‘Everyone who knew Tony Benn will remember above all, I hope, his sense of fun and his irreverence towards authority. I have tried to reflect this aspect of his character in this collection through the inclusion, between the serious argument, of extracts from his diaries that show this mischievous side, which did not desert him despite periods of extreme political stress. In 1990 he and fellow MP Jeremy Corbyn slipped down into the Crypt chapel of the House of Commons armed with a Black & Decker drill, rawlplugs and screws to attach a brass plaque commemorating Emily Wilding Davison to the door of the cupboard where she hid in 1911. No permission was sought, or granted, of course, and the plaque is now part of parliamentary folklore.’
The Best of Tony Benn: Edited By R Winstone, Arrow Books, (2014), Page xiii-xiv.
Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn take direct political action. The British Suffragette movement was led by middle class women who had a varying attitude toward Socialism and Communism. Emmeline Pankhurst, for instance, travelled to Revolutionary Russia to tell the Bolsheviks that they were traitors to humanity – whilst they countered by reminding her of her privileged ‘white’ middle class upbringing – and the fact that she did not understand ‘class politics’. Sylvia Pankhurst (Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughter), by way of contrast, fully embraced Communism to advance the cause of women’s rights, and exchanged letters with Lenin.