Friday, 19 November 2004

Dear old Tony

Most people’s names get longer as they get older, accumulating titles and decorations and perhaps dropping their abbreviated childish names for a more impressive full version.

But Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn became the 2nd Viscount Stansgate and finally Tony Benn, now not even with MP after his name since he resigned his seat “to devote more time to politics”.

How good it was to see the old rogue, interviewed yesterday on Channel Four News, still in cracking form at 79! It was a brilliant idea to get him to talk about Prince Charles’ pronouncements on education and society, which he gently dismissed, and to get him to respond with a few coolly contemptuous words to Chris Woodhead’s toadying comments about them. The discredited Woodhead looks increasingly irritable these days; his hopes of a K must have nearly gone by now and parroting Charles’ Edwardian views is hardly likely to revive them.

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