Michael Foot – A great socialist and democrat
London – 3 March 2010
Commenting on the death of former Labour Party leader, Michael Foot, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and Labour parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey in 1983, said:
“Michael Foot was a brilliant, radical parliamentarian, anti-fascist, peace campaigner, democratic socialist, journalist, orator and writer. I was proud to know him. He was a political giant.
“He was wrong to condemn my advocacy of extra-parliamentary protests and to oppose my endorsement as parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey. But this error of judgment, under pressure from SDP turncoats, does not diminish his stature as one of the most outstanding British socialists and democrats of the twentieth century.
“He had the grace to later apologise to me – an apology that I accepted. I have never waivered in my view that Michael Foot was a great humanist and humanitarian, and a true champion of social justice and human rights.
“Sadly, Michael became Labour leader too late in life. He was at his peak in the 1940s and 1950s, and would have been an even better Labour Prime Minister than Clement Attlee.
“As well as being a gifted polemicist and a searing critic of appeasement in the 1930s, he was a superb orator. Equalled by few other politicians anywhere in the world, his speeches were uplifting and inspirational.
"Michael was a supporter and defender of the LGBT community many decades before it was popular and socially acceptable. He loathed all intolerance and bigotry, and was a strident critic of religious prejudice, dogma and obscurantism,” said Mr Tatchell.