A few years ago, when I was compiling an anthology, modestly entitled Democracy (published by Mainstream and also available as an e-book, since you ask) I wanted to include something from Benn's battle to renounce his peerage. Ever generous, he gave me a copy of the speech he was not allowed to deliver, and which had never been published... This is what Tony Benn wanted to say.
I bring important news from Scotland. Nothing much is changing. I realise this will disappoint those people, journalists in particular, for whom stability is boring, bereft of news value and therefore to be ignored. In this case, however, I believe the stability in Scottish views of independence tells us something significant: that most voters have made up their minds.
The past five years of economic troubles have left their mark. There is no obvious end to them in sight. And these troubles are reflected in people's lives, not just GDP statistics. Graduates saddled with debt and finding it hard to get a decent job; couples waiting a decade longer than their parents to buy their first home, and so on. Long-term pessimism may be misplaced, but it is not surprising.
Immigration is in the news once again. Not that it ever leaves it. A complex issue made harder by distortions, stereotypes, and populism. One could argue that its social and cultural effects are the trickiest to articulate and hardest to pin down. Certainly not easy to capture in a dry opinion poll.
The past decade has seen a decline in trust across the board. The figures for senior police officers is down 23 points, from 72% to 49%; local police officers are down 13 points, from 82% to 69%, Even family doctors (down from 93% to 82%) and school teachers (88% to 70%) have seen double-digit falls, even though both still occupy the two top places.
The news for George Osborne continues to get worse. YouGov's latest survey for the Sunday Times was conducted following the news that Britain's economy contracted by 0.7% in the second quarter of this year - a worse figure than most economists had predicted. Even if, as I suggested last week, the final revised figures are not as bad as this, the pressure for the time being on the Chancellor is growing more intense.
The politics of health reform are becoming ever more tangled. And the more tangled they become, the worse it will be for the Government. Last week I argued that, if David Cameron genuinely believes that the Health and Social Care Bill really will drive standards up and costs down, he should ignore the doubters and keep going. However, fresh YouGov research underlines the risks that he is running.
In 1952, when Queen Elizabeth succeeded her father, Britain was broke. Meat, butter and sweets were still rationed. Abortion and homosexuality were illegal. Polio maimed thousands of children a year. Smog killed thousands of adults. Innocent people were sentenced to death. Plays were censored. Just 17 MPs were women.