Tony Benn: Letter to the Guardian

Letter to the Guardian published 16 March 2014

Your main coverage of the death of Tony Benn (Obituary, 15 March; Michael White, 15 March) was ungenerous, and did little justice to the man who was one of the most loved political figures in Britain today.

Millions were inspired by his principles, his commitment and his unswerving support for many campaigns. He was president of the Stop the War Coalition right up to his death and helped initiate the People's Assembly in opposition to government policies of austerity and inequality.

Far from having little influence on politics and change, Tony was in the forefront of opposing wars, apartheid, racism and sexism. In this he was often in advance of establishment opinion, but equally often in agreement with public opinion. He was loved precisely because he did articulate views shared by many outside the corridors of power.

Your tendency to point-scoring about arguments dating back more than 30 years and refusal to seriously address his views perhaps demonstrates that they had more purchase than his opponents care to admit.

Those who support trade unions, equality, peace and – dare we say it – socialism have little voice in the media or established politics. They have lost a great champion in Tony Benn. His political legacy will hopefully be measured by their future success.

Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Katy Clark MP, Steve Turner Assistant general secretary, Unite the Union, Christine Blower General secretary, NUT, Kevin Courtney Deputy general secretary, NUT, Paul Mackney Former general secretary, UCU, Sam Fairbairn National secretary, People's Assembly Against Austerity, Romayne Phoenix Co-chair, People's Assembly Against Austerity, Salma Yaqoob, John Rees Counterfire, John Pilger Journalist and film-maker, Francesca Martinez Comedian and campaigner, Zita Holborne National co-chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, PCS NEC, Kate Hudson General secretary, CND, Chris Nineham Vice-chair, STWC, Andrew Burgin Left Unity, Mark Barrett People's Assemblies Network and Occupy, Clare Solomon People's Assembly, Rachel Newton Secretary, Greece Solidarity Campaign, James Meadway Senior economist, NEF, Barbara Jacobson Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Richard Milner Coventry People's Assembly, Roy Bailey Folk singer, Andrew Murray Deputy president, Stop the War Coalition, Alex Kenny NUT executive, Pilgrim Tucker Unite community

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  • commented 2014-03-21 15:48:05 +0000
    Disappointed in the Guardian – don’t they recognise a man of integrity? It is unique for a politician but he had it in bucket loads.
  • commented 2014-03-17 16:23:18 +0000
    It was a bitter,nasty and childish obituary,I thought the Guardian had more class than that.

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