Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Tony Benn was a mediocre minister when in power, a terrible grandstander once out, and a leading figure in a generation of failed Labour politicians that left the way open for the rise of Thatcherism, neoliberalism and the toxic strain of Capitalism that persists today, and a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher herself... no wonder he was the Left-winger most admired by the Right in general and the Daily Telegraph in particular. His elevation to tea-drinking 'Nation Treasure' status was nothing more than evidence of his complete failure as an advocate of Socialism and irrelevance to the shaping of the national discourse. It is when the right-wing press hate you that is a sign that they see you as a threat and take you seriously enough to fear you, that is the sign that you know you are doing well, not when they pat you on the head and patronise you. This is the thing to remember as we await the string of sycophantic tributes from across the political class's that will now inevitably follow his passing. We live today in a country ruled by a bunch of incompetent Old Etonians where the poor, the sick and immigrants are punished for an economy brought to its needs by the incompetence and avariciousness of a venal and corrupt 'greed is good' banking class. Despite her passing we are still living very much in Thatcher's Britain and as much as Thatcher is seen as an icon of the triumph of the Right, Benn can be viewed as a symbol of the abject failure of the left.