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Seeing it all

Peter Clarke

12 October 1989
The Time of My life 
by Denis Healey.
Joseph, 512 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 7181 3114 2
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... gets on in the kailyard,’ employed an idiom with which the Army Council was soon to become familiar. When they asked Haldane what sort of an army he had in mind, his reply was: A Hegelian army.’ DenisHealey calls his six years at the Ministry of Defence in the Sixties ‘the most exhilarating period of my life’ and ‘the most rewarding of my political career’. These are, of course, relative ...
21 November 1991
Time to declare 
by David Owen.
Joseph, 822 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 7181 3514 8
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... DenisHealey, a politician who long ago established that the hobnailed boot can be wielded with just as much delicacy and skill as the épée, once said of David Owen that the Good Fairy who attended his birth ...

Labour’s Beachmaster

Peter Clarke: Jenkins, Healey, Crosland

23 January 2003
Denis HealeyA Life in Our Times 
by Edward Pearce.
Little, Brown, 634 pp., £28, June 2002, 0 316 85894 3
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Friends and Rivals: Crosland, Jenkins and Healey 
by Giles Radice.
Little, Brown, 376 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 316 85547 2
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... of Churchill to publication, achieving a widespread critical and popular acclaim that certainly denied his years, if not mortality too. Yet in the end his death has given his old friend and rival DenisHealey the satisfaction of having the last word, explicitly criticising the founder of the SDP for having had such a silly idea, while implicitly celebrating his own good sense in sticking with the ...
7 June 1984
Another Heart and Other Pulses: The Alternative to the Thatcher Society 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 00 217256 9
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... makes much of the press’s refusal to print in full his nuclear statement of 12 May, stressing that it was designed to be read in that way, since the use of parts of it would show that he and Mr Healey were at loggerheads. The statement is reprinted in this book. It begins: ‘Labour believes in a strong defence for Britain and Britain’s allies ... Labour aims to make Britain strong enough with ...
7 May 1981
The Socialist Agenda 
edited by David Lipsey.
Cape, 242 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 224 01886 8
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The Future of Socialism 
by Anthony Crosland.
Cape, 368 pp., £8.95, January 1981, 0 224 01888 4
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Politics is for people 
by Shirley Williams.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 230 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 7139 1423 8
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... that Labour’s right wing has lost the battle over policy: that the positions which the Party took up at Blackpool last October will not be changed in any fundamental way and that Michael Foot and DenisHealey will therefore have to fight the next election on a programme closer to the French Communist Party’s than to that of any other important working-class party in the Western world. Labour has ...
8 May 1986
Parliamentary Debates: Hansard, Vol. 95, No 94 
HMSO, £2.50Show More
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... This has been an exceptionally serious debate,’ said DenisHealey on Wednesday 16 April, in contributing to the principal occasion on which the House of Commons gave its mind to the American air strike on Tripoli and Ben Ghazi, two days before, and to the Prime ...

After the Battle

Matthew Coady

26 November 1987
by Tam Dalyell.
Hamish Hamilton, 152 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 241 12170 1
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One Man’s Judgement: An Autobiography 
by Lord Wheatley.
Butterworth, 230 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 406 10019 5
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Changing Battlefields: The Challenge to the Labour Party 
by John Silkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £13.95, September 1987, 9780241121719
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Heseltine: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Julian Critchley.
Deutsch, 198 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 233 98001 6
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... such species as the pink-footed booby, the flightless rail and the giant tortoise might live happily ever after. The Anglo-French Variable Geometry aircraft project, which had the robust backing of DenisHealey as Secretary of State for Defence, was grounded after a sustained campaign by the tireless Scot. Again, he helped to defeat James Callaghan’s legislation designed to provide a devolved ...
5 November 1981
Michael Foot: A Portrait 
by Simon Hoggart and David Leigh.
Hodder, 216 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 340 27600 2
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... and the Gaitskellite leadership, forgetting the important role the Left had always had in the Party, seemed bent on hounding left-wingers into the wilderness. The bitterness was intense and DenisHealey, and all others identified as right-wingers, reap the whirlwind today. Some commentators touted the notion of a political realignment in which Labour would be a centre, potential governing, party and ...
22 February 1990
Against the Tide: Diaries 1973-1976 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £20, October 1989, 0 09 173775 3
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... Tony Benn’s Diaries. His contemporaries Dick Grossman and Barbara Castle have also published diaries. Others have written autobiographies. All are full of evidence of the impotence of office. Even DenisHealey in his recent popular autobiography admits that the notorious ‘IMF cuts’ in 1976 were probably based on a false prospectus presented to him by international bankers who knew they were ...
7 February 1991
... following Labour’s 1979 defeat, I had consistently opposed, together with David Owen, a further surrender to both the Left and the Unions. There had been precious little support from colleagues. DenisHealey often missed crucial meetings: despite his vast experience and natural belligerence, there was no fight in him. Roy Hattersley was ever seeking compromises that slipped away into nothingness ...
18 December 1980
Healey’s Eye 
by Denis Healey.
Cape, 191 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 224 01793 4
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The Role of the Trade Unions: The Granada Guildhall Lectures 
by James Prior, Tony Benn and Lionel Murray.
Granada, 96 pp., £1, August 1980, 0 586 05386 7
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Rank and File 
by Hugh Jenkins.
Croom Helm, 179 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0331 6
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The Tragedy of Labour 
by Stephen Haseler.
Blackwell, 249 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780631113416
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Labour into the Eighties 
edited by David Bell.
Croom Helm, 168 pp., £9.95, September 1980, 0 7099 0443 6
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... Here is a miscellany of books, written before the 1980 Party Conference by authors who have some concern about the future of the Labour Party. Healey’s is a magnificent picture-book strung on a slender autobiographical thread, which he describes as being ‘partly about photography, partly about the world and partly about me’. Although he has ...

Keeping Left

Edmund Dell

2 October 1980
The Castle Diaries 
by Barbara Castle.
Weidenfeld, 778 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 297 77420 4
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... the Department of Health and Social Security and the Treasury were getting rather cool, she commented: ‘We were frankly puzzled: Brian, David and I all said we got on like a house on fire with DenisHealey and Joel Barnett, even if Edmund was a more difficult customer.’ DenisHealey was forced to make too many compromises with the spending ministries in these early years. He was forced to do ...
6 December 1990
Listening for a Midnight Tram: Memoirs 
by John Junor.
Chapmans, 341 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 9781855925014
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... to him that politicians could easily regard his mish-mash of venom and sententious perversity as a journalistic art-form of which they need take not the slightest notice. One Christmas, he meets DenisHealey in the street. ‘Don’t think you’re going to get away with it,’ booms Healey’s voice as Junor is caught feeding a parking meter. They engage in bonhomous conversation. What a ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Tony and Jeremy

19 April 2017
... slippery slope to presentational politics. The contest that made Benn happiest was his full-throated assault on the deputy leadership the following year, when he came within a whisker of defeating DenisHealey. ‘It has been a staggering result,’ he wrote in his diary in the immediate afterglow of heroic defeat, ‘with all the media against us, the most violent attacks by the shadow cabinet, the ...
24 November 1988
Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... is always anxious to find new recruits. I have never thought he lived in a fantasy world and do not think so now (though that belief has been hard tested – especially when, after just losing to DenisHealey in Labour’s Deputy Leadership contest in 1980, he claimed in a television interview that he was the deputy leader of the Party, since more people had defected from it to form the SDP than ...

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