We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead - certainly not the newly dead. Yet for Eric Hobsbawn I am prepared to make exception. The quote in the headline is from Heresy Corner and sums up how Hobsbawn served death, murder, totalitarianism and oppression throughout his life.
The Hersiac also quotes Michael Gove:
"When I think of the millions who were killed and tortured in Marxism’s name," he wrote in the Times, "from the Polish officers shot in Katyn forest to those brave dissidents who endured the gulag, I am convinced that only when Hobsbawm weeps hot tears for a life spent serving an ideology of wickedness will he ever be worth listening to."
Hobsbawn is no different in spirit from the castigated and shunned David Irving - a historian who used his intelligence to promote a corrupt, murderous ideology. Except of course that when Irving dies he won't be praised by Labour MPs, celebrated in The Guardian or politely remembered by the BBC. He'll just be another dead Nazi.
Just as Eric Hobsbawn is another dead Stalinist.