Tony Benn asked “How do we get rid of you” politicians?
and said “If democracy is ever to be threatened, it will not be by revolutionary groups burning government offices and occupying the broadcasting and newspaper offices of the world. It will come from disenchantment, cynicism and despair caused by the realisation that the New World Order means we are all to be managed and not represented”.
And he said “There’s people on the left who say, the ballot box is a waste of time. Forget them. When Mandela voted for the first time at the age of 76 there was a lot of grown men, including me, wept buckets. That was what it was about. It doesn’t solve things, but it gives you the mechanism to hold to account the people with power”.
Until his son came along! Hillary Benn Act 2019.
In 2000 Tony Benn described the Government as a “coalition of convenience in a big tent by invitation only, but outside this big tent are the camp fires of conviction”. Comparing organisers of May Day protests in central London to the suffragettes, he said there was a danger that the “democratic deficit” with the unelected European Commission would turn Europe into a “one party state”. [The much vaunted EU empire?] This, Mr Benn said, would leave the general public with little choice but to use the threat of violence to express their grievances.
Benn identified most proudly as a small “d” democrat, a tireless promoter of a power-to-the-people ethic that placed its faith in the great mass of humanity rather than billionaires, media moguls and political powerbrokers. He said “Broadcasting is really too important to be left to the broadcasters”. His favourite question, as a political figure who delighted the give and take of campaigning, the debates, the canvasses, the counts in his initial constituency of Bristol South East and in the historic mining constituency of Chesterfield that he represented in the final decades of his remarkable career was “How do we get rid of you?“Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system”.
“Only democracy gives us that right. That is why no one with power likes democracy. And that is why every generation must struggle to win it and keep it, including you and me, here and now”.
In 2000 Tony Benn campaigned for better pensions.
Yet last year the FT described the UK state pension as the worst in the developed world, according to data from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. As a percentage of average earnings, the UK government pays out 29 per cent, putting it at the bottom of a table which is led by the Netherlands, which pays 100.6 per cent, Portugal, which offers 94 per cent, and Italy, which gives 93.2 per cent.
The UK is joined at the bottom of the list by Japan, Poland and Mexico, but all these countries still pay better state pensions, the report by the group of developed nations showed. Poland, pays 38.6 per cent while Japan pays 40 per cent. Germany is around the middle of the pack, paying 50.5 per cent of average earnings, just above the USA which offers 49.1 per cent.
Our trade deficit with the EU is circa £100billion annually. Perhaps that goes some way to explain our poor state pensions? Hillary Benn might help us with that?