Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mrs Thatcher's continuing service to her people.

I assume that Carol Thatcher had secured her mother's agreement before she 'went public' on the Great Lady's struggle with dementia in her new book - extracts of which were featured in today's Mail on Sunday. I cannot imagine it being otherwise. So I have to declare my high admiration for what mother and daughter have done. Before many more years pass, there will be a million people in Britain suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. One of the great problems facing our nation is just how we are going to cope with this. At present, care of the elderly, particularly those with dementia does not have as high a priority with government as it should. Allowing the name of Margaret Thatcher to become associated with this disease will hugely raise its profile. I recall her great friend, Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest US Presidents ever, announcing that he was an Alzheimer's sufferer - and the way that the resulting publicity encouraged a greater openness in discussion about a disease that had been shut away in the back cupboard.

I remember being in a similar position myself, though at a level of significance rather lower than that of Mrs Thatcher, when I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer. It was another of those diseases that people thought should not be discussed in polite society. This reluctance to discuss bowel problems still costs a huge number of lives. Unlike Alzheimer's, early diagnosis often enables complete recovery. I decided to go public about it. I worked with the BBC on a short report which was broadcast on the eve of my operation, which involved what's termed a lower bowel resection. It was rather unusual for such a programme to be broadcast before the surgery. I've never been able to watch it myself, but I'm told it was quite powerful stuff - mainly because of the timing. I did receive several hundreds of cards from people thanking me for putting Bowel Cancer on the map - bringing it out of the closet you might say. I don't think my family liked the publicity at all.

But back to Carol Thatcher's revelations. Many of us will be shocked that someone so seemingly indestructible can be so afflicted. It demonstrates that dementia can strike down anyone. Tonight we are all a little more aware of the problems that arise when it happens. Let us hope that the advance of the disease is slow. Yet again, in an entirely new and unexpected way, Mrs Margaret Thatcher has been of service to the British people.


Foxy Tory woman trallwng said...

Even I was shocked by this.
Virtually all Tories adore her.
I for one Glyn!
Let's hope people leave her alone.

Only time will tell.
Life has changed without her.
Denis was star too!

Carole's book is a must!
One must get it soon!
Wales did well under her!

Anonymous said...

Hate her or love her Margaret Thatcher has had a huge impact on many lives and she has many * many *many admirers.

It must be dreadful for her close relatives to see her slip slowly away.

Glyn Davies said...

Foxy - 'Wales did well under her' will attract some disagreement. I agree with you,on this. Its a difficult arguemwnt to win though, because there was so much structural change in the economy and Britain's competetive position in respect of the rest of the world. Everyone forgets what it was like in 1979. Wales position within the UK has fallen since, and even more so since Rhodri Morgan and his mates became First Minister.

anon - We are becoming more aware of the scale and awfulness of dementia. Mrs T going public will be very helpful.

Anonymous said...

im sorry about her being ill but wales will never forgive her after what she did to the miners

Anonymous said...

Scargill didn't have any involvement then? His ego was so large that he was willing to risk the mining industry in his farcical attempt at bringing down a government.

penlan said...

It is strange to think that it has afflicted the two cleverest(academically) PM's of the last fifty years-Harold Wilson and Mrs Thatcher.

Both were famous for retentive memories-indeed Wilson's early resignation was due to his own knowledge that his memory was failing.It is almost as if there is a finite amount a mind can process.

Glyn Davies said...

anons - If we have to identify one person who did grave damage to the mining industry it would be Arthur Scargill. What Mrs T did was refused to be bullied by this man - and it was crucial for Britain that she did so. It was a battle she had to win, and a lot of good people were hurt.

Anonymous said...

Well spotted Glyn, Scargill tried to bring down an elected government - his selfish actions brought misery and despair to many Welsh miners.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Truly was a case of 'Lions led by Donkeys'.

Valleys Mam said...

maggie was not one of my favourites, but I am sad to see her decline like this.
She had backbone, and thats something sadly lacking in a lot of politicians today