'etre - bringing together the many parts of the Labour Movement under one banner. For most of the party's history the left were defeated by a right leaning political elite that lead the party despite the left being overwhelmingly the majority in the party's individual membership and non-craft trade unions. When a very broad alliance of leftists began to get footholds of control in local parties and unions, the right cried foul (yet again) and some thought their own political ambitions would be served elsewhere. Kinnock brought the party 'together' by expulsion, moving to the right, cosying up to capital and ultimately throwing it all away one night in Sheffield. Ultimately this lead to the election of a Tory to lead the party and a party that is more right wing than the even the like of Frank Chapple (not Eric Chappell as I first wrote!) would have wanted.

The left persisted in the party, did all the hard work, inspired it's greatest achievements. The right used the channels of industrial, legal and political patronage to gain power and privilege and when that went sour expelled or deserted.

I would describe myself as soft left/wishy/washy liberal.  I was a member of the Labour party in the 1980's and was subjected to abuse by Militant Tendency members it was extremely unpleasant. They worked hard to get their people elected and knew all the rules etc, but their aim was to turn Labour into a Trotskyist party of the far left which it never has been.  I let my membership lapse.


"Your a one trick pony Trojan" - Parksider 10th March 2013

#22 WearyRhino

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 04:04 PM

I would describe myself as soft left/wIishy/washy liberal. I was a member of the Labour party in the 1980's and was subjected to abuse by Militant Tendency members it was extremely unpleasant. They worked hard to get their people elected and knew all the rules etc, but their aim was to turn Labour into a Trotskyist party of the far left which it never has been. I let my membership lapse.


I've always got on with Trots, despite having a quite different interpretation of Marx, and never really found them abusive. I've worked with MT and Socialist Organiser in Labour and Student politics and SWP who had long since eschewed entryism. It's always amused me how much they are sticklers for the rules and yet they think everyone else is a bureaucrat.

The biggest nastiest bullies I've met in the Labour Party are David Blunkett and the extremely foul mouthed Denis Healy.

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#23 Trojan

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 04:48 PM

I've always got on with Trots, despite having a quite different interpretation of Marx, and never really found them abusive. I've worked with MT and Socialist Organiser in Labour and Student politics and SWP who had long since eschewed entryism. It's always amused me how much they are sticklers for the rules and yet they think everyone else is a bureaucrat.

The biggest nastiest bullies I've met in the Labour Party are David Blunkett and the extremely foul mouthed Denis Healy.

But Healy would have been the man to sort out Thatcher, he never got the chance.


"Your a one trick pony Trojan" - Parksider 10th March 2013

#24 JohnM

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:23 AM

Benn - a charming engaging avuncular ineffectual irrelevant class war hero.

#25 WearyRhino

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 10:08 AM

Benn - a charming engaging avuncular ineffectual irrelevant class war hero.


That the ruling class were terrified of.

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#26 WearyRhino

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:26 PM

But Healy would have been the man to sort out Thatcher, he never got the chance.


Neither did Benn.

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#27 fieldofclothofgold

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:39 PM

to

I think that's a bit harsh.  I think Shirley Williams was sincere. Whilst I'm not keen on Jenkins, you have to say that he'd "been there, done that, got  the tee shirt" so I reckon his ambitions were possibly sated.  You can't say that for David Owen of course, as for William Rodgers - a nonentity really. But I think Benn was very ambitious.  He engineered Foot into the leadership, I reckon thinking that Foot could be easily disposed of.  Healy should have led Labour from 1979 onwards, but Callaghan (to blame for the '79 defeat anyway) hung on too long and then resigned at the worst possible moment for the party and Healy.  I don't think Tony did Labour any favours during the eighties, and in the end he fell into his own trap when after the disaster of 1983, the party skipped a generation in opting for Kinnock.  People deride Kinnock as lightweight, but he took on a defeated, disorganised, divided rabble and in just under ten years made them look electable.  Without Kinnock's reforms and courage there'd have been no 1997 Labour landslide.

BTW did anyone notice the story at the weekend that Owen  had made a donation to Labour.  He thinks they are the only party that can save the NHS. 

I just caught the end of an interview with Shirley Williams on the day of the death of Tony Benn.I don't know wether she said anything nice about him in the early part of the interview on LBC97.3, but she really slammed him.I remember Tony Benn objecting to the gang of four being allowed into meetings saying "if they are forming another party they shouldn't be allowed to look at our books and be allowed to attend our meetings".The ill feeling was still there for Dame Shirley.I agree about Healey he would have destroyed Thatcher at the dispatch box


but you and I weve been through that and this is not our fate.
So let us so let us not talk falsely now.
The hour is getting late
FROM 2004,TO DO WHAT THIS CLUB HAS DONE,IF THATS NOT GREATNESSTHEN i DONT KNOW WHAT IS.

JAMIE PEACOCK

#28 fieldofclothofgold

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 01:44 PM

What I liked about Tony Benn is he had a way of explaining things to those of us [me] who are nowhere near his level of intellect in a succinct way without coming over as patronising


but you and I weve been through that and this is not our fate.
So let us so let us not talk falsely now.
The hour is getting late
FROM 2004,TO DO WHAT THIS CLUB HAS DONE,IF THATS NOT GREATNESSTHEN i DONT KNOW WHAT IS.

JAMIE PEACOCK

#29 Northern Sol

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:47 PM

That the ruling class were terrified of.

In the seventies maybe, after that not at all.



#30 Wolford6

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:16 PM

Benn has been dead less than a week and now his son has assumed the title of Lord Stansgate.

 

:biggrin:

 

So much for Tony Benn's Socialist principles. He couldn't even influence his own family.


Edited by Wolford6, 16 March 2014 - 07:17 PM.

Under Scrutiny by the Right-On Thought Police


#31 fieldofclothofgold

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:19 PM

Benn has been dead less than a week and now his son has assumed the title of Lord Stansgate.

:biggrin:

So much for Tony Benn's Socialist principles. He couldn't even influence his own family.

His son Hilary is nearer a Blairite than a Bennite,but then the two Miliband brothers are to the right of their late fathers politics

Edited by fieldofclothofgold, 16 March 2014 - 11:21 PM.

but you and I weve been through that and this is not our fate.
So let us so let us not talk falsely now.
The hour is getting late
FROM 2004,TO DO WHAT THIS CLUB HAS DONE,IF THATS NOT GREATNESSTHEN i DONT KNOW WHAT IS.

JAMIE PEACOCK

#32 Northern Sol

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:40 AM

His son Hilary is nearer a Blairite than a Bennite,but then the two Miliband brothers are to the right of their late fathers politics

The world is a saner place these days.



#33 Futtocks

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:40 PM

His son Hilary is nearer a Blairite than a Bennite,but then the two Miliband brothers are to the right of their late fathers politics

Michael Portillo's dad was also a Leftie, and look how Junior turned out.


A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open. Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)


#34 Griff9of13

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:51 PM

Benn - a charming engaging avuncular ineffectual irrelevant class war hero.

 

Ineffectual? Really?


"it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it."

#35 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 01:16 PM

Tony Benn was certainly inspirational, to judge from the comments on this forum and elsewhere. Plenty of people would confirm that they were inspired by him.

And he was certainly one of the most interesting politicians of the last 50 years, alongside Thatcher, Healey, Enoch Powell and Tony Blair.

He was capable of some very perceptive insights. His five questions of power illustrate that very well, as does the following comment he made about the reduced power of Parliament:

"I was brought up to believe that when you were elected to parliament, you were elected to control the statute book, the purse and the sword. But I have sat in a Commons that has abandoned control of the statute book to Brussels, control of the sword to the White House and the purse to the IMF."

His weakness was that he entered the Commons in 1950 and stayed an MP for over half a century. He had no other interest or hinterland.

That made him surprisingly naive in some of his opinions, and in particular the people he supported. He supported Scargill unquestioningly, for example, and he would never have been capable of making the speech about the Militant Tendency that Kinnock made when he became leader of the Labour Party, which really began Labour's revival. And he did seem to alienate other senior figures in the Party. I once met Gerald Kaufman, for example, whose opinion of Benn was scathing and not untypical of Labour MPs generally.

Denis Healey was his nemesis, and it's hard to know what might have happened if Benn had beaten Healey in the 1981 deputy leadership campaign, but it's fair to say he would probably have led the party after Foot's resignation. But his star waned after that, and he suffered a humiliating defeat when he challenged Kinnock in 1988.

Former MP Chris Mullin was an admirer, and he wrote an interesting piece in the Guardian (see link below). But even he says that Benn was probably too focused on politics. I'm sure he's right.

http://www.theguardi...zzed-with-ideas

#36 Trojan

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 12:01 PM

Tony Benn was certainly inspirational, to judge from the comments on this forum and elsewhere. Plenty of people would confirm that they were inspired by him.

And he was certainly one of the most interesting politicians of the last 50 years, alongside Thatcher, Healey, Enoch Powell and Tony Blair.

He was capable of some very perceptive insights. His five questions of power illustrate that very well, as does the following comment he made about the reduced power of Parliament:

"I was brought up to believe that when you were elected to parliament, you were elected to control the statute book, the purse and the sword. But I have sat in a Commons that has abandoned control of the statute book to Brussels, control of the sword to the White House and the purse to the IMF."

His weakness was that he entered the Commons in 1950 and stayed an MP for over half a century. He had no other interest or hinterland.

That made him surprisingly naive in some of his opinions, and in particular the people he supported. He supported Scargill unquestioningly, for example, and he would never have been capable of making the speech about the Militant Tendency that Kinnock made when he became leader of the Labour Party, which really began Labour's revival. And he did seem to alienate other senior figures in the Party. I once met Gerald Kaufman, for example, whose opinion of Benn was scathing and not untypical of Labour MPs generally.

Denis Healey was his nemesis, and it's hard to know what might have happened if Benn had beaten Healey in the 1981 deputy leadership campaign, but it's fair to say he would probably have led the party after Foot's resignation. But his star waned after that, and he suffered a humiliating defeat when he challenged Kinnock in 1988.

Former MP Chris Mullin was an admirer, and he wrote an interesting piece in the Guardian (see link below). But even he says that Benn was probably too focused on politics. I'm sure he's right.

http://www.theguardi...zzed-with-ideas

It was my opinion at the time and still is that had Healy lost that vote the bulk of Labour MP's would have decamped to the SDP.  But by a gnat's knacker Healy won. From an anti Tory point of view the worst possibly result. If what I believe would have happened had actually happened, possibly not only would there have been a mass defection of Labour members to the new party but possibly a substantial number of left wing Tories too - they hated Thatcher.  The upshot could have been the end of Maggie.  All speculation, but interesting just the same.


"Your a one trick pony Trojan" - Parksider 10th March 2013




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