Friday, 14 March 2014

Death of a hero.

One of my all-time heroes has died today.   Tony Benn has died at the age of 88.   I have always admired him since my teenage days - not so much for his politics (although at one time I was a fervent Socialist, as he was throughout his life) as for the way that right from the early days he stuck to his principles.

I am writing this without checking his background on the internet, but I believe he was originally Viscount Stansgate and that he renounced his title and even shunned being called Anthony Wedgewood Benn - preferring instead to be called just Tony Benn.

About fifteen years ago my son and I went to Thirsk to hear him give a Lecture in the Town Hall.   His speech was rivetting - and all without notes.   What amused us too was that he smoked his pipe on and off throughout the evening, standing under a huge sign which stated 'No Smoking in the Hall.'

The passing of a great statesman I think - although I am sure not all of you will agree.
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How can the weather today be so different from that of yesterday?  Although it is still dry, there is a gale blowing - a really drying gale - and it is quite cold.   There is a thick haze everywhere.  I have never understood how there can be a gale and a haze at the same time - but there you are, there is certainly one here today.

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The farmer moved the sheep into the Barn Pasture this morning.  He found that he missed Tip, our old sheepdog who died last week, and had to resort to shaking a bag of sheep nuts.   Most of the sheep followed him and of course the rest eventually followed - like sheep, as they say.   Then the hay racks were moved - no bunny nests underneath and quite a lot of spare hay left for a bunny feast tonight - I expect a midnight 'rave-up' among the rabbit community.   I just hope the rabbit shooters are not out 'lamping'.  (don't ask if you are not aware what this is.)

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For the first time this year our little market town had a more or less full market of stalls today - it started off warm and sunny and the stallholders were out in force.   By lunch time that gale was blowing directly up the Market Square (as it does) and I suspect that most of the stallholders would be packing up and going home early.   Such is the capriciousness of the March weather.



MorningAJ said...

I had a lot of respect for Tony Benn, although I was never really convinced that he could know about the plight of the working (wo)man with the kind of background he came from. Much better than the current bunch of half-hearted wimps though.

Cro Magnon said...

Wedgie was a committed socialist, and good on him for sticking to his (crazy) principles. However, his old fashioned hard-left ideas were always set for disaster, and thank goodness there are very few of their exponents still around. The Tories had enough financial mess to deal with post-Brown; just imagine what it would have been like post Wedgie!!!

the veg artist said...

Right or wrong, the man had integrity, which appears to be thin on the ground these days!

angryparsnip said...

I was wondering how the Farmer was coping with out his Tip.

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

We have had fog, taking most of the day to lift, making the daffodils work overtime to cheer us all up.

Rachel Phillips said...

He did not understand economics however convincing he may have sounded. I will now open a bottle of beer.

Tom Stephenson said...

The last of the real Orators (Enoch Powell was the penultimate) and the last of the genuinely principled Socialists. The best thing Tony *Benn not Blair) did was to irritate the shite out of 'New Labour', and for that alone I will miss him.

Gwil W said...

I just heard the sad news about Tony Benn. If there's any such animal as an honest politician it was Tony Benn. He said what he believed and he believed what he said. I remember he let tramp set up house in his garden shed. I think the tramp lived there for many years. Other politicians would have called the police and had the vagrant sent on his way or incarcerated. I like Tony Benn. He seemed to grow wiser with age.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I'm with you re. Tony Benn . A proper politician. Irrespective of political beliefs they are thin on the ground (non-existent) nowadays. There used to be politicians on both sides of the house that I respected, no longer. RIP Tony Benn, last of a generation of politicians.
Sorry about your dog, I suppose you posted about it and I missed it.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

There were times when I thought he'd got all the answers and others when I thought he was completely bonkers, but he was never boring - and that's quite something for a politician.

A Heron's View said...

Tony Benn was a Socialist & Republican. I greatly admired him as a man and politician and especially for keeping the Concorde project on course whilst he was Minister of Technology. For by doing so ensured that my mortgage etc was paid.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Yes, Tony Benn was a rarity in being so principled, he'll be a much missed figure in politics.