Monday, 7 May 2012

Denis Healey aged 94

An interview in the Telegraph with Denis Healey and he is 94 now. His picture makes me feel old. I calculate it is one third of a century since he left office when Labour lost in 1979 and I a precocious political anorak well remember him being shadow Chancellor during Mr. Heath's government. (I was about 11.)

'Now MPs join straight from university and they really know nothing at all about life.' - 'Lord Denis Healey, you’re so naughty!’

A bit of a ham, though, as he always reminded us, clever. A general at a cocktail party told me that despite being a socialist he was the best Minister of Defence that the general had ever known. People like him Shore Crosland Powell Hailsham Carrington even Foot were much more impressive than most politicians nowadays. I suppose, now Lord Salisbury has left politics, Boris and Hague are the only two that stand out these days. And maybe young Rees-Mogg and Zac Goldsmith in the future.

He was a contemporary at Balliol of my first boss (in my first Long Vacation from university), Maurice Macmillan. Maurice died at 62 but to me always seemed pretty ancient. But I was 23 when he died.

Major Denis Healey speaking at the Labour Party Conference 1945:

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