Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Michael Foot

A great tribute from Gordon Brown:

Michael Foot was a man of deep principle and passionate idealism and one of the most eloquent speakers Britain has ever heard.

He was an indomitable figure who always stood up for his beliefs and whether people agreed with him or not they admired his character and his steadfastness.

The respect he earned over a long life of service means that across our country today people, no matter their political views, will mourn the passing of a great and compassionate man.

All his life, Michael campaigned and fought for the ideals he believed in. I remember fondly my time with him and Jill Craigie, the love of his life - they both inspired me with their passion and kindness. They leave behind so many people whose grief overwhelms us today.

While Michael was a brilliant thinker – a first rate journalist and a celebrated biographer – he always knew that for the people and causes he had entered politics to represent, the Commons was not simply a forum for debate but the theatre of change.

As Leader of the Labour Party in the most difficult circumstances he was a respected and unifying figure who sought to steer it through turbulent times. And his record as a Labour minister and champion of working men and women will always be a tribute to his convictions and a source of pride - leading through Parliament the Health and Safety at Work Act.

He served the communities of Plymouth and Ebbw Vale with distinction. But Michael wasn't just a great parliamentarian - a historian, a journalist and an author, he showed the same skill as one of the youngest editors of a national newspaper in his twenties as he did when writing articles and books well into his nineties.

A founder member of CND, he is often remembered for being a self-proclaimed "inveterate peace-monger" although his determination to break the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1940s was demonstrated in his hugely influential book, "Guilty Men".

A lifelong Plymouth Argyle fan who continued attending Home Park well into his 90s, his love of his football club mirrored his love of the Labour Party: sticking by the Pilgrims through thick and thin, no one could ever doubt his loyalty and determination to see them reach the summit of success.

We will never forget his good humour, his passion and above all his enduring values and determination to fight for them - as, one of his favourite poets, Shelley proclaims "Ye are many — they are few".

Michael Foot was a genuine British radical - one who possessed a powerful sense of community, a pride in our progressive past and faith in our country's potential for a radical future.


naldo said...

I joined the Labour Party just after Thatcher came to power and like to think i'd still have been there if Labour had won the general election in 83 and Michael Foot had become Prime Minister.

The world would have been so very different had UK been lead by a genuine left winger who believed in nuclear disarmament and a progressive taxation system. Apparentky he was a right decent gadgie too.

Thatcher went on to completely transform the UK, Europe and the world - very much for the worse. I was genuinely gutted when the Tories won the 83 election on the back o the Falklands war and remember goin home to sit in my bedroom playin the first Clash lp over and over while i gret like a wee bairn.

At least Michael Foot contributed a massive amount to his world, lived to a right good age and knew that he was loved by so many around him.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Gordon Brown was right, Michael Foot did take over the leadership in "the most difficult circumstances". He was a true man of principle, an intellectual, a fighter who was averse to spin and image manipulation. We shall not see his like again.

J.J said...

The 1983 election result was gutting Naldo. I can't believe we might be going to see a Falklands Part II and yet.....

The 1992 election result was my lowest moment though.

YP - we won't see his like again - its all 'image' now. In fact it was a lot about 'image' then - hence the bollocks about the donkley jacket that never was.

Malc said...

The way Michael Foot was treated by the right-wing media was a disgrace - something that still makes me angry to this day.

A comparison of Foot with today's politicians is nothing short of depressing.

J.J said...

Couldn't agree with you more Malc. and am sitting here feeling depressed having just spent some time on one or two comparisons that came straight to mind.