Citáty Tony Benn

„We have confused the real issue of parliamentary democracy, for already there has been a fundamental change. The power of electors over their law-makers has gone, the power of MPs over Ministers has gone, the role of Ministers has changed. The real case for entry has never been spelled out, which is that there should be a fully federal Europe in which we become a province. It hasn't been spelled out because people would never accept it. We are at the moment on a federal escalator, moving as we talk, going towards a federal objective we do not wish to reach. In practice, Britain will be governed by a European coalition government that we cannot change, dedicated to a capitalist or market economy theology. This policy is to be sold to us by projecting an unjustified optimism about the Community, and an unjustified pessimism about the United Kingdom, designed to frighten us in. Jim quoted Benjamin Franklin, so let me do the same: "He who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary security deserves neither safety nor liberty." The Common Market will break up the UK because there will be no valid argument against an independent Scotland, with its own Ministers and Commissioner, enjoying Common Market membership. We shall be choosing between the unity of the UK and the unity of the EEC. It will impose appalling strains on the Labour movement... I believe that we want independence and democratic self-government, and I hope the Cabinet in due course will think again.“

—  Tony Benn
Speech given in the Cabinet meeting to discuss Britain's membership of the EEC, as recorded in his diary (18 March 1975), Against the Tide. Diaries 1973-1976 (London: Hutchinson, 1989), pp. 346-347.


„First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you.“

—  Tony Benn
The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, Robert Andrews, Columbia University Press, 1993, , 9780231071949. A similar quotation is almost invariably attributed to Gandhi, but more likely derives from a 1914 US trade union address: "And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America." General Executive Board Report and Proceedings [of The] Biennial Convention, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, 1914. Google Books


„Britain's continuing membership of the Community would mean the end of Britain as a completely self-governing nation and the end of our democratically elected Parliament as the supreme law making body in the United Kingdom.“

—  Tony Benn
Letter to Bristol constituents (29 December 1974), reprinted in Tony Benn, 'The Common Market: Loss of Self-Government', in M. Holmes (ed.), The Eurosceptical Reader (Springer, 2016), p. 38.

„When we have a majority we will do it. I think the days of the Lords are quite genuinely numbered.“

—  Tony Benn
On Independent Radio News (12 November 1976), quoted in The Times (13 November 1976), p. 2.

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