Why we must give brave Mo benefit of the doubt
The news that Mo Mowlam lied about her cancer, telling Tony Blair her malignant tumour was benign, will meet with disapproval in some quarters.
Already I’ve read disparaging comments about Mowlam’s ‘deceit’, her ‘irresponsible’ refusal to accept that her competence might be compromised.
It is widely assumed that she misled Blair because she was an ambitious woman who didn’t want her illness to jeopardise her place in his cabinet.
But there are many reasons a person might deal with a deadly diagnosis in such a way. Full of vigour and life, it’s possible Mo just couldn’t quite believe she was close to death, and clung to the slightest of hopes.
Maybe she thought her important work might help her to live longer, give her the fight she needed.
No one who has not lived under such a prognosis can judge the response of another who has.
And regardless of her reasons, there are many in Northern Ireland who will always be glad that Mo did secure her fateful place in Blair’s cabinet.