TONY Benn’s death last week, has seen the end of a remarkable political career among 20th century British politicians.
But it is the legacy of the man that must be looked at. Tony Benn had successes and failures in equal measures. Benn’s first success was the introduction of the 1963 ‘Peerage Act’. As Postmaster General, then Minister of Technology, he created Giro bank, merged the British car industry into British Leylandhelped the Concorde project become reality, introduced the postcode system, setup BBC Radio 1, and also changed the Labour Party constitution.
Among his failures was not resigning as Minister of State for Industry when demoted to Minister of State for Energy in the 1974-6 Wilson government (Had he resigned, the history of the British Labour Party may have taken a different turn), his 1981 Labour Party leadership campaign, and the 1983 Labour Party General Election manifesto. Yet out of all those successes and failures, his one true legacy that will earn him a place in the history books, his is outstanding political diaries.Whether he will be judged as a true labour great like Attlee, Nye Bevan, and the underrated Jim Griffiths, will be up to future historians and history itself.
Wayne Thomas Monmouth Walk Markham