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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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Whatever one thought of Tony Benn’s political views, you couldn’t fail to recognise his sincerity and unswerving commitment to causes for a better, more just society, be it support for a unionised workforce or a determined opposition to nuclear weapons and to apartheid in South Africa. He was a parliamentarian for over fifty years, a man born into a privileged background who became a steady unchanging voice of the political left.
He was never afraid of asking the difficult question and then in the ensuing discussion offering sharp and incisive argument, always courteous, a man of considerable integrity. There was much in Benn’s life that would have made him a comfortable bedfellow with the proponents of Liberation Theology. His voice will be missed.
Chris McDonnell, Little Haywood, Staffs