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What is Michael Foot's legacy?

12:24 UK time, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Former Labour leader, Michael Foot, has died aged 96. How will you remember him?

Michael Foot served as Labour leader from 1980 to 1983 and stayed in the Commons until the 1992 election, retiring after 47 years as a Member of Parliament.

In retirement, he refused to go to the House of Lords, where two of his brothers had already sat.

What are your memories of Michael Foot? How did his Labour leadership impact the political world?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Michael Foot was never known for his charisma and sartorial elegance, but I believe he had a great passion for the principles of the traditional labour movement.

    He was an honest man who found himself in a rapidly changing politically world where image is more important than principle.

    If people had voted on integrity and intellect, he would have achieved a landslide.

    I think his death marks the end of an era for the Labour party. There is no-one else who can follow in his footsteps now.

  • Comment number 2.

    I started my degree in 1983, shortly after Labour were beaten in the post-Falklands General Election. A housemate of mine showed me a letter he had received from Michael Foot, in reply to his own letter after the election, which had regretted the character assassination that had taken place in the election's build up of such a supreme parliamentarian and orator. The reply was clearly prepared by Michael Foot himself and it's content was obviously from a warm and sympathetic human being, not a cold, calculating politician and careerist. He shall be missed.

  • Comment number 3.

    I will remember him as a wonderful orator when he gave speeches on the Aldermaston marches, CND and Committee of 100 demonstrations. I was a fresh faced youngster ( then ) and he inspired me no end. I thought I could put the world to rights. Ah, and look what happened.

  • Comment number 4.

    I remember him for his work as an activist for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and for being a Socialist in the Labour Party. Not many of those left these days, although i'm sure there will be a sickening heap of sycophantic praise from the jokers that run the Tory-Labour party now.

  • Comment number 5.

    I remember him for trying to free Ms Hinley from Prison. Luckly he failed and she died in prison. He came across as a weak willed man.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am truly sorry, but unfortunately my enduring memory of Michael Foot is him turning up at the cenotaph on remembrance sunday in a donkey jacket. As a serving sailor who had recently lost friends I will not forget what was seen as a huge snub at the time.

    I can't forget, but maybe I can forgive, may he rest in peace.

  • Comment number 7.

    A true and real politician with good socialist Labour values.

    may he rest in peace.

  • Comment number 8.

    As someone who sits on the centre right of the poliical spectrum it would be easy to crticise his brand of Labour however, at least he was a principled socialist unlike the Nu Labour Project we currently have 'running' the country.

    His much scoffed at idea about nationalising the banks in the run up to the 1983 General Election suddenly doesn't seem quite so silly now.

    Rest in peace Mr. Foot.

  • Comment number 9.

    I miss listening to the likes of Michael Foot. I’m not a socialist, in fact I firmly believe socialism is madness. However, the likes of Michael Foot, Tony Benn, i.e. true socialists deserve respect. They are honest & generally believe in their cause. They also put their argument across in a constructive manner. Michael Foot was such a person, a credit to the socialist cause unlike the current brand of champagne socialists of today like Blair, Brown & Co, who have taken the worst of socialism and combined it with the worst of capitalism to produce the mess we see today.

  • Comment number 10.

    An unremarkable man.

  • Comment number 11.

    A sad day. If only we had Labour politicians today with the integrity and passion for socialism that this man had.

  • Comment number 12.

    Michael Foot was a man of principles; something sadly lacking among today's politicians.

  • Comment number 13.

    Michael Foot was a Communist and heaven help us what would have happened to our Country if this 'Bafoon' had remained longer in office as Prime Minister than he did.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    commiserations to his family ....yada yada
    but my memory of him was his Donkey Jacket , and unelectable hard left policies.
    they never went away you know ?

  • Comment number 16.

    I am no supporter of the Labour Party these days, but I always had the utmost respect for this well-educated, well-read, well-intentioned man. Sadly, he was lambasted in the moronic popular press that still causes so much damage to our country.

    We could do with more personalities of the calibre of Michael Foot today. Our politicians are grey and tedious, and often pretty ignorant both of the people they represent and of the policies needed to improve our failing state.

  • Comment number 17.

    Clearly a passionate and likeable man but thank God he never to came to power. His left wing agenda would have set us back decades.

  • Comment number 18.

    A man who will long be remembered for believing that a donkey jacket was suitable attire for a potential national leader.

  • Comment number 19.

    The death or a Grand Old Socialist. There aren't many left anymore, and certainly none in the government. Michael Foot led the Labour Party when it actually stood for something and represented the working man. He must have been very disappointed when he died.

  • Comment number 20.

    I am not and never have been a supporter of the kinds of policies espoused by Michael Foot. However, I have always had a great respect for him as a man who stood by, and argued for, his beliefs throughout his life. His leadership was the culmination of the steady move to the left of the Labour party which resulted in Labour losing in 1979 and staying out of office for another 18 years. Labour's disasterous showing in 1983 only hastened Foot's political demise and the start of Labour moving back towards the centre (which in the process made them electable once more). I think this is a lesson for all politicians. History suggests that the majority of the electorate do not want large swings towards either the right or the left. Foot was also one of the last of the old-style politicians who were more used to speaking in Town Halls and at Union rallies rather than the more modern use of TV and slick ad campaigns. A comparison of the presentational style of the 1983 Labour and Conservative manifestos showed how much things had moved on.

    Nonetheless, Foot was a decent and principled man. My sympathies to his family.

  • Comment number 21.

    I was young but not naive when he was in Parliament. He believed strongly in his left wing agenda's, but I always felt that he had one foot in the Kremlin and one foot in Parliament. Wilson was the same. Both Kremlin supporters. It always amazed me that in rallying support for the down trodden and unfortunate, none of these people ever gave up the lavish trappings and perks of power. He was a good orator, but I strongly disagreed with his policies or his underlying motivation.

  • Comment number 22.

    I met Mr Foot and found him a charasmatic and likeable man but he was a total disaster as a Labour leader. However, he was at least open & honest, unlike the spinners and truth benders of later & on up to the present day.

  • Comment number 23.

    I remember him as a brilliant journalist and biographer of Bevan. I met him several times at Tribune meetings where he appeared as a great speaker, although in later years his rhetoric appeared a little short on substance. But he believed in socialism of the traditional labour party. Not very popular today and unacceptable to our US masters, which is why his leadership of the labour party was destined to electoral defeat. So we never saw Foot's socialism; we had Thatcher and her disciple, Blair. Maybe they were best for the country. I don't agree. There was much that I did not accept with Foot's traditional labour socialism, but I do know that he was the kind of man who would listen to criticism and take it on board. I admire him because he believed in what he said, had a sense of history which is so badly lacking in today's political classes. Rest in peace Michael. You have your place in the history of socialism.

  • Comment number 24.

    A man passionate about social justice... and uninterested in appearance. Substance not style.

    I didn't agree with all his opinions, but respected him because every time he opened his mouth you knew you'd hear HIS opinion, the one he'd thought about, considered and decided that he held because he believed it, not because it might garner a few votes.

  • Comment number 25.

    We need a lot more of Michael Foot's brand of conviction and morality in government today, and a lot less corporate sleaze, cynicism and spin.

  • Comment number 26.

    'Old Labour' can now say that "My Left Foot" has now left for good... RIP

  • Comment number 27.

    An eloquent speaker and committed campaigner, certainly, but a man of fundamentally flawed judgement who got it wrong on just about every major issue throughout his political career. A pre-war appeaser and post-war unliteral disarmer, his class-ridden view of politics was eventually, thankfully, left behind by the public even though the Labour Party continued to be riddled by it until after Foot led them to their most catastrophic electoral defeat as a major party. It's sad that a colourful character has passed on, but he was not a great man - not even a great politician.

  • Comment number 28.

    snarlygronkit wrote:
    I am truly sorry, but unfortunately my enduring memory of Michael Foot is him turning up at the cenotaph on remembrance sunday in a donkey jacket. As a serving sailor who had recently lost friends I will not forget what was seen as a huge snub at the time.

    I can't forget, but maybe I can forgive, may he rest in peace.


    That wasn't a donkey jacket! That's just something the media leaped on to make him out to be disrespectful, everyone loves a scandalous newspaper story. It was just a normal coat.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mr Foot was an honourable man who believed in his principles and that of Labour. Proabily the finest orator at Westminster too. Many politicians would do well to follow his example of integrity and honesty with the public, a quality severely lacking in politics today.
    My condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

  • Comment number 30.

    I never understood why people always referred to his oratory. I thought he was a terrible public speaker, a complete political non-entity, whose only real 'achievement' was to help keep Thatcher in power back in the 80s.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Although I disagree with his views, he has always had my admiration as being a politician who put his beliefs and the needs of his constituency as his number one priority.

    Most modern politicians, and certainly every one that is an MP at the moment, prioritise their careers over their beliefs and the needs of their constituency.

    RIP Michael.

  • Comment number 33.

    The one thing which sticks in my memory about Michael Foot is his TV documentary in the 1990s "2 hours from London" about the atrocities then being committed in the break-up of Yugoslavia, a programme which I actually watched in Croatia (right next to where this was all going on and where its impact on the locals also watching was very moving). He was a deeply humanitarian man, of that there is no doubt, but his oratory was from an earlier time and out of place in the TV age. His politics were informed by his decency but also betrayed a naivety which allowed him to be misused by others who did not have his good intentions. As a politician his legacy will therefore generally be viewed negatively but as a human being I think he made a difference both by what he did and by example, and that matters much more.

  • Comment number 34.

    I remember him as a very dangerous and alarming left wing extremist with policies which would have proved catastrophic had he ever had the chance to put them into effect. I suppose the only good thing that can be said of him is that he did at least have firm political beliefs, misguided and dangerous though they were. That's more than can be said for today's politicians, although the last thing we need in politics now is someone putting forward Mr Foot's pernicious nonsense.

  • Comment number 35.

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  • Comment number 36.

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  • Comment number 37.

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  • Comment number 38.

    Michael Foot was a genuine socialist, a man of strong and unshakeable principle who accepted the leadership of the Labour Party because he believed that it was in a death spiral and he could perhaps halt the slide. In reality he was out of his depth and was subsequently, and quite unjustifiably vilified by his own colleagues. He was a great orator but his contribution in terms of shaping the political landscape of Britain was relatively little; what he did achieve was done for the right reasons. No doubt there will be hand wringing and false platitudes from the current abysmal crop of Labour politicians who quite honestly are not fit to clean his shoes. If he's remembered for anything it will be as a transparent and genuine man who cared about others and whose motives were of the highest order.

  • Comment number 39.

    Sadly for Michael Foot, brilliant man that he was, his only real legacy today is how not to appeal to modern voters

  • Comment number 40.

    "If people had voted on integrity and intellect, he would have achieved a landslide. ... Rational_Thinker"

    Ermmmm ... people DID vote on integrity and intellect, thats why it was Mrs Thatcher who achieved the landslide. I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, but Foot was an unreformed socialist/marxist. Whether his heart was in the right place or not, Foot and his ilk wrecked this country for a generation - just like his successor Gordon Brown is doing now. We might be speaking Russian now if Foot had won in 1983.

    (P.S. Hate the new HYS format - the best part was the recommendations, why have these gone? Is the BBC afraid of public opinion?)

  • Comment number 41.

    I remember Michael Foot from my early days in politics in the 60's. I found him to be very considerate, kind and honest. The greatest speaker I've ever heard; there are no orators now who come near to him and who mean what they say.

  • Comment number 42.

    Michael Foot was elected as Labour Leader in response to the right wing policies pouring from Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government.

    He was obviously never Prime Minister material to those outside the Labour Party and it was Gerald Kaufman that described Labour's 1983 manifesto as the longest suicide note in history, when Labour suffered their largest defeat in decades.

    In hindsight, Michael Foot's legacy was the election of Neil Kinnock to replace him, which started to turn Labour back from the precipice. When Kinnock resigned after the 1992 General Election, it was John Smith and then Tony Blair that rebuilt Labour as New Labour and the party became mainstream once again.

    He was reviled by the right wing press, which was somewhat unfair as he was certainly a brilliant thinker and orator and its a shame we dont have such politician's now. They are rather bland in comparison.

    Still, at 96, its a brilliant innings!

  • Comment number 43.

    He always amused me with his style of address, and his ability to ignore the real world, in search of his dreams. He was the star turn at many Labour Party Conferences with his rousing speeches. I often found his Politics extreme and he certainly put off many voters. I did though admire him for his constancy and honesty.
    If only todays Politicians were half as memorable as Micheal Foot.

  • Comment number 44.

    He was a Labour party member, through and through.A decent politician who put party above self. He was a socialist par excellence who will be missed for his wit , charm and journalistic credence. Adieu! Comrade.

  • Comment number 45.

    Who? Coverage of Michael Foot is irrelevant. Why don't I hear more reports about the farce in PMQs today?

  • Comment number 46.

    Gillian (5) says Michael Foot tried to get Myra Hindley released. That was actually Lord Longford. Coincidentally, Michael Foot and Myra Hindley were both born on 23 July - but there the similarity ends.

  • Comment number 47.

    I was a Conservative Candidate in 1983 when Margaret Thatcher ordered a copy of Labour's manifesto to be sent to me which I still have a copy of. It was refered to as the biggest suicide note in history and it got the support it deserved. Michael Foot was honest about his views and aims, but I believe it is the results of that honesty which has led the next generation of Labour politicians to hide their real policies to gain power. A sad reality.

  • Comment number 48.

    Until Gordon brown was 'elected' leader Foot was the biggest electoral liability in the history of the Liebour Party. He will not be missed.

  • Comment number 49.

    It is sad when anyone dies - a great orator YES - but Michael foot if elected would have been a VERY dangerous man - He was associated with CND and the USSR and would he have defended the Falklands? Maybe a great politician - but is good he did not become Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 50.

    I have no doubt that Michael Foot was a conviction politician and deeply believed in his ultra left wing cause.
    He was however a senior member of a government that caused so much damage to our country which has taken the best part of 20 years to put right. For me his lasting legacy was not the well earned defeat for Labour in 1983 but the Winter of discontent in 1978 which he was instrumental in causing.

  • Comment number 51.

    I did not know Mr Foot but he seemed an honest man for a politician.

    The question is about his legacy and his legacy is New Labour. On almost every major political theme, with the honourable exception of pre-war appeasers he was profoundly wrong.

    It can only produce a wry smile to hear all of the New Labour politicians, who despised everything he stood for, now expressing their reverence for this 'great' man.

  • Comment number 52.

    As a Christain Socialist I did not always agree with my Socilaist friends on certain matters relating to faith and God. But I shall miss Micheal foot who was a brilliant orator and politician the likes of which we hardly see now. He was a champion of peace and rights for the working class, but was up against powerfull dark forces of free market capitalism. Rest in peace Michael if only your socialist friends could realise that Jesus was the first true socialist and we sorely need both now in this world and nation of falling values and materialist greed.

  • Comment number 53.

    His politics and views I did not share, but I fully respected the man for who he was and his conviction.No spin,no soundbites,just conviction in what he thought was right. Unfortunatley this is a foreign concept to modern day these days to a lot of our MP's. RIP

  • Comment number 54.

    he came across as an extremely nice clever intellectual man, committed to the 'labour cause', but not with the personality to be a strong leader

    that seems to come with a different character altogether - no further comment

  • Comment number 55.

    Whilst socialism may not be the choice of many people out there, People like Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner, etc, at least had passion in what they stood for, unlike todays politicians who are all clones of one another.
    For the record, I'm fairly sure that Michel Foot did not wear a donkey jacket to the cenotaph (and apparently was congratulated on his appearance by the Queen Mother)
    Also for the record, GetOnYourSoapBox, I'm also sure that he didn't serve as Prime Minister. I think you'll find that the person you refer to as being disasterous for the country was a certain Gargoyle of Grantham

  • Comment number 56.

    Unfortunately supporting unilateral nuclear disarmament was his downfall and the downfall of the labour party when he was leader.

  • Comment number 57.

    An honest man who didn't dress his ideas up any more than he dressed himself up. The infamous 'donkey jacket' was symptomatic of a man comfortable in himself, his ideas and his formidable intellect; a man who unwaiverlingly favoured function over form.

    Michael had that endearing, professorial look, his head cocked to one side to listen better to what his interrogator actually had to say.

    A class act.

  • Comment number 58.

    I will never forget that Foot did not support our efforts in the Falklands war. To me he will always be a misguided intelligent man who wasted his life supporting the wrong causes. Neither speeches in the House of Commons nor CND marches succeeded in forcing the USSR to change.

  • Comment number 59.

    Last honest Labour leader. Wore a donkey jacket.

  • Comment number 60.

    I used to see Michael Foot of a morning when catching the no. 24 bus to Westminster in the late 1980s. An elderley man then, he appeared to a watchful acolyte new to London as a compelling blend of apparent fragility and prehensile strength. I imagined him having braved the vertical steps to the upper desk with their wicked twist in the well, clasping his walking stick and hauling himself up the handrail like a mountaineer as the bus careered down the road. He would sit bundled up in the frontmost seat, right in the corner and see out the journey to Parliament. It was the most see-saw seat on the bus and I was never sure whether he sat there for privacy or the discomfort suited him.

  • Comment number 61.

    The last of the real socialists. A man of principle, intellect and compassion. May he rest in peace.

  • Comment number 62.

    I will remember Michael Foot as a true socialist, and possessing something sadly lacking in some politicians today "Having strong and caring principles, and sticking with them". Also he was the oldest player on Plymouth Argyle's books, a true Green always. God Bless and RIP Michael, Respects to his family.

  • Comment number 63.

    He will be remembered, if at all, as a non descript scruffy man. Who committed the unforgiveable insult to fallen service personnel by wearing a donkey jacket at the Rememberance parade. Sums him up. Disliking all thing British.

  • Comment number 64.

    GetOnYourSoapBox wrote:

    Michael Foot was a Communist and heaven help us what would have happened to our Country if this 'Bafoon' had remained longer in office as Prime Minister than he did."

    Classic case of ignorance. Foot was not a Communist he was a Socialist, look up the terms in a dictionary. Second he was never Prime Minister!

    Oh.. and it's 'buffoon' which he certainly wasn't.

    RIP Michael Foot.

  • Comment number 65.

    Like many others, I never supported any of the policies he stood for, but admired an honest, intelligent man of principle. More politicians of his ilk would do a great deal to help restore trust in our political system.

  • Comment number 66.

    #5 wrote: I remember him for trying to free Ms Hinley from Prison. Luckly he failed and she died in prison. He came across as a weak willed man.

    I think you are confusing Michael Foot with Lord Longford who was the man who tried to free Myra Hindley.

    True, they both had an scruffy appearance, but that is where the similarity ends. Far from being a weak willed man, Michael Foot was a statesman with strong socialist values and will be missed by many.

  • Comment number 67.

    My sincere condolences to his family but he wasn't exactly a good advertisement for the Labour Party or the man at C & A.

  • Comment number 68.

    I seem to recall he was appointed (not sure which year though) to try to broker a deal to return to some kind of a relationship between the then Labour government and the unions during a period of great instability. He did that well

  • Comment number 69.

    He was a great man that I had the privellage of meeting him on many occassions with the Labour party. I remember one most fondly when we were campeigning in Porthmadog and a young man ran out of a pub put his arms around him, explained that he was a Plaid Cymru voter but was so pleased to have met his politicl hero!

  • Comment number 70.

    I am willing to accept that description of Michael Foot as a man of principle.
    However his principles seemed to consist of running contrary to anything which could be seen as part of this nation's identity.
    He was part of the "enemy within", he was one of the strongest movers in a line of spoilt, middle-class, champagne socialists who set about a train of policies which has robbed ordinary citizens of the means to improve their situation which he and his generation enjoyed.
    Only the good die young!

  • Comment number 71.

    Being from Derby I will remember Michael Foot for one thing, the fact that any political idea or suggestion he always used to put the question 'what would the people of Derby think'? to himself, apparently a reference to when he used to visit Derby and see all the houses and industry in and around the station area.

    Anyone who shows that kind of instinct and thought for his fellow man is surely the epitome of a decent politcian.

  • Comment number 72.

    God bless him - he was a huge asset to the first Thatcher government.

  • Comment number 73.

    Of course 'one foot in the grave' will be the bad taste e-mail and text jokes. Sadly I remember him as the first victim of personal abuse by the gutter press. A decent man who came along at an un-decent time.

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh to fondly remember the days when Parliament had people of character, fortitude and moral compass! How times have changed - Fondly remembered, I do believe he represented a generation of politicians with a sound vision for our country and its people. A true loss to our nation.

  • Comment number 75.

    RIP. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, you should mourn the passing of Michael Foot. Apart from being a great orator, he was a man of unimpeachable integrity, huge knowledge about all manner of subjects and as genuine, sincere and caring as anyone on earth. Clearly he failed to meet the shallow requirements for a party leader these days - young, beautiful and media-friendly, but he was a great Parliamentarian nonetheless. We will not see his like again.

  • Comment number 76.

    On ocasions like this I remember a sketch from Not the Nine O'clock News in which two political opponents are in the middle of an aggressive abusive slanging match when suddenly one of them dies, the other slips into a moving eulogy praising the great attributes of his opponent.
    Foot was born with a huge silver shovel in his mouth which gave him easy access to his political career. He was certainly not eloquent and his lack of political achievement and persuasiveness will be his testimony. He was a political failure, yes he was true to his principles (as was Hitler) but since when has that in itself been a measure of greatness?
    A good literary figure but a hopeless politician.

  • Comment number 77.

    '...I am truly sorry, but unfortunately my enduring memory of Michael Foot is him turning up at the cenotaph on remembrance sunday in a donkey jacket. As a serving sailor who had recently lost friends I will not forget what was seen as a huge snub at the time...' (and other smiliar comments)

    Your point being what exactly? I remember the outrage too, and I never understood it then either. Why? He wasn't the snappiest of dressers? So what? Does that mean someone can't truly grieve or pay their respects unless they're decked out in a £800 black suit? Give me someone genuine but scruffy rather than a thousand besuited corporate zombies with their immaculate facades. RIP a true individual.

  • Comment number 78.

    Sorry to hear about the death of Michael Foot. He was a decent man whatever you think of his views, i think he was altruistic and caring for his countrymen... He certainly could never be described as in politics just to line his own pocket. In the end though,I think he was the wrong person for Labour leader at the time and actually did a lot of damage to the Labour Party with 'The Longest Suicide Note in History' 1983 manifesto,and impractical left wing policies which led to the splitting away of the SDP. I think it was sad that so many personal attacks were made on the man. He never seemed to live down the 'Duffel coat at the Cenotaph' which I always thought was very unfair. But by the 80's,politicians had become slick and Armani suited with PR advisers buzzing around.

  • Comment number 79.

    I may not agree with his politics, but I think he passionately and truly believed in his socialist ideals. His efforts and consideration for the working class shame the current labour bunch who only want to line their own pockets. RIP.

  • Comment number 80.

    Whether you agreed with his politics or not, he was at least the kind of politician who was unwavering in his beliefs and did not change his mind more often than the wind, unlike most modern politicians.

    You knew what you were getting, he was honest and straight forward.

    Wish we had a few more with his principles.

  • Comment number 81.

    A silly old fool who nearly wrecked the country.

  • Comment number 82.

    Michael Foot was an honest of a breed that will not be seen again.
    A great of the last of these in the Commons which now seems to be run by the media, spin-doctors and on the make 'advisers.'
    Your are better out of it Michael.
    God bless.

  • Comment number 83.

    Gillian wrote:

    "I remember him for trying to free Ms Hinley from Prison. Luckly he failed and she died in prison. He came across as a weak willed man."

    I take it you're thinking of Lord Longford in the context of Myra Hindley? Michael Foot was anything but a weak-willed man. I met him three times when I was an active member of the Liberal Party. He was always courteous and friendly, and had a fantastic political mind. Michael was the best orator I ever heard. The best talk a ever heard him give was on the subject of the great British libertarian and pamphleteer Thomas Paine, for whom he felt a particular affinity. When he reluctantly took the leadership of the Labour Party, 20 years too late, I will always remember, and never forgive, the vicious and sadistic campaign of the Conservative Press against a very tired, defenceless, yet spirited old man. Goodbye Michael and thanks for being.

  • Comment number 84.

    A man of true principle and integrity. Although before my time, I have always respected and admired the man. My favorite quote on him was, 'The man who would rather be right, than to be Prime Minister'.

  • Comment number 85.

    He was man who belonged in the Soviet Union

  • Comment number 86.

    Hopefully others will have dismissed the smear on this noble, decent and intelligent man regarding his outerwear one Remembrance Sunday.

    It wasn't a "donkey jacket" just a dark (now that's a surprise) worsted/serge mid length coat. No doubt some jumped-up hack at a right-wing tabloid decided that they would have fun at his expense and the story ran and ran. It says less about him and so much more about the superficial world we starting to live in - 20 years later, hello Katie Price and Big Brother...

    As a result of this totally unwarranted "libel" many of the younger generation only remember him as figure of fun rather than as a principled, honest, caring politician from an era when one could put that on one's CV and respect would flow. Personally I didn't believe in anything he said but he did so with dignity, elegance and deference to his opponents.

    Rest in Peace one of the greats from a dying generation...

  • Comment number 87.

    It would be helpful if some of the contributors got their facts right: Michael Foot was not wearing a donkey jacket at the Centotaph in 1981. Clearly, the people on this site think it was a donkey jacket have either never seen a donkey jacket or are trying to besmirch Michael Foot's memory without accurate justification.

    The following quote should set the record straight. It comes by the way from the Daily Telegraph: a newspaper not known for it's sympathy towards what Michael Foot stood for. For goodness sake, just get your facts right will you. It doesn't take that long now with Google to help you.

    Dominic Sandbrook reviews Michael Foot: a Life by Kenneth O Morgan

    The one thing that everybody remembers about Michael Foot is the donkey jacket. In fact, it was not really a donkey jacket at all but, as his biographer Kenneth Morgan explains, "a short, blue-green overcoat" bought by his devoted wife Jill. It made its infamous appearance at the Cenotaph in November 1981, when Foot, blinking uneasily beside Margaret Thatcher, was accused by one of his own MPs as looking like an "unemployed navvy". The Queen Mother, of all people, defended Foot's attire, telling him that it was "a smart, sensible coat for a day like this". But the damage was done, and even his official portrait at Westminster shows him wearing it.

  • Comment number 88.

    I will never forget my one encounter with Michael Foot, in my student days, when he had only recently returned to the back benches. I was browsing through some books in a shop on Paddington station. I turned to leave and nearly knocked Mr Foot flying with my large, heavy rucksack. I was horrified, but he refused to accept my apologies. He was one of the century's greats, a superb writer and speaker, a passionate parliamentarian. Given some of the comments on this forum concerning his dress sense I can only conclude that we broadly deserve the much lower calibre of politician that we have today.

  • Comment number 89.

  • Comment number 90.

    A man of passion for the Socialist values he believed in, a great loss to the Socialist movement. The good old days of when the Labour party had a socialist ideology and truely represented the people, the masses, the working class, the poor and the needy.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    Michael Foot may have had "Integrity" , but the policies he wished to pursue would have ruined this country. If our current stock of politicians had more integrity , they would not be heaping so much undeserved praise on his head.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Met him once at a bye election in Crosby. He let me get a photograph with him in his famous jacket, and seemed to have lots of time for everyone. Tony Booth, Cherie's Dad, and Pat Phoenix were at the same meeting. Labour was in a terrible state at the time, and the papers were full of MRs T's Falklands stuff, so he did no worse than Neil Kinnock did later, considering the awful circumstances for Labour.

    It slightly distresses me that some people can only drag up old propaganda stories about him. To make what point? It shows how powerful the press is, I suppose, in producing knee jerk reactions. However, regarding anybodies death, some people should remember what Thumper said in the film Bambi:- 'if you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all'.

  • Comment number 95.

    Michael Foot had principles it is true however their relevance of some of them to the political environment of the day is questionable. He was a shambolic individual and was not a leader for the UK and it is due to him as PM and the fact that Labour had no alternative that Thatcher rose to power and sowed the seeds for the mess we are now in. However I would rather have someone with principles like he and Tony Benn ( who I frequently do not agree with) who have reasoned argument rather than those self serving individuals in power today who blindly follow the party line irrespective of voter requirements and national interest.

    My condolences to his family

  • Comment number 96.

    What is Michael Foot's legacy?
    Louding voice of socialism in Labour party & in labour movement.
    Apparent demise of free market economy and NewLabour.
    I'm happy that he closed his eyes after seeing Labour Party coming back 'partially' to its 83s manifesto by 'almost' nationalising the banks.
    His real legacy would be the Labour Party, he always struggled for.

  • Comment number 97.

    Michael Foot may have been unsuccessful as Labour leader in his General Election, but at least he offered a true socialist alternative to the Conservatives. A Labour Party that stood on proper socialist policies might do much better now. The failure of the banks and the global capitalist system has cost every household in the UK over £40,000. Honest working people are sick the bankers and the politicians that allow them to fleece us. I voted for Michael Foot's Labour party but I shall not vote for this shower who are no different from the Tories.

  • Comment number 98.

    In 1983 Mr Foot released the Labour manifesto that included, amongst other things, to nationalise the banks, abolish the House of Lords and to leave the EEC.

    Such a shame we don't have a real Labour party anymore and that the current bunch of politicians would never give us the option to do any of the above.

    He also worked hard to try to prevent the type of corporate media empires we see today, especially the one lead by Mr Murdoch, as he saw the dangers such companies pose to the peace, prosperity and independence of nations.

    One of the last great men of British politics, sadly we wont see the likes of him in Westminster again as these days you have to be a bland automaton with no real opinions but with the ability to look good in front of the cameras if you want to be an MP.

  • Comment number 99.

    Michael Foot seemed a very genuine man. He had principles and spoke from the heart. He was derided for his Socialism, the way he dressed and the fact that he wasn't a slick public performer. The result - parties all moving to the centre ground and abandoning principles and spin doctors controlling politicians' appearance and speeches.

  • Comment number 100.

    GetOnYourSoapBox wrote:
    Michael Foot was a Communist and heaven help us what would have happened to our Country if this 'Bafoon' had remained longer in office as Prime Minister than he did.

    I never realised he was PM? When was this?


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