Friday, March 5, 2010

Death of Michael Foot

Recently asked about possible "big names" who might be invited to contribute to the annual Trim Swift Festival the name of Michael Foot came into my head and I wondered if he was still alive. A few days later news of his death appears on newspapers and TV.

Not a bitter word was spoken about him even by his political enemies. Two reasons for this. 1. It is generally regarded that what he stood for, often described as the "old left", has been consigned to the dustbin of history and 2. he was a genuinely good man who made few enemies during his long career.

The Times said: Michael Foot was the sort of man of whom there are now too few — a man of politics, a man of letters and, more important than either, something to which anyone who knew him would attest: an unquestionably good man.

The most remarkable thing about his political career is surely the loyalty he showed to the Labour party even when they ditched most of the policies he held dear. A great contrast to many other so called champions of the left - Tony Benn being probably the best example in the UK. In Ireland people like Noel Browne who appeared to put person before party caused untold damage to causes they professed to espouse.

Anyway Michael Foot would have been at home at the Trim Swift Festival having been an admirer of the writer all his life and having written the introduction to the Penguin Classics Gulliver's Travels and a biography of Swift: The Pen and the Sword.

Guardian obituary here. Irish Times here.


Unknown said...

I caught a good deal of the coverage on R4 about him: fair, but honest - the coverage and the man. I remembered well his backing of Thatcher's policy of the Falklands war, how bamboozled I felt at that - no wonder then, that Labour lost in 1983 , but how could they have won in the face of all that ... those different times...

Peter Goulding said...

I was disappointed when he won the Leadership of the Labour Party from Healey. Not that I thought he wasn't the better man - he was - but because it was patently clear that the press hated him and he was therefore never going to win an election.
However, Kinnock, who was eminently electable, never won a general election either!