Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Michael Foot, 1913-2010
Maybe the right man at the wrong time. Maybe if it had been him and not Harold Wilson in the Sixties. By the mid-seventies I am guessing it was too late, too late for Britain anyway. And then came 1983 and All That. But even if he was wrong at the wrong time - and the best people are wrong sometimes - he was a man you could trust to be what he was, a more-than-straight-enough, more-than-good-enough man. A literary man (I remember him reading passages of Shelley at Cheltenham, with Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Melvin Bragg on the same bill), an honest man, the perfect picture of the post-war intellectual whose ideas were ideas. I never heard any of his great speeches, nor have I read him (though The Plump has, and I think I should too) and by the time he came to lead Labour his rhetoric was blowsy, a kind of tired rippling in the wind.
Personally, I liked his dress sense. No-dress-sense is sometimes the best dress sense. Today the dress sense is pitch perfect. Suits come and go though it is harder to tell what's inside them. No harm in guessing, mind. Not difficult either.