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why was Tony Benn never Prime Minister/Party Leader?

(49 Posts)
deaconblue Wed 03-Jun-09 19:39:35

he seems to me to be the only politician who makes any sense or shows any integrity

policywonk Wed 03-Jun-09 19:45:33

Too far to the left for public taste, I guess. Plus would probably have struggled with the compromises a leader/PM would have to make.

Hey, maybe that's who the Labour party should be drafting in to replace Gordon. He's a National Treasure now, he'd be a shoo-in.

SomeGuy Wed 03-Jun-09 21:14:09

Viscount Stangate, Anthony Wedgwood-Benn, you mean?

Typical middle class lefty hypocrite.

fishie Wed 03-Jun-09 21:15:14

teadrinking stuffed shirt

southeastastra Wed 03-Jun-09 21:16:08

i like him too

lalalonglegs Wed 03-Jun-09 21:29:58

Because he's a posturing idiot.

southeastastra Wed 03-Jun-09 21:42:02

is he? grin why

Portofino Wed 03-Jun-09 21:45:03

I always thought he turned down his peerage t0 become a Labour MP and was far from being a hypocrite. I have a lot of admiration for him and think he talks a lot of common sense (mostly) though I am not so left leaning personnally. <<goes off to Wiki more details>>

Kathyis6incheshigh Wed 03-Jun-09 21:45:45

I like him, he was great on Ali G grin But that doesn't mean he would have been a good leader. Some people come across better when they are no longer in a position of power.

HerBeatitudeLittleBella Wed 03-Jun-09 21:46:00

He was always a bit too left wing to be electable.

I don't know why you call him a hypocrite Someguy, he gave up his title because he doesn't believe in titles. It's not his fault he was born Viscount whateveritis.

Mintyy Wed 03-Jun-09 21:46:46

I like him a lot but he is to the left of left. Perhaps he never wanted to be party leader? I understand his family life was very important to him so maybe he didn't want to take on a huge role within the party.

foxinsocks Wed 03-Jun-09 21:46:55

I always think of him when I hear Tony Benn's name

EffiePerine Wed 03-Jun-09 21:47:13

cf the entire Lib Dem front bench

if he were in power we'd all be horrified by his policies

Portofino Wed 03-Jun-09 21:48:08

Here you go:

In November 1960, Benn's father died, and as a result Benn became a peer and was thus prevented from sitting in the House of Commons. Still insisting on his right to abandon his unwelcome peerage, Benn fought to retain his seat in a by-election on 4 May 1961 caused by his succession. Although he was disqualified from taking his seat, the people of Bristol South-East re-elected him. An election court found that the voters were fully aware that Benn was disqualified, and gave the seat to the Conservative runner up in the by-election, Malcolm St Clair, also, at the time, heir presumptive to a peerage.[12]

Outside Parliament Benn continued his campaign, and eventually the Conservative government accepted the need for a change in the law.[13] The Peerage Act 1963, allowing renunciation of peerages, was given the Royal Assent and became law shortly after 6pm on 31 July 1963. Benn was the first peer to renounce his title, at 6.22pm that day. St. Clair had already given an undertaking that he would respect the wishes of the people of Bristol if Benn became eligible to take his seat again, and resigned his seat immediately. Benn returned to the Commons after winning a by-election on 20 August.

MrsMattie Wed 03-Jun-09 21:48:10

He's a sanctimonious old git, but I do heart him. He's a lot brighter and has far more integrity than any of the shower of twits we've got fannying around with the country at the moment.

southeastastra Wed 03-Jun-09 21:48:17

got to be more interesting that what we have now..

LupusinaLlamasuit Wed 03-Jun-09 21:50:16


What nonsense. Love him or hate him, he has more principles than you'd find in a single cloven hoof of any of the others.

LupusinaLlamasuit Wed 03-Jun-09 21:51:30

That analogy didn't quite work did it? grin

You know what I mean.

Portofino Wed 03-Jun-09 21:52:46

Also from Wiki:

He is known for saying (in connection with his placing of a plaque in memory of Emily Davison in the House of Commons) "Never ask the authorities for permission - it takes up so much of your time!"

"It's very interesting to me that some ex-communists in the Labour party have been able to shift from Stalin to Blair and it hasn't been much of a shift... the shift from Stalin to Blair is a minor adjustment."

Five questions Benn insists should be asked of any powerful person: "What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you use it? To whom are you accountable? How do we get rid of you?"

"All war represents a failure of diplomacy."

"There is no moral difference between a Stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. They both kill innocent people for political reasons."

"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people."

In an interview with Wikinews in 2007 Benn agreed with Mrs. Thatcher who, when asked her greatest achievement, said "New Labour".[

southeastastra Wed 03-Jun-09 22:04:06

the other week he was talking about how all mps now never have normal jobs, just go straight into politics and have no real understanding of rl for most people.

i'm so fed up with poncey eton types trying to run this country all the time.

artichokes Wed 03-Jun-09 22:11:06

Because he did more than anyone else to divide the Labour Party in the early 80s and he therefore helped to keep Thatcher in power. His fundamentalist approach to democratizing the labour party led to it being overrun by extreme, unelectable left wingers. More than any other Labour member he drove the SDP members out.

fishie Wed 03-Jun-09 22:18:13

thank you artichokes. he is why they made new labour.

[weeps for dennis healey]

SomeGuy Wed 03-Jun-09 22:21:55

He is a hypocrite and a fool.

'He was a pupil at Westminster School and studied at New College, Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, during which time he was elected as President of the Oxford Union. In later life Benn attempted to remove public references to his private education from Who's Who; in the 1975 edition his entry stated "Education—still in progress".'

'In October 1973 he announced on BBC radio that he wished to be known as "Mr Tony Benn"'

He was previously known as Anthony Wedgwood-Benn but thought that being called Tony was well cool innit.

He made a point of sending his kids to state school - but then got them expensive private tutoring.

He's another rich boy playing at politics.

southeastastra Wed 03-Jun-09 22:29:48


Nancy66 Thu 04-Jun-09 18:37:29

Because of his ill fitting false teeth which made whistling noises when he spoke.

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