Rights

Posted at 16:07pm on 12th April 2011

I have just read a report in The Guardian newspaper which In 1993 I was commissioned by Hodder & Stoughton to write the posthumous story of a man named Phil Godfrey.  Phil had been a research scientist in Geneva, where I went to meet his widow, an American whom he'd met whilst working in USA.
     A haemophiliac, Phil required a regular supply of Factor 8.  By the time he accepted his job with Glaxo, it was clear that he had contracted AIDS.  What followed - conception of his daughter, his uncontrollable diahorrea and emaciated body, his wife having to carry him down the stairs of their flat to the car - made a harrowing tale.  But worse was to come.
     The British government was guilty of a cover-up. They decided that Phil's AIDS was down to contaminated American blood which had been given by drug users and homosexuals. They were right. However, it transpired that this was not whilst Phil was living in US; the contaminated American blood had been imported by the British government and given to many hundreds of haemophiliacs. Denied compensation, life assurance, even mortgages for years, this was scandal on a large scale. I was in Parliament (researching another book) on the day Margaret Thatcher was deposed. One of the first things John Major did was to achieve justice for people like Phil. The message about contaminated blood was uncovered, and my book, The Last Mountain, became a Sunday Times No. 4 Bestseller.  Need I say more?  Rights for one section of society should never be allowed to flourish to the detriment of human life.

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