I rather like Tony Benn. He's a glorious English eccentric. He's an aristocrat whose attempts at working class affectation are so weak as to be hilarious. His patrician affection for the working class is, however, never in doubt. Say what you like about him, he did not use working people as fuel for his own career, unlike so many in his party (including some who were working men once). He is sincere in his stupidity. He believed he was doing good.
His instinctive emotional reaction is that of the better sort of country squire. Like many of his generation (including many far cleverer than him) he was drawn by the easy, wrong answers of Marxism. Still I have no doubt that - unlike many of his political successors - he has his heart in the right place.
He has been the political weathervane of many. My father told me years ago "I am not much interested in politics, but if Tony Benn's against it, I'm for it". That has guided many better than more studious approaches, except perhaps on the subject of the European Community. Benn was against continued membership at the time of the only referendum we were ever allowed, which convinced many Common Market-sceptics to vote the wrong way. Including me, a naif exercising my ballot for the first time.
I find it hard to believe any current socialist is a good person, given the 20th Century's unequivocal demonstration of the consequences of that vicious doctrine. Either they will its vile ends, are too stupid to understand them or are hucksters playing on its appeal to the weak and envious.
I make an exception for Benn. He's not very bright. He could talk for England in the Talking Olympics but he doesn't listen very well. His thoughts are in ruts so deep he can no longer see over the sides. But despite his continued willing of ends that would kill, impoverish and oppress, I am still fond of the guy.
I wish you a speedy recovery, poor misguided Tony. You have had a good run, but still I hope you live to see what a fool you have been. For someone with such a muscular conscience that will be, even if it's only in your final moments, all the hell you deserve.