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Martyn Sadler

Michael Foot Centenary

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Michael Foot, the former leader of the Labour Party, was born on 23 July 1913. He would have been 100 years old today.

 

Foot was probably the last leader of a major political party in this country who didn't modify his style to take account of modern media coverage.

 

That was probably why he was good to watch and to listen to, although his political naiveté saw him lead Labour to a massive defeat in 1983.

 

But politics seemed a more vital and exciting activity in those days, before modern spin doctors got their hands on it.

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A labour leader who was a labour man, unlike Blair, brown and milliband.

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A labour leader who was a labour man, unlike Blair, brown and milliband.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a Labour man".

 

Foot was no more a natural Labour man than Blair, and much less so than Brown and Miliband.

 

He came from a Liberal family, and attended Leighton Park school in Reading, known as 'the Quaker Eton'.

 

Like Blair, he was converted to Labour while a student at Oxford, whereas Brown and Miliband were always Labour Party members.

 

Like many people from posh backgrounds who join the Labour Party, he tended to have an idealised view of the working class, seeing no evil in some trade union practices that, if perpetrated by others, would be deemed indefensible.

 

In 1975, while he was the Secretary of State for Employment, for example, six men were dismissed from their jobs at Ferrybridge because of the introduction of a closed shop. Not only were they dismissed, but they were denied unemployment benefit.

 

But Foot showed them absolutely no sympathy.

 

"A person who declines to fall in with new conditions of employment which result from a collective agreement may well be considered to have brought about his own dismissal," he was reported to have said.

 

In other words they could starve, and in that sense Foot's socialism was bordering on fascism.

 

Similarly, he proposed legislation that would have completely neutered a feee press.

 

But you'll find that if you read Foot's biography of Aneurin Bevan, Bevan could do absolutely no wrong in Foot's eyes.

 

It was a rather embarrassing hagiography, totally lacking in any objectivity.

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In other words they could starve, and in that sense Foot's socialism was bordering on fascism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh purlease!!!!!!

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Oh purlease!!!!!!

 

Please don't disagree or Martyn will have to lock the thread.

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A labour leader who was a labour man, unlike Blair, brown and Milliband.

 

 

Middle class parents, prep school, private school and Oxford Uni.  Married a feminist historian and lived in one of the poshest streets in London..... sound just like Blair, Brown and Milliband. ;)

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Oh purlease!!!!!!

But that was what happened and Foot was totally unsympathetic.

 

If a Tory Employment Minister had said the same thing he would have been roundly vilified, and with justification.

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But that was what happened and Foot was totally unsympathetic.

 

If a Tory Employment Minister had said the same thing he would have been roundly vilified, and with justification.

 

 

Yes he would but you're falling into the trap that a lot of middle class lefty/liberal types make by calling any behaviour they fine unacceptable "fascist" this is fine until real fascism comes along and you get accused of crying wolf.

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Yes he would but you're falling into the trap that a lot of middle class lefty/liberal types make by calling any behaviour they fine unacceptable "fascist" this is fine until real fascism comes along and you get accused of crying wolf.

I take your point.

'Authoritarian' may be a better word to use in that context.

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Please don't disagree or Martyn will have to lock the thread.

I've just put a crafty fiver on Thatcher picking up a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Golden Boot ceremony.

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I've just put a crafty fiver on Thatcher picking up a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Golden Boot ceremony.

Michael Foot was, of course, a Plymouth Argyle supporter, the town of his birth.

 

Unlike Harold Wilson, his predecessor as leader of the Labour Party, or his successor Neil Kinnock, I don't recall him ever coming to the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.

 

Thatcher came to the 1976 Cup Final.

 

If you think that deserves a lifetime achievement award you are at liberty to propose it.

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I thought Foot was an ineffective leader. He also turned up one remembrance sunday looking a right scruff.

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Please don't disagree or Martyn will have to lock the thread.

 

 don't be so sensitive! 

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Foot was certainly a leg-end in his own lifetime.

 

 

Its too warm for my coat so I'll carry it instead.

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 don't be so sensitive! 

 

I'm not the thread-locker.

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As with many left wing intellectuals he was detached from reality and had an arrogant paternalistic attitude that socialism and socialists knew best. If you didn't agree you were either selfish or stupid or both.

A fine writer and a fine journalist but a hopeless political leader. The Parliamentary Labour Party electing him leader instead of Denis Healy goes to show how dysfunctional the Labour Party really was as it was increasingly infiltrated by radical Marxists and militant and myopic trade unionists.

Labour's lurch to the "loony left" had been brewing since the rejection of Barbara Castle's In Place of Strife in 1969. Once Wilson and Callaghan were out of the way and Labour were out of office all hell broke loose. The pernicious and self righteous political vandalism carried out by Tony Benn and his cronies was particularly reprehensible. Activity which Foot did little to stop.

Here is a great documentary about the Labour Party from 1979 to 1994.

People should remember that most political ideologies are nearly the intellectualism of material self interest.

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I'm not the thread-locker.

 

your response does seem a bit petulant, playground stuff. Just read it again.

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It was a donkey jacket. Considering David Steel was wearing a formal three piece suit Foot turning up in a glorified dark green duffel coat was a big misjudgement and was viewed as disrespectful.

The donkey jacket incident is at 1.04

 

I think Foot was criticised unfairly for his choice of clothes that day.

 

But it was a Labour MP who was the first to stick the boot in, and from there it snowballed.

 

As Foot himself admitted, apparently minor issues can come to almost define an individual, and he never managed to shake that incident off.

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I would argue that his oblivious attitude to wearing the wrong clothes demonstrated his detached arrogance.

The key problem was the "donkey jacket" was it made Foot fail the "plausible Prime Minister" test which Ed Milliband is currently struggling with. Considering their privileged and academic backgrounds that is hardly surprising.

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I would argue that his oblivious attitude to wearing the wrong clothes demonstrated his detached arrogance.

The key problem was the "donkey jacket" was it made Foot fail the "plausible Prime Minister" test which Ed Milliband is currently struggling with. Considering their privileged and academic backgrounds that is hardly surprising.

All the party leaders, including the current PM, have privileged backgrounds. Do they all fail the test?

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