When friends doubted my assertion that Britain's establishment is more Marxist than Russia's ever was, Hobsbawn was always the name I mentioned. If you were educated in a British school or read history at a British university, you have almost certainly studied from one of his texts. If you have read British newspapers, listened to or viewed BBC programmes you have encountered his pervasive influence.
He became a fellow of the British Academy in 1978 and was awarded the companion of honour in 1998.
What kind of country gives its highest honours to a man dedicated to the destruction of its free society? To the destruction of the economic system that made it capable of sustaining him in a life of contemplation? A man who supported the Soviet Union even after it crushed the Hungarian Uprising? A man who remained a member of the British Communist Party until its collapse - long after all with any decency had resigned? A man so monumentally misguided as to support to his end an ideology that had led directly to the slaughter of millions and the impoverishment of billions?
You tell me.