If democracy is ever to be threatened, it will not be by revolutionary groups burning government offices and occupying the broadcasting and newspaper offices of the world. It will come from disenchantment, cynicism and despair caused by the realisation that the New World Order means we are all to be managed and not represented.— Tony Benn
The most sensitive Tony Benn quotes that are little-known but priceless
The way a government treats refugees is very instructive.
If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.
If one meets a powerful person--Adolf Hitler, Joe 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?
When I saw how the European Union was developing, it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic. In Britain, you vote for a government so the government has to listen to you, and if you don't like it you can change it.
The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it - a bit like Christians in the Church of England.
There may be a legal obligation to obey, but there will be no moral obligation to obey. When it comes to history, it will be the people who broke the law for freedom who will be remembered and honoured.
I do not share the general view that market forces are the basis for political liberty. Every time I see a homeless person living in a cardboard box in London, I see that person as a victim of market forces. Everytime I see a pensioner who cannot manage, I know that he is a victim of market forces
We are paying a heavy political price for 20 years in which, as a party, we have played down our criticism of capitalism and soft-peddled our advocacy of socialism
It is not surprising that more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the ballot box is no longer an instrument that will secure political solutions... They can see that the parliamentary democracy we boast of is becoming a sham.
The Establishment decided Thatcher's ideas were safer with a strong Blair government than with a weak Major government. We are given all these personalities to choose between to disguise the fact that the policies are the same.
Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment;
photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.
Well, it all began with Democracy. Before we had the vote all the power was in the hands of rich people. If you had money you could get health care, education, look after yourself when you were old, and what democracy did was to give the poor the vote and it moved power from the marketplace to the polling station, from the wallet...to the ballot.
No medieval monarch in the whole of British history ever had such power as every modern British Prime Minister has in his or her hands. Nor does any American President have power approaching this
I think the truth is that the Labour Party isn't believed any more because people suspect it will say anything to get votes. The rebuilding of some radical alternatives to Thatcherism - and by that I mean all-party Thatcherism - will require us to do some very difficult things
The Marxist analysis has got nothing to do with what happened in Stalin's Russia: it's like blaming Jesus Christ for the Inquisition in Spain.
We have been in recess since July, and during that time there has been a fuel crisis, a Danish no vote, the collapse of the euro and a war in the middle east, but what is our business tomorrow? The Insolvency Bill [Lords]. It ought to be called the Bankruptcy Bill [Commons], because we play no role.
All war represents a failure of diplomacy.
I don't believe in the hereditary principle in the House of Lords.
Imagine going to the dentist, sitting in the chair and he says, 'I'm not a dentist myself, but my father was a dentist and his father before him. Now, open wide!
It's the same each time with progress.
First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you.
Through talk, we tamed kings, restrained tyrants, averted revolution
The First World War created the Second World War because that was a war between three grandsons of Queen Victoria: The King of England, the Kaiser and the Tsar married Queen Victoria's granddaughter. And that triggered Communism in Russia and Fascism in Germany and led to the Second World War.
The House of Lords is the British Outer Mongolia for retired politicians.
There is no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber.
Both kill innocent people for political reasons.
I opposed the Suez war, I opposed the Falklands war.
I opposed the Libyan bombing and I opposed the Gulf war and I never believed that any of those principled arguments lost a single vote - indeed, I think they gained support though that was not why you did it. What has been lacking in Labour politics over a long period is a principled stand
The people who have sacrificed their view in order to get to the top have very often left no footprints in the sands of time.
I'd rather die on my feet making a speech than die of Alzheimer's - and that's what I'm planning to do.
I'm interested in language. We used to call it the War Office. Then it became the Ministry of Defence. We used to talk about the hydrogen bomb, now we talk about a deterrent. And the language is very cleverly constructed to give the impression that it's not what it is.
We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values.
Choice depends on the freedom to choose and if you are shackled with debt you don't have the freedom to choose.
The New York Times said, "There are two superpowers in the world: the United States and the world peace movement."
Some of the jam we thought was for tomorrow, we've already eaten
When I think of Cool Britannia I think of old people dying of hypothermia.
If you read Mein Kampf, Hitler's book, which I have outside, I bought it when I was eleven, Hitler said, "democracy inevitably leads to Marxism" - now you work that one out. It's so interesting that when the poor have the vote they will use it to remove the privileges of the rich.
If you file your waste-paper basket for fifty years, you have a public library.
A faith is something you die for, a doctrine is something you kill for.
There is all the difference in the world.
I see myself as an old man and an unqualified teacher to the nation.
I think being a teacher is probably the most important thing you can be in politics.
I think if journalists were responsible for international policy we'd have a nuclear war every week.
Nelson Mandela was a terrorist. And then he wins the world peace prize and becomes president of South Africa. That's how change happens. It's very important not to differentiate protest from the democratic process.
I am not a reluctant peer but a persistent commoner
Middle class Labour leaders are recaptured by the establishment when they die.
The crisis that we inherit when we come to power will be the occasion for fundamental change and not the excuse for postponing it
Through me the energy policy of the whole Common Market is being held up.
Without opening old wounds, it pleases me no end.
My alternative to American superpower is the UN and I might add when China becomes the worlds greatest superpower you will need it too.
Although socialism is widely held by the establishment to be outdated, the things that are most popular in British society today are little pockets of socialism, where areas of life have been excluded from the crude operation of market forces and are protected for the benefit of the community
I have had the advantage of a radical Christian upbringing
If ever I left the House of Commons it would be because I wanted to spend more time on politics.
I really think in the Commonwealth of Europe you should have Russia.
I listed a hundred countries that would be in it and it would then be a really European United Nations.
I've been a member of the Labour Party sixty five years, and I remain in it, but I think it's all about campaigning for justice and peace, and if you do that, you get a lot of support.
If the Queen can reject the advice of a minister on a little thing like a postage stamp, what would happen if she rejected the advice of the Prime Minister on a major matter? If the Crown personally can reject advice, then, of course, the whole democratic facade turns out to be false