Tony Benn Quotes



Best 30 Quotes by Tony Benn

“A faith is something you die for, a doctrine is something you kill for. There is all the difference in the world.”

“All war represents a failure of diplomacy.”

“An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.”

“Britain is the only colony in the British Empire and it is up to us now to liberate ourselves.”

“Choice depends on the freedom to choose and if you are shackled with debt you don’t have the freedom to choose.”

“Having served for nearly half a century in the House of Commons, I now want more time to devote to politics and more freedom to do so.”

“Hope is the fuel of progress and fear is the prison in which you put yourself.”

“I made every mistake in the book, but making mistakes is how you learn.

I would be ashamed if I ever said anything I didn’t believe in, to get on personally.”

“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.”

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

“Ideas are more powerful than guns.”

“If I had rescued a child from drowning, the national press would no doubt have headlined the story 'Benn grabs child'.”

“If the world ate the grain instead of feeding it to animals and killing them, there would be enough food for everybody.”

“If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.”

“If you can have full employment by killing Germans, why can’t we have full employment by building hospitals, building schools?”

“In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions.

If one meets a powerful person – Adolf Hitler, Joseph 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.”

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“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.”

“Men who would rather go to jail than betray what they believe to be their duty to their fellow workers and the principles which they hold.”

“Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.”

“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.”

“The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians.”

“The key to any progress is to ask the question why? All the time.

Why is that child poor? Why was there a war? Why was he killed? Why is he in power?

And of course questions can get you into a lot of trouble, because society is trained by those who run it, to accept what goes on.

Without questions we won't make any progress at all.”

“The Labour Party's never been a socialist party, but it's always had socialists in it, just as there are some Christians in the Church, it's an exact parallel.”

“The Poles have had the courage to stand up to the Kremlin. The British people must now stand up to the Pentagon and close all their nuclear bases here.”

“The way change occurs to begin with, if you come up with a good idea, like healthcare, you're ignored.

If you go on you must be mad, absolutely stark-staring bonkers. If you go on after that you're dangerous.

Then, if the pressure keeps up there's a pause. And then you can't find anyone at the top who doesn't claim to have thought of it in the first place.

That's how progress is made.”

“The word 'socialism' on my poster has not lost me a single vote. People will support you if you're serious.

My complaint about the Labour movement is that it hasn't done any teaching for 40 years; it has always been on the defensive.

Thatcher was successful because she was a teacher. Her values, of course, were rotten.”

“There is no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. Both kill innocent people for political reasons.”

“What we lack in Government is entrepreneurial ability.”

“When we have a majority we will do it. I think the days of the Lords are quite genuinely numbered.”

“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?”

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“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.”


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