RIP Tony Benn. Tireless and Inspirational Fighter for Peace, Justice and Equality
By Lindsey German
Tony Benn on Tony Blair: “He Will Have to Live ’Til the Day He Dies with the Knowledge that He Is Guilty of a War Crime”
March 14, 2014 “Information Clearing House – Tony Benn’s legacy will be his undying commitment to fight injustice and campaign for an equal society, and to oppose the endless war and militarism that are such a blight on today’s world. The loss of Tony Benn is a loss for our whole movement. He was a good friend to the Stop the War Coalition, of which he remained president to the end. One of his last speeches was at the Stop the War international conference on 30 November 2013. He was a socialist, someone with a deep commitment to social change, who was principled to the end.
Tony was from a privileged and highly political background, the son and grandson of Liberal and then Labour politicians. He would have become Viscount Stansgate in the early 60s if he had not fought a long legal battle to renounce his peerage and to continue as an MP in the House of Commons. This he did, first in Bristol then in Chesterfield. He became an important minister in the Wilson Labour governments, standing for deputy leader in 1981 after Labour’s defeat by Thatcher.
Almost uniquely for someone in his position, he moved to the left as he got older. As an MP he campaigned over a range of issues, supported the miners during their year long strike in 1984-5, was committed to equality and women’s rights, was an internationalist who opposed empire and apartheid, and a socialist. But in my opinion his most important work came after he left parliament as he quipped ‘to spend more time on politics’.
This was after the death of his remarkable wife Caroline, a fine socialist campaigner and author. He dedicated the rest of his life to campaigning and was absolutely tireless in doing so.