Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ivan Cameron

The first I heard of the death of Ivan Cameron was via a Burbler twitter, just as I was about to leave for work. Like parents the world over, that first euphoria on the birth of a child is quickly dented by an innate fear that this precious bundle you have been blessed with, may be taken from you. Newborn babies are scored (I think on a scale of 10), I remember how much I fretted when my son came out at 7 and we had to stay in hospital a couple of days longer. Since then he has been a constant source of anxiety (!) but I cannot imagine the anguish of dealing with the news the Camerons had to deal within a few days of the birth of Ivan. Even less their anguish this week.

What this reminds us of, as did the tragic death of Jennifer Brown, is that life is fragile and that such fragility touches us all however privileged or deprived. Certainly it is more a part of life if you live in Sudan or Gaza for example, but death is no respecter of rank, religion or race.

PMQs was rightly replaced with messages of condolence for the Camerons. If in politics we lose sight of our common humanity we lose sight of everything. But, I trust, as the Camerons come to terms with their loss, they will recognise the unique opportunity they have to fly the flag for other children and young people whose life chances are blighted, not only by their disabilities, but by a society that still continues to discriminate against them.

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