I was wondering how to pay tribute to Mick Moran, emeritus professor of the Department of Government at Manchester University. A fellow of the British Academy, he was one of the leading British political economists of his generation.
I first got to know Mick when he was teaching at Manchester Polytechnic and I was external examiner.
I am reproducing here a tribute by Ben Rosamond who knew him better than I did:
'It's the autumn of 1984. I'm sitting in a large lecture theatre at the University of Manchester awaiting the latest instalment of Government 1. A slightly dishevelled man in a leather jacket shuffles in stage right and proceeds to talk about the Conservative Party. It is the first time we have seen him in this first term. It proves to be the stand-out lecture of the whole course, performed apparently without notes and featuring several very funny lines, including a masterpiece of self-deprecation that references David Bowie.
Two years later, I'm assigned to the lecturer's seminar group for the final year compulsory course 'Contemporary Political Analysis'. There are eight or nine of us in the group. We fit easily into his office, which is lined with thousands of books, filed - I note approvingly - alphabetically by author. In the first session he tells us that this is the first time he has taught this class and that he will be learning with us. As if. I learn more in those sessions than in any other single class. We are guided through the classics. We read them all - Dahl, Lukes, Moore, Skocpol, Winch, Popper, Kuhn. And he is a gentle, constructive guide.
There's no grandstanding, no-mini lectures, simply gentle questions that probe us to think more deeply, to make connections and to become more confident users of our newly acquired conceptual vocabulary. He is teaching us to be political scientists - the best kind of political scientists: open-minded, inquisitive, interested in how theory helps us to grasp political problems, never afraid of learning new tricks and reading new work that emanates from outside of our comfort zones. He's teaching us to be like him.
Mick Moran passed away yesterday. He is one of 2-3 teachers and mentors who inspired me to do what I do today. Aside from being a truly marvellous teacher, Mick was one of the UK's best scholars of politics. He was a political economist, rooted in the comparative tradition who never stopped being insightful and essential. His late interventions on post-crisis UK and Brexit, including his late tour de force 'The End of British Politics?', should top the reading list of anyone who wants to make sense of the current sorry state of affairs.
And he was a truly lovely bloke - the nicest academic you will ever meet.'
I would add that he wrote a superb textbook on British politics which I know was enjoyed by people who were not academics, whilst his work on the regulatory state was of considerable importance for me.
One quote from him that I used to head up a personal web page: 'Our sense of identity is formed by our own complicated life histories, and our understanding of those life histories'