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Cyprus loses a friend – Tony Benn dies aged 88

Tony Benn - Veteran British Politician

Tony Benn – 1925 – 2014

 

Back in the nineties, we wrote to Tony,  introducing our organisation, he replied expressing his full support and solidarity to the people of Cyprus in their struggle against the continued occupation of Northern Cyprus by the Turkish army.

In other correspondence,   Tony Benn reiterated his support for our struggle, and was a regular speaker  at the Cypriot annual protest in London for many years, where he called for  Turkey to be thrown out of NATO until all its troops left the island.

Tony was a champion for the weak and the oppressed, and we, the Greek People have lost a friend and a great supporter of our cause.

He will be sorely missed by everybody who saw him as a genuinely good  human being,  with the courage of his convictions and a moral compass second to none. Someone who believed in his truth till the very end.

May he Rest In Peace.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to his children and family

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Veteran Labour party politician Tony Benn, who as Anthony Wedgewood Benn was born to an aristocratic family, but as a man of the people –  “Tony Benn”, died today aged 88.

His four children in a statement to the BBC, said their father  had died peacefully early on Friday, at his home in west London surrounded by his family.  He had been taken ill,  in early February and was thought to be staying  in hospital for a few days. .

Tony Benn was a member of parliament for 50 years and  a cabinet minister for 11 years under two prime ministers, Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. He was a real politician, not one to pull punches. Yes he was termed a leftie a commie “the most dangerous man in Britain”,  but those epithets were used by the people who didn’t like his way of helping the less fortunate than himself, and who didn’t have his eloquence in speaking and his empathy with the very people they were elected to serve.

He backed the Miners strike, opposed joining the Common Market , was against  our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was vocal in his denunciation of the American, British and Turkish involvement  in Cyprus.

He was always on the side of the powerless and over all his years on the political stage he never changed his convictions – even as labour turned into New Labour, becoming more right wing than the conservatives. He was in the truest sense of the word,  a “conviction politician”, even to the extent of  interviewing Saddam Hussein to try and avert the Iraq war. The day after his interview Colin Powell went in front of the UN to lie about “Weapons Of Mass Destruction”. In September 2005, during an interview with Barbara Walters,  Powell acknowledged that his assertions about Iraq’s WMD capabilities were a “blot” on his record, adding that it was “painful.”

In 2006, he came  top in  a BBC poll to find who people considered to be their political hero – he beat  Margaret Thatcher into second place. It seems the people as they grew older get wiser,  but it was too late to  elect a labour leader who was a real socialist.

As   a “left-wing politician with fire-brand views” , he was  often  attacked – verbally – by his opponents.  He shrugged of all the ad hominem attacks,  responding that politics should be about policies and not personalities, and stating in a 1994 newspaper interview  ….

“The five lines about me are: you’re an aristocrat, you’re a multimillionaire, you’re a hypocrite, you’re mad, you’re ill, It took me a while to realize that their purpose was to discourage people from listening to what I am saying.”

It seemed to me when growing up, the Media portrayed Tony as a  lone voice against reason, and yet those without bias could see he was always championing the cause of whoever or wherever injustice was seen to be done.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”  ― Mark Twain

In 2007, he wrote: “I feel totally out of sympathy with the Labour Party on civil liberties, on the war, on Europe, and perhaps the only answer is to die, which is an extreme thing to say, but I don’t know how I’m going to cope.” I suppose the lies and  hypocrisy killed him in the end.

 

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Tony Benn Quotes

“There is no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. Both kill innocent people for political reasons.
“I think there are two ways in which people are controlled. First of all frighten people and secondly, demoralise them.”
“The people in debt become hopeless, and the hopeless people don’t vote… an educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern”
“A faith is something you die for, a doctrine is something you kill for. There is all the difference in the world.”
“We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values.”
“When you get to No 10, you’ve climbed there on a little ladder called ‘the status quo’. And when you are there, the status quo looks very good” – House of Commons, 1995.

 

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