Live Review: Tony Benn and Roy Bailey

26 Mar

Komedia: Tuesday, March 16, 2012

Tony Benn and Roy Bailey – Komedia

Two flames burn in the breast, quoted Tony Benn; The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope for the future. This theory, according to the long-serving former Labour MP, provides the twin tenets for progress and the vision for change.

It was also the compelling theme for this evening of socialist history, politics and rousing song.

Benn has just about called correctly every big political decision over the past 50 years. From supporting the miners, opposing the single currency, fighting the poll tax and campaigning against the war in Iraq, history is on his side.

But, despite being 86, his speeches here were far from valedictory, rather they were a history lesson spanning 700 years devoted to showing why people must continue to campaign and fight against the prevailing political consensus of the day to improve the lot of future generations.

Benn’s impassioned views were perfectly complimented by the softer, amiable personality of Roy Bailey. The celebrated folk-singer’s presence may be akin to that of a favourite older relative (he’s 76), but as soon as he sings about the struggles of the working classes throughout the ages, he conveys deep compassion for those at the bottom of the pile and, at times, seething condemnation of the powers that be

As powerful, persuasive and downright entertaining as these two ar.e, they are not going to be around for ever and it’s glaringly obvious that there is no-one in the current Labour movement who fosters the level of admiration and support that Benn does.

The present generation of Labour politicians would do well to ditch their grey suits and focus groups, and listen to passion and wisdom of Benn and Bailey before it’s too late.

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