Tony Benn 1925-2014

I guess a lot of people are going to be scratching around today looking for profound things to say about Tony Benn.

Me? I’ve just a got simple little story to tell.

Many years ago, when I first got involved in political campaigning, the group I was involved with at the time did the usual thing of writing to a few MPs asking for messages of support and from all of those that bothered to respond at all we got the usual typewritten-by-the-bag-carrier bunch of non-committal waffle on a House of Commons letterhead with an obviously stamped ‘signature’ on the bottom.

All except Tony Benn, who sent us a short handwritten note exhorting us to keep up the good work and a five pound note to add to our meagre campaign funds.

It’s not the most profound of observations, perhaps, but in a era when politics and politicians have become ever more remote and distant from the people they’re supposed to serve, Tony Benn kept things personal, just as he did all those years ago when he took the time to send us that handwritten note – and I liked that.

I liked that a lot.