Anorak News | Ivan Cameron: I Spy Disabled People, MPs Yellow Ribbons And The Public Spectacle

Ivan Cameron: I Spy Disabled People, MPs Yellow Ribbons And The Public Spectacle

by | 27th, February 2009
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IVAN Cameron has died. David Cameron’s son has died. A moment of personal grief. But can it made into a public spectacle? No Prime Minister’s Questions Time yesterday.

The House of Commons looks inwards, dealing with it own issues in mawkish fashion before the work of running the country and announcing the dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After the MPs have performed “Ivan Cameron and Me”, the hacks get to work making sense a child’s death:

Western Mail: “Lowri Turner opens up over disabled sister after Ivan Cameron’s death.”

Death brings a column.

As the Cameron family mourn the loss of their severely disabled son Ivan, our columnist Lowri Turner reveals in her own heartrending words the complete joy and sorrow of having a disabled sister and the pressures of being a mother today. Her words will strike a chord with parents everywhere.

Just for a change. Lowri Turner will write about her family and being a mum.

The picture of the Camerons, returning home from St Mary’s hospital without their son, Samantha’s head bowed, her face puffy and her eyelids red with crying, while David, his own brow furrowed, rests a gentle hand on her shoulder, said everything about the shock and devastation they are feeling now.

Everything said. So we’ll stop there…

David, so adept at the TV soundbite, didn’t need to utter a word. His face and that of his wife were utterly, terribly transparent.

Not to mention red with crying. Transparent and red…

I once met a woman whose teenage son suffered from autism. Every night he got up and walked about the house.

Lowri knows…

I know other parents of disabled children whose courage is humbling; one family I used to know had not one but two children with autism.

Anyone else?

I should betray an interest here. I have a disabled sister. She is one of the few things I don’t normally write about.

And now..?

For the record, the reason that I rarely write about my sister is that I feel that she has the right to speak for herself. She is not a child.

David Cameron is aged 3.

Secondly, I do not want to be glib myself. My feelings about my sister are complex and deeply personal.

Glib? Not in this world! Go on…

Still, reading a little vignette of the Cameron family reminded me of my own childhood… When I was a child, my sister went away to school. To say she was “sent away” sounds harsh… Having a disabled child in the family teaches everyone life lessons, both at the time and in retrospect.

Anyone else met a disabled person?

I have a girlfriend with a son with Down’s syndrome.

Anyone else?

Going anywhere with a disabled child is, frankly, a hassle.

Better to just write about them…

The Sun: “Camerons ‘will pull through’”

DAVID and Samantha Cameron are “very brave people who will pull through” following their son’s death, a leading doctor said last night.


The Independent: “Terence Blacker: Public service comes before public grief”

There was, of course, a far more newsworthy death to report and to analyse in detail. The life of a severely handicapped child had ended. It was known that Ivan Cameron would not live long but, because he was the son of the leader of the Opposition, an increasingly familiar mood of group emotion took hold. MPs gathered in the Commons, their number and sombre mood indicating a tragedy of national proportions. There were moving statements from the Prime Minister and others. Parliament was then suspended. If those apparently lesser deaths (of the four soldiers) were mentioned, it was done in a dutiful sentence later on.

Of course, the death of this little boy was an unspeakable family tragedy for the Camerons, but there was something faintly suspect about this open emoting in the mother of parliaments. The repeated clichés about how we are all brought together by a sense of shared humanity, how differences are set aside, somehow felt self-congratulatory. Look at us, the MPs and ministers were saying, we are just as human as anyone else; we can be really sad, too.

Pass the yellow ribbons.


The Tory leader and his wife Samantha received more than 2,000 emails and hand-delivered letters and cards from well-wishers on the day the severely disabled six-year-old died.

Daily Mail: “One day the pain goes – but the love never does, ANNE DIAMOND reveals how she coped after the death of her child”

Anne Diamond.

It will be many months before David and Samantha Cameron emerge from the depths of grief which enveloped them after the death of their six-year-old son, Ivan, this week. As Gordon Brown said in the Commons: ‘The death of a child is an unbearable sorrow that no parent should ever have to endure.’ It’s a sorrow all too familiar to TV presenter ANNE DIAMOND, whose son Sebastian died from cot death in 1991. In the weeks afterwards, Anne received endless letters of support from other bereaved parents. Here, she shares their sentiments, which should give solace to every parent who has lost a child.

Daily Telegraph: “Indiscipline, chaos and decay: this is how governments die Telegraph View: He is preparing to address Congress in Washington next week, but at home, Gordon Brown’s government is disintegrating, says Iain Martin.”

Ivan Cameron:

The PM is not entirely alone in his bunker. Impressed by his fortitude, there are still loyal friends and advisers hoping that something, anything, will turn up. Said one earlier this week, before the death of Ivan Cameron stilled life at Westminster: “We’re still at 30 points in the polls. Thirty points! After everything that’s happened.”

What significance the death of Ivan Cameron to opinion polls? Do we really believe our politicians are that cycnical?

And last night the Royal Mail was arranging to deliver several further sackloads of post to the couple.

DEBORAH ORR: Parents see the world through their children’s eyes. And Ivan Cameron changed his father’s view of everything (Independent)

LIBBY PURVES: A lesson for us all in a short life, well-lived (The Times)
MATTHEW D’ANCONA: A son who inspired only goodness and love (Spectator)
ANDREW GRICE: How Cameron the politician was changed by his son (Independent)
JENNI RUSSELL: The love that shaped a leader (Guardian)
IAN BIRRELL: Iona and Ivan – a tale of two children and two families (Independent)
MATTHEW PARRIS: Sadly, the House got it wrong about Ivan Cameron (The Times)

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Posted: 27th, February 2009 | In: Key Posts, Politicians Comments (37) | TrackBack | Permalink