10 of the best Tony Benn quotes

14th March, 2014 8:32 am

Tony Benn, who has passed away today aged 88, was a giant of the Labour Party and the wider Labour movement. He was also one of the most quoted and quotable politicians of his time. Here are ten of the best Tony Benn quotes – and you can add your own favourites in the comments below:

  • “We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values.”
  • Normally, people give up parliament because they want to do more business or spend more time with family. My wife said ‘why don’t you say you’re giving up to devote more time to politics?’. And it is what I have done.
  • 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.
  • “The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.”
  • This idea that politics is all about charisma and spin is rubbish. It is trust that matters”
  • The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians.
  • All war represents a failure of diplomacy.
  • If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.
  • 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.
  • I’m not frightened about death. I don’t know why, but I just feel that at a certain moment your switch is switched off, and that’s it. And you can’t do anything about it.

_62402613_tony_benn_pa

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Jane Trobridge

    “It is wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his”

    The world is a better place for having known him. It would be even better if his words has been heeded. RIP Tony.

  • Louise Dickinson

    One of a dying breed, Tony Benn was a man with integrity … Should have been our Prime Minster

  • Ian Wright

    There were two brilliant ones which you missed. One was on the BBC earlier today which said something along the lines of now politicians try to get people to fit into society, whereas we should be trying to change society. The other was on C4 news which was to the Labour conference in the early 80’s, which said something along the lines of Labour had tried to change capitalism but failed and this was because you could not change a system which relied on inequality. Both took my breath away in their brilliance.

    He was a remarkable man who was able to gain respect of people across political boundaries. A total inspiration to me and to many of us.

  • Bertrude

    inheritance tax what’sh that ?

Latest

  • Comment Featured Thatcher wanted the ‘managed decline’ of Merseyside. I want to manage its renaissance

    Thatcher wanted the ‘managed decline’ of Merseyside. I want to manage its renaissance

    Back in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher’s government came close to writing off Merseyside. There was a serious conversation about leaving our city and its neighbours to ‘managed decline’ and the tender mercies of her economic shock therapy. As her Chancellor at the time, Geoffrey Howe, patronisingly put it: ‘We must not expend all our limited resources in trying to make water flow uphill.’ We’ve come a long way since then. Since 2010, Labour has had the privilege of running Liverpool […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Burnham emerges as LabourList readers’ favourite for Manchester Mayor

    Burnham emerges as LabourList readers’ favourite for Manchester Mayor

    Andy Burnham is LabourList readers’ favourite to become the Labour candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester. The Shadow Home Secretary announced his candidacy last week, and is up against Ivan Lewis and Tony Lloyd to go into next year’s election. Of those who voted in our survey, 45 per cent opted for Burnham, who came second in last year’s leadership election. Tony Lloyd finished some way behind with 22 per cent, while Ivan Lewis received the support of 12 per cent […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured It’s not the shared economy, stupid – but it does require a collective response

    It’s not the shared economy, stupid – but it does require a collective response

    It is often described as the sharing economy. It sounds very cuddly. All of us on a patchwork sofa, sharing a nice cup of tea… Or it’s the gig economy – because Uber drivers are all creative artists enjoying their freedom to perform… I prefer to call it the new intermediaries economy. Not as cuddly or cool but more accurate. When you get into an Uber cab the driver is not sharing her car with you, she is selling you […]

    Read more →
  • Europe News Blair: Brexit would hit living standards of society’s poorest most

    Blair: Brexit would hit living standards of society’s poorest most

    Tony Blair has weighed in on the debate over Brexit, warning that leaving the European Union would hit living standards and hit the poorest in society most. The former Prime Minister appears to make an appeal to Labour supporters – seen as an important swing demographic in the vote – in two interventions today. While Blair is a divisive, and even simply unpopular, figure in the modern Labour Party, there are hopes that he is still seen as a political “big beast” and […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Patronising people with patriotism will not win 2020

    Patronising people with patriotism will not win 2020

    Labour will need to win over the socially conservative voters of today in win in 2020 – but flag waving will not make up for a lack of credible policy on welfare and spending and a real understanding of the hardship faced by working people throughout the country. Widely reported research by Jon Cruddas this week suggested that since 2005, voters that were sympathetic to more socially conservative ideas have been increasingly more likely to select UKIP over Labour on […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit