Richard Hoggart

It wasn’t a surprise to hear that Richard Hoggart had died. He was 95, and had been ill for some time. His son Simon, much more of a celebrity, had died recently. But it’s still a big moment, for those of us brought up on the Uses of Literacy, but also used to hearing Hoggart on TV and radio, always careful and thoughtful, anxious to get things right, and not to fall for crude simplification. As many tributes have spelt out, we owe him a lot, often in very undramatic ways – his presence on influential committees, or in setting up cultural studies. Not much chance that anyone could make that kind of contribution now; who in this government seriously believes that anyone outside it actually knows anything?