Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Habebunt Corpus

Three cheers today for Sir Tony Baldry, MP for North Oxfordshire, who has hit on an unconventional way to repay the nation for years of living it up on Parliamentary expenses. As the Oxford Mail announces in the best possible taste:
Medical students in the distant future could find themselves scalpel-deep in the body of Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry.
The Conservative MP has left his body to the Oxford University anatomy department.
The MP himself demonstrates admirable pragmatism in explaining his decision:
“I have a body. When I die, it’s not going to be much use to me. I think you will find that anatomy students nowadays don’t find it very easy to get hold of cadavers on which to practise."
But he also seems to view the matter with a certain wry amusement, incidentally confirming what many of us have long believed about the lifestyle of Honourable Members:
“I suspect the liver of anyone who has served more than 30 years as a Member of Parliament is probably worthy of anatomical study."
This is certainly a novel PR coup and it will be interesting to see whether any of his fellow MPs follow suit. One might argue that it is also a necessary gesture, given that his most recent foray into the headlines, apart from his opposition to same-sex marriage, was the mishap memorably described by Anna Raccoon.

For connoisseurs of conspiracy theories, this was a car malfunction that occurred just hours after Sir Tony had clashed with Nick Clegg in the Commons. Sir Tony's car, you may recall, overshot a barrier in the Matalan car park at the back of Poundland (next door to MacDonalds and Wilkinson's, where Peacocks used to be) and demolished a portable toilet in what must hold some kind of record for the classiest accident ever.

With that on his record, it's not surprising that he should be on the lookout for ways to recover his bespattered reputation, but I applaud his willingness to tackle the awkward issue of mortality head-on and do something for the common good.

Admittedly this public announcement, apparently confirming a long-standing private arrangement, was made in a debate about hospital A&E units and in the context of Sir Tony's support for a local hospital, so it's hardly surprising, MPs being what they are, that there's an element of political capital involved:
“...when they open me up they will find inscribed on my heart the words “Keep the Horton General”.
but it is surely no less significant for that; well done that man!

1 comment:

  1. “I suspect the liver of anyone who has served more than 30 years as a Member of Parliament is probably worthy of anatomical study."

    It's certainly going to be atypical.