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By Tony Benn

The Benn Diaries, embracing the years 1940-1990, are already tested as a uniquely authoritative, attention-grabbing and readable list of political existence. the chosen highlights that shape this single-volume version comprise the main extraordinary occasions, arguments and private reflections all through Benn's lengthy and noteworthy profession as a number one politician.

The narrative starts off with Benn as a schoolboy and takes the reader via his younger wartime studies as a trainee pilot, his fearful pleasure as a brand new MP in the course of Clement Atlee's premiership and the tribulations of Labour within the Nineteen Fifties, whilst the Conservatives have been in enterprise regulate. It ends with the Tories back in energy, yet at the eve of Margaret Thatcher's fall, whereas Tony Benn is on a undertaking to Baghdad sooner than the upcoming Gulf War.

Over the span of 50 years, the private and non-private turmoil in British and international politics is recorded as Benn himself strikes from wartime carrier to develop into the child of the home, cupboard Minister, and eventually the Commons' such a lot senior Labour Member.

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Monday thirteen July This afternoon Dick Crossman went to determine Harold and he advised Dick that he used to be going to make me Postmaster-General, supply me an opportunity there for eighteen months after which to the Ministry of shipping. i've got no proposal no matter if this can be actual or now not (not Dick’s tale, in fact, yet Harold’s intention). whether it is, I don’t imagine there’s a lot aspect in sweating my guts out on shipping coverage among now and the Election. I’ll borrow a ebook at the publish place of work and take it on vacation as an alternative. it'd be a finest activity to have and if I bought it it'd be attributable totally to the memorandum I wrote to Harold final October. Such are the uncertainties of politics. however it is the 1st time that it has even been indicated formally that i'm going to get something. Thursday sixteen July To the Commons and commenced searching through all of the books at the publish place of work. lots of the histories have been written within the final century or the Nineteen Twenties. It confirms my effect that the GPO has no longer (except almost certainly while Marples used to be PMG) been an updated, go-ahead employer. Friday 17 July Caroline and that i went to Durham and attended the pre-Gala dinner. additionally there have been Harold Wilson, Frank Cousins, Will Paynter, Sam Watson and others. At dinner i'll pay attention Sam asking Harold who will be doing what within the Labour executive and that i might simply pay attention Harold giving a few names. Afterwards while i used to be on my own Harold got here as much as me and stated, ‘Tony, i presumed it'd be worthy for those who knew that i need you to be Postmaster-General within the govt. ’ I wasn’t, in fact, in any respect shocked, given that Dick had informed me this on Monday. it's a activity i might a great deal wish to have, yet doubtless Harold notion i might be very dissatisfied at no longer being Minister of shipping to which i may kind of lay a few declare and which had with a bit of luck been anticipated via the entire papers predicting the govt. he could organize. He additionally knew that it was once no longer a cupboard activity and hence went out of his solution to repeat what he had acknowledged ahead of to me, that this used to be just for eighteen months. ‘My actual cupboard can be made in 1966 – simply as Clem’s used to be made in 1947,’ he acknowledged. He instructed me that Frank Cousins will be Minister of shipping and he additionally advised me the names of a few different appointments. Frank Soskice for the house workplace (if he lives), Tony Greenwood for the Colonies, Sir Hugh Foot (with a peerage) to the UN, Gerald Gardiner at the Woolsack, Peggy Herbison at Pensions, Barbara citadel (in the cupboard) at abroad reduction. I requested concerning the Assistant Postmaster common and he acknowledged that it might be Joe Slater, his PPS, who's really nice. Roy Mason is to head as Minister of country shared among Dick Crossman at schooling and technological know-how and the Minister of Labour to house retraining. Dick’s different Ministers are to be Reg Prentice for colleges and Lord Bowden for universities. Harold under pressure that i'd be the one one of many newbies to be head of a division, ie a departmental Minister of cupboard rank, even though outdoor the cupboard, and that he idea that may be very important with college of the Air to release and the Giro procedure to introduce.

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