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What would a 1980s Tony Benn premiership look like?

#61
Re the IdN peacekeepers, could it be a predominant mix of Americans and Canadians?
1. The Americans really didn't like to get involved in peacekeeping, and really didn't like to be under UN control. As of April 2019, the USA has contributed 34 peacekeepers to UN missions.

2. I had dealings with the US military in the mid-late 1970s. It's hard to overstate just how incompetent the US military was during this period. This would be just outside that period, and they were improving, but we are not looking at the best soldiers in the world. US Military doctrine was based on the premise that the first shots won the battle, and that overwhelming firepower was the way to go. "Fire before they do" is going to have unfortunate consequences in a peacekeeping role.

Just the thought of US troops acting as peacekeepers in Northern Ireland during the period is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.

Benn wouldn't turn to the US, and the UN wouldn't involve US troops, so it's a non-issue.
 
#63
I had thought to suggest Canadian UN peacekeepers but maybe their own Protestant/Catholic issues in the 1970s might stop it. It's dumb, and (VERY) very unlikely but I have this image of Quebecois peacekeepers siding with the Catholic population etc...
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I agree, it would be unlikely considering how Quebec managed to get the Catholic Church out of its system, so that the main division is by language. Not only that, but by the late 1970s/early 1980s most of Canada's own Protestant/Catholic issues have more or less gone away (with one exception in the case of Newfoundland), so recruiting peacekeepers from one of the countries which invented its modern form would not be a problem.
 

Elektronaut

Cobs? 3? Yes we do.
#66
Likely the reason why we haven't had a long-form attempt on this and why it's confined to lists is because it's firstly extremely difficult to get him as leader, then more difficult to get him as Prime Minister, and then more difficult again to see him being in a position where he could execute most of what he wanted.

There's no magic bullet to put him into the leadership irrespective of what system is employed. As I noted above, the 1981 result in the constituencies section was based not on balloting but on activist backing. When balloting did occur, Healey did significantly better both with party members and with union members - I think he actually won in all the constituencies where balloting did occur, but it's been a while since I looked at this, but don't quote me. Of course Healey had Foot's endorsement and was an incumbent, but it does show that the left wasn't universally popular with members, as the Bennite mythology on this likes to pretend. It's notable also that Hattersley won the members section in 1983 over Meacher, in an open contest. This was probably due to the increase in balloting rather than any great shift of opinion. Though again, Hattersley had the implicit endorsement as a running mate of a leader of the left, it does show that more democracy wasn't an automatic friend of left-wing advance, and more democracy in the big elections was if anything potentially hostile to it.

But a mostly democratic franchise was very unlikely in the period we're discussing. The other two routes don't offer much of a prospect either, the MPs still having a monopoly or the undemocratic electoral college of 1981. Though the MPs were not as right-wing as Benn liked to pretend - they elected Foot in 1980 after all - they certainly were never going to elect Benn; Foot only barely won, and Foot had many qualities Benn lacked. But it's also very hard to see a route though an 'early' form electoral college like of 1981. Though the union leaders weren't the hammers of the left that they'd been in the fifties, and there was more political diversity from the right to the Bennite left, equally most of them were still to the right of Benn. So with the nigh-on certainty of the MPs and the likelihood of the unions not backing him, it's difficult to see how he could become leader.

In a vignette I once had him oust Roy Jenkins from the leadership in a TL where there was no floor-crossing over EEC entry due a French Non, and Jenkins won the leadership after Wilson lost a 74 election, and Jenkins later was deemed to have been in terrible form by Labour during a miner's strike - but even that is a huge stretch, and I'm not sure I'd replicate that outside of a vignette.

If he had become leader of course, there'd have been a split which would have made the OTL SDP look like TIG - and this is a very pressing reason why the unions would have been unlikely to countenance putting him in as leader. Even before we get into any other consideration, that alone would offer a monumental problem to the possibility of a Benn-lead party winning an election. Even IOTL, him winning the deputy leadership is generally reckoned to have been a prospect which would have lead to a huge further bleed to the SDP.

Nothing is impossible, but the prospect of Benn ever becoming leader is remote, and if he had it would have most likely been a very unfortunate episode for Labour. There would be story-telling mileage in such a timeline, though probably not from the perspective of a lot of people in this thread.

Incidentally while obviously me being Wrong About Everything here is to be expected as I fit in all the wrong boxes so am wrong by default, some people implicitly dismissing the contribution of someone reasonably apolitical like David Flin just because he's raising some unpalatable truths is pretty rude and doesn't suggest people are interested in a discussion in good faith on this.
 
#67
Incidentally while obviously me being Wrong About Everything here is to be expected as I fit in all the wrong boxes so am wrong by default, some people implicitly dismissing the contribution of someone reasonably apolitical like David Flin just because he's raising some unpalatable truths is pretty rude and doesn't suggest people are interested in a discussion in good faith on this.
I had no issue with what David posted, what he discussed was extremely informative and enlightening as personally speaking I’m not familiar with Northern Ireland in the 70’s, and a lot of the stuff you discussed was also very informative (I wasn’t aware that Benn wasn’t as democratic as many believe when it comes when it came to the Electoral College) - it was more you ending almost every post with a variation of “Benn is a lying hypocritical bastard” and making pithy comments the entire way.

I enjoyed the discussion about the realistic effects of a Benn leadership and Ministry, but I didn’t enjoy the snark coming from you.
 
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Elektronaut

Cobs? 3? Yes we do.
#68
I had no issue with what David posted, what he discussed was extremely informative and enlightening as personally speaking I’m not familiar with Northern Ireland in the 70’s, and a lot of the stuff you discussed was also very informative (I wasn’t aware that Benn wasn’t as democratic as many believe when it comes when it came to the Electoral College) - it was more you ending almost every post with a variation of “Benn is a lying hypocritical bastard” and making pithy comments the entire way.

I enjoyed the discussion about the realistic effects of a Benn leadership and Ministry, but I didn’t enjoy the constant snark coming from you.
I made a single post which was political, but which followed up on other posters already doing so, and this actually is only my fourth post so far in the thread, so you're projecting about my contribution here.

The real heavy duty snark came from people who didn't have anything to dispute in terms of the facts about Benn but nontheless didn't like them, and I don't believe it was actually in response to what I said but what had already been said.
 
#69
I had no issue with what David posted, what he discussed was extremely informative and enlightening as personally speaking I’m not familiar with Northern Ireland in the 70’s,
You were by no stretch of the imagination the only person who gave me the vibe that anything I might say about the subject was not welcome. However, I got the impression from the general thread that this was the case, so I gave up saying anything. There was a few pieces of heavy-duty snark that came across to me as being aimed at least in part towards me, and I didn't get the impression of people debating in good faith.

some people implicitly dismissing the contribution of someone reasonably apolitical like David Flin just because he's raising some unpalatable truths is pretty rude and doesn't suggest people are interested in a discussion in good faith on this.
If I'm honest, I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as apolitical. I don't have any tribal affiliations or loyalty to any party, and most topics are things I kind of sometimes fall into one grouping, sometimes in another. But I do have a few hot button political issues, and that makes it hard to describe me as apolitical. God alone knows what I am.
 
#70
You were by no stretch of the imagination the only person who gave me the vibe that anything I might say about the subject was not welcome. However, I got the impression from the general thread that this was the case, so I gave up saying anything. There was a few pieces of heavy-duty snark that came across to me as being aimed at least in part towards me, and I didn't get the impression of people debating in good faith.
If I came off in anyway as rude to you (only snarky comment I made IIRC was to DC at the top of the page), I’m sorry about that. You had some really informative things to say about Benn and Ireland that changed my perspective on the matter, so I hope I didn’t drive you out of the discussion for no good reason.
 
#71
If I came off in anyway as rude to you (only snarky comment I made IIRC was to DC at the top of the page), I’m sorry about that. You had some really informative things to say about Benn and Ireland that changed my perspective on the matter, so I hope I didn’t drive you out of the discussion for no good reason.
I didn't take your snarkiness seriously but prior to this thread I had no feelings on Benn whatsoever and then ended up reading that he was a Stan for Mao supported what would amount to ethnic cleansing in Ireland (whoever 'won') and was anti NATO, anti EU. Not sure on what grounds anyone was to be happy with a Benn leadership. Even Labour did not at the end of the day want him after all.

My kneejerk anti Corbynism aside I'm not sure what was wrong with being relived we dodged a bullet. It was not meant as a dig at any current posters it just seemed amazing that such views were ever credible given how obvious the consequences seem and current police tics on two of those issues.
 
#72
If I came off in anyway as rude to you (only snarky comment I made IIRC was to DC at the top of the page), I’m sorry about that. You had some really informative things to say about Benn and Ireland that changed my perspective on the matter, so I hope I didn’t drive you out of the discussion for no good reason.
As I mentioned, I think, it was more that I got a general feeling from several on the thread, and a quick read through shows me that there wasn't anything from you that triggered my "I don't need this" feeling.

To put it another way, I have a hair-trigger for putting people on ignore (reviewed after a month), and you're not in my ignore pile.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#73
then more difficult again to see him being in a position where he could execute most of what he wanted.
That does seem an angle for a AH story. Tony Benn is a polarising figure, loved and loathed, "PM Benn" would be proposed as a triumph of socialism by some and "scruffy at the Cenotaph, sells us out to the Argies" by five different Dominic Sandbrook AH articles; "Benn is restricted by the system around him and the many, many unfortunate events coming our way, what people hope for/fear simply doesn't happen", there's something in that.