THE RECENT passing of the ex-Labour MP Tony Benn has seen many tributes extolling his virtues and quite a few reminding us of his faults. Personally I always thought that when being interviewed he came across as friendly and affable.

However, when he was Postmaster General under a previous Labour government (before Thatcher), he proposed a “national bank” with the idea of using the millions of pounds of funds and investment monies “swilling around” the City of London to help out struggling industries that couldn’t borrow through the usual channels. And yet although he supported NUM leader Arthur Scargill and his similar ambition to overthrow PM Margaret Thatcher and capitalism, behind the scenes it was the miners and steelworkers unions who helped to scupper his plan, because they had visions of their members’ pension funds disappearing into a bottomless pit of permanent subsidies being squandered on “lame duck” companies. The one decent remnant of that fiasco was the creation of Giro Bank.

Many of Tony Benn’s policies were cheered by the left but when it came to their own money the “brothers” soon made sure that he kept his distance.

Mr A. Greenhalgh Ross Street Newport