Ed Miliband pays tribute to Eric Hobsbawm

Labour leader says Hobsbawm was an "extraordinary historian" and "a great friend of my family".

After the sad news of Eric Hobsbawm's death at the age of 95, I asked whether Ed Miliband, whose father, Ralph, was a close friend of Hobsbawm, would pay tribute to him. So I'm pleased to see that the Labour leader has done so. Here's what he had to say.

Eric Hobsbawm was an extraordinary historian, a man passionate about his politics and a great friend of my family.

His historical works brought hundreds of years of British history to hundreds of thousands of people. He brought history out of the ivory tower and into people's lives.

But he was not simply an academic, he cared deeply about the political direction of the country. Indeed he was one of the first people to recognise the challenges to Labour in the late 1970s and 1980s from the changing nature of our society.

Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, who has died at the age of 95. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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