Tony Benn and the Idea of Participation - Professor Vernon Bogdanor

19 Apr 2013 50:26 31
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Tony Benn has been the most prominent modern spokesman of the movement for participatory democracy. It was he who secured the right of hereditary peers to renounce their titles, the right of the people to vote on membership of the Common Market in the referendum of 1975, and the right of Labour Party members to choose their leader and reselect their MPs. Yet, in the Britain of the 21st century, turnout is lower than it has ever been and the desire to participate seems at a discount, especially amongst the young. Did Benn misunderstand the attitudes of the British people?

This is a part of the lecture series, Making the Weather: Six politicians who shaped our age.
Winston Churchill wrote of Joseph Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary at the beginning of the 20th century, that, even though he never became Prime Minister, he 'made the weather', meaning that he played a crucial role in shaping the political agenda of his day. These lectures discuss six postwar politicians, none of whom became Prime Minister, but who, like Joseph Chamberlain, also made the weather and so helped to shape the age in which we live.

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website. There are currently nearly 1,500 lectures free to access or download from the website.

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