Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tony Benn gives the Weatherill Lecture

The Weatherill Lecture is named after Bernard Weatherill (25 November 1920 – 6 May 2007), the former speaker of the House of Commons. He was the Conservative MP for Croydon North East between 1964-92. The Weatherill Lecture will be an annual event organsied by a group of his Croydon friends who have formed The Weatherill Society. Tony Benn's lecture was on 'Citizenship and Integrity in Public Life'. Upon entering Croydon Parish Church, the venue for the event, those attending, which numbered around 300, were given a handout. The first paragraph notes....

The newly founded Society was initiated by a group of his Croydon friends who, having attended his memorial service in Westminster Abbey agreed that all of his fine "old fashioned" principals of honesty, integrity, decency and compassion are essential ingredients of a civilized society, The Weatherill Society will promote the qualities and virtues that he personified so that future generations might share his vision and values of public service not self service.
....powerful stuff and very appropriate for these times.

Revd Canon Colin J Luke Boswell introduced Tony Benn. The Vicar highlighted that Tony Benn got his inspiration from Marx and the Bible. Mr Benn then gave the lecture. He noted the major landmarks in the history of the Houses of Parliament alongside technological advances, and related these to his life, and the life of his father, grandfather and great grandfather.

After his speech the floor was open for questions.

I put my hand up and got a chance to ask him:

You were introduced as getting your inspiration from Marx; you mentioned in your lecture you were born in 1925. If Anthony Wedgewood Benn was not born in 1925 but in 1992 - and was 18 years of age - and decided to pursue a career in politics, which political party would he join?

I heard an audible teehee from the floor. To my dismay he answered the Labour Party, but he did go on to list what Marx teaches us.

For more info: weatherillsociety@yahoo.co.uk

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