At the end of the week which marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Tony Crosland at the tragically young age of 58, there is just time for me to pay a short tribute to one of my political heroes and to plug Giles Radice's wonderful book Friends and Rivals, one of my favourite political reads of recent years.
Crosland was Foreign Secretary and at the height of his powers in February 1977 when he was struck down by a brain haemorrhage. Had he lived, it is quite possible that he rather than Michael Foot would have succeeded Jim Callaghan as Labour leader in 1980, and succeeded in preventing the SDP breakaway which wrecked the party's electoral prospects for a decade.
Radice's book is a masterful exploration of the personal rivalry between Crosland and his two close allies, Denis Healey and Roy Jenkins, and how their failure to make common cause as the modernisers of their day ultimately led to Labour's wilderness years.
Happily, the review I wrote for the Newcastle Journal at the time of publication in 2002 is still available on the paper's website, and it can be found HERE.