Michael Foot (1913 – 2010)

In the context of an edgy parliamentary debate over Singapore’s budget for FY2010/11, and the bitter disagreement over how to shape a socially inclusive path of economic growth, manage the country’s foreign worker dependence and ease the plight of lower-income Singaporeans, I think it apropos to ponder the wisdoms of a widely respected and deeply principled British parliamentarian, journalist and intellectual.

In a speech prior to a crushing loss at the 1983 general election, the then Labour Party leader said:

“We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer ‘To hell with them.’ The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.”

Powerful, purposeful words. A compelling cry for social justice, imbued with unstinting passion. We’ll never see his like again.

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~ by spiegel2071 on March 4, 2010.

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