Michael Foot – inveterate warmonger
On his death there were many reminders that Michael Foot, leader of the Labour Party from 1980-83, had described himself as an "inveterate peacemonger". The evidence of his life says something different.
In the 1930s he campaigned for arms to be sent to fuel the war in Spain.
In 1940 he was the main author of Guilty Men, a 40,000 word book written after the Dunkirk debacle that criticised the lack of British preparedness for war and the policy of appeasement towards German imperialism.That this meant the pursuit of a policy of military aggression was confirmed when Foot (like his boss Lord Beaverbook) was part of the movement for a "Second Front Now" that wanted a major invasion of western Europe years before the actual Normandy landings of 1944.
When he was Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition he was one of the most jingoist supporters of the Falklands War. In parliament the Tories cheered speeches in which "He did the nation a service" and had "spoken for Britain". Appropriately Foot congratulated Thatcher on her victory.
In the 1990s he was one of the first to advocate the bombing of Serbia, and, indeed, went on to demand an extension of the action as "The West will have to do more than bomb Serbia."
An Early Day Motion was tabled after his death describing him as an "internationalist". Far from being an ‘internationalist' he was a patriotic British nationalist, in the same way that his ‘socialism' was a commitment to state capitalism. Far from being a ‘peacemonger,' he was, like all the leading Labour Party figures since the First World War, an inveterate warmonger.