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Friday, 14 March 2014

Tony Benn - 3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014

Whenever I am asked if I have a personal hero I usually reply that I don’t go for the concept.
Partially this is because the term itself has been diluted over the years to such a ridiculous extent that it virtually has no real meaning.
Martyrs for a cause that benefited many were/are heroes, self sacrifice in certain cases can be heroic, the paramedics and fire fighters who run into burning buildings are definitely heroes, but instead, in the main, we have pop stars, and z list celebrities who have come out of the other side of a manufactured relationship dubbed as heroes, and as the media readily do this they then diminish the endeavours of the former, while elevating the mundane lives of the latter, until ultimately the word hero means very little at all.

Yet if I am to be completely honest I will admit that while I say I don’t prescribe to the concept I am actually telling a lie, because if I am pushed on it then my gut reaction has always been to name Tony Benn.

Some claim him to be the best prime minister that this country never had, but we all know that there was no way a man such as he would have ever risen to that level within politics.
Not because he fell short of what was required to do the job, but because he held tightly to so many positive and admirable characteristics while promoting compassion and equality.
And those two qualities mentioned are pretty much unwanted traits in a leader. (Not from the people I expect, but from within the bubble that is Westminster politics.)
So of course while anyone with a lick of common sense knows that this is wrong, fundamentally wrong, we do live in an era that seems to consider both as weaknesses rather than strengths, and we only have to look about us to see where that has brought us.
It has led us to instead of having a man at the helm that may have been a catalyst for great social change, we get a procession of smiling psychopaths advocating war and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

However I couldn't say that his not assuming the role of prime minister is something that could diminish who he was.
He was much bigger than that.

I could go on at length about his life, but the question I really have to answer is why is it that I personally, and so many others, lean towards bestowing the hero tag on this man?

Well I suppose I could start by listing his many achievements and it would be rather obvious, but today the internet and the media will be awash with them, and instead I will keep it simple and say it is because he cared.
That’s it.
He simply cared for you, and me.
He wanted what was best for us all, and over decades never stopped pushing to make a better world a reality.
He worked tirelessly every single day to achieve this, and would not tolerate setting his ideals aside.
In some ways I suppose he was akin to a father figure to. 
A parent who loved his children and wanted to give them the tools and opportunities to better themselves, and to create a world that everyone without exception could flourish in.

Now that’s a hero.
That’s someone that fully deserves the plaudit.
A man who was an example to others and practised what he preached on a daily basis.
A caring man with the heart of a lion.
A real hero.

Today I will mourn his passing, but tomorrow lets build a better future in his memory.


  1. Thanks.
    Jim of The Puzzlers was saying about how you can miss someone you didn't actually know and in this case he is spot on.