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Today Michael Foot the former Leader of the Labour Party in the UK has died. He was a great guy everyone loved him. Brilliant Parliamentarian, amazing, speaker, respected as a man of ideals and principle by political friend and foe alike. But he was a disastrous Leader of the Party leading it to its worst electoral defeat in 60 years back in 1983 against Mrs Thatcher. Yet he was still loved by the Labour Party. This can only be because he had such humanity and integrity.

"Michael Foot was a man of deep principle and passionate idealism and one of the most eloquent speakers Britain has ever heard. He was an indomitable figure who always stood up for his beliefs and whether people agreed with him or not they admired his character and his steadfastness," the prime minister Gordon Brown said in a statement today.

The very first political portrait I ever shot was of Foot as Labour Leader campaigning in Birmingham my home city. I was just a kid not of professional photographer. I remember comparing my rather poor best efforts with a brilliant picture in the Observer. Their picture shot at the same time...... I was thinking I was gonna have to get my act together if I was ever going to shoot anything as good as that....... a really funny picture of Michael Foot with his dog Dizzy (named after Disrali) Michael Foot greeting voters Dizzy checking for fraternal greetings and having a pee......... :-)) My pictures were so boring relatively...... and the Observer picture really captured the crazy optimism and slightly scruffy rebel that against expectations was Mrs Thatchers primary opponent.

I heard him speak in the flesh a couple of times he was brilliant ...... he had something that did not translate well onto TV........... He really was the last of a generation people for whom oratory to political meetings was the primary medium of getting over ideas.

He was the youngest editor of the The Evening Standard and Tribune Newspapers. He distinguished himself as totally against appeasement of the Nazis but was also an exponent of Nuclear disarmament a founder member of CND in the UK.

Im sad to see him go....... I have pictures of him........ but not to hand....... in my experience the only orator I have ever heard that has that same power to move crowds is President Obama. So I put up an Obama picture today. Obama also has a fantastic TV look and manor too so he is well ahead of Michael Foot and he is a politician who has tasted power in a way that Foot never did.

But Michael Foot certainly led an incredible life and faced challenges and defeat with courage and made important contribution to the body politic of Britain. He is remembered today with genuine warmth and admiration in the UK..

Cheers Jez XXXXXX

Radio 4 Celebration of 'Michael Foot Champion of the Left'

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