Denis Healey: Self


  • Denis Healey : Maggie Thatcher once said "Every Prime Minister needs a Willie". She meant Willie Whitelaw, but many people misunderstood her. Well I myself in politics have always had four Willies...


    Denis Healey : William Shakespeare, William Blake, William Wordsworth and William Butler Yeats.

  • Denis Healey : When I was a student communist, we often used to debate the question "Who will do the dirty work under Socialism?". And of course I found out in later life it was Denis Healey!

  • Michael Cockerell - Reporter : David Owen thought that in the end, say in 1980, that you didn't have the guts to take on the left wing of the party.

    Denis Healey : Absolute balls!

    Michael Cockerell - Reporter : Why do you think David Owen says these kind of things?

    Denis Healey : Well he was a very self-centred person, actually. The interesting thing about him, as I wrote in my book, is he was good-looking, he was intelligent, he had immense charm, and all these presents were given him by the good fairy. And then the bad fairy came along and tapped him on the shoulder and said "But you'll be a shit". And he was, of course. He couldn't get on with anybody in the end, as you know.

  • Michael Cockerell - Reporter : Do you have a thought about death?

    Denis Healey : [chuckling]  Not terribly keen on it! But no I don't think about death at all, really.

    Michael Cockerell - Reporter : Because some people do.

    Denis Healey : I know and I always remember when I was at Edna's funeral and the clergyman said to me "Don't worry, Denis, you'll meet her again later". Well I half believe that because Edna, to me, is still up in the sky the whole time, but as I say, I don't believe in theology, but I do believe in the spirit. And what the spirit involves regarding death - much too early to say.

  • Michael Cockerell - Reporter : Do you regret that you never became Prime Minister?

    Denis Healey : Erm... I do a little bit now. I never wanted to be Prime Minister at the time, when I was in politics, because I wanted to *do* something rather than *be* something. But of course Prime Ministers have to do a hell of a lot as well as being a lot. And I wish now that I had gone on.

  • [at the end of an interview] 

    Denis Healey : Cut! Well I'll buy that. I don't think we'll get it any better. And anyway the pub shuts in five minutes.

See also

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