Friday, 14 March 2014

Tony Benn Democrat and Socialist .

The Death of Tony Benn 1925- 2014 leaves us much diminished.

Unlike most politician who tended to move to the right as they grew older Tony seemed to go the other way over the years.

In his early years he was on the soft left and was not part of
 the  Bevanite campaign
Before he even parliament he was responsible for a change in the constitution

In November 1960 Bens father  Viscount Stansgate died and Benn automatically became a peer Benn's elder brother Michael was intending to enter the priesthood and had no objections to inheriting a peerage. However, Michael was later killed in an accident while on active service in the Second World War, and this left Benn as the heir to the peerage. He made several attempts to renounce the succession, but they were unsuccessful and

But was thus prevented from sitting in the House of Commons. Insisting on his right to abandon his peerage, Benn fought to retain his seat in a by-election caused by his succession on 4 May 1961. Although he was disqualified from taking his seat, he was re-elected. An election court found that the voters were fully aware that Benn was disqualified, and declared the seat won by the Conservative runner-up, Malcolm St Clair, who ironically was at the time also the heir presumptive to a peerage. Benn continued his campaign outside Parliament, and eventually the Conservative Government of the time accepted the need for a change in the law.[25] The Peerage Act 1963, allowing renunciation of peerages, became law shortly after 6 pm on 31 July 1963. Benn was the first peer to renounce his title, which he did at 6.22 pm that day.

 St Clair, fulfilling a promise he had made at the time of his election, then accepted the office of Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead, disqualifying himself from the House (outright resignation not being possible). Benn returned to the Commons after winning a by-election on 20 August 1963.

My admitting of Benn comes from  his commitment not only  to the left but to democracy as well

In 1991 he introduced the Commonwealth of Britain Bill  of the United Kingdom. It proposed abolishing the British monarchy, with the United Kingdom becoming a "democratic, federal and secular commonwealth", i
  • The constitutional status of the Crown would be ended;
  • The Church of England would be disestablished;
  • The head of state would be the President, elected by a joint sitting of both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament;
  • Many functions of the Royal Prerogative would not be transferred to the President, but instead to Parliament;
  • The Privy Council would be abolished, and replaced by a Council of State;
  • The House of Lords would be replaced by an elected House of the People, with equal representation of men and women;
  • The House of Commons would similarly have equal representation of men and women;
  • England, Scotland and Wales would have their own National Parliaments;
  • County Court judges and magistrates would be elected; and
  • British jurisdiction over Northern Ireland would be ended.
I would of course argue for welsh Independence but I couldn't disagree  with the Democratic thrust of the Bill

As we look at the Labour Benches today full of the heirs of Blair and not Benn you must ask if someone with Tony Benn's views would even considering  joining Labour and if he was welsh, Scottish or Cornish that Independence would bring his ideals democratic socialist ideals closer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes good stuff, especially this:

12. The supremacy of Parliament

(1) Where legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament conflicts with any directive or regulation issued or approved by the Council of Ministers or the Commission of the European Communities, British legislation shall prevail, and shall be so accepted by British courts.

(2) Where the House of Commons, by resolution, determines that any directive or regulation of the European Communities should not apply in Britain, such resolution may not be questioned in British courts.

I think that would have seen us kicked out of the EU by now, no doubt much to Mr Benn's (and my) satisfaction.