Famous Quotes & Sayings

Tony Benn Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Tony Benn.

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Famous Quotes By Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1367708

It is government policy to phase out subsidies to nationalised industries. In line with this, the government hopes that the coal industry will be able to operate without the need for assistance apart from social grants. — Tony Benn

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Cabinet members are soon overwhelmed by the insistent demands of running their departments. On the whole, a period in high office consumers intellectual capital; it does not create it ... The less ministers know at the outset, the more dependent they are on the only sources of available knowledge; the permanent officials. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1763579

If you file your waste-paper basket for fifty years, you have a public library. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1855984

The nature of the economic system should be a matter for public choice, and free market capitalism should not be accepted without any discussion of the rich variety of alternatives ... Unlike civil laws, economic laws are imposed on people with all the authority of immutable laws of nature. But the economy is created by people, supported by government intervention, regulation, statute and subsidy, and implemented in such a way that it gives substantial wealth and power to a privileged few, while the majority face a life of relentless work, stress and periodic financial insecurity. — Tony Benn

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I am on the right wing of the middle of the road and with a strong radical bias. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1206085

My day rotates around my family. I am very lucky. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 657091

It is wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 516866

On the National Executive sat Charles Clarke, looking like a rather manky chimpanzee with his unkempt beard, jug ears and his air of surly aggression. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 636935

We are paying a heavy political price for 20 years in which, as a party, we have played down our criticism of capitalism and soft-peddled our advocacy of socialism — Tony Benn

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Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure. — Tony Benn

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Britain's continuing membership of the Community would mean the end of Britain as a completely self-governing nation — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 593585

I think if you're going to be committed to doing anything, you really have to care about it, and I suppose that is a romantic idea. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 390399

I think Mrs Thatcher did more damage to democracy, equality, internationalism, civil liberties, freedom in this country than any other Prime Minister this century. When the euphoria surrounding her departure subsides you will find that in a year or two's time there will not be a Tory who admits ever supporting her. People in the street will say, thank God she's gone — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 2012036

The uncut diaries are 16 million words. It's very tiring to do your diary every night before you go to bed. — Tony Benn

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Broadcasting is really too important to be left to the broadcasters. — Tony Benn

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It's the same each time with progress. 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

Tony Benn Quotes 1405535

Age does take it out of you, and I haven't the energy I had before. Sometimes I have breakfast and sit in this chair, and I wake up and it is lunchtime. In the past, the idea of sleeping through a morning would have horrified me, but you have to accept the limitations that old age imposes on you. — Tony Benn

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I am a public library — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 356758

Through me the energy policy of the whole Common Market is being held up. Without opening old wounds, it pleases me no end. — Tony Benn

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When you think of the number of men in the world who hate each other, why, when two men love each other, does the church split? — Tony Benn

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[I am against] the Treaty of Rome which entrenches laissez faire as its philosophy and chooses bureaucracy as its administrative method. — Tony Benn

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The 1973 Labour Conference will have before it the most radical programme the Party has prepared since 1945. — Tony Benn

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Middle class Labour leaders are recaptured by the establishment when they die. — Tony Benn

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An MP is the only job where you have 70,000 employers, and only one employee. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1466541

Food movement organic food stores supplies health food products and facilitate with instrumental support in organic agriculture. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 548129

I believe the more difficult the circumstances, the more people will be inclined to trust those in charge at the moment. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 711513

After the war people said, 'If you can plan for war, why can't you plan for peace?' When I was 17, I had a letter from the government saying, 'Dear Mr. Benn, will you turn up when you're 17 1/2? We'll give you free food, free clothes, free training, free accommodation, and two shillings, ten pence a day to just kill Germans.' People said, well, if you can have full employment to kill people, why in God's name couldn't you have full employment and good schools, good hospitals, good houses? — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 637589

What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 729069

The flag of radicalism which has been hoisted in Wolverhampton is beginning to look like the one that fluttered 25 years ago over Dachau and Belsen — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 424425

The one thing that is absolutely essential is that there shouldn't be any governmental control [of the media] directly or indirectly. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1757591

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. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 865837

Clare Short, who today poses as an anti-war warrior but was six years ago Blair's cheerleader-in-chief for bombing Yugoslavia. After the attack on Radio-Televizija Jugoslavenska she said, 'The propaganda machine is prolonging the war and it's a legitimate target'. Amnesty International pointed out 'intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects is a war crime under the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court'. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 2227835

Change from below, the formulation of demands from the populace to end unacceptable injustice, supported by direct action, has played a far larger part in shaping British democracy than most constitutional lawyers, political commentators, historians or statesmen have ever cared to admit. Direct action in a democratic society is fundamentally an educational exercise. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1330416

I see myself as an old man and an unqualified teacher to the nation. I think being a teacher is probably the most important thing you can be in politics. — Tony Benn

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It is obvious I shall have to abandon my hopes of getting the Queen's head off the stamps. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1397833

Of course, Mao made his mistakes, because everybody does, but at least he allowed working people to smoke, even in the most trying circumstances, such as when, for one reason or another, they found themselves up before the firing squad. — Tony Benn

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But if there is hope, it lies in ordinary working people. When you put it in words it sounds reasonable: it is when you look at the human beings passing you on the pavement that it becomes an act of faith. — Tony Benn

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Normally, people give up parliament because they want to do more business or spend more time with family. My wife said 'why don't you say you're giving up to devote more time to politics?'. And it is what I have done. — Tony Benn

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All war represents a failure of diplomacy. — Tony Benn

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People say that if we work for the Single European Act, women will get their rights, the water will be purer, and training will be better. That is rubbish. It is part of the attempt to consolidate the EEC. — Tony Benn

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The Prime Minister keeps me on around here because I make him look good. — Tony Benn

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Making mistakes is how you learn. — Tony Benn

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The Internet is only the street corner meeting on a big scale — Tony Benn

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I don't want to commit myself in advocating a definite republican constitution which will get bogged down with the question of who would elect the President and when. — Tony Benn

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If one meets a powerful person - Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates - ask them five questions: 'What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?' If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 2204507

Howay yabastaaz I'll t-t-take the f-f-fuckin lorrayaz! Am fuckin al reet me man. Why aye! — Tony Benn

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In the end, the tragedy of Harold Wilson was that you couldn't believe a word he said — Tony Benn

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When we have a majority we will do it. I think the days of the Lords are quite genuinely numbered. — Tony Benn

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If democracy is destroyed in Britain it will be not the communists, Trotskyists or subversives but this House which threw it away. The rights that are entrusted to us are not for us to give away. Even if I agree with everything that is proposed, I cannot hand away powers lent to me for five years by the people of Chesterfield. I just could not do it. It would be theft of public rights. — Tony Benn

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I pledge no fudge of compromise', said Arthur Scargill, 'and no carrots of redundancy'. That would make a nice epitaph for him. 'He pledged no fudge'. — Tony Benn

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The crisis that we inherit when we come to power will be the occasion for fundamental change and not the excuse for postponing it — Tony Benn

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The Marxist analysis has got nothing to do with what happened in Stalin's Russia: it's like blaming Jesus Christ for the Inquisition in Spain. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 2017513

Making mistakes is part of life. The only things I would feel ashamed of would be if I had said things I hadn't believed in order to get on. Some politicians do do that. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1986002

The Civil Service is a bit like a rusty weathercock. It moves with opinion then it stays where it is until another wind moves it in a different direction — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1964432

Well, it all began with Democracy. Before we had the vote all the power was in the hands of rich people. If you had money you could get health care, education, look after yourself when you were old, and what democracy did was to give the poor the vote and it moved power from the marketplace to the polling station, from the wallet ... to the ballot. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1921309

The Tory party is the enemy of democracy. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1887124

You can't have an economic structure worldwide whereby capital can move but labour can't, and if you're going to follow this, then labour must be able to come to wherever it's more profitable. These are the people that are being kept out by the Asylum Bill, on the grounds that they are economic migrants and all of that, but of course all the money that's invested abroad is economic migrant money. — Tony Benn

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When I think of Cool Britannia I think of old people dying of hypothermia. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1840344

The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it - a bit like Christians in the Church of England. — Tony Benn

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She believes in something. It is an old-fashioned idea — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 666819

I did not enter the Labour Party 47 years ago to have our manifesto written by Dr Mori, Dr Gallup and Mr Harris — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 633143

After fifteen years I have decided to resign my membership of the Dennis The Menace Fanclub. It
brought me no benefits worth mentioning. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 563609

When you get to No 10, you've climbed there on a little ladder called 'the status quo'. And when you are there, the status quo looks very good — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 553851

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. — Tony Benn

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You have to try to build support around causes. It is uniting to campaign on a single issue, and it is never just a single issue; it's always more than that. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 525244

By the end of his sixteen-course meal in Buckingham Palace, Ramsay McDonald discovered he had changed his mind about the workers owning the means of production. From now on, he felt it better that the Dukes and Duchesses should continue to own the means of production. The workers would just have to make do with what was left over. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 509403

A faith is something you die for, a doctrine is something you kill for. There is all the difference in the world. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 500499

Someone comes every morning at nine o'clock to see if I am still alive. I do get lonely, yes, but I have the children who come and see me. I see all my children every week, and there are the grandchildren, too. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 440166

There may be a legal obligation to obey, but there will be no moral obligation to obey. When it comes to history, it will be the people who broke the law for freedom who will be remembered and honoured. — Tony Benn

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I can't go to bed if I haven't done my diary. I always record them just as I've always recorded all my interviews and speeches. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 748773

No medieval monarch in the whole of British history ever had such power as every modern British Prime Minister has in his or her hands. Nor does any American President have power approaching this — Tony Benn

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Britain is the only colony in the British Empire and it is up to us now to liberate ourselves. — Tony Benn

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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. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 194369

We have been in recess since July, and during that time there have been a fuel crisis, a Danish no vote, the collapse of the Euro and a war in the middle east, but what is our business tomorrow? The Insolvency Bill [Lords]. It ought be called the Bankruptcy Bill [Commons], because we play no role. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 175864

I think there are two ways in which people are controlled. First of all frighten people and secondly, demoralise them. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 128468

Having served in eleven Parliaments, it would be difficult to describe this as a maiden speech. It would be like Elizabeth Taylor appearing at her next wedding in a white gown. — Tony Benn

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In developing our industrial strategy for the period ahead, we have the benefit of much experience. Almost everything has been tried at least once — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 107598

If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 86421

I've made every mistake - but mistakes are how you learn. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 86395

I've had a very full life, and I've enjoyed it very much. I've learned a great deal and feel indebted to all the people who have worked so hard. — Tony Benn

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I'm not frightened about death. I don't know why, but I just feel that at a certain moment your switch is switched off, and that's it. And you can't do anything about it. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1309386

The Establishment decided Thatcher's ideas were safer with a strong Blair government than with a weak Major government. We are given all these personalities to choose between to disguise the fact that the policies are the same. — Tony Benn

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We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values. — Tony Benn

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I don't make mistakes. I make predictions which immediately turn out to be wrong. — Tony Benn

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Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains in essence intact. If the British people were ever to ask themselves what power they truly enjoyed under our political system they would be amazed to discover how little it is — Tony Benn

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The people who have sacrificed their view in order to get to the top have very often left no footprints in the sands of time. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1156300

Clement Attlee, who looked like a sadistic sanitary inspector... — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1097742

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. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1093087

The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1085083

I've been a member of the Labour Party sixty five years, and I remain in it, but I think it's all about campaigning for justice and peace, and if you do that, you get a lot of support. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1319620

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. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1056781

A letter today from a Mrs Gladys Freeman, 45 Sebastopol Terrace, Blackpool. 'Sir, reference the room you had here during the party conference season. Well, we know what it is. We know who done it. But for heaven's sake tell us where it is! — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 1005479

Democracy is not just voting every 5 years and watching 'Big Brother' in between and wondering why nothing happens. Democracy is what we do and say where we live and work — Tony Benn

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Undoubtedly the war with Iraq was a tragedy. I think it was also a crime. — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 901600

People would do well to ask themselves how many of their ambitions and aspirations derive from the type of economic system they inhabit and the insecurity and exhaustion it creates, and question the sense and purpose of a society where control of a large portion of life is abdicated under contract in the labour market, and where immense creativity and potential is stifled by the need to do difficult and repetitive tasks in order to earn a wage. — Tony Benn

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Although socialism is widely held by the establishment to be outdated, the things that are most popular in British society today are little pockets of socialism, where areas of life have been excluded from the crude operation of market forces and are protected for the benefit of the community — Tony Benn

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It is tempting to deny, but if you deny you confirm what you won't deny. — Tony Benn

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If I rescued a child from drowning, the press would no doubt headline the story: 'Benn grabs child — Tony Benn

Tony Benn Quotes 824574

I've got four lovely children, ten lovely grandchildren, and I left parliament to devote more time to politics, and I think that what is really going on in Britain is a growing sense of alienation. People don't feel anyone listens to them. — Tony Benn

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I'd rather die on my feet making a speech than die of Alzheimer's - and that's what I'm planning to do. — Tony Benn