Saturday, 6 March 2010


I found out yesterday that St Piran was the patron saint of tin miners. I knew he was patron saint of Cornwall because his flag (a monochrome version of the Swiss flag, though rectangular, not square) flies everywhere these days. It felt like the first day of spring because the sun was shining and there were schoolgirls dancing in the streets of Truro behind a band of accordions, bhodrans and the odd piece of brass. The Cornish politicos were there, dressed in black overcoats and selling co-ordinating flags for a pound a time. It wasn't a large procession, and I don't think they sold many flags, though the police had stopped the traffic to encourage shoppers to stop. The whole thing was a metaphor for hope over experience, a bit like the CND Marches and rallies of the Old Left that I watched on TV in the 'Seventies.

Michael Foot, long time CND marcher and Leftist, died yesterday, aged ninety years. There is not one single politician living today in this country who has a smidgen of Foot's integrity, sincerity, and belief in a fairer world based on social(ist) principles, with the exception of Tony Benn, who has now retired from Parliament and, like Foot, is fading into late old age. Foot wore his donkey jacket to Remembrance Sunday parade when he was Leader of the Opposition and was, apparently, complemented on it by the queen or by her mother while the press had a feeding frenzy at his 'lack of respect' and sartorial savoir faire. In the dawning age of media politicians, Foot, like Gordon Brown, was a disaster for his Party, once he became leader, but only because people had stopped listening to what he said. The tragedy for us all now is that there is no one left to say it for him.

No comments: