Leading Labour figure Tony Benn has died aged 88 - and had strong links with Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tony Benn receives the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from the Vice-Chancellor of Bradford University, Dr. E. G. Edwards, at a degree ceremony at the University. April 1969 Tony Benn receives the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from the Vice-Chancellor of Bradford University, Dr. E. G. Edwards, at a degree ceremony at the University. April 1969

Tony Benn, the iconic Labour stalwart and former cabinet minister, who has died aged 88, had strong links with Bradford.

He was in Bradford most recently in 2012 when he was the subject of "an audience with..." event at Bradford University.

And in 2006, on a March Sunday afternoon, Tony Benn  did what few theatre companies had been able to do up to then: he filled The Priestley theatre in Chapel Street.

Accompanied by singer-songwriter Roy Bailey, the 81-year-old veteran of British politics arrived in the birthplace of the Independent Labour Party to talk about his political beliefs at the tail-end of Tony Blair’s last months as Prime Minister.

Telegraph & Argus writer Jim Greenhalf, in an interview with Benn ahead of the politician's appearance at the Priestley Theatre in Bradford (now the New Bradford Playhouse), wrote: "Tony Benn, who once came within a handful of votes of defeating Denis Healey to become deputy leader of the Labour Party, speaks with feeling because hatred is exactly what he reaped during those years when he spoke out against Britain's nuclear deterrent, denounced the presence of American nuclear missiles in Britain and condemned Allied intervention in the Gulf following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

"At a time like this, when all seems to be in turmoil, people like Tony Benn stand out as rock-like. The times may have changed, but he hasn't changed his beliefs. He likes going on the road, addressing meetings, talking to people."

Tony Benn, to Jim Greenhalf in 2004

Fear is the prison you put yourself in. Hope is the fuel of progress.

Jim also interviewed Benn in 2004, when he was appearing at St George's Hall. Benn told Jim: "Some of the time it's frightening, what we could do to destroy ourselves. Sometimes I think if we applied the technology we had we could solve every problem. Fear is the prison you put yourself in. Hope is the fuel of progress".

In the 2006 interview, Benn said: “In 1956 I made a speech in support of a well-known terrorist. It was denounced by the tabloid press. Next time I met him it was at the House of Commons. It was Nelson Mandela. All these people we persecute end up having tea with the Queen.”

In 1969 he was in town to receive an honorary degree from the University of Bradford, a place he was to return to in 2012 for An Evening with Tony Benn, an opportunity for him to talk about his life, politics and the Labour Party for which he was an MP for half-a-century.

Between those two occasions he was one of a formidable line-up of Socialists at St George’s Hall in April, 1994. Along with National Union of Mineworkers’ leader Arthur Scargill and Labour MPs Bernie Grant, Dennis Skinner, Bradford West’s Max Madden and Halifax’s Alice Mahon, Mr Benn was paying tribute to Bradford South MP Bob Cryer, who had died in a car crash earlier that month.

At the graveside in Undercliffe Cemetery Mr Benn delivered an oration during which John Pudney’s famous poem Johnny-Head-in-Air was read, including the lines:-

Do not despair
For Johnny head-in-air
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.

Fetch out no shroud
For Johnny-in-the-cloud
And keep your tears
For him in after years...

Rest in peace old warrior.

 

On the social networks, local politicians, activists and others paid tribute to Benn from all sides of the political divide:

Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew:

 


 

Keighley-born Alistair Campbell:

 


 

Bradford West MP George Galloway:

 


 

Greg Mulholland MP:

 


 

Albert Freeman:

 


 

Comments (11)

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11:47am Fri 14 Mar 14

The Hoffster says...

RIP (Sir) Tony Benn.

Who can forget his impassioned plea to the BBC when vile Israeli terrorist scum were slaughtering the Palestinians of Gaza in 2008/9?

The Beeb refused to air a humanitarian appeal (at the behest of Israel) but he continued anyway. You can see for yourselves here:

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=E21MdXe3B
OQ
RIP (Sir) Tony Benn. Who can forget his impassioned plea to the BBC when vile Israeli terrorist scum were slaughtering the Palestinians of Gaza in 2008/9? The Beeb refused to air a humanitarian appeal (at the behest of Israel) but he continued anyway. You can see for yourselves here: http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=E21MdXe3B OQ The Hoffster
  • Score: -7

12:17pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Grumpygirl says...

Proof, if ever it were needed, that being born into privilege needn't blind you to the suffering of ordinary people. A lesson today's government has yet to learn.

A true socialist and gentleman. We shall all miss him.
Proof, if ever it were needed, that being born into privilege needn't blind you to the suffering of ordinary people. A lesson today's government has yet to learn. A true socialist and gentleman. We shall all miss him. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 11

12:46pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Andy2010 says...

Grumpygirl wrote:
Proof, if ever it were needed, that being born into privilege needn't blind you to the suffering of ordinary people. A lesson today's government has yet to learn.

A true socialist and gentleman. We shall all miss him.
lol

yeah you keep telling yourself that
[quote][p][bold]Grumpygirl[/bold] wrote: Proof, if ever it were needed, that being born into privilege needn't blind you to the suffering of ordinary people. A lesson today's government has yet to learn. A true socialist and gentleman. We shall all miss him.[/p][/quote]lol yeah you keep telling yourself that Andy2010
  • Score: -12

1:26pm Fri 14 Mar 14

The Hoffster says...

Looks like the supporters of Israeli terrorist scum don't like it when they're exposed...
Looks like the supporters of Israeli terrorist scum don't like it when they're exposed... The Hoffster
  • Score: -5

1:56pm Fri 14 Mar 14

bcfc1903 says...

Rest In Peace Tony Benn and Bob Crow, both sad losses for politics in the UK and the working man.
Rest In Peace Tony Benn and Bob Crow, both sad losses for politics in the UK and the working man. bcfc1903
  • Score: 5

5:10pm Fri 14 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

R.I.P Tony Benn You were a man of principle and unlike many politicians you will be remembered for the work you did rather than the scandals that you were embroiled in. As we are reminded in the article Bradford was the birthplace of the independent Labour party. Many of the right wingers spend their time focusing your attention on immigration in the hope that you will forget that it is their political ideology which is foreign and alien to this town. Next election remember what your roots are and what this once great town stood for. Sure we had many extremely wealthy business men in Bradford back then but they were philanthropists like Titus Salt and Joseph Moser who spent vast sums improving the quality of life of their employers. Even so the Labour party was formed to ensure those workers had a voice. Today's businessmen are hoarders. They have no interest in the quality of life of their workers and even though the Town is crying out for investment they will not part with any cash until they believe their profits will be maximised. In the mean time those who can't get a job due to this lack of investment are demonised and those who can are seeing their wages falling further and further behind the rate of inflation. There are no accidents in politics, everything is done for a reason. Look carefully at the reasoning behind the frankly sick ideology of the right and lets make sure that the greedy, wealth hoarding, Tax avoiding Tory's become nothing more than a bad memory in Bradford.
R.I.P Tony Benn You were a man of principle and unlike many politicians you will be remembered for the work you did rather than the scandals that you were embroiled in. As we are reminded in the article Bradford was the birthplace of the independent Labour party. Many of the right wingers spend their time focusing your attention on immigration in the hope that you will forget that it is their political ideology which is foreign and alien to this town. Next election remember what your roots are and what this once great town stood for. Sure we had many extremely wealthy business men in Bradford back then but they were philanthropists like Titus Salt and Joseph Moser who spent vast sums improving the quality of life of their employers. Even so the Labour party was formed to ensure those workers had a voice. Today's businessmen are hoarders. They have no interest in the quality of life of their workers and even though the Town is crying out for investment they will not part with any cash until they believe their profits will be maximised. In the mean time those who can't get a job due to this lack of investment are demonised and those who can are seeing their wages falling further and further behind the rate of inflation. There are no accidents in politics, everything is done for a reason. Look carefully at the reasoning behind the frankly sick ideology of the right and lets make sure that the greedy, wealth hoarding, Tax avoiding Tory's become nothing more than a bad memory in Bradford. RollandSmoke
  • Score: -5

6:50pm Fri 14 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

The Hoffster wrote:
Looks like the supporters of Israeli terrorist scum don't like it when they're exposed...
Of course not as it is the truth. I'm suprised it's not been censored as that's what the T&A do with uncomfortable truths. But then I suppose if you have been complicit in spreading lies you have to do something in order to avoid being found out.
[quote][p][bold]The Hoffster[/bold] wrote: Looks like the supporters of Israeli terrorist scum don't like it when they're exposed...[/p][/quote]Of course not as it is the truth. I'm suprised it's not been censored as that's what the T&A do with uncomfortable truths. But then I suppose if you have been complicit in spreading lies you have to do something in order to avoid being found out. RollandSmoke
  • Score: -5

7:32am Sat 15 Mar 14

Dr Martin says...

‘In my opinion, he will undoubtedly be regarded as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – figures of the 20th century.’

Tony Benn's opinion on chairman Mao
‘In my opinion, he will undoubtedly be regarded as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – figures of the 20th century.’ Tony Benn's opinion on chairman Mao Dr Martin
  • Score: 1

3:42pm Sat 15 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

Well I looked at this thread this morning and my first comment had 7 thumbs up. It now has -3 so that's 10 thumbs down in a row for a day old comment. I've said all along that the thumbs up/down system was being used to give a false impression of public opinion. Only an idiot would believe that this isn't so but that's what the T&A believe their readers to be. The Tories are on their arse with no credible arguments but boy can they thumb you down. Liars working together it would seem.
Well I looked at this thread this morning and my first comment had 7 thumbs up. It now has -3 so that's 10 thumbs down in a row for a day old comment. I've said all along that the thumbs up/down system was being used to give a false impression of public opinion. Only an idiot would believe that this isn't so but that's what the T&A believe their readers to be. The Tories are on their arse with no credible arguments but boy can they thumb you down. Liars working together it would seem. RollandSmoke
  • Score: -5

3:50pm Sat 15 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

Speaking of the right wing and the lies they promote I came across this little gem on a right wing website which offered no proof of anything only an accusation but it's quite a serious one and I thought I'd post in on here so as we can establish if there is any truth to it.

“Exclusive: Rigby killers shown as Labour Party activists in leaked documents
Posted on March 8, 2014 by Joshua Bonehill

In a new document leaked by the BALE on Sunday, the Killers who brutally murdered Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year have been identified as Labour Party activists.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale are now safely behind bars where they belong but more facts are emerging about their shady past that led to the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year. A document handed to the BALE on sunday shows that both the Rigby killers were Labour party activists connected to Croydon Labour.

The two Islamic fanatics joined the Labour Party in 2007 and reportedly Michael Adebolajo was due to stand for election in croydon during the 2010 elections but pulled out at last minute due to health issues.”
Speaking of the right wing and the lies they promote I came across this little gem on a right wing website which offered no proof of anything only an accusation but it's quite a serious one and I thought I'd post in on here so as we can establish if there is any truth to it. “Exclusive: Rigby killers shown as Labour Party activists in leaked documents Posted on March 8, 2014 by Joshua Bonehill In a new document leaked by the BALE on Sunday, the Killers who brutally murdered Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year have been identified as Labour Party activists. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale are now safely behind bars where they belong but more facts are emerging about their shady past that led to the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year. A document handed to the BALE on sunday shows that both the Rigby killers were Labour party activists connected to Croydon Labour. The two Islamic fanatics joined the Labour Party in 2007 and reportedly Michael Adebolajo was due to stand for election in croydon during the 2010 elections but pulled out at last minute due to health issues.” RollandSmoke
  • Score: -5

8:11am Sun 16 Mar 14

Dr Martin says...

Tony Benn and Bob Crow 2 left wing dinosaurs, feted by a tiny minority
Tony Benn and Bob Crow 2 left wing dinosaurs, feted by a tiny minority Dr Martin
  • Score: 0

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