Saturday, January 10, 2009

Emily Benn: the hydra's head

As has been pointed out to me by a number of kind and observant correspondents, your humble Devil has been cited in a Times profile of Emily Benn, grand-daughter of Tony "wrong about almost everything" Benn.
On her selection as the Labour candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, aged 17, her achievement was overshadowed by cries of nepotism. For, if you haven’t yet gathered, Emily Benn, now 19, is the latest member of the Benn family to enter the political fray. Her grandfather is Tony Benn, her uncle the Right Honourable Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and no fewer than four previous generations of her family have been MPs. And if Gordon Brown calls an election this year, she looks set to be the youngest ever candidate to fight for a seat in Parliament.

Emily Benn is destined to be a politician.

Well, that is as good a fucking reason as I can think of for not letting her become one, but never mind.
Only when discussing her experiences in her sixth form does Emily seem vulnerable. Her eyes well up and she struggles to control her voice while recounting the bullying she endured in her final year. “I had some problems at school. There were some really awful kids, who did and said some awful things, such as writing that I was a ‘fat git’ on Wikipedia, which took me three weeks to get taken down. They made me very miserable and I cried all the time.”

Actually, come to think of it, if she gets elected, it might be rather fun: it might be a giggle imagining her weeping into her cornflakes of a morning.
She was also receiving abuse on weblogs such as the Devil’s Kitchen, which wrote, “What makes this little s*** think that, at 17, she knows f***ing anything at all?”

Indeed I did, and I stand by every word. Just in case you missed it, here is what I said, in context.
What the fuck? Look, at the age of 30, I am pretty sure that I know what I believe in, but I have undergone a substantial change in the last few years. I was hardly ignorant, but I have learned an awful lot about politics, economics and history which has expanded my understanding; I have picked up figures and the best places to find others. I have raged and I have been corrected; I have entered debate and been educated.

What makes this little shit think that, at 17, she knows fucking anything at all? I didn't. What bunch of lunatics selected her? She hasn't even been to university, or held down a proper job. She has no idea what tax is, or what living on your own is like. In short, she doesn't have a fucking clue what life is like; the last thing that I want is some stupid little schoolgirl telling me what I should be doing with my life when all she has done is to leave school and go straight into a piss-easy, fat-arse job paid for by me.

I hope that she loses humiliatingly. And then she'll cry in public and fuck off to do something worthwhile before, maybe, trying again; in about 20 years' time when she actually has a fraction of a fucking clue what she's talking about.

Piss off, you little shit.

Of course, the next post that wrote about her was an apology when it came to light that she had stated on her CV that she "campaigned extensively for Tony Benn in Chesterfield" in the 1992 election—when she was aged... er... two. (This flagrant untruth is repeated in this article but ameliorated to "she recalls going on the campaign trail with her grandfather when she was two years old in Chesterfield.")
A few days ago, I laid into Emily Benn, suggesting that her youth—and the fact that she is still at school—might have in some way made her utterly unfit to go into the House of Commons.

I now realise that, by virtue of being able to tell a big, fat, stinking, fucking lie without even showing one iota of shame, Ms Benn is, in fact, entirely suited to join the other fat, corrupt liars in the House of Commons.

In fact, she may show them to new heights of contempt and distain for those who elected them, and introduce them to novel ways of telling massive lies without feeling any kind of guilt whatsoever.

The Devil's Kitchen apologises unreservedly for implying that Ms Benn was not suitable for Parliament; further The Devil would like to make it clear that he feels that her chutzpah and standards of lying set her on a straight course to be a minister within days of her inevitable election.

On the subject of this inexperienced twit being stupidly young, Gary Andrews suggested that we didn't maintain that footballers were too young to play, whilst your humble Devil pointed out a number of problems with this analogy...
There are places in this country where you could stick a red rosette on a stinking fucking turd and people would still vote for it, repeatedly: we know this to the case, because we have only just got rid of Prescott. In other words, no matter how many people claim that they vote for their local MP, most people actually vote down party lines irrespective of the skill of the candidate. You cannot get much further away from the fottballing analogy in this case.

Second, and very importantly, the footballer is not running in order to control the lives of every other footballer and fan in the country; the politician is.

Third, the footballer has to earn his money, by being skillful. No matter how crap, silent or appalling the politician, they still get paid a big, fat wedge of taxpayers cash as a salary, plus another great big wedge in expenses, plus another great big wedge in allowances, plus another great big wedge in the form of a tax-payer guaranteed, gold-plated pension.

If they are especially crap or corrupt, they may get voted out; however, this is only likely in the hundred or so marginal seats. They may get deselected by the local association; but, generally, the politician will have to have been caught fucking a kid whilst stuffing special interest money up his own backside for that to happen.

In other words, whilst football fans may say "if you’re old enough, you’re good enough" (a meaningless fucking phrase anyway), in terms of politics that just won't wash; a footballer has to prove himself at every, single game: a politician need only stir themselves every five years or so.

They are, almost without exception, a waste of time and money.

Your humble Devil would like to thank the unfortunately-named author of the Times article, Alexis Skinitis (CiF profile), for the mention: it has given me the opportunity to resurrect some very enjoyable posts—and I stand by every word—and swelled my ego.

Oh, and that Emily Benn idiot is still too fucking young: go get some life experience, lass, before you aspire to tell me what to do with mine, and before you pick my pocket to do so.

Fuck off.


Martin said...

Real politicians all act like spoilt kids. Why not have a real spoilt kid amongst them?

Mac the Knife said...

Abso-fucking-lutely spot on.

marksany said...

You're only 30? Way to young to have a blog, you are just a half-formed baby.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Good for you.

She does look alarmingly like Krusty Allsopp, property pornstar, in that photo.

TheFatBigot said...

One point as yet unmade, as far as I know, is how typical it is of Labour to select a candidate simply because they are part of the socialist royal family.

It shows just how divorced the party machine is from the concept of meritocracy. Long may they rot in their corrupt gutter.

Anonymous said...

I don't think her age is the salient point in criticising her selection for a Labour seat.

The thing that really matters is that she has been selected because of her name. After abolishing the right of most hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, the Labour Party is now creating an hereditary class of politicians.

How, in the name of living fuckery, can a party that claims to stand for the rights of the workers against entrenched privilege possibly feel justified in choosing a blue-blooded Anglo-Norman aristocrat whose sole political qualification is that her grandfather (who, I think we all know, was a traitor to this country and a devoted servant of the Soviet Union) was a cabinet minister a couple of decades before she was even an itch in her daddy's crotch?

Tomrat said...


She very much reminds me of Poppy Spalding, the gap-year student writer for the daily mash opinion pages, sans the life experience (even with the drug fuelled lunacy).

Guilty pleasure: I actually quite like Tony Benn and his crazy naive view of life; he's like an anti-Victor Meldrew. :-0

Neuroskeptic said...

If MPs were in fact selected by the gov. this would be a bit weird. Given that they are, in this country, elected, I say, let the people decide. If they want a teenage MP they're welcome to it.

And don't think for a second the Tories wouldn't do exactly the same if, oh I don't know, Maggie's grandaughter wanted to go into politics...

Anonymous said...

At least Ms Benn is more honest than Jackie Smith's letter writing husband and Jackie Smith's letter writing councillor chum.

Sadly she's just more docile meat for the grinder that is the Labour Party.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Given that they are, in this country, elected, I say, let the people decide."

And that teenage MP will get a say over all our lives, not just her constituents'.

And, as I pointed out, people do not vote for their local MP: they vote for a political party.


Anonymous said...

"They may get deselected by the local association; but, generally, the politician will have to have been caught fucking a kid whilst stuffing special interest money up his own backside for that to happen."

That is without a doubt the best thing I've ever read about our Parliamentary system. It's knocked Oliver Cromwell's speech from the number 1 spot.

Anonymous said...

Is she still a "fat git" though? And will saying so make here cry for weeks?

Ian B said...

Well, perhaps the defining feature of leftism (of whatever stripe) is it's the politics of the young. It's the pomposity of those who aren't yet wise enough to understand that they don't know everything. It's simplistic, ideological, fanatical. It's yoof politics. As they get older, socialists who don't learn any better just become elderly teenagers. You only have to look at their ideal society- an authoritarian, institutionalised, paternalistic/maternalistic society which is nothing but school writ large. Do as you're told, get the right diplomas and if you're a good little kiddie you can be a prefect. Oh, and don't get caught smoking.

So really she's the perfect labour MP.

Neuroskeptic said...

"And, as I pointed out, people do not vote for their local MP: they vote for a political party."

I suggest you take that up with the people.

Anonymous said...

"whilst football fans may say "if you’re old enough, you’re good enough""

Erm, no. It's the other way round - "if you're good enough, you're old enough". That does make sense, the reverse makes no sense at all.

I'm old enough to play for Arsenal, I'm just not good enough.

Longrider said...

Prospective parliamentary candidates should be barred from standing until they have some real world experience - doing real work. The thought of some know-nothing teenager who thinks she knows it all dictating how we live our lives is, frankly, appalling - not to mention the dynastic element. Still, corruption and hypocrisy go hand in glove with the Labour party

Anonymous said...

Devil - are you seriously suggesting an age limit before political office can be attained ?

Surely age is just one of many arbiters - next you will be drawing up a list insisting that other criteria should be satisfied as well ?

Remember, we get the politicians we deserve so given the state of our society the bar is unlikely to be set very high nowadays.

manwiddicombe said...

Reading the Times article there's little chance of her actually being elected for that seat “I wrote to every Labour Party member in the area – although admittedly, there are only about 180 of them."

The incumbent Tory MP, Tim Loughton, has been increasing his majority through the last 3 general elections so the chances of a junior Benn victory seem slim.

That said neither will receive my vote.

Anomaly UK said...

Hey, some respect, his Lordship was fucking sound on Europe

Tomrat said...

I must say DK I agree with A&E and Neuroskeptic; its a problem with society at large that can only be fixed with patience, education (the proper kind that comes from talking to our peers), the continual poking of holes in the intellectual arguements of the mentals who occupy the elitist trappings and, most importantly showing everyone just how corrupt they are and where their ideas lead to.

We should be going to the masses with our message, we should be putting into the simplest possible terms as we can and we should be pointing out how history is proving our arguements correct.

In the words of Penn and Teller; we need to start "Calling Bullshit" on a few accepted truths and doing so in as wide a space as is possible.

Furry Conservative said...

For a group which hates the hereditary principle, Socialists are mad keen on nepotism.

TheBoilingFrog said...

It amuses me that Miss Benn complains about bullying, and people saying nasty things about her which makes her cry all the time, so what does she do?

Involves herself not only in politics (where everyone is jolly nice to each other), but New Labour, whose bullying and ruthless tactics to keep MPs in line are well documented.

Has Miss Benn not heard of Fiona Jones?

Longrider said...

Devil - are you seriously suggesting an age limit before political office can be attained ?

Surely age is just one of many arbiters - next you will be drawing up a list insisting that other criteria should be satisfied as well ?

Actually, yes on both counts. You had to meet certain criteria for your role - I had to for mine. Indeed, without a number of years practical experience I could not do my job. Why not for politicians?

Politics affects the whole nation, so a relatively high bar for entry based on life experience would be a sensible option. The thought of a teenager straight from school passing legislation fills me with horror. She simply cannot have the experience to understand the impactions of her actions.

That said, of course, many of the useless wastrels who have never done a proper job who currently occupy parliament are much the same...

Longrider said...

"impaction" Duh! implications

Anonymous said...

I can see where you are coming from, Longrider, but trying to nail that sort of stuff down (so that we have sufficient consensus) is easier said than done.

As you know in most safe seats the electorate would be willing to vote for a fish.... with learning difficulties, providing it is a member of the dominant party for that particular constituency.

Incidentally should dependence on alcohol exclude potential candidates ?

Anonymous said...

"Prospective parliamentary candidates should be barred from standing until they have some real world experience - doing real work."

Why not extend this principle to all existing members of parliament, not just prospective ones? That should reduce the numbers somewhat....

marksany said...

Would Hazel Bleaugh's time as a council solicitor count as a real job?

Anonymous said...

"Incidentally should dependence on alcohol exclude potential candidates ?"

Dependence on alcohol should be obligatory.

Longrider said...

A&E - of course it wouldn't be easy and indeed, the tribal voting tendencies don't help. Dependence on alcohol? Well, it would debar me from my job.

Certainly, I do believe that there should be a minimum entry requirement and that should include real work activities. There are plenty of roles in the real world where there are minimum age or experience requirements. Why should politicians be exempt? And, given the damage they are capable of, that bar should be a damn sight higher than it is currently.

I just go back to that idea of a teenager making law and shudder.

Tomrat said...

I personally dont think age nor a lack of experience should preclude you from the role; the fact that you are an inexperienced gobshite empowered by neopotistic leanings from ZNL's dynasty families should be something for your employers to vote on, i.e. the constituency she is in. It is beyond me why as Libertarians we should be even considering this; at best it will remove a few bad choices in the early years but eventually once a socialist-leaning party gets in it will be used to preclude anyone who doesn't buy into the crisis-de-jour of the day.

I think of it that areas like Hull are like the Babylonian King Nebuchednezzer; sure they'll go mad for a little while, eating bugs and wearing the hair shirt for a while until realising they are running around butt nekid in the cold; it is up to the (more) sane (or less crazy, if you will) to point this out to them.

Anonymous said...

I would agree she is too young, but as our politicians increasingly are there to merely draw a wage (and pension) and nod through the latest Euro-stupidity it may as well be her in parliament as anyone else from the NuLab lot.

Sacerdoteuk said...

Surely it's "If you're good enough, you're old enough", which makes perfect sense, not the other way around.

And that is the problem here. From the little that we know about her, the fact that she cries about being bullied at school etc. indicates that she probably isn't good enough. Age, within reason, has little to do with it.

That's aside of the nepotism issue of course.

The Nameless Libertarian said...

She's immature, she's in her position owing to nepotism and she talks fluent, self-serving and self-pitying shite.

She is the perfect Nu Labour politician.


Neuroskeptic said...

"Prospective parliamentary candidates should be barred from standing until they have some real world experience - doing real work"

...hmm, but such a bar would have to be a law, and Parliament would only pass such a law if they were already composed of like-minded real-world-experienced people, in which case, there would be no need for a such a law... darn.

This is why, if you have a problem with politicians, you need to take it up with the people.

Or move to Switzerland where politics would be much more to your liking, from what I've read.

Anonymous said...

My problem is not with her being 19, most of those who die in our armed forces are, but for being a Benn!
And agree with Furry Con on the ease that Socialists take to privilege and nepotism.

Benn mark 2 is the vegetarian head of our food industry dept!
A man who looks like they keep him in a box in the Ministry basement(at least during daylight hours)
And would probably be scared and ask for his mummy, if he actually encountered an open field full of cows and shit.
Look I live in Bristol, I encountered Benn mk1 when he was an MP round here. Nuff said.
Except that the fate of the Romanoffs would be entirely appropriate for the Benn family.


Bishop Brennan said...

Tony 'wrong about nearly everything' Benn.

What precisely was he right about?

[He wasn't against the EU, he was against the common market, i.e. against a free trade zone. If he had known what the EU would involve (i.e. USSR mk 2), he would have been wholeheartedly in favour.]

Anonymous said...

She cried for weeks over being called a fat git? For fucks sakes get a grip. I've called my MP far worse than that, online and in letters to him and I don't suppose he gives a shit. In fact he makes it blatantly clear in many ways that he doesn't give a flying rats arse what his constituents think. Why someone who has never had a full time job, long term relationship, own residence (be it rented or owned) and is only just old enough to fucking drive thinks she should be making decisions for the rest of us is beyond me. I don't give a monkeys what party she's in, I wouldn't vote for her.

Anonymous said...

Well, whadya know? She went to a grammar school. the sort of institution Grandpa phased out for the plebs.

This bunch fucking stink to high heaven.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't bar children from standing, legally. I'd just hope that voters perceive their (in general) unsuitability for the very important job.

We should be open to the possibility that there is a 19-year old out there who does have
- life experience, which should include paying tax (Benn's out then)
- emotional and intellectual maturity (Benn's out then)
- the experience to balance standing for something with joining a political party - as opposed to sucking up the party line from year 0 (Benn's out again)

In the absence of such a paragon, I'd prefer my MPs to start in their late 20s (earliest)

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