Tony Benn seriously ill in hospital

Tony Benn is a figure in politics, who has aroused great passions from immense respect to bitter hatred from his political opponents. One of my aunts, who was very politically involved, once gave me a letter and photograph of him she had received after writing to him about an issue. He is a man of immense integrity and an excellent speaker. He gave his utmost support in the 1960s to the campaign by Black Bristolians to end the colour bar then in force on the City’s buses. It also says something of the man’s stature that he was also capable of receiving the respect and friendship from his opponents on the other side of the House. In the 1990s he went on a speaking tour of Britain with Norman Tebbit. I knew people at the time who were very Libertarian in their political beliefs, who nevertheless went to see him and remarked on just how good he was, and how packed the audiences were. Like Mike, I hope he will get better, and we can continue to enjoy his wit and humane insights for a few more years to come.

Mike Sivier's blog

Tony Benn [Image: Daily Mirror] Tony Benn [Image: Daily Mirror] Vox Political offers its sincerest best wishes to Tony Benn, who has spent a fourth night in hospital where he is understood to be seriously unwell.

Mr Benn was my constituency MP in Bristol during my formative years, and I used to hear a great deal about his beliefs and principles from politically-active members of my family who used to attend meetings with him.

This information greatly influenced my understanding of what politicians should be – especially during the time of Conservative ascendancy during the 1980s and 90s.

It is from him that I took the metaphor, often used on this blog, of politicians as either ‘signposts’ or ‘weathercocks’. A ‘signpost’ points clearly in the direction that person believes the nation should travel, while a ‘weathercock’ goes any way the prevailing (political) wind blows. Use that to examine your own MPs and see how they…

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