When I was an undergraduate, I wrote a far too political essay for a history module about why perceptions of the Labour leadership of Michael Foot had been unfairly characterised and poorly represented in both contemporary commentary and works since. It was one of my most memorable pieces of university work, from my perspective at any rate, because in writing it I actually changed my mind – not about Foot, but about Kinnock. That, however, is another story.
More knowledgeable and more eloquent voices than mine will write proper tributes to Foot today, but I wanted to mark his sad passing in some way. I don’t have that essay to hand, so fortunately can’t quote myself. But here, happily, is Kinnock himself on the man he succeeded. From the other side of the aisle, Michael Gove, too, gave a warm eulogy to Foot on today’s Daily Politics: one hopes that in death Foot will be remembered as the great, principled intellectual of integrity that he was, rather than the ineffectual, donkey jacket-wearing Labour leader he wasn’t.