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Honorary Degree Orations

 

The Right Honourable Mr Tony Benn

Public Orator, Professor Ken Parsons presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Friday 20 July at 10.30am

Chancellor, honoured guests, graduands, ladies and gentlemen

Tony Benn, retired from the House of Commons in May 2001, after fifty years in Parliament, the longest serving Labour MP in the history of the party.

He is a dedicated and outspoken supporter of parliamentary democracy and is the father, son and grandson of members of Parliament.

On his retirement from the house he declared that he wanted to devote more time to politics.

He was born in 1925, served as an RAF pilot from 1943 to 1945, was a BBC producer from 1949 to 1950 and remains a regular broadcaster. Anyone who watched the recent television interviews, by Tony Benn, of established News presenters such as John Humphreys, Jon Snow and Jeremy Paxman would immediately see who was the master and who were the pupils.

Tony was MP for Bristol South East from 1950 to 1983 and MP for Chesterfield from 1984 to 2001.

He was a Cabinet minister in the Wilson and Callaghan governments, where he held office as Postmaster General, Minister of Technology, Minister for Aviation, Secretary of State for both Industry and Energy and President of the Council of European Energy ministers. He was an elected member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour party from 1959 to1994, and he was Chairman of the Party from 1971 to 1972.

He is a member of the Transport and General Workers Union and the National Union of Journalists, and an honorary member of the National Union of Mineworkers,

Tony has published Diaries in several volumes covering the period from 1942 to 2002 and his other books, include 'Arguments for Socialism' and his autobiography ‘ Dare to be a Daniel’ a quote from a Salvation Army hymn

Dare to be a Daniel; Dare to stand alone;
Dare to have a purpose firm; Dare to make it known

Of the book, the Guardian noted that ‘there is a passion in Benn’s writing and speaking that far transcends the miserable aspirations of most contemporary politicians’.

In a recent lecture at Loughborough University entitled ‘Engineering, Science and Society’ Tony noted the importance of the role of engineering in the development of society. He encouraged sandwich courses and links between the University, industry and the community. All values held highly by Loughborough University.

It is particularly appropriate therefore that we at Loughborough recognise his unique and significant contribution.

Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you, and the university, The Right Honourable Tony Benn f or the Degree of Doctor of Technology honoris causa.

 

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