Free at Last by Tony Benn PDF Book - Mediafile Sharing
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For Labour, for Remain, for socialism Labour activists and local Labour Parties need to start now with campaigning for Labour, If anything it Labour blocks democratic selections In the interests of Labour Party democracy, we should demand that the Parliamentary Reviews Labour Party history Labour Party. I Agree. The diaries become less of the public archive that Benn intended them to be, and more of a private confessional, in which the deep past becomes more significant than the last 24 hours.
Michael died as the brave new postwar world of the UN and the welfare state was taking shape. Free at Last displays the great Parliamentarian, as familiar with the historic fabric of the House of Commons as he is jealous of its procedure. Even here private nostalgia is never very far away.
Benn writes about his clandestine trips to video behind the scenes at the Commons, and his attempt to turn the broom cupboard in the crypt into a shrine to the heroes and heroines of Parliamentary democracy. With great pride and symbolism, he describes introducing his own son, Hilary, to the House in June , just as his father had introduced him in , and just as his grandfather, John Benn, had introduced William Wedgwood Benn in In political terms, however, this is a record of a somebody becoming a nobody.
He notes the disrespect meted out to him by Labour yuppies, Question Time presenters and Millbank apparatchiks.
Free at Last by Tony Benn (Audio cassette, 2003)
But life is not what it was. Nor is there much comfort in venerability. How times have changed.
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New Labour is a different matter. Initially, he seemed prepared to give Blair a chance, comparing him favourably with Keir Hardie — a Benn family hero whose biography Caroline wrote in According to Benn, an international conspiracy of bureaucrats and bankers is really pulling the strings of New Labour.
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Labour came to power in not only because the public were sick of the Tories, but because Whitehall and the City believed that a strong Labour Party was a better safeguard for Tory policies than a weak and divided Conservative Party. Having got their man, Whitehall and the City are now getting their policies, too.
Under New Labour, Britain is becoming increasingly integrated into the European super-state run by bureaucrats in Brussels and bankers in Frankfurt. Voices of protest are swept aside. We have been here before.
Like all good preachers, Benn knows that the text can change, but you interfere with the moral of the tale at your peril. He celebrated the labour movement as modern-day Levellers, Christian socialists and Chartists, defending the hard-won freedoms of the British voter. Inevitably, the reflective and misty-eyed tone of the diaries carries over into the journalism.
There is a close fit between old Labour principles and episodes from the Benn family story.
Free at Last! Diaries 1991-2001 Tony Benn
Old Labour, we are told, supports nuclear disarmament and the disestablishment of the Church of England: fundamental principles that Benn imbibed from the Bible stories read to him by his Congregationalist mother. And so on. It would be wrong, however, to assume that the cult of Tony Benn comes down to his dogged restatement of old Labour values.
For his importance has never really been about what he says, but how he says it and to whom. He has resigned only once as deputy shadow spokesman on Air in , and never been sacked. It is hard to be righteous when you have never been wronged.
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His image as the friendly dinosaur of the English Left and wizened scourge of New Labour camouflages the modernising instincts that have shaped his career. His diaries record his constant fascination with new technology. Benn has never lost his touch for media management.