This post originally appeared on ConservativeHome in 2008.

Alex Deane is a Square Mile Common Councilman and Head of Public Affairs at Weber Shandwick.

I crossed swords with Tony Benn last night on Iran’s Press TV – I’ll stick up a link as and when the show’s available in their archive as it was a good set-to. Anyway, he was very good company and dropped some enjoyable anecdotes in pre-show conversation that I thought I’d share (to avoid confusion I shall speak in his voice here!):

  • I always liked Enoch, very much. He always respected his audience, no matter who he was talking to, and so they listened to him. Of course the “rivers of blood” stuff was poorly put, but being a Professor of Greek is very poor training for professional politics.
  • David Davis’s campaign was excellent. Of course, we’re at very different ends of the political spectrum, but libertarians often meet around the back. Watching the development of people’s politics is fascinating. John Reid, for example, went from being a Stalinist to a Blairite – which I thought was a very small step to take.
  • I liked Ted Heath too, although we disagreed on a lot of things, particularly on Europe. The last time I spoke to Ted was very shortly before he died. I was in New York. He rang my mobile, which he’d never done before, so I asked, why have you rung? He replied, “what have we got to do to get rid of Blair?” I said it was a bit late for the two of us to do anything about it!