Did a liveblogging thing of yesterday’s PMQs for Progress up here but watching it on BBC2 they eschewed their usual commentary on winners and losers as the news broke of Michael Foot’s sad death at the age of 96.

I met Foot in the basement of his Hampstead home in I think 2006 with my then Kingston University colleague Professor Brian Brivati (founder of the pro-Iraq war Euston Manifesto group). The two had a great friendship despite holding very different politics as was documented in the Guardian here in 2005 and also subject of Iain Dale’s post here. The very odd couple bantered away the afternoon I was round there with my then one year old. Although clearly by then a frail man, Foot was witty, warm, charming and totally on the money politically – he was kind about Blair although not 100% supportive of foreign policy developments at the time.

Interesting to see people he crossed swords with all heaping on the praise; Shirley Williams was on Newsnight but had she and her gang of four co-conspirators stayed in the Labour party, political history in the 1980s might have been very different.

Anyway a sad loss. My memories from that day (in the French sense of the word “souvenir”) include a signed copy of Aneurin Bevan by Michael Foot and this snap:

Foot was a great socialist, journalist, wit, raconteur and historian. Let’s hope history is kinder to him than some of the cruel jibes when he was alive eg Lord Hailsham calling him Worzel Gummidge and people having a go at his “donkey jacket” when footage (no pun intended) yesterday showed it was a green duffel coat.

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