Sad news yesterday of the death of Michael Foot. After the 1979 election I wanted him to be the leader of the Labour Party and I was spellbound hearing him speak in Slough during the 1983 election. An election which the triumvirate of:
- the foolish traitors who ran away to form the SDP rather than stay and fight their corner,
- the foolish Bennites – whose folly I freely admit at the time I gave far too much time to – who spent too long fighting their corner and not the Tories, and
- the incumbency of the Tories with Thatcher in her pomp after winning the, probably self-caused war in the Falklands
trashed the Labour Party and left it out of power for the following fourteen years. As is being said it is a tribute to Michael that he saw it through the above and started the work continued by Neil Kinnock and then Tony Blair to make it electable again. Then there is the work he did as Editor of the Evening Standard to challenge the appeasers of Nazism in the 30′s and his success as an Employment Minister giving things like Employment Tribunals to protect unfairly sacked workers and paid materninty leave. There are many more and a wide variety of triumphs.
Third, and most importantly, his desire that Labour should win another General Election. He did not agree with everything the Labour government did. But he delighted in so much of the change made under first Tony and now Gordon, two men of whom I never heard him say a bad word, even when disagreeing with some of their actions. And to the end, the very end, he would argue with anyone who cared to engage that in the choice between Tory and Labour about who should run Britain, there wasn’t really a choice at all.
Because it is important people understand what the next election is about, especially all those people on the left far too quick to criticise Labour in Government, especially national Government. It is also why I so opposed the fools in Reading Labour Party who undermined an elected Labour MP and whose actions resulted in a Tory MP in the East of the town. I too have let my doubts about Gordon Brown as Leader overcome my wish to see Labour returned as Government at the next election, letting my membership lapse on my move here to France. I have now rejoined.
At the same time the sad news of the death of Keith Alexander was reported. I never saw him play, had never met the man but had followed a couple of the teams he had managed and always got the impression of a really nice man and the tributes in the link above seem to confirm that. 53 is too young to die. He was the first black managers in the English game. It never seemed to be important or anything he made much of. He took Lincoln to four successive play-offs from the fourth professional division in England and the fact they didn’t win any of them seems to show that there can be OK black football managers just as there are OK white football managers, the colour of the manager is not important.