Tony Benn on Doug's Show

James Farmelant farmelantj at
Sun Aug 1 17:49:50 PDT 1999

Speaking of Doug Henwood, Bill Buckley and Yale, Tony Benn as an undergrad at Oxford (back when he was still Anthony Wedwood-Benn) once debated the young William F. Buckley Jr. In 1950 Tony Benn and fellow Oxford student Robin Day were sent on a tour of US Ivy League colleges in order to take on the local debating teams. The team of Benn and Day easily dispatched all comers until they came to Yale. There they debated the team of Bill Buckley and Bent Bozell on the topic of "Resolved: the Americans should nationalize all their non-agricultural industries." Buckley and Brozell defeated the Oxford team although according to some obervers this victory was due less to the power of their arguments as much as to the young Bill Buckley's theatrics. It also didn't hurt that the Buckley-Bozell team was already used to debating in the British style (Buckley had after all went to school in Britain) unlike most other American undergraduate debaters of the time.

Apparently neither Buckley and Benn haven't lost the taste for debating each other. I remember a few years back, Buckley taped several of his "Firing Line" shows in Britain which included discussions with leading British politicians, naturally this included a debate between Benn and Buckley over the future of socialism.

Jim F.

On Sat, 31 Jul 1999 01:32:42 -0400 (EDT) Michael Pollak <mpollak at> writes:
>It was a pleasure to hear him talk. I've read people demonize him for
>decades, and now they seem to be trying to drown him saccharine. But
>most striking thing about his speaking voice, and the last thing I
>have ever expected, is how eminently reasonable he sounds no matter
>he's saying. It was a real revelation. That's real radio :o)
>Michael Pollak................New York
>City..............mpollak at

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