What a week it has been. I felt a sense of overwhelming power being acted out – potential power, a power thrust upon a family who did not wish for it and an elected power who possibly misused that power.
We welcomed Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge into the world on Monday morning, a happy occasion by all accounts and one where inevitably one looks to the future and wonders how his life will pan out for him as a royal in the public eye. However, as always happens in life, happiness is often balanced out with sadness, and we watched the very brave Alfie Evans lose his grip on life and pass away early on Saturday morning. He was a Prince to his parents and he became a Prince to all of us as we watched the fight for his life battled out in the public eye. Nothing can tear at one’s heart strings more than seeing a small, innocent child struggling to live through no fault of his own but simply because it was the hand that nature dealt him.
I am not going to debate the rights and wrongs of the state dictating to Alfie’s parents, Tom and Kate, that his life support machine had to be turned off on Monday, ironically the same day that Prince Louis was born. It must be the hardest decision that any judge has to make to determine whether a child should battle on or die peacefully. Having listened to the team of expert doctors at Alder Hey Hospital, he, Mr. Justice Hayden, decided that there was no ongoing hope for Alfie. Hope is what we all cling onto – take hope away and we all struggle to carry on. What I do know is that everyone who was involved in Alfie’s short life fought bravely and with great dignity. The final decisions that were made were not taken lightly and without a great deal of consideration. Sometimes science seems to ignore human emotion however Paediatric doctors and nurses who work with these children and have to make life and death decisions are the most dedicated and courageous. No doubt they deliberated and debated that final decision and will continue to do so in their heads for the rest of their lives. Alfie’s parents, like all of us who have children, fought for their lion-hearted son with everything that they could. They are now bereft, and will possibly never recover from losing him but they fought and never gave up on their child and that is the best that every child can hope for from their parents.
During this same week we watched our Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, accused of lying, not once but three times over a subject that is again highly emotive, immigration. It makes one ask what do we expect of our politicians and those in power? I think it is quite simple – they should never lie to us and they should always work for the best interests of the people that they represent. Amber Rudd has now resigned because she lied to the Select Committee and so she can no longer serve us as she has lost the trust of the people. She, as Home Secretary, had been given the power to dictate where people live their lives with her immigration policies. Regardless of the outcome of this last week in politics, which I am not going to debate, Amber Rudd lied to the people so she had no option but to resign. However I must add that I personally feel she made a mistake which she now deeply regrets. Cabinet ministers work extremely hard and, like all of us, are not perfect so I am sorry to see Ms. Rudd resign as I think she was, on the whole, a good minister.
Unlike the doctors and the Judge, who made the decision to turn Alfie’s life support machine off, who always considered the suffering of those that were involved throughout, Amber Rudd did not appear to take into account the humans whose lives she was making a decision over. They were being expelled from this country by her department and ultimately she has to take responsibility for these decisions and not blame others working for her.
Power is something quite extraordinary and the need for it by so many people may be unexplainable if, like me, you have no wish to have such life-changing power. Nowadays people in power live their lives in the public eye and with social media nothing goes unnoticed.
7 hours after Prince Louis was born he was carried, by his loving parents, into the public eye. Whilst they have vowed to protect their children from the invasiveness of the media and give them as normal an upbringing as they can, the facts are that this Prince will endure a lifetime of public scrutiny and judgement. His influence will, one day, be able to change lives and that is the power his life has been given by being born into the Royal family.
Alfie Evans, whilst he did not realise it, lived his very short life in the public eye and because of this he was endowed with a power to possibly change future lives. I am sure the law that gives the state power to determine the best for a child over that of the parents, will be debated long and hard in the future in the light of the battle fought so publicly for Alfie.
Finally the power given to Amber Rudd has been taken away from her this week as it has been concluded that she was not totally transparent with everyone.
I will end with a quote from Plato “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”
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