Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On the death of Michael Foot

Yes, there was the wreath laying ceremony at the Centotaph on Remembrance Day 1981 and the donkey jacket that was actually a short black coat; short enough to have him savaged by a Tory press than was out to make sure that Thatcher remained in power. The war over the Falkland Islands did the rest, mad Maggie stayed and the first in a line of real mediocrities in the form of Neil Kinnock became the Labour Party leader. The party was doing what it had to do to survive, it was adapting and what Neil ushered in Tony finished off and we might all ask ourselves what in fact survived and might it not have been better if it had all gone under when Michael Foot stopped being the party leader?

He was savaged then but today his praises are being sung with the 'Times' reporting Gordon Brown as saying Mr Foot was "a man of deep principle and passionate idealism," while John Prescott flashes up a tribute on his twitter, "A great man has died. He was the heart of our movement." "Deep principle and passionate idealism", "the heart of our movement" and where are your principles and idealism Mr Brown and what "movement" are you talking about Mr Prescott? Do you remember Michael Foot the "peace campaigner and radical socialist journalist", the "left-wing intellectual and antinuclear campaigner"?  A "peace campaigner", a socialist, and intellectual and an antinuclear campaigner" and these hypocrites sing his praise.

Michael Foot was the leader of a Labour Party whose ethical values were destroyed by that authoritarian and hubristic machine which was created after he lost the leadership of the party. It was this machine that brought Tony Blair to power and has found a worthy successor to Blair in Gordon Brown. These are people who feel indebted to nothing and nobody and certainly not to socialist ideals. Their eulogies for Michael Foot are not to be taken seriously for Michael Foot belonged to an age where there was a real Labour Party, a socialist party, and a party which, had it come into power under his leadership, would have pursued a very different course at home and abroad. The sad thing is that looking back we are forced to realise that Michael Foot's limitations were not those imposed by his own lack of ambition but rather by a system that already then would never have allowed someone like him to become Prime Minister.

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