Writing in the Observer, William Keegan reports that Denis Healey, the former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary, ‘is in top form, and watching the coalition – which he gives a year at most – with interest.’ There was some comment in the press last week about Healey’s damning sympathy for current Chancellor, George Osborne: ‘I feel sorry for the Chancellor, in spite of his politics … and his character’ – a remark that shows Healey has lost none of his talent for intelligent aggression.
But it is his prognosis for the Coalition that most struck me. Supposedly sensible figures on the moderate left are insisting that the Coalition will last a full Parliament. Meanwhile one of the Labour party’s most astute and illustrious grandees is to be heard stating the obvious: the government is months away from collapse.
It is up to us to prove Healey right before the current mob do any more damage. If we listen to the lulling consensus from the career-oriented left the best we will get in 2015 is a slightly kinder, gentler neoliberal party presiding over a country dominated by a bloated and larcenous financial sector. The NHS will have been privatized and the rest of the public sector shattered and opened up to profit-taking by corporations on a vastly greater scale.
And though Labour will run in 2015 on a ticket of hope and change once in power they will wring their hands and tell us that we can wave flags and sing ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, but that there is nothing much that can be done, that it is too late to find a solution to the economic crisis that doesn’t involve making the majority pay for the mistakes of the few.
I’ll be talking with Richard Seymour about this and related matters tomorrow at Cafe Oto in Dalston.