7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Where Is He From?,
This review is from: The Time of My Life (Hardcover)Healey stands apart from almost all British politicians of the post-WW2 era and from, I should say, all of the present time in his erudition and wide cultural knowledge and interest. I say that despite the fact that I have never thought of him (and I do not do so now) as a particularly likeable person, inasmuch as one can judge a someone one has never met. The book goes through his background (southern English but brought up in Yorkshire) and his highly academic education (Grammar School scholar, Balliol Exhibitioner) and on from there. His intelligence is not in doubt, his views can be. He becomes a Communist at Oxford in the 1930's and remains on for years because it seems "the only alternative to Hitler and his concentration camps", which ignores the fact that (despite huge efforts at secrecy) Stalin had far more and mostly far worse. It also ignores another fact: Life rarely offers simply a black and white simple choice. Neither does he mention the outright murder or indirect slaughter of millions in Russia and especially the Ukraine, the result of the Collectivization of agriculture etc. Healey joins the Army a while after the start of WW2 and end up a Major in the Royal Engineers, fighting mainly in Italy but also having quite a good time in places, as a staff officer with FANY girlfriends etc. He becomes a Labour Member of Parliament soon after WW2 and from then on is a major player in British politics right up to when this work was published in 1989 and beyond. It is a pity it was not published in 1999, that we might hear his views on the fudges of Blairism...He is, inevitably, against white rule in Africa, but look at what happens without the Europeans. He is not interested, at root. He evidences many Jewish connections, but is quite clear on the flaws in Israel and its policies and does not shrink from speaking out against the Jewish-Zionist lobby in America: he notes that Eisenhower was the only U.S. President to put America's interests before those of Israel.
I found this autobiography almost as remarkable for its omissions as anything: Oswald Mosley, at least one of the foremost politicos of the 1920's and 1930's, surely, is not even mentioned even critically or dismissively! Healey mentions some other philosophers and thinkers but not Rudolf Steiner; also, he glosses over his own linkages: the word Freemasonry nowhere appears, though he does briefly note his own attendance at the secretive (he says "private"...) Bilderberg Conferences and the World Economic Forum. What lies behind thse bodies, really? If he knows, he does not tell. The book is also light on his real vision of the future for the UK and the world. Everything is mechanistic and without colour.
There are a few mistakes, not many. He says that Cuba was turned into a casino under the dictator Trujillo. He means Batista, or perhaps Prio; Trujillo was the dictator of the Dominican Republic at the same time.
I am always struck by the length of specifically political autobiographies. Egotism? Perhaps so, an impression bolstered by stories Healey tells, which are VERY rarely against himself. Even while recounting his brush with the police in his car he has to show himself vindicated: "after a vote in the House" he crashes into the back of a car in London. On going to report the accident to the police at Tottenham Court Road station, he opens his car door and another car crashes into it. In the station a taxi driver says to the desk officer that Healey is drunk and he is breathylized. Positive, but he insists on a blood test, which is negative. Healey regards this as a vindication! But it is quite evident that he WAS intoxicated (drove into the rear of a car, failed to check before opening his car door later, breath test positive) and was simply lucky to be borderline so that the later blood test read negative. I wonder if his position and/or the Masonic handshake did not help, too.
He claims that allegedly conspiratorial organizations like the CFR are just a kind of club for well meaning friends etc...hm! Read Rule By Secrecy, None Dare Call It Conspiracy and other works. And as for friends, Healey seems to say that the luxury holidays in Riviera villas paid for by the Rockefeller Foundation are simply nice little presents for all his hard work, or unexpected little gifts. Really?
Healey was once described to me by a banking employee who dealt with his account as VERY affluent. I should add, perhaps, that I had no way of checking that assertion. Politics started to pay in those days, even before today's endless scandals. Healey mentions that he asked Heath where "the upper class" went to buy clothes. In the end though, later, he says, in effect, that he was too important to bother what people thought of his clothes. That really sums him up well.
Worth reading though.