I can’t say that I am sad that Michael Foot is no longer with us. I did not hate him. The policies her pursued were very pernicious.
He adopted a policy of giving the IRA what they wanted in the 1980s despite having been in government in the 70s when the Labour government rightly fought against the IRA and its loyalist equivalents.
Foot was a champagne socialist like the best of them. High living in Hampstead and dining at the Gay Hussar – why not donate all his worldly bourgeois encumbrances to the wretched of the earth.
I am grateful for his donkey jacket moment- it helped people of my ilk a great deal. It was decidedly discourteous to the fallen though.
Foot presided over Labour at its most extreme. Its policies would have been a debacle for this country if even half were implemented.
He was so embarrassing – no one wanted him as PM. That is in a large part why Labour lost so heavily under him.
He wanted the Lords abolished and declined to accept a seat there or any monarchical gong. On this point I praise him for consistency which is lacking in people like Kinnock who have the same views.
I read about his views in 1935 – unilateral disarmament and at the same time stand up to the Third Reich. Naive goodwill can only excuse so much.
I have seen the memorial he unveiled in the 80s by the South Bank Centre. It is to those who laid down their lives for democracy in Spain. The ‘demockery’ they had in Spain was punctuated by hundreds of political killings committed by left and right. The left got more votes than the right in 1936 but had only a plurality of the votes – there was the centre too. How fair this election was is keenly contested.
The leftists were fighting for Stalinism, Trotskyism, Anarchism and the extirpation of personal and religious freedom. This is the antithesis of democracy. There were some decent moderate left wingers fighting in Spain then but that was not most of them.
Franco’s policies were often overly conservative but he was clearly the better option. Further, his attitude towards the Muslims was much more enlightened and tolerant than that of the Communists.
What the right formed in Spain at the time was if you like a popular front against Stalinism. At that time Stalinism was by far the most savagely oppressive and murderous regime ever.