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Eavis and Bragg pay tribute to Tony Benn

By | Published on Monday 17 March 2014

Tony Benn

Michael Eavis and Billy Bragg have both paid tribute to long-serving parliamentarian and outspoken left-winger Tony Benn, who passed away last week aged 88. Benn, like Bragg, was a regular at the Left Field area of the Glastonbury Festival.

In a statement published on the Glastonbury website, Eavis said: “Tony Benn achieved legendary status in his own lifetime as he fought to improve the lot of the working class people of this country. As a politician he presented his arguments in such a way that even his opponents couldn’t resist his charm. We were very privileged to have him starring at the Left Field political forum on so many occasions. His absence this year will be really sad”.

Bragg, meanwhile, posted to Facebook from Australia, where he is on tour, writing: “Tony was responsible for educating me about the English radical tradition. During the miner’s strike, he gave me a copy of his 1984 book ‘Writings On The Wall: A Radical And Socialist Anthology 1215-1984’. Having got most of my politics from pop music, it was a real eye opener, not only introducing me to the Levellers and the Diggers, but the Luddites and the Chartists too”.

He went on: “I heard him speak many times since then and he never failed to connect whatever issue he was talking about with the tradition of radical dissent both here and abroad. When he spoke at Left Field last year he was frail, but still had that fire in his belly that inspired so many of us over the years. His loss will be keenly felt. I shall raise a pint of tea to him tonight here in Australia and hope that I may emulate him by becoming more radical as I grow older”

And here is Benn speaking at the Leftfield Stage in 2008: