Politics 1 October 2012 Ed Miliband pays tribute to Eric Hobsbawm Labour leader says Hobsbawm was an "extraordinary historian" and "a great friend of my family". Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML 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. › New Statesman: Statement on adverts by Core Issues Trust Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, who has died at the age of 95. Photograph: Getty Images. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles 6 times the Home Office broke up British families in the name of immigration Winning business: changing markets Who will win in Manchester Gorton?