That Hilary Benn speech

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So did you watch the Hilary Benn speech? Listen to it? The one where he was applauded roundly at the end by MPs from both Conservative and Labour benches? I’ve just replayed it on my laptop and I’m a bit puzzled.

 

  1. Everyone, even those who disagree with him, accept that it was a dazzling speech. Why, then, did two women MPs directly behind him spend much of their time texting and/or looking around them during it?
  2. He was reading from a script. He did so with great skill, making sure to maintain eye contact and use emphatic gestures, softening his voice to a near-whisper at some points, then soaring to an impassioned bellow the next. But he was reading off a pre-written speech, and delivering a speech that way is never as effective as delivering one that is note-free. Ask David Cameron – he got the Tory leadership by making an extended no-notes speech at his party conference.
  3. The content of Hilary’s speech was at times downright silly. For example, he said “Unlike Daish, none of us acts with the intention of harming civilians”.   Well doh. Hands up if you thought the bombing would deliberately target Syrian civilians? Right. That’s why killing civilians as well as combatants is referred to as “collateral damage”. It’s good that the bombers didn’t mean to do it. It’s bad that the civilians are/will be still dead.
  4. His recall of Britain’s proud record in standing up to fascism – Franco, Hitler, Mussolini – got the audience going nicely. But it wasn’t until he said “They think they’re superior to every single one of us in this chamber” and wagged his finger round the house that the MPs really began to get annoyed with Daesh and supportive of Hilary.

There are people who say it’s wrong – offensive, even – to believe that Hilary Benn’s speech would have been rejected completely by his father Tony Benn. Benn’s grand-daughter was one such: she said it was hurtful and disrespectful.  To which I say: Fiddlesticks. Of course Hilary is entitled to be his own man with his own views on events. But of course you think of Hilary’s lineage when he speaks – it’s impossible not to, such is the spooky resemblance between his father and him. And of course it was Hilary’s lineage that made it all the sweeter for the Tories to hear him support their line on bombing, and why they bayed “Heah, heah!” so loudly when he at last sat down. If it had been some ordinary Joe Soap or Mary Moisturiser who’d been speaking, the response would have been next to nil.

Finally, the speech was made with a view to showing his own party  and the Tories  what a properly dressed, properly compliant leader of the Labour Party looks and sounds like.

Nice one, Hilary.

 

22 Responses to That Hilary Benn speech

  1. jessica December 5, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    If we supposedly aspire to independence in ireland as many comments on this blog proclaim, they why are we so much more interested in the politics of Westminster than what goes on in our own back yard?

    Sorry for being a party pooper but I just couldn’t give a toss about the british labour party or mr Benn.

    Is it any wonder gio thinks it is more important for us to take seats in London than get involved in the politics of Dublin?

    And we call Fine Gael west brits? Any wonder they have no time for us in the north.

    • Jude Collins December 5, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      I think you’ll find Jessica that the great majority of blogs and comments on this site relate to Ireland north and/or south. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be interested in English politics, just as we’re interested in Scottish politics or US politics. If anything, we’re too insular – we ignore the injustice going on in so many places. I think it’s good that we got to Syria via Westminster…

      • jessica December 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

        “I think you’ll find Jessica that the great majority of blogs and comments on this site relate to Ireland north and/or south. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be interested in English politics, just as we’re interested in Scottish politics or US politics. If anything, we’re too insular – we ignore the injustice going on in so many places. I think it’s good that we got to Syria via Westminster”

        Thanks for the response Jude.

        I enjoy your blog site very much and find it very informative, easy to use and has a wonderful community of followers. By far the best Irish interest blog site in the internet.

        I also apologise for taking away from the topic in this thread, I do of course agree with you on the need to look at a wide range of human interest topics at a global level with an open mind.

        It just feels like an overdose of english affairs over the past week.

        To be honest, the westminster vote was totally alien to me, the ‘ayes to the left’ style speeches makes me cringe and the antics of those old fogies sickens me.
        I want nothing to do with them.

        There is only so much english affairs I can take before it gets up my nose.

        It would be nice to have some Irish current affairs topics to break it up. There is so much going on at the moment at home with the election campaign heating up.

        Keep up the good work and apologies again for interrupting the thread.

        • Jude Collins December 5, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

          No need to apologise, Jessica – you’re doing splendid work yourself. Why don’t you do a guest blog on a topic of your choice??

  2. Jim.hunter December 5, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    Great.story.jude.

    • Jude Collins December 5, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      Great.tragedy.Syria.Jim

      • Jim.hunter December 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

        It’s.is.a.tragedy.jude.

  3. paddykool December 5, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    I think Tony Benn would be affronted by his son’s speech. Pure and simple.Of course the man has the right to think for himself and have his own opinions but i very much doubt that daddy would have shared the sentiments he uttered.All that pissing down the great public’s back about fighting fascism in the past is what it is …pulling the patriotic , gung -ho strings….rubbing their good little bellies as to what good little boys and girls some of their own mummies and daddies were to go and fight in Spain …fight old Mussolini …fight Hitler …to protect their little island home from encroaching demagogues….This is hardly the same thing at all.What we are doing now is a bit of industrial sabre -rattling …bombing targets which will not change the hearts and minds of our ISIS foes. It will only encourage them to greater mayhem in the future and birth even more of them across the world.Sure it will show the world whose side the UK government is on but other than that it will only flatten a lot of buildings and probably kill a lot of defenceless civilians without the wherewithal to get out of the way. Eventually there’ll be UK soldiers on the ground and lads from Birmingham and Newcastle will be arriving home in body-bags like every other time . It’s easy to stand up in Parliament and encourage all of this with your lovely words when you don’t have to go and die for them or when your mother or father doesn’t have to bury their sons….when you will also be protected by an extra layer of security to make damn sure you’ll not be targeted . Meanwhile these mad cultists will continue to conspire in their death fantasies in the bedrooms of the world…popping up in small groups as in Paris , with a handfull of weapons to create more death and fear before getting themselves consigned to their fate in whatever mad romantic finale they might dream up.

  4. Iolar December 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Jessica,Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn and many other politicians addressed problems associated with discrimination and sectarianism in Ireland. They argued that the problem is not an Irish problem in the United Kingdom, but a British problem in Ireland, when it was not a popular choice for politicians. Pause for a moment and consider what some politicians were doing as Mr Benn and Mr Corbyn were articulating Human Rights abuses in Ireland.

    Some people suggest that the right wing administration has rectified all the problems associated with an economic crisis caused in the main by corruption and greed. The evidence suggests otherwise, the status of the banking inquiry, just before an election and events in the IFA. RTÉ will screen a programme on Monday 7 December 2015. Perhaps the state of the country is best articulated by the statement from an elected representative of the people,

    “What’s in it for me?”

    • jessica December 5, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      “Jessica,Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn and many other politicians addressed problems associated with discrimination and sectarianism in Ireland.”

      They had every right to lolar. Unlike Scotland where the union was a signed agreement based on financial arrangements, Ireland was taken by force with discrimination and sectarianism used as a tool to maintain minority control.

      There is no British problem in Ireland, the problem in Ireland is the british, and their continuing attempts at holding on to that minority control. But without the discrimination and sectarianism to back it up, that control will diminish further.

      Corruption has been and still is a major problem in Ireland. If the inquiry does its job, Fianna Fail will not fare well out of it.
      Decisions were made both from financial advisers and the in power politicians to benefit the bank balances of property investors of which how many in government also benefitted; decisions that were directly against the interests of the nation. I accept that every nation was at the same thing and it was a global problem, but I dont think any country milked it anywhere nearly as much as in Ireland and the reason we were unprotected to the level we were was the direct responsibility of the government of the day.

      Roll on its release

  5. michael c December 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Francie Molloy got pilloried for calling it as it is when he tweeted that the Brits were doing “what they do best”. Ironically I have seen Francie deliver stormers of speeches in South Derry whilst barely glancing every few minutes at the back of a cigarette packet!

    • jessica December 5, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

      “Francie Molloy got pilloried for calling it as it is when he tweeted that the Brits were doing “what they do best”. Ironically I have seen Francie deliver stormers of speeches in South Derry whilst barely glancing every few minutes at the back of a cigarette packet!”

      Well lets face it, Michael, he has a point.

      It takes a special type of mentality to bomb the energy supplies which are used to power the whole country of Syria, hospitals and schools included which will eventually send them back to the stone age.
      Sure, ISIS are in control of them, helped by weapons provided by the west to take them in the first place of course.

      Don’t get me wrong, Russia are as bad as the rest for supplying weapons into the area, but their plan of helping Assad to take them back seemed more humane than asking the UK to come in and destroy what is left of the infrastructure to ensure Assad is removed, regardless of the millions who will lose their lives, their homes and their country as a result.

      They will say it is about the threat to the UK, but that doesn’t make sense as destroying the lives of millions of people is an extremely aggressive action which can only ever lead to an extreme response.

      But, even if a few hundred people lose their lives within the UK, do they really care if they can assist the US in its strategic disruption of the middle east which is nullifying israels enemies and creating billions in the sales of armaments.

      England will do a good job is what I think he was saying.

      • neill December 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

        Of course I am sure you see the irony of SF and their supporters being against bombing campaigns?

        • jessica December 6, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

          Of course I am sure you see the irony of SF and their supporters being against bombing campaigns?

          I am afraid I don’t neill.
          Who was it that introduced bombs into the conflict here?
          Why should Sinn Fein not be against all forms of conflict having worked so hard to end conflict in Ireland?

          Why is it that unionists feel that the conflict here was so one sided?

          • neill December 6, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

            Jessica at best you are foolish at worst you are obdurate.

          • jessica December 7, 2015 at 9:26 am #

            “Jessica at best you are foolish at worst you are obdurate.”

            Please explain?

  6. Perkin Warbeck December 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    The Labour Party down here in the Freed Southern Stateen, Esteem Blogmeister, occupy, without exception, the same moral high ground as that of Hilary Benn.

    One wonders if the HB initials have anything to do with it. For most of the last century the FSS’s favourite ice-cream manufacturers were Hughes Brothers of Hazelbrook Farm of Rathfarnham. HB doubled as an acronym for both the brothers and their farm.

    All without exception, from Sandymount to Sandycove, in the Labour Party, which is located south of the Black Sow’s Dyke would have spent their childhoods licking the ices of HB. Thus, it takes but a short leap of the imagination to see them as adults backing those who pledge to, erm, ‘lick the ISIS of Sandyland’.

    (Admittedly, it would take more than a mere short leap of the imagination to imagine the Yawnaiste as a schoolgirl: better not go there. Certainly, if one nourishes even the remotest hope of being nominated for the Senate).

    Not too sure if HB ice cream ever got licked in Norneverland, EB, but during the late Fifties it produced one its most successful products ever: The Golly Bar. It was a single rectangular block of vanilla ice cream on a wooden stick.

    (Wooden sticks seem to be a recurring motif here and bad-minded folk might refer back to the Big Y above: Perkie is not one of them).

    The launch of The Golly Bar coincided with the release by Little Richard in 1958 of his monster hit ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’.

    In his naivety and in the isolation of Warbeck Towers, a short-panted Perkie Minor assumed there was a connection between the two events: wrong. It was not the last instance of such in what has thus far proved a long-trousered lifetime of wrong assumptions, going forward.

    In fact, from the very off, the packaging of The Golly Bar depicted the image of a Gollywog, derived from the 19th caricature of the blackface minstrel. It was not actually removed till as late as 1992 and shortly afterwards the brand name was changed to, erm, The Giant Bar. This new nomenclature might well have been a gesture of retrospective respect.

    For the following possible reason: the time-span 1958 to 1992 comfortably bookended the stellar political career of one, Dr. Conor Cruise O’Brain, he of the giant-sized intellect who steered the day-release Labour Party safely on the non-long and non-winding road which led to the UKUP party position, the party with no initial F (allegedly).

    Thus, the Tsar of Tolerance presided over the packaging of The Golly Bar without demur. Could it be –surely not ! –that it was the (gulp) Gollywog packaging which prompted – perish the very t. ! – his inspired branding of the Colaiste Einne cultural fascists as (gulp) ‘the Bogoak Monolith’.

    Besides, both Hazelbrook Farm and Pearse’s centre of excellence for extremists, Colaiste Eanna, were/ are located in the same South Dublin parish of Rathfarnham.

    One wonders if Hilary Benn, or indeed, CC O’Brain ever licked The Golly Bar? Both shared the Hazelbrook accent.

    To conclude with a quote from Tony Benn: ‘There is no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. Both kill innocent people for political purposes’.

    Or, TB, as Dr. Conor Cruise O’Brain preferred to refer to him. TB, indeed, was one of the main inspirations behind the campaign of the good Doktor’s stint as Minister of Stealth: to eradicate the scourge of TB and those infected with this thinking person’s affliction.

    This he (almost) achieved with this new wonder drug, codenamed Section 31, which was compulsorily rammed down the ears of the FSS, from the early, early morning to the early, early night when the Dirty, Thirty Year War and the BA might were both at their right height.

    Ta laethanta fos ann nuair a bhraitear uait An Barra Golai / There are still days all the same you’d be gumming for The Golly Bar.

    • Jude Collins December 5, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

      Tis many’s the mouthful of HB Ice-Cream has found its way into my digestive tract…

  7. Mark December 5, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    Pity his Father is passed away, he had the right to beat him.
    He was questioned the previous day regarding his support for war, and potential for murder of indigenous peoples in that area by Jon Snow, who further made the point that his opposition to his party leader had more to do with his own leadership ambition than support for war, I think he avoided the answer.

  8. ben madigan December 5, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    hope you all enjoy this wee satirical vid on the war in syria for the series ” we come in peace you end up in pieces”

    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/no-terrorist-sympathizers-in-westminster/

  9. michael c December 6, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Jessica ,you seem to miss my point.I fully support Francie and the reference to “glancing at the back of a cigarette packet” refers to his ability to deliver a good speech with next to no notes.

  10. Mitchel December 8, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Benn should have resigned – once against strikes on Syria, now a supporter!