The Rise and Fall of Tony Benn: Nuisance or Conscience?
By the end of the 1980s Anthony Benn was a diminished figure. Standing (at the age of 63) against Neil Kinnock for the Labour Party leadership in 1988 was surely his last hurrah. He still has his moments, particularly when addressing the adoring annual party Conference. In the evenings he darts across the fringe meetings saying pretty similar things and tape-recording each contribution. The recording will be both a contribution to history and a check on being misquoted by hostile journalists. The continuing publication of his diaries and revelations about the 1974 to 1979 Labour Cabinets will keep him in the public eye. Indeed he has gone the way of so many politicians: still in politics the publications of their memoirs of yesterday’s events briefly makes them historical figures in their own lifetimes. It is as if, still alive, they are writing their own obituaries.
KeywordsLabour Government Party Democracy Labour Party Labour Leader Socialist Parti
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