Citáty Tony Benn
„[Men] who would rather go to jail than betray what they believe to be their duty to their fellow workers and the principles which they hold.“
From an issued statement from Mr. Benn on five dockers imprisoned for contempt of court (21 July 1972)
„People at the top do not want to share their power. They’ve always got some marvellous reason: I’m following my religion; I’m following the laws of economics. Even Stalin: I’m representing the vanguard of the working class, so please don’t cause trouble. That is the battle that every generation has, and yet we mustn’t be pessimistic about it…“
Tony Benn interview “Hope is the key, Share International” https://share-international.org/magazine/old_issues/2003/jan_03.htm#benn (January 2003)
„Establishment necessarily involves a subtle corruption of the spirit of the church because it is safely embedded in the wider establishment of society, which includes the privileged and the powerful. … How can those Christians who see monetarism being so cruelly applied to the old, the sick, the homeless, women, the black community, and the young unemployed, lead a struggle against this injustice from within an established church subject to a Cabinet and a parliamentary majority composed of those very people who are responsible for implementing those very policies?“
Speech to St James's Church, Piccadilly (2 March 1983), quoted in The Times (3 March 1983), p. 14
„If Parliament, public and press have now braced themselves to accept the plain and obvious truth that Cabinet discussions are interesting, vigorous and sometimes revolve around alternative policies, why should even the disclosure of an outline of the points at issue—while these discussions are in progress—be guarded against so relentlessly and so ineffectively from any risk of publicity? … Secrecy in decision-making does not occur by accident or default. It is because knowledge is power, and no government willingly gives up power to the Commons, the public, or anyone else. Open government would disclose more about the processes of decision-making, including the workings of the Cabinet committee system, reveal the roles of officials and advisers, and involve both admitting and encouraging pressure upon ministers. … If parliamentary democracy is, as I believe, a unique system of government, partly because it allows us to learn from our own mistakes in time to correct them, the raw material of that experience must be made available in time to use it for that purpose.“
Speech to a Press Gallery luncheon (14 February 1977), quoted in The Times (15 February 1977), p. 4
„Anyone from abroad will tell you that it is the class system that really lies at the root of our problems, economic and industrial. The House of Lords symbolises that.“
As quoted in Yorkshire Post (22 November 1976)
„Well I came across Marx rather late in life actually, and when I read him, two things: first of all I realised that he'd come to the conclusion about capitalism which I'd come to much later, and I was a bit angry he'd thought of it first; and secondly, I see Marx who was an old Jew, as the last of the Old Testament Prophets, this old bearded man working in the British Library, studying capitalism, that's what 'Das Kapital' was about, it was an explanation of British capitalism. And I thought to myself, 'Well anyone could write a book like that, but what infuses, what comes out of his writing, is the passionate hostility to the injustice of capitalism. He was a Prophet, and so I put him in that category as an Old Testament Prophet.“
Interview with John Cleary (23 February 2003).
„Workers are not going to be fobbed off with a few shares… or by a carbon copy of the German system of co-determination.“
Speech in Southampton (25 May 1971).
„The engineers are taking their stand on grounds of conscience… Conscientious objection to the law is not a criminal act. These people are our people and we should take a principled stand, together.“
Speech on Hugh Scanlon's union's rejection of the Industrial Relations Act in Wells, Somerset (23 November 1973).
„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.“
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.
„Had a long talk to the Chinese First Secretary at the embassy — a very charming man called Liao Dong — and said how much I admired Mao Tse tung or Zedong, the greatest man of the twentieth century. He said that I couldn't admire Mao more than he did. I asked him how Mao was viewed now. He said Mao was 70 per cent right and 30 per cent wrong; the Cultural Revolution didn't work. He said he had been named after Mao — it was amusing.“
Journal entry for 6 June 1996 in Free at Last!: Diaries, 1991-2001 (2003) p. 371
„I think the SDP really is a very right-wing party. In a funny way it’s more right-wing than Mrs. Thatcher because Mrs. Thatcher is an old-fashioned liberal, if you know what I mean, she believes in market forces and small government. But my knowledge and experience of the SDP is that they believe in a centralised system, they believe in a federal Europe in which we would only be a province under Brussels, they believe in retaining the American bases, they want a statutory pay policy so they would govern the wages of everybody without proper negotiation. I think they're a very hard right party and I think the Labour Party which has now got a decent policy as a result of all the work we’ve done is going to pick up a lot of support this year.“
Afternoon Plus on ITN (29 January 1982)
„People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don’t vote. They always say that that everyone should vote but I think that if the poor in Britain or the United States turned out and voted for people that represented their interests there would be a real democratic revolution.“
Interview with Michael Moore in the movie Sicko (2007).
„I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world, because if you have power you use it to meet the needs of you and your community.“
Interview with Michael Moore in the movie Sicko (2007).
„[Edward Heath], who sold out Britain's interests to the Common Market and gave our sovereignty away without our consent—with support of Mr Thorpe and the Liberals—is not entitled to wave the Union Jack to get himself out of the mess.“
Speech in Bristol (30 November, 1973), quoted in ' 'Democracy in danger' warning by Mr Benn', The Times (1 December, 1973), pp. 1-2
„The way change occurs to begin with, if you come up with a good idea, like heathcare, you're ignored. If you go on you must be mad, absolutely stark-staring bonkers. If you go on after that you're dangerous. Then, if the pressure keeps up there's a pause. And then you can't find anyone at the top who doesn't claim to have thought of it in the first place. That's how progress is made.“
Interview with Michael Moore in the movie Sicko (2007) Probably derived from older version:
„The general election of 1983 has produced one important result that has passed virtually without comment in the media. It is that, for the first time since 1945, a political party with an openly socialist policy has received the support of over eight and a half million people. This is a remarkable development by any standards and it deserves some analysis … the 1983 Labour manifesto commanded the loyalty of millions of voters and a democratic socialist bridge-head in public understanding and support can be made.“
The Guardian (20 June 1983).
„I sometimes wish the trade unionists who work in the mass media, those who are writers and broadcasters and secretaries and printers and lift operators of Thomson House would remember that they too are members of our working class movement and have a responsibility to see that what is said about us is true.“
Chairman's closing address to the Labour Party Conference in Blackpool (6 October 1972); Labour Party Annual Conference Report 1972, p. 349
„Having served for nearly half a century in the House of Commons, I now want more time to devote to politics and more freedom to do so.“
Paul Waugh, "Benn retires to spend more time with his politics", The Independent, 28 June 1999, p. 5.
„When we have a majority we will do it. I think the days of the Lords are quite genuinely numbered.“
On Independent Radio News (12 November 1976), quoted in The Times (13 November 1976), p. 2