Springingtiger's Blog

Tony Benn


It is hard to see what I am typing through my tears, but I cannot allow Tony Benn to go without saying goodbye to my hero. I admired his political stance, but more his personality, his political beliefs arose from who he was. I am happy to have met Tony several times and he was always so warm and courteous. He was one of a small group of socialist philosophers, like Fenner Brockway and the Reverend George MacLeod, whose passion for justice fuelled super human effort when younger men would have given up.

When my wife Neelam Bakshi became the first Asian woman elected to public office in Scotland as a councillor in Strathclyde Region, Tony was generous with his support and advice. I loved that he was available at the end of the phone to encourage young people confronting the challenges of politics.

I remember vividly one Campaign Group fringe meeting where Tony spoke. A few years before Neelam had chaired Tony Benn’s and Eric Heffer’s leadership rallies in Glasgow. At the end of the fringe meeting, Neelam went up to talk to Tony; the moment he spotted her he smiled and threw his arms open wide. That is the memory of Tony Benn I will keep to the end of my days, rather than the Socialist giant, the warm human being who treated us all as equals. We shall miss him.


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