Tony Benn 1925-2014 : Victory to the Miners : Trafalgar Sq : London

jezc-t_benn077

Tony Benn, the famed British politician of ‘the Left’ has died today at the age of 88.

In many ways I admired him, especially as I was getting interested in politics as a youth. He appeared conviction driven and idealistic. He really was a fantastic old school orator and as the current Labour Leader Ed Milliband said today: ‘he was a tireless defender of the powerless’.

The current Conservative Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron spoke warmly of him…… even though clearly Cameron could have supported virtually not a word Tony Benn ever uttered . Tony Benn was an old school socialist deeply steeped in the ‘hard left’ of the Labour Party and the Trade Union Movement.

He was once the undisputed leader of the radical left and completely hated and feared by many on the political right and especially hated by some right wing Labour types who blame him for splitting their party. But he has been irrelevant in British politics for 20 years at least. He made no working compromise with Tony Blair so he had been condemned to wander as a lone voice outside the mainstream. In the wilderness of small protests and meetings often railing against the ‘Spin Doctors of New Labour’ . Even the Liberal Leader Nick Clegg has recently secured free school dinners through his alliance with the Conservatives benefitting poor children throughout the land. Politics has to be to some extent “The art of the possible”. I can’t help thinking Benn might have achieved more for the people he wanted to assist if he had been able to make some compromise with the ‘New Labour’ of Tony Blair. But Benn stayed away and pure to his own approach.

In his passing it appears he is now admired by all as a man of conviction, and that has to be who he was. Not a modern technocrat political type but an old school believer, remembered with a certain rose tinted glow for his ideology, oratory and passion, non of which is really a big feature of British politics any more.

I look back on him with affection. Certainly he helped me as a youth and others of my generation to dream of a fairer society and encouraged us to be active and think politically. Through my engagement with active politics and protest I went on to become a photojournalist.

I made this photograph above exactly 30 years ago ………. At a ‘Victory to the Miners’ march and rally in Trafalgar Square during ‘The Great Strike’ ……… The Miners Strike of 1984/5 ……. It was in many ways the last stand of old style trade union power against Mrs Thatcher’s brand of free market economics and state power, eventually the Miners and their powerful National Union of Mineworkers were broken ……….. That for me, looking back now, really signaled the end of any real potential that Tony Benn might actually come to power.

Cheers Jez XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

[ 17 ] comments

  • I love it that even Cameron feels he has to say something nice about Tony Benn makes me laugh. RIP Tony Benn you were a giant compared to todays pigmy politicians.

    Karl Marx @ March 16, 2014, 8:22 am

  • Yes i guess its a nice tradition to say something nice about even your political enemies at their death …….. given that Cameron can say something nice about someone he appears to respect as a worthy enemy …….. it was kind of shocking to hear Joe Hain once a Labour spin doctor type from the 70’s spewing bile about what a disloyal, vindictive, devisive role he thought Benn had played …… he clearly blamed Benn for the break away SDP and the 18 years of Tory government that followed all of that 70’s and 80’s disunity …… and whats more he still clearly hated Tony Benn…….. It was weird to hear him …… even on the day of Benn’s death still holding the grudge for his former ‘comrade’ hehehe…….. come on man move on :-)) XXXXXXXXXCheers Jez XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Jezblog London :-))))) XXXXX @ March 16, 2014, 10:22 am

  • http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/14/hungary-law-photography-permission-take-pictures

    Harv.! @ March 17, 2014, 1:04 pm

  • I saw that law was coming………. sadly Hungary is tipping into becoming a police state………. this is just the icing on the cake ……. tragic that some of Eastern Europe and Russia are slipping away from the chance of exsercising ordinary freedoms ……. like press freedom……. free speech ……. and the ordinary right to photograph police as they kick the crap out of protesters……… depressing………. And Hungary is taking it to a new level were reportage photography is specifically illegal…….. in the land of Robert Capa……… tragic stuff……..Cheers Bro Jez XXXXXXXX

    PS…….. when is your pic featured on the image story? I have checked it again today ??? :-))))))) XXXXXXXXXXXX


    Jezblog London :-))))) XXXXX @ March 17, 2014, 7:27 pm

  • Hey Jez, hope all is well ?
    Yeah, theimagestory.com are publishing my image this Thursday, 20th…nice idea for a site, you should contact them and send them a picture.


    Harv.! @ March 17, 2014, 9:15 pm

  • Oops…they made a mistake it’s tomorrow, Friday 21st
    good job I didn’t tell the world it was today…oh wait, I did, lol.


    Harv.! @ March 20, 2014, 1:01 pm

  • Anyone seen Jez??.. :?)

    PaulS @ March 29, 2014, 4:58 pm

  • Come in number 7 your time is up :-))) ….. I finally posted something new :-))) XX cheers bro Jez XXX

    Jezblog at midnight London @ April 2, 2014, 12:11 pm

  • It feels this picture was actually posted during the Miner’s Strike.

    Lee @ March 30, 2014, 4:52 am

  • There weirdly is a new pic on Jezblog….. Sorry I was having a seismic pause ….. Hehehe…. :-)))) XX

    Jezblog at midnight London @ April 2, 2014, 11:53 am

  • I’ve put up a new blog …. Weirdly I see British Coal the biggest mining company says today it might have to be shut down :-/ :-/// :-)))))) XXX

    Jezblog at midnight London @ April 2, 2014, 12:13 pm

  • Is there anybody out there?

    Rodger Waters xx @ April 1, 2014, 9:36 am

  • Is there anybody out there?
    Is there anybody out there?
    Is there anybody out there?
    Is there anybody out there?


    Jezblog at midnight London @ April 2, 2014, 11:58 am

  • The lights are on… but no one’s home…

    Robert Palmer…. @ April 1, 2014, 9:54 am

  • “Addicted To Love”The lights are on, but you’re not home
    Your mind is not your own
    Your heart sweats, your body shakes
    Another kiss is all it takes

    You can’t sleep, you can’t eat
    There’s no doubt, you’re in deep
    Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe
    Another kiss is all you need

    Whoa, you would like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh, yeah
    It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough,
    You’re gonna have to face it—you’re addicted to love

    You see the signs, that you can’t read
    You’re running at a different speed
    Your heart beats double time
    Another kiss and you’ll be mine,

    A one-track mind, you can’t be saved
    ‘Cause baby your love is all you crave
    If there’s some left, left for you
    Then you don’t mind if you do

    Whoa, you would like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh, yeah
    It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough,
    You’re gonna have to face it—you’re addicted to love

    Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love [5x]

    The lights are on, but you’re not home
    Your will is not your own
    Your heart sweats, your teeth grind
    Another kiss and you’ll be mine

    Whoa, you would like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh, yeah
    It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough,
    You’re gonna have to face it—you’re addicted to love

    Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love .

    :-))) xXXX


    Jezblog at midnight London @ April 2, 2014, 12:03 pm

  • Glad to hear you are still alive Mr.C! …and that you remember the lyrics… Hope all is good with you? Px

    Paul Close @ April 2, 2014, 12:51 pm

  • All is good bro…. I’ve been making giant prints not only messing in the digital space…. But I’m rolling to Vietnam on Sunday …. Hope all is good with you :-)))) XX

    Jezblog London :-))) XX @ April 3, 2014, 5:18 am

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