Tony Benn quotes: the Labour legend in his own words
The stalwart of the Labour Left, who has died aged 88, was an eloquent and passionate speaker
TONY BENN, the long-serving Labour politician, died this morning at the age of 88. Here are a collection of his quotations:
On Parliament: "Through talk, we tamed kings, restrained tyrants, averted revolution."
On power: "No medieval monarch in the whole of British history ever had such power as every modern British Prime Minister has in his or her hands. Nor does any American President have power approaching this."
On Marxism: "It is wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his."
On action and thought: "I try to operate on two unconnected levels. One on the practical level of action in which I am extremely cautious and conservative. The second is the realm of ideas where I try to be very free."
On Margaret Thatcher: "She believes in something. It is an old-fashioned idea."
On war: “All war represents a failure of diplomacy”
On trying and failing to remove the Queen’s head from stamps: "If the Queen can reject the advice of a minister on a little thing like a postage stamp, what would happen if she rejected the advice of the Prime Minister on a major matter? If the Crown personally can reject advice, then, of course, the whole democratic facade turns out to be false."
On Europe: "Britain's continuing membership of the Community would mean the end of Britain as a completely self-governing nation."
On Enoch Powell: "The flag of radicalism which has been hoisted in Wolverhampton is beginning to look like the one that fluttered 25 years ago over Dachau and Belsen." -
On the media: "If I rescued a child from drowning, the press would no doubt headline the story: 'Benn grabs child'."
On Labour, in 1994: "I think the truth is that the Labour Party isn't believed any more because people suspect it will say anything to get votes. The rebuilding of some radical alternatives to Thatcherism - and by that I mean all-party Thatcherism - will require us to do some very difficult things."
On Labour, in 2006: "It’s never been a socialist party, but it's always had socialists in it, just as there are some Christians in the Church. It's an exact parallel." ·