Chewing my keyboard

Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm off to see Tony, Tooonnnyyyy Benn...

First, I'd like to share these links with anyone not on the LDYS forums. The first is hysterical, the second is mildly entertaining but mostly for the music.

Yesterday, Tony Benn spoke at the Bristol Council House to a Stop the War meeting. Everyone commented on how everyone was so fired up by the cause that they'd filled an extra room with 200 people they didn't expect. However, I think many of the attendees were probably there for the reason I was - to see Tony Benn. That said, I agreed with almost everything they said about the reason for the Iraq elections, Iran, erosion of British civil liberties... We do need to be careful how and how quickly we withdraw troops though; after all, I'm sure American capitalism is better than a result in which Tony Blair suddenly took all the troops out to appease the domestic voter and then our TV screens were full of starving Iraqis who didn't have replacement infrastructure and the country fell apart into civil war. We just need to be sure that the long-term aim is that they ARE going to pull out, and in such a way that they don't generate resentment that boils over into sudden civil war (like a sensitive and non-messed-up withdrawal is likely to happen under Bush)...

I don't agree with Tony Benn necessarily that the US foreign policy is being driven by big business - apparently their environmental policy isn't. A US academic who came to lecture at the Geog department last term told us that most big businesses realise that if the environment f**ks up, it will affect their profits and they need to adapt to a changing business situation (e.g. some of the big oil companies switching to selling 'energy' not just fossil fuels). However, the neo-con government is driving forwards a prolifigate environmental policy anyway. As an aside, for those of you who still remember the US presidentials with a furrow in your brow and a tear in your eye, This Land is our Land is quite entertaining (although now dated).

Humorous moments - running the gauntlet of sellers of 'The Socialist', 'Socialist Worker', etc. on the concourse to the council building, and the Bristol Socialist Choir singing The Internationale before the event started (they were very good).

Best quote - "When you first say a sensible thing, people ignore you. If you carry on saying it then they say you're crazy. If you persist on saying it after that then you become 'dangerous'. Then there's a pause. And then you can't find anyone higher up who doesn't claim they agreed with you all along" Tony Benn 2004 (taking off Ghandi IIRC).

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