Tony Benn, British Politician And World Renowned Human Rights Icon Dies At 88


Tony Benn, British Politician And World Renowned Human Rights Activist Icon Dies At 88-Tony Benn, one of the most flamboyant and  popular British  politician, who fought for justice and rights of the common man in British society and across the World is dead.

The veteran Labour politician died peacefully in his home London home aged 88.

The former cabinet minister, who served as an MP for more than 50 years, died at his home in West London surrounded by family members.

He was always an inspiration to millions of fair-play seeking people across the world fighting for justice, mostly at the risk of his personal security, spending his time and money to fight-off injustice and unfair deal by governments across the World. He is on record as one of the most popular political icon outside of Britain because of his principle of untainted justice and fair-play. His crave for social justice extends beyond his United Kingdom home base as many Labour political parties across Africa and other parts of the World saw  him in comrade alliance, seeking justice through him and inviting him for inspirational speeches. He was popular outside of Britain than on the British soil himself.  His political principle had always pitched him on different tents of exchanged ideas and policies even within his Labour counterparts, while he was viewed within the Conservative party members as unrepentantly uncompromising.

Prior to the commencement of  Gulf war in 1993, he took it upon himself to travel to Iraq for a person-to- person interview with the then President Saddam Hussain as reports travelled across the World that Iraq was harbouring tons of weapons of mass destruction. Tone Ben criticising  one the Western Media for one-sided reports as no information was being reported from Iraq’s angle stood firmly against the injustice and took his camera travelling to meet Saddam Hussain and obtaining about an hour air time to feature Saddam and Iraq on the Channel 4 News programme. The reports then saw Saddam Hussain denying that Iraq had weapons of Mass destruction, claim that if it did, it would have been obvious as WMD was never a thing top hide in the pocket. Tony Benn would be more missed outside of Britain as many politicians and labour unions  across the World will mourn his death.

In a statement his children Stephen, Hilary, Melissa and Joshua said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that our father Tony Benn died peacefully early this morning at his home in west London surrounded by his family.

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff and carers who have looked after him with such kindness in hospital and at home.

Tony Benn Obituary: A Conviction Politician

Tony Benn was one of the most charismatic, iconoclastic and – to many colleagues – ifuriating figures of his generation.

Born into a world of privilege, and married to a wealthy American, he entered Westminster as a centre right politician.

But over time he veered to the hard left, renouncing not just his peerage but also the orthodoxy of mainstream power politics.

He had many critics but he stuck to his guns and in later years the pipe-smoking vegetarian acquired cult status, especially among young people.

He was born Anthony Neil Wedgewood Benn on April 3, 1925, at 40 Millbank, Westminster.

The son and grandson of MPs, Benn’s links to the Labour movement ran deep.

His next-door neighbours were Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who wrote Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution which was adopted by the party in 1918 and set out its aims and values.

His father, Viscount Stansgate, was a Liberal MP who defected to Labour and was then elevated to the Lords.

tony-benn-5_2851772cTony Benn was educated at Westminster School and Balliol College, Oxford, interrupting his studies to serve in the RAF in the later stages of World War II.

In 1950 at the age of 25 he was elected the member for Bristol South-East and went on to serve as an MP for 47 years, a Labour party record.

After his father’s death in 1960, he fought a long, hard and ultimately victorious battle to relinquish his peerage and remain in the Commons.

He was a cabinet minister in the 60s and 70s under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, serving as technology minister, postmaster general, and industry and energy secretaries.

His ability was never in doubt but his unwillingness to compromise his ideals often put him at odds with his colleagues.

Wilson once commented waspishly that Benn had “immatured with age”. His reply: “I haven’t yet decided what I want to do … when I grow up”.

He supported unilateral nuclear disarmament and favoured closer ties between western and eastern Europe.

It was hardly surprising then that he was vilified by the right and once denounced as “The Most Dangerous Man in Britain”.

But he also backed the abolition of capital punishment, the ordination of women priests and the televising of Parliament, showing himself way ahead of his time.

His main aim was to achieve peace in the world – he campaigned against both wars in the Gulf, insisting they were about profit, oil and control of the region.

The death of his wife Caroline, an educationalist and writer, in 2000, was a huge blow. They had four children and 10 grandchildren.

Benn retired from the Commons in May 2001 to, as he put it, “devote more time to politics”.

He was an assiduous diarist, recording everything in his notebooks every night since 1940, seven volumes of which have been published.

He also wrote several books and tracts, including a powerful polemic against nuclear energy.

At different times he was described – with some justification perhaps – as self-righteous, a crackpot and manic.

But Benn was a compelling performer and when he spoke, people always listened.

Addition: Telegraph, SkyNews