The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog

RSS

Ed Miliband pays tribute to Eric Hobsbawm

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

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

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.