Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wit and wisdom of Denis Healey

It was sad to see the passing of Denis Healey at the age of 98. I remember seeing him at the Irish embassy Christmas and St Pats do s over recent years - hardly recognisable until that booming voice rang out and then the eyebrows slotted into place. Famed as a right wing member of the Labour Party, he would be far to the left of many in the Parliamentary Labour Party today.
Healey spent much of his retirement at his home in Alfriston, near Eastbourne in Sussex. He talked of the need for a hinterland beyond politics - he was fond of music, poetry and photography. No one should be one dimensional.
Remembered for his role on the political stage there were many examples of his brilliant wit in the House of Commons chamber. He had some great barbs directed at Margaret Thatcher, such as when he accused her of "adding the diplomacy of Alf Garnett to the economics of Arthur Daley." 
He also described her as "la pasionaria of middle class privelige" and comparing her to Florence Nightingale  declared "She stalks through the wards of our hospital as the lady with the lamp. Unfortunately it's a blow lamp."
On being attacked by Tory Chancellor Geoffrey Howe he likened it to "being savaged by a dead sheep."
A great wit, ranconteur and politician, the like of whom we are unlikely to see again.

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