Politicians you admire who belong to a political for which you would not vote.

I heard a documentary about Tony Benn last week. I always greatly admired him. I have never yet voted Labour at a General Election (the time might come).

Which politician do you greatly admire even though you would not vote for his/her party?

I don’t know about admire, but actually I once met Norman Tebbitt, long after he retired, and tbh irl I quite warmed to the bloke

Tony Benn lived round the corner from me until he died, as does Michael Heseltine, as it goes.

You would see Benn wondering up the road to post his letters every day, smoking his pipe, and he would be very happy to stop and chat to anyone who said hallo, even if they just wanted to tell him how far wrong he was. He was always polite and would put his case/rebuttal gently but passionately.

I thought that was quite admirable. 

The only serious party for which I would not vote is the Liberal Democrats. As Lord Alton no longer takes their whip, I'm really struggling with this one tbh, m8s. 

Clegg is quite personable, I guess. 

(I mean, obviously I wouldn't vote Conservative now, but as I was a member for a quarter of a century, it would be rather disingenuous to just name all my favourite Tories). 

The list is endless, Dorries, Gullis, 30p Lee, Mogg, Fabricant, Lettuce Lady, KamiKwasi. They say right wingers don't do comedy, but the current crop is hilarious.

Met Tony Benn at Glastonbury 2005, he signed a Unison leaflet for me (I was there working for them). Have absolutely no recollection of what was said as hadn't slept for the 2 nights previous.

If we're talking about historical figures then:


Lord Palmerston

Lord Melbourne


Vera Woodhouse

GK Chesterton

Hilaire Belloc

AD Wintle

Would have said Ken Clarke, but cannot forgive his involvement in British American Tobacco which suggests to me he is more interested in money than the public good.

Guy - Ken Clarke’s stint as Justice Secretary also v v authoritarian - massive blot on copybook

Tobias Ellwood and Jezza Corbyn maybe?


I would have said Ken Clarke until I found out a short while ago that it was his decision, as incoming minister, to cancel David Owen's project - which the latter had instituted after being advised of the dangers of American blood products - to make the UK self-sufficient in blood products. 

A case of a decision that directly led to the deaths of many and on a slightly bathetic note, to me contracting Hep C.

It would have to be Tarzan for me.

Ken Clarke’s stint as Justice Secretary also v v authoritarian - massive blot on copybook

Also the biggest budget-cutter of any Justice Secretary.  Sliced a third off and we are still paying for it.  Clarke was almost Trumpian.  Bluster and bluffing rather than incisive.  A posh Prescott.

I've met Ken Clarke. He was ace. Had dinner tonight with someone who worked for him, who said he was an absolute tyrant. 

Ken Clarke, personable image but dreadful health Secretary and justice secretary for seasons stated above. 

Norman Fowler however made headway against much cabinet opposition in the ‘80s regarding HIV. Continued his commitment beyond retirement and made an excellent Lords’ Speaker.  Cub admired by me despite his political party.

Guy Crouchback06 Jun 23 16:20 Reply | Report

Would have said Ken Clarke, but cannot forgive his involvement in British American Tobacco which suggests to me he is more interested in money than the public good.

that approach rules out every single tozza 4 all time

Having looked through that Shadow Cabinet link it occurs to me: has anyone ever seen Jonathan Reynolds and Matt Hancock in the same room?

Always had time for Kennedy.  A crying shame but by God he saw through how venal TB had become.

Current politicians - Johnny Mercer as a one issue minister and for having a feisty Mrs.  Chalke proving to be effective too.  But it really is a case of still waters running shallow.

I often think that senior politicians are like grandparents - often better at parenting than when direct parents and therefor more enjoyable/likeable.  In which vein, Fowler, Tarzan, Owen.

And then there are true stand outs like Jean Trumpington who would always shout you a whisky when I was a young shaver and doing fun things in SW1.

Anyone who knows anything about the political history of the 1960s and 70s could only regard Tony Benn as an egomaniacal simpleton who left his party in the wilderness for two decades.

oH bUt hE wAs A nIcE Man!!!

Tony Benn was a very sensible and well-respected member of the Labour Right until c. 1968, when he started to move to the Left. By the time of the '74 elections, he was certifiable. 

He visited my student union in the early 80’s for an open forum. He stood in the middle of the room, no microphone, and just engaged with a bunch of “Student Grants”. When I heckled him he turned to me and said “Now listen, Brother” before demolishing my jejune point with a few choice words.

i won’t have a word said against him

Benn was indeed seen as a loony lefty in the 80s, and he was an utter frother. But unlike many of his contemporaries and all of the current crop of cretinous grifters he knew history back to front. He also had a tea mug that held a pint of the stuff, so that makes him all right imho.