Winston Churchill kept buggering on in No 10 after a massive stroke, Anthony Eden succeeded him in wretched health resulting from botched bile duct surgery, Mr Tony Blair had an electric shock applied to his racing heart, and Gordon Brown struggled manfully on despite almost losing the sight in his one functional eye.
Political history suggests that Theresa May’s type 1 diabetes will do no damage to any ambition for the top job. Judging by the elegant stoicism with which she confided the diagnosis to The Mail on Sunday, it could do her a bit of good. It cannot be long, for instance, before a cerebral style mag runs the diet feature “Insulin chic: how to get slim the Home Secretary way”. Yet it would be irresponsible to ignore the dangers. She will have to be careful with the footwear. The illness often damages circulation to the feet, and tight-fitting shoes with kitten heels are not advised.
And a close eye must be kept on her leadership rivals. Any cabinet colleague who hears Michael Gove, George Osborne or Jeremy Hunt causing a diversion, on “Oh my God, over there! It’s a velociraptor!” lines, should focus on the dinosaur-spotter’s hands. If they creep towards first the sugar bowl, and then Mrs May’s cup of tea, a citizen’s arrest is indicated.
Prescott jumps on diabetes bandwagon
I am distressed, meanwhile, to note John Prescott viewing the news as a signpost to centre stage. “Well done to Theresa May for publicly admitting she’s diabetic. I did it 10 years ago,” tweet-brags the Mouth of the Humber, appending a link to a 2003 report.
Once again, the Mouth of the Humber is requested to shut that capacious cake hole. Where type I is a genetic autoimmune disorder, any of us can develop the uncool and less threatening type 2 by being a lazy hog. This bandwagon-jumping from a non-insulin injector such as his portly self is most unseemly.
Sarah Palin’s future as Iranian pundit
Thanks to The Sunday Telegraph’s Lucy Davies for highlighting the Iranian state broadcaster’s reaction to Prince George. After stating that the birth has raised Britain’s hatred for the monarchy to new heights, the announcer added that “the Queen reigns as an absolute dictator”.
This analysis, while unusual, is far from unique. Sarah Palin, pictured, offered it during her droll stint as John McCain’s running mate, according to a steadfastly undenied account in the HBO docudrama Game Change. Asked by campaign manager Steve Schmidt how she would respond if Britain suddenly withdrew its troops from Iraq, this underrated geopolitical expert said that she would “continue to have an open dialogue with the Queen of England”.
How long before Ms Palin, so curiously dropped as a pundit by Fox News, is hired by Iran’s Press TV?
Revealed: Mr T, Megrahi, and Jung
Elsewhere in The Sunday Telegraph comes an intriguing report about the return to Libya of the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
The paper has seen an email from Sir Vincent Fean, then our ambassador to Libya, to the private office of Mr Tony Blair in June 2008, days before the peace-bringing ex-PM took a private jet to Tripoli for one of his Gadaffi-hugging therapy sessions. This directly tied a prisoner-transfer agreement, regarding person or persons unnamed, to the Colonel completing a £400m air defence deal.
Mr T’s spokesman restates the party line that Mr Megrahi’s freedom was a matter solely for the government of Scotland, and wholly unconnected to the flogging of arms. We are happy to accept this, and to chalk up the confluence of the deal and Mr Megrahi’s release to another eerie instance of Jungian synchronicity.
Genius Mensch takes risky libertarian line
Writing from New York, Louise Mensch considers David Cameron’s big talk about censoring online pornography. After restating her position as a hard-liner on child abuse – as so often, you marvel at her courage in defying convention – Louise turns her mind elsewhere.
“But banning rape porn?” she muses in The Sun on Sunday. “That is to say, SIMULATED images of rape filmed by actors. No freaking way.” Nothing wrong with taking the libertarian line, though the analogy she then draws is eccentric.
“The Government has just legalised gay marriage – and quite right too,” she continues, conflating the erotic representation of an alarming fantasy with a lifelong commitment between lovers. Hardly the same as comparing gay wedlock with bestiality, perhaps, but a handy second best. A powerful intellect, greatly missed.