Denis Healey, a famed British politician, died Oct. 3. I had the rare opportunity of interviewing Lord Healey many years ago in London, while writing my dissertation on political consultation in the Atlantic Alliance. At the time, he was secretary of state for defence.
I keenly remember his warm welcome and affable nature. Lord Healey was especially generous with his time in answering questions on intricacies of the United Kingdom’s political and defense policies. This was in stark difference from the media’s description of the man. During many years in British politics, he was known for combativeness and “articulate pugnacity.”
There was no question. Lord Healey had a fierce intellect and engaging personality. This made a huge impact in developing the nation’s post-war global strategy.
With his death, current political leaders from both major parties were quick to praise his astute leadership and significant contributions. But while he was a star of the Labour party and its deputy leader, Lord Healey was never able to secure votes from fellow members to be elected prime minister. He was frequently described as “the best prime minister we never had.”
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Harry G. Harris, Fresno