For parents to lose a child in infancy is that most unthinkable of tragedies; the knowledge that he or she will never see the grown-up world, never experience what life has given so many others. And for that realisation to take place under the glare of publicity must only compound the tragedy, the grief, the suffering. So it must have been for the parents of little Charlie Gard. As the BBC has reported, “Charlie has encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. He has brain damage and cannot move his arms or legs”.
Squeaky uninformed idiot finger up the bum time
Charlie’s parents had been given all manner of offers of treatment abroad, the most high-profile intervention coming from self-appointed medical expert Donald Trump. But the doctor who flew in from the States admitted, after seeing a recent MRI scan, that nothing could be done for Charlie, who will spend his last moments with his parents under the care of the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
The case has provoked strong reactions, with the judge involved, Mr Justice Francis, passing especially adverse comment on social media warriors. He “poured scorn on the 'absurd notion' by online commentators that the baby had been a 'prisoner of the NHS’ … And he condemned the tide of abuse directed at the doctors and nurses of Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as Charlie's parents”.
Sadly, although the press managed to restrain its usual tendency to bash the NHS, one commentator was not listening to Mr Justice Francis, and that commentator was former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who used the platform inexplicably given to him by broadcaster LBC to talk well, but lie badly, about the case.
Farage’s Twitter intervention tells you all you need to know: “UK medical establishment closed ranks on #CharlieGard's parents & the state took away their rights. Change required. What a total disgrace”. What he actually said was even worse.
“I felt, through the court proceedings, that at time [the parents] were treated as suspects” claimed Mr Thirsty, unaware that this was not a criminal case, and that therefore there are not, and nor could there be, any suspects. And there was more.
“They weren’t allowed [to take their son to the USA] because the establishment in this country closed ranks and denied them that opportunity”. Accusations of conspiracy, attacking the independence of the judiciary, smearing the medical profession, the full paranoid nine yards, none of which he is ever going to be able to stand up.
And on he went: “Should we live in a society where parents … can make the ultimate choice about their children’s future, or does the state have that power? And what this case has shown, sadly, is that the state has that power. I don’t like it. I want this changed”.
Nigel Farage clearly does not understand the way in which a child’s rights are exercised. For him, what has happened is that “the state” has intervened, when “the state” has done nothing of the sort. It is the lowest form of opportunism, made worse by his rank ignorance of the law, and stoked by his unshakeable prejudice.
Charlie Gard’s parents have gone through more than any parents would ever want to go through. The last thing they need is this clown sticking his bugle in. Bang out of order.