Quote: Tony Benn's Five Questions for the Powerful


Tony Benn, who died yesterday at the age of 88, was my favourite left-wing politician. It was only after he died that I discovered his close connection with my hometown Irvine, from which his maternal grandparents came. Of course, as a leftist he had many blind spots, not least about mass immigration and multiculturalism, but he had good instincts about some things, such as his opposition to the EU and American global hegemony. He was also an interesting and entertaining speaker. One of his best quotes was his succinct Five Questions for the Powerful:

"If one meets a powerful person - Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler - one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system."

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