At the funeral this morning there were many tributes from family and friends. He was a family man, not a clubman like Adam Smith and so the real Peter Coleman was best known in the inner circle of family and close friends. The family circle recently expanded to include a great grandchild born in Paris last week.
He was a remarkable public figure and there were many tributes to the way he moved beyond his literary and cultural concerns to function as a party politician. Maybe that was a mistake. His best work was done at his desk as a write and editor and in personal conversation. But he did not shirk the encounter at the “bloody crossroads” as someone described the junction of literature and politics.
He never had a website of his own and we invited him to occupy a place in the Guest Room at our place. This put a range of his splendid writing on the public record in cyberspace.
As the tributes rolled out this morning a football image come to mind. It is the image of the player who is not the most eye-catching performer on the field, or the winner of the major awards, but the player who is recognized by his team mates for making the most valuable and consistent contribution on and off the field.