Mar 17, 2014

Rundle: farewell to Tony Benn, the ‘right’ sort of leftie

Both the Left and Right have come together to celebrate the life of Labour Party MP Tony Benn. But they wouldn't have liked him as much while he was still making policy.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


When Margaret Thatcher died, the House of Commons was given over to a six-hour session to eulogise her (Winston Churchill had got an hour or so), her flag-draped coffin was hauled down the Mall on a gun carriage to St Paul’s cathedral — and protesters who held long-promised “Maggie’s Dead” parties were accused of politicising her demise. The logic of the ceremony was explicit: Thatcher had saved Britain from itself, fusing conservative politics to crown and church, as the Right.


Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “Rundle: farewell to Tony Benn, the ‘right’ sort of leftie

  1. Venise Alstergren

    Which is worse, the mentality of the Labor bosses voting for Bill Shorten to lead the Party, or the mentality of the Liberal Party bosses who voted for Tony Abbott to lead their Party? Oz politics reflects the Oz mentality of supporting mediocrity.

  2. Charles Richardson

    “Yet what caused such a precipitous drop in Labour’s 1983 vote was the departure of the rebel groups who formed the Social Democratic Party …”. Well, yes, but surely the reason they left was precisely that they thought Benn & people like him had too much power. Now that may or may not have been a rational response, but I don’t think that makes it “rich” to say Benn played a causal role in the defeat.

  3. Aphra

    What is actually worse, Venise, is that Australia does not have any politician in either of the major parties with the intelligence, commitment, principles and ethics of Tony Benn. Not one.

  4. Venise Alstergren

    APHRA: Agreed. Nor is Oz full of parliamentarians that actually care about the electorate. Oh, they say they do but consider the fact that come election time (our) politicians really and truly believe the world would be a sadder place if they lost it.

    Does an electrician have the same thought; a surgeon; a plasterer; anyone?

  5. fractious

    Aphra, exactly so. In fact you could dismiss nearly all of them on the basis of having neither principles nor ethics. Even worse, as Rundle mentions, it’s just as bad in Britain, and let’s not mention the USA or Canada.

    Rundle is also right to suggest that the British still haven’t allowed themselves to discover quite how appalling Thatcher’s reign was, and how Maggie’s legacy is still screwing the place up for most of them. For all that I miss ‘home’, and for all my whingeing about the Tweedledum and Tweedledumber mainstream political parties here, I’m thankful I live here and not there.

  6. Bill Parker

    Venise, SPOT ON.

    And whilst I do not recall Thatcher (I only knew of her destructive boots kicking the s**t out of the UK when I had emigrated to AUS.)

    But I do recall Tony Benn as the epitome of a politician of excellence. And Guy, your story is a tribute to a great man.

  7. Guy Rundle


    yes, quite so, but the question is whether you stick with a party and try and change it from within, or depart. If you do the latter in a FPTP system, and the election is then lost – with the possibility it might otherwise have been won, or parliament hung – then to blame people who had different ideas from you, for an action you took, is surely a celebration of passivity, no? spouse 1 argues with spouse 2. spouse 2 goes out, gets drunk, crashes car – ‘see what you made me do! this is yr fault!’ is it not that sort of argument?


Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details