The only thing for which we can combine is the underlying ideal of Socialism; justice and liberty. But it is hardly strong enough to call this ideal “underlying”. It is almost forgotten.

(George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier)

Michael Foot, Labour party leader between 1980 and 1983, has died aged 96.

The 1983 General Election which he famously lost with his “longest suicide note in history” was the first in which I was old enough to vote. I voted Labour.

I remember seeing Foot on the platform at Westminster station on the London Underground, I should think this was in 1987 when I’d just started working in London. He was swinging his stick absent-mindedly and had an old knapsack over one shoulder. What are the chances of seeing a politician of that stature taking the Tube these days?

Indeed, what are the chances of seeing a politician of that stature anywhere these days? They don’t seem to make orators like this anymore.

I also remember the revolting Kenny Everett crying “Let’s kick Michael Foot’s stick away!” at a Tory party conference. The other end of the political spectrum from Foot in every respect.


World of politics unites in tribute to Labour veteran Michael Foot

Michael Foot: an honourable man and a great parliamentarian

Daily Telegraph obituary

R.I.P. Michael Mackintosh Foot, politician, journalist and author, born 23 July 1913; died 3 March 2010