Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn (3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014)
I had the great pleasure of listening to Tony Benn speak a number of times when I was studying in the UK. An inspiring orator and a radical at heart. He will be greatly missed and I cannot see anyone in the UK that can replace him.
He was heavily defeated when he stood against Kinnock for the party leadership in 1988 and left parliament in 2001, after the first term of the Blair government, to "spend more time on politics".He was warm and a pleasure to talk to; a bright light in a grey world.
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said: "The death of Tony Benn represents the loss of an iconic figure of our age. He will be remembered as a champion of the powerless, a great parliamentarian and a conviction politician.Tony never shirked from speaking his mind and he was brilliant.
Margaret Beckett, a contemporary during some of the most bitter Labour infighting in the 80s said: "He was an absolutely brilliant speaker ... he had such clarity of expression." She added that he was "a charming, nice man. He made enemies and kept enemies but on the whole most people regarded him with a good degree of affection long before it came to the stage when it was thought he could cause no harm. He was out of step for many years with whoever was in the charge of the leadership. He wanted to make people think and that was an admirable thing."A real loss, and thank you Tony for your wit, charm and wonderful talent, a true fighter on the left.
If one meets a powerful person ask them five questions: “What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.
It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you.More here: