Michael Foot was a real working class hero who had an immense influence on myself and many more in the Welsh Valleys. It turned my stomach to hear the hypocrisy of people like Michael Heseltine and the London press showering him with praise after his death, ranking him with Churchill.
The Tories loathed the sight of him and everything he stood for. The London press either ignored him, ridiculed him or egged on Labour to expel him. I first met Foot in the ’50s when he spoke at Blackwood Miners Institute. He mentioned nuclear disarmament and was heckled. He dealt with many hostile questions on nuclear issues. I spoke to him after the meeting and asked how I could get involved. “Get on the march to Aldermaston,” he said.
We trudged on our way and he never stopped talking about peace, education, taking control of our lives etc. His speech in Westminster Hall was powerful and passionate. It was out of that passion that CND was conceived. When Nye Bevan made his famous appeal against unilateral nuclear disarmament – “don’t send me naked into the conference chamber” – it was Michael who picked up the banner of nuclear disarmament and carried it forward.
While he did not agree with Nye’s position, they remained friends. When he passed away, his obvious successor as MP was Michael. The right wing of the Labour national executive in London did their best to stop him from going on the shortlist, but they didn’t stand a dog’s chance. The people of Ebbw Vale loved him – there was no more worthy successor. He never faltered from the path for peace and justice on behalf of the people of Ebbw Vale and beyond.
Thank you, Michael, for your unfaltering vision of peace.
Cllr Ray Davies, Caerphilly