More Time for Politics: Diaries 2001-2007

By Tony Benn, Ruth Winstone

Whilst Tony Benn left Parliament after fifty one years he quoted his spouse Caroline's comment that now he might have 'more time for politics'. And so this has proved: within the first seven years of this century he has helped reinvigorate nationwide debate via public conferences, mass campaigns and appearances within the media, passionately bringing ethical and political matters to vast audiences. And all through, as ever, he has been conserving his diaries.

Commenting at the dying of the hot Labour undertaking from the re-election of Tony Blair in 2001 to the last word overseas coverage failures of Afghanistan and Iraq, he provides different prescient bills of the government's by-passing of cupboard, parliament and the occasion, of the 'war on terror', the talk approximately Islam, globalisation and the adjustments in British society. even supposing he's now not in strength or in parliament, Tony Benn is still a determine of large admire whose direct perspectives, in truth expressed, have frequently woke up the nationwide sense of right and wrong. His most modern Diaries, human and hard in flip, are a captivating read.

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Friday 22 February On Monday, Steve’s giving a lecture on the Royal Society with the President of the Society, then he’s going subsequent week to the USA for every week, for the yank Chemical Society. Monday 25 February To the LSE, for Kofi Annan’s lecture. I bought there early, sat within the senior universal room, after which Anthony Giddens arrived and we had lunch. I insisted on procuring his lunch this day simply because he gave me lunch final time. I defined largely the description of my conception, that democracy is being beaten. He stated, ‘Well, while did it ever paintings? ’ Then we talked a piece afterwards within the chairman’s eating room. He acknowledged, ‘Where are the entire intellectuals in politics? I suggest, for instance, there was no one for the reason that Anthony Crosland. ’ I acknowledged, ‘I don’t understand quite, however the angle to intellectuals is that they’re a section distant. ’ So I instructed him slightly approximately my very own political heritage. He didn’t comprehend whatever approximately it in any respect. and that i stated, ‘When did you first take an curiosity in politics? ’ He stated, ‘I’m a sociologist. I’ve written books on sociology, bought into difficulty in South Africa for writing a booklet during which the note capitalism was once pointed out within the name, which isn't allowed. ’ He acknowledged, ‘Maybe I’ve helped to lever Labour again to energy. ’ I stated, ‘You communicate as though you’re an election agent. You’re even more than that. ’ ‘Well, the 3rd means used to be only a manner of describing how we have been coming near near it. ’ Kofi Annan is a special guy, in his sixties (thirteen years more youthful than me, so he’s sixty-four now), tall, slender, Ghanaian, with a occupation principally in management. He stated improvement and poverty, yet he made totally no connection with the concept that there has been a clash of curiosity that lay on the center of African poverty. i wished to invite a query, and while i used to be referred to as I acknowledged, ‘Secretary common, you mentioned the post-imperial interval, however the maximum empire the realm has ever recognized is now rearming seriously, speaking approximately total-spectrum dominance of area, land, sea and data, and saying that it intends to take advantage of strength to alter the regimes in nations it doesn’t like. How does that slot in? ’ there has been an enormous burst of applause from the viewers. I didn’t point out the US via identify, and that i didn’t point out Iraq by means of identify. while he got here to answer, he acknowledged, ‘Well, I don’t converse for the yank govt, I communicate for the United international locations, and naturally Iraq is needed by way of safeguard Council solution to disarm, yet I’m now not in favour of utilizing strength. whether it is made up our minds through the safety Council to exploit strength, then that might be my challenge. ’ So he gave a particular resolution in public. Very fascinating, and you'll be able to quote that now. Mary Jay, the widow of Douglas Jay, used to be on the lecture and that i drove her again domestic. She instructed me that Blair desired to nominate Mandelson to be President of the conference at the way forward for Europe, the task that was once given to the previous French President Giscard d’Estaing, and Jack Straw it sounds as if vetoed it. Tuesday 26 February Stephen Byers, having misled humans at the Jonathan Dimbleby programme on Sunday approximately his position in appreciate of Jo Moore and Martin Sixsmith (who’d either been sacked as press officials from his department), made an announcement in the home announcing that if he’d unintentionally misled the home, he regretted it; and he’s now absolutely again in position.

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