Thursday, March 04, 2010

Michael Foot: bollocks

Look, one doesn't want to come over as too curmudgeonly, but why this sudden outpouring of gushing tributes now the silly sod's dead? Here's Iain Dale, for instance...
Michael Foot has died at the ripe old age of 96. Whatever one's politics, he was a true political great.

What. The. Fuck?

If you don't understand why I am so incredulous at these tributes, perhaps you'll bear with me whilst I indulge in a little melodramatic editing of Iain's words.
Joseph Stalin has died at the ripe old age of 75. Whatever one's politics, he was a true political great.

Or...
Adolph Hitler has died at the tragically young age of 56. Whatever one's politics, he was a true political great.

Whatever else you want to say about me, my politics are born of a conviction that freedom is not only practically the best outcome for mankind, but is morally right too.

What this means is that I despise those—like Hitler and Stalin—who believe that, actually, individuals should be shackled by the state and their rights and freedoms subsumed to that greater purpose: I not only think that they are practically wrong but that they are also morally suspect (at best).

The Nameless Libertarian maintains that Foot was an idiot.
Foot was a man of deep principle and passionate idealism.

Of course, what Foot believed in was abject nonsense. It was the sort of cliched left-wing bilge that should be abandoned once someone moves beyond the naive surroundings of student union politics. His ideas were soundly - and rightly - rejected by the British people in 1983.

And yes, it would be excellent if the politicians of today had such deep commitment to their political ideals.

I do have such a commitment.

And that is why I believe that—great orator or not—Michael Foot does not deserve any gushing tributes at all: he was one of those people who believed that the wider community (represented by the state) had a right enslave the individual.

Thus, Michael Foot was not only a stupid man, but an evil one too.

As such, it would pay one to be deeply suspicious of any person who espouses freedom with one breath, whilst praising Foot—or any other socialist—with the next.

UPDATE: it is, of course, entirely possible that I have called this one wrong. Dan Hannan, for instance, seems to believe that Foot was a reasonable man.
True heir to the English radical tradition, he had little time for “-isms” of any sort, and was one of the few Lefties of his generation never to have flirted with either Mussolini or Stalin. Although he was wrong about many things – his economic policy would have ruined us every bit as comprehensively as Gordon Brown’s wastrel clottishness – he got the big issues right, eschewing fascism, Communism and Euro-integrationism as intrinsically un-English doctrines.

As you like, really. But I won't be weeping any bitter tears for the man's passing, frankly.

46 comments:

Ray said...

There is probably a lot of 'never speak ill of the dead' about it all.

Think This said...

Well he wanted to leave the EU, fought Fascism in the 30's and had a lot more political backbone than anyone today.

I'd rather him than the Goblin King anyday.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Thank God. I thought I was alone.

Kenny Everett had the right idea.

Sam Tarran said...

People do continue on about how principled he was and that he followed his convictions. As ever, it depends on just what those principles and convictions were. In his defence of the sovereignty of Parliament we have to give him his due. But he led a party (badly) that, had it got into power, would have taken this country back to the stone age in the name of "social justice".

peter carter-fuck said...

"fought Fascism in the 30's"

Did he? Fought how exactly? Fought in the sense of picking up a rifle, or fought in the sense of writing articles? Did he support British rearmament in 1936? Did he fuck. Did he fight in the war? Did he fuck. Did he want to leave us defenceless before the might of the USSR? Yes he did. Fuck him, he was a fool who was wrong about every single thing he ever wrote, thought or said.

Lola said...

Yep, dead on the money. Foot; clever, honest, passionate deluded, dangerous and dead wrong. But, he was honest in his beliefs. Utterly utterly wrong, and as you say out to enslave us all, but honest. And that's the key difference between him, a pre 1989 lefty, and the post 1989 lefties (the event of 1989 proving once and for all that leftyism was useless and wrong). The current lefties aren't honest at all. They are power mad fascists with a fine line in bullshit, and skilled liars. They are essentially dishonest. You cannot argue with liars, you could argue with Foot. We need more Foot's (feet?) to continually defeat in argument so that we can show why they are so utterly wrong. Without challenge people soon forget the downside of the alternatives.

Henry Crun said...

"His ideas were soundly - and rightly - rejected by the British people in 1983."

But have slowly but surely been implemented in various guises over the past 13 years.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

What about his hard work in giving Thatcher the majority she needed in '83?

Ian E said...

So, what was Foot's leg-acy exactly, I wonder (apart from memories of a crazed Leftie berk who nearly, oh so nearly, finished off labour!)?

Yep, his true legacy was Gordon Brown - who even copied his donkey-jacket pose by going along to the Mansion House dinners in an ordinary suit. Wow, the courage of this pair of jackals!

Anoneumouse said...

You are not alone

For me, at the time; a serving soldier. The jerk fucked up with the donkey jacket junket

I had to wear No1 dress that day

AndrewSouthLondon said...

FFS why worry about a politicians dress sense? A fool in a donkey jacket is no different from a fool in a suit. Too many voters wouldn't know a political fool if he pissed on them, but they can spot poor dress sense a mile off. There's your answer - why not let Gok Wan choose the next Prime Minister?

"Mr Brown is wearing an organza-ruffed cerise blouse with a taffeta kaftan. Definitely Prime Minesterial material" Vote now (calls from mobiles may cost considerably more)

the a&e charge nurse said...

Is there ANY living politician that embodies the lofty ideals of the Libertarians - I detect certain similarities with idealistic teenagers clinging on for Mr/Mrs right?

Anonymous said...

I never liked Foot - but, anyone who stands by their principles to the end, regardless of how stupid those ideas are deserves a pat on the back at the end from everyone else.

The difference between Foot and Hitler was that Hitler lied to get into power, Foot would never have done that - so he never saw real power!

Seems quite childish to not give the fella some due for standing for his ideals.

Anonymous said...

Michael Foots politics were born of a different age. I think people should remember that there was a time when politicians on the side of the working class (essentially socialist) were needed. Without them this country would look a lot different than it does today and not in a good way.

Bald headed John

Anonymous said...

Foot never fought Fascism. At best, he opposed it, as he opposed any non-Marxist ideologies, because it was a rival to his own Communistic beliefs.

As far as his principles are concerned, lots and lots of evil people have principles. Pinochet and Franco were both men of deep religious and patriotic conviction. Lenin and Trotsky, too, had profound beliefs and an absolute commitment to their own convictions. But none of hesitated to murder their opponents.

Having principles and convictions is not a priori a Good Thing. It all depends on what those principles and convictions actually are. Michael Foot believed that his ideology was right; he truly believed that he was doing us a favour by seeking to make us into slaves. His belief in his own warped political theories does not change the fact he was (at best) a blinkered and ignorant proponent of a failed and murderous ideology.

paulo said...

I can't feel any sadness at his going. He was a fool but worse a dangerous fool and unfortunatley too much of his political thinking has infected what passes for brains among the current bunch of fascists.

He's gone. Good. One less of them.


paulo

Joseph Takagi said...

Anonymous,

"I never liked Foot - but, anyone who stands by their principles to the end, regardless of how stupid those ideas are deserves a pat on the back at the end from everyone else."

I can understand people standing up for their principles because they're right, because the evidence supports them, despite however much they run against prevailing popular trends.

That's not the same thing as supporting something which the evidence now shows doesn't work. That's just stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance, what really fucks me off though is Dan Hannan. Such a wimp when it comes to callin a cunt a cunt.

Why can't politicians swear like real people?

Old Codger said...

I hated Foot's politics and he would have destryed this country but his politics were honestly held, he was an honest man and a conviction politician. He acted for the country, not to agrandise himself. It is such a pity that we do not have politicians like him, but more to the right, today.

Mills said...

Politics exist not as an end in themselves but in order to make life better for people. It is what people do with their lives (preferably having been given the freedom to choose what that is) that matters. Foot, I understand, though I didn't know him, and am too young to remember his leadership of the Labour party, was a good bloke who was clever, good with words, and capable of being funny. It is for those reasons, rather than for his wrongheaded politics, that I would be happy to defend his being honoured now that he has died.

Had he killed millions of people, or otherwise made some overwhelmingly negative impression on the world, like Hitler and Stalin, these things would, of course, outweigh whatever redeeming personal characteristics that he, or they, might have. But he didn't do any of that.

Basing myself, admittedly, on hearsay reports and the conviction that people were generally cooler in the past, I suspect that I would rather have a pint with Foot than Brown or Blair (obviously) and also probably Cameron and Osborne.

Anonymous said...

A&E charge nurse:
David Davis?

DocBud said...

I've just posted this elsewhere wrt to Blair, Obama, Rudd and Cameron, but it seems vaguely appropriate here:

"If politicians have beliefs, you can despise their beliefs (e.g. socialists) but if they have no beliefs, you can only despise the politician."

Anonymous said...

Great post DK!

This is the problem you get when you moral base comes directly from "Democracy". Hence Danial Hannan praising him, always prefering mob rule over not attacking people violently.

This guy was an unprincipled socialist. Thank god he never had power. I wish Hayek had survived this long instead of him.

Larry Teabag said...

So either you buy into the Libertarian world-view 100%, or you're the embodiment of pure evil and beneath contempt.

What a weird world you lot live in.

The Pedant-General said...

DK,

I'm with Teabag here: he wasn't evil.

Where I depart from Teabag is that I'm prepared to recognise that he was very very profoundly wrong about absolutely everything.

I also have two quibbles with Dan the man:
he got the big issues right, eschewing fascism, Communism and Euro-integrationism as intrinsically un-English doctrines."

1. Eschewing communism? Foot? are we talking about the same bloke?
2. He may have been right, but he was right for the wrong reasons on each of those counts. His objections to each were because they weren't socialist enough.

This is the usual thing that we have to guard against: people who earnestly believe that they wish to do good. They are capable of truly terrible things.

Roger Thornhill said...

"But he didn't do any of that."

he was not given the chance.

1983 win->nuclear disarmament-> out of Nato and EU->align with The Soviets->nationalisation

all the while caving in as usual to Union demands.

No. He did not do anything, thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

@Larry Teabag: How many people have you murdered this year? None... well then you do believe in Consistent morality, so let's not pretend Michael Foot deserved a different measure.

He was a socialist, who advocated very strong violence controls over people and their freedom. He helped limit the press and advocated large amounts of force against people and their property.

Not a nice person in the slightest.

Anonymous said...

He was extremely sound on the freedom of the press and expression. If not much else.

Anonymous said...

Sorry mate - however misguided he was he read books and discussed ideas. And he would never have been so inarticulate to write "What. The. Fuck." on a blog and think he was being clever.

Anonymous said...

DK - I think you have called this one wrong. He was a clever bloke, and whilst his economic ideas were wrong, the reason he lost elections was a great deal to do with lies being told about him and the media playing the mis-information game.

Some of us aren't as fucking stupid as you and didn't fall for that - we are not as susceptible as you, or as suggestible.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just say it (as we all think) Iain Dale is just a prat.

the slooger said...

See my posting at

http://nbyslog.blogspot.com/2010/03/one-foot-in-grave.html

also bigger news about brown today,same site

http://nbyslog.blogspot.com/

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

He was a socialist. He supported the right of the state to enslave the individual in the name of some "greater good" as defined by himself.

No matter how learned he was, he was not only wrong but, even then, it could be proved that socialism was an evil creed.

Those who support evil are evil. Or was he "only obeying orders"?

DK

Anonymous said...

According to The Daily Telegraph 06/03/2010 a paid agent of the KGB for 40 years.I believe it.

Jabba the Cat said...

Foot was a socialist cunt who long overstayed his welcome on this earth...mind you, just wait till they start wanking off over Tony Benn when he pegs it.

Christopher said...

According to the Speccie,he was taking monet off the K.G.B.

g1lgam3sh said...

I've been around over half a century so I saw more of him and his ilk than a lot of people.

One less Communist traitor, fuck him, good riddance.

Wat Dabney said...

"We are richer for having lost him"

Archie Wedderspoon said...

I remember Auberon Waugh's tribute to him in 1983 or thereabouts: 'A weak, vain, silly old fraud who would be intensely irritating as Prime Minister'.

Call me Infidel said...

Charles Moore asked in the Daily Telegraph was Foot a national treasure or the KGB's useful idiot? I am one of those who think he was useful idiot for the KGB. Bloody good riddance to the socialist control freak.

Gearóid said...

I totally agree. I regarded him as Michael Fool. I'm Irish but have lived in England and am deeply interested in Politics and History. I would probably be a Tory voter in the UK.
I can remember this much-admired ranter saying once in an interview how much he admired Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell may not have been as bad as we Irish believe him to have been, but he was still pretty awful here. Among his many admirable achievements was sending numerous Irish people as slaves to the West Indies, and so on, massacring the population of Drogheda who would have been mostly English at the time, murdering Clergy etc. One of the great Pigs of History. You should never admire a pig.

Stephen said...

Well I guess I'll feel much the same when Thatcher dies, as you feel about Foot. Sure she had principles, just mad, bad and wholly destructive ones. I think I'll indulge myself and edit the Thatcher obituries to replace her name with Pinochet or Franco's. You can hardly complain after your tirade.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Stephen,

I'm sorry, but do you think that I will be offended when you do? I think that you might have mistaken me for a Tory; and no, I won't complain.

Unlike you, I am no hypocrite.

DK

The Pedant-General said...

If this is true, then I am revising my view of Foot from "wrong but not knowingly bad" a lot closer to DK's view of "lying treacherous bastard".

selsey.steve said...

I can only repeat the words of the Greatest Shit of the Twentieth Century:-
"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed" - Adolf Hitler
How fucking right he was.

Gearóid said...

Adolf Hitler was indeed ONE of the greatest shits of the twentieth century but was he worse than Joseph Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot?

Not hardly, as the late Great John Wayne would've said. All three qualify as totally evil. Stalin killed more than Hitler and Mao eclipsed them all.