Wednesday, 17 January 2007


There is a brilliant chat going on at Paul Linford about the alternatives to Michael Foot for Labour in 1980, with some great detail in the comments. Paul's own preference would have been for Tony Crosland (hmmmm), whom he thinks might have saved Labour politics and hence (in his view) Britain in the 1980s. Counterfactual history achieves very little, but it is a lot of fun. Often you don't see it in such detail, though: usually you come across an essay which discusses what might have happened had a major global event happened differently, and more often, had Britain fallen in 1940 (I have at least 2 Doctor Who books and 1 old dvd on this theme). I suppose you could read Threads as being counterfactual, as its dates match up for 1983, rather than 1984 when it was broadcast.

Paul's post and the discussion is unusual in its depth and well worth a butcher's. I guess it's the kind of discussion I can imagine Labourites having regularly but to someone outside left politics it seems quirky and, in an odd sort of way, imaginative. Now - Tories - Willie Whitelaw in 75?

UPDATE: As Paul points out in the comment below, this is all predicated on the non-death of Crosland in 1977.


Paul Linford said...

Thanks for the link but - since some smartass is bound to point it out - I am aware that Crosland died in 1977 and hence wasn't an alternative to Foot in 1980. My comment on this prefaced by the words "Had Crosland lived...."

james higham said...

I'm afraid 'what-might-have-beens' don't grab me all that much but I am delighted that Paul Linford and you have a connection.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

thanks for the link. I'll read it in full later. It's an interesting hypoythesis.