Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ivan Cameron

David Cameron's relationship to his disabled son, Ivan, was the finest thing about the man.


  1. Very sad, adversity shapes us more than anything else, when the tears stop we are left with a new strength.

  2. I don't think the tense can be right there Bryan. Whatever strengths Cameron has will remain. As will precious memories of a son and brother they knew might be taken from them at any time. But not before changing every one of them, forever.

  3. Hmmmm, yes, but the relationship has technically ended.

  4. Yes, I got that. I wasn't trying by the way to sneak in any belief I might have - but others including the Camerons might not - vis-a-vis immediate or more distant future. I was accepting the framework and brutish fact of the sudden ending of the relationship early this morning. Words are inadequate on that. I haven't lost a young child myself so I won't add anything to the reams being written about the immediate pain. Privacy - and lack of bullshit - is all, in that part.

    I was not really wanting to assess DC's character either. But there was one implication of what I wrote that I will spell out: my judgment (and I take it yours) that the Cameron family, led by Mum and Dad, did provide a loving place for Ivan. That's not a given in all such situations. It's not easy to achieve I'm sure. That will have shaped them all. It's an incredibly positive thing.

    I'm not going on personal experience there either but on situations I've heard about first hand and in reading, both from parents and, perhaps more, from siblings, even many years later.

    I was always struck for example by how much Malcolm Muggeridge admired Charles de Gaulle, more than any other politician he knew, for the man's devotion to a very handicapped son, every day of his outwardly busy life.

    That stayed with me. I found I wanted to say something positive about this. The way you couched your affirmation of DC became a slight spur to do so.

  5. A flip and, doubtless, an ignorant comment. Do you really know the true nature of the relationship between Cameron and his son?

  6. I don't know the true nature of my relationship with my own daughter. Judgments are balances of probabilities and intuitions.

  7. Of course one doesn't know. As Bryan's said it's judgment. That's all we've got. But we do make them, all the time. I was making that explicit. Bryan had obviously come to a fairly similar conclusion, probably with much more direct data to go on. But, of course, in the end we don't know. There are also limits to spin, though. Sure, the media distorts but a discerning reader/viewer can aim - must aim, in fact, even just as a prospective voter - to pick up something of the reality of the character of those public life.

    And, like it or not, such events as this go straight to the front page, top story. That's an undisputed fact. There is massive public appetite to learn about what has happened. That's the backdrop. Why should that be? Why should Prime Minister's Questions be shelved today?

    Well, good thing, in my book. We are faced with some much deeper, more important issues than normal, as a result, at least if we wish to think about them. We should. That I feel I know.

  8. Facetious O' CynicismFebruary 25, 2009 4:56 pm

    That's pretty funny.

  9. "A flip and, doubtless, an ignorant comment. Do you really know the true nature of the relationship between Cameron and his son?"

    Chill out ffs...

  10. For the first time in his career Robinson has earned the title journalist

  11. What's also interesting on that blog is how many comments the BBC moderators felt the need to block. Without of course knowing all the reasons I'm going to guess the horrible kind of thing, based on experience, and applaud them for coming off the fence. Not every 'opinion' should be expressed, on every subject, at every moment. There are by now, as a result of this 'censorship', some really powerful personal testimonies of those caring for or who have lost children in similar straights.

    And note carefully who gets invoked in such moments. "Little Ivan, safe in the arms of Jesus." We don't know nuffing - true enough - but that person sure knows more than I do. Such 'wishful pieties' may just help her get through her day. I also turn to praise the person she evidently trusts, for the blessings of this singular life.

  12. Facetious O' CynicismFebruary 26, 2009 2:54 am

    Yeah, a palsy kid died, it's sad. Mr Cameron and his P.R machine will happily brew up kudos for themselves, every cloud etc.

    Even Gordon Brown has to get his share of the spin.

    -Mr Brown, who suggested suspending the weekly Commons clash as a mark of respect, said every child was "precious and irreplaceable" and that the death of a child "was something that no parent should have to bear".-


    Everyone switches to default bleeding heart mode. F*@k that, the man's a twat. The only good thing about him was his relationship with his son; but now he's destroyed those sentiments with his family values posturing.

  13. This is not your finest comment, Bryan. I assume you must know David Cameron extremely well. I do not know the man at all and therefore could not possibly say what was (is) his finest characteristic. I might also infer that since you made no mention of Samantha Cameron's devotion to her children that this is not her finest quality.
    Both I and my wife do however know what it is like to lose a child. At the time the public and private support we had helped us through the initial terrible grief but after a sort period you are left to bear the loss alone. In our case this was 21 years ago. Some pain still lingers.
    The Camerons are in a prominent position but their personal loss is their personal loss and needs no political commentary.

  14. The only good thing about him was his relationship with his son; but now he's destroyed those sentiments with his family values posturing.

    Note what is central here. Your sentiments and how they have been destroyed, through no fault of your own, since a real boy died aged six yesterday morning.

    For once the tragedy and humanity are elsewhere, Facile. The loss of your sentiments isn't part of it. In fact it isn't about you at all. Tragic though that may sound.

    On one matter of fact, I should correct that it was de Gaulle's daughter, Anne, who had Down's syndrome and to whom he was so devoted, until her death at 20.

  15. Facetious O' CynicismFebruary 26, 2009 8:36 pm

    Richard, where you picked me up I was paraphrasing the original blog, or rather my own interpretation of it after viewing the BBC link. Therefore the sentiments referred to are the ones I see damaged in everyone's interpretation of Cameron. Not strictly my sentiments. I found it funny that following the link the first few comments slipstreamed the the tone of the BBC. That kind of implies I was laughing at your expense. Sorry (sincere).

    And of course it's about me, I'm the individual who consumed that dross on the BBC page just as you are respectively too.

  16. Only those closely involved in the death of a young person have the right to say how it really is. Everyone else is guessing. The more humane among us react with whatever our senses will allow.
    Robinsons post was just a man genuinely expressing his feelings I have not bothered to read the comments, it was his humanity that I highlighted.
    Perhaps it would have been better to leave the subject lie in the first place. For the first time since I joined the blogging merry go round some comments have deeply offended me.
    May he rest in peace and may those who knew and loved him carry that with them for the rest of their lives.

  17. FO'C: I still don't quite understand or see benefit of cynicism originally expressed. But apology accepted as sincere, sorry wrong end of stick, etc.

    Here's one other place I was coming from. I am extremely interested in how new media that allow anonymous and pseudonymous comments with minimal moderation cope with such sensitive moments. There's too often a disgusting race to the bottom, with the most cynical and brutal .1% taking aim at all previous taboos, restraint and convention and dictating a devilish tone for everyone. This kind of thing (I'm thinking for example of gruelling experience in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, which I found extremely shocking, in my naivety then) has I think debased public intercourse in a way that is seldom talked about and strongly needs to be.

    I didn't have the same level of online life when Diana died. I was one of those who greatly appreciated the next edition of Private Eye. Which is meant to indicate that I think mainstream media - and the many intrusive and hypocritical public emotions it panders to, in order to make money - fully needs that kind of sendup.

    But badly or un-moderated new media seems to make things far worse, in almost every direction.

    Hence, my positive comments in this case. (And thus I also don't think my reading of 'dross' on the BBC or elsewhere necessarily reprehensible.)

    Back to one other positive. I was moved and informed by some of what I read on the back of this event. The testimonies of two mothers with sons with a similar condition were one place I felt I gained, including some (heavily moderated) comments from the public in the second case.

    In both stories surviving siblings are pointed to as source of new sensitivity and hope. That cannot just be maternal wishful thinking, but one of the blessings that regularly emerges from such terrible loss, disinfectant against final nihilism.

  18. What you did, Facetious O'Cynicism, was be a bit nasty on the internet.

    Nothing very edifying or, indeed, interesting about that, and you're doubtless better than it, so my advice would be to change the moniker, commit this whole sorry episode to the past, and join in the fun.

    I proffer this wisdom gratis.