Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The death of an old generation of politician

The death of Michael Foot marks the end of a generation of politicians who were great platform performers. As an historian, I came across Foot's family when I was doing research for my PhD. A great Liberal tradition was what he came from, though it was Labour's ranks into which he entered and eventually led.

He will be a loss for two reasons. He was greatly educated and widely read, a type of person of whom we need more in politics. But he was also a great platform performer, an approach which fell out of favour in the days of tv news soundbites and 24 hour news coverage.

Yet, with the decentralisation of communications created by the internet, platform performers like Michael Foot will find a new niche. The misfortune for Foot was that he was both too late and too soon for his time.

We have lost a great speaker and, in contrast to so much in politics today, we have lost someone who passionately believed in something, even though I do not necessarily share all those same beliefs.
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