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Thank you Mr Speaker

Posted on 8 March 2012 | 7:03am

This is a straight-forward thank you to Commons Speaker John Bercow who last night co-hosted with me a Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research dinner at Speaker’s House.

The dinner allowed us to bring together leading lights in what might be termed the ‘cancer community’ to discuss the charity’s Trials Acceleration Programme, TAP, a clinical trials network linking 13 hospitals in the UK. It will mean that patients have the opportunity to take part in a national clinical trial and have access to cutting edge treatments at their local hospital, whevever they live within the UK, within shorter time frames.

A lot of the fundraising done in recent years has been devoted to starting this up, and creating the central hub in Birmingham, where an expert team is in place to co-ordinate the delivery of world class clinical trials across the centres.

It might all sound a bit nerdy, but there was real excitement about it last night, not just from the LLR people working on the programme, but from those experts hearing about it for the first time, and spotting the opportunities in relation to other cancers and indeed other diseases.

What most people see of John Bercow is at Prime Minister’s Questions, bobbing up and down trying to keep MPs in order. But ‘in addition to his duties in this House,’ as PMs always put it, he likes to use Speaker’s House to help causes and charities, particularly in the area of children with disabilities, learning difficulties, and also health care.

He was a fantastic and well-informed host, full of praise for the work being done by the cancer experts around the table. It was a fantastic night for the charity and I am grateful to him and his wife Sally for their support and for the welcome they gave us.

  • Mikeaking

    I have recently been diagnosed with squamos cell malignant carcinoma of the base of the tongue with secondary in my neck and lymph nodes. I will obviously assist as much as I can in this programne.
    Since my initial visit to the ENT unit at Macclesfild Hospital just last month followed by neck bio: mri scan: tongue bio at Wythenshawe Hospital and final prognosis at The Christie Institute I have been amazed at the level of care and kindness from everybody involved. Big thanks to
    our wonderful NHS.
    mikeaking@live.co.uk

  • Anonymous

    Wishing you strength, good luck and continued great care.

    The NHS in the past year did a wonderful job and saved my aunt from cancer, she is now all clear.

    I had a lesser condition myself which I got seen to in a private hospital because my last employer had a health insurance program. When the condition returned this year I went to the NHS, I know this is anecdotal but the level of treatment and expertise I received at one of the massive and really busy NHS hospitals was much better than I received in the private hospital. The nurses were good in the private hospital but the specialists did not carry out all the correct tests.

    The specialists in the NHS hospital were far more thorough and one of the nurses in particular was truly an angel.

  • Anonymous

    This sounds like a very positive initiative all round. I don’t think it sounds nerdy at all, rather it sounds really exciting. Or maybe I’m just a nerd! I think however nerds are taking over the world, even kids these days seem much more interested in science and technology than we were, perhaps people like Steve Jobs and Brian Cox and many others are having an effect. All hail the boffins and all medical staff who are taking the fight to cancer.

  • Anonymous

    Six years ago we got the bad news from the amazing people at Barts that the final round of chemo had not got my son (age 33) into remission, and that his leukaemia was going to kill him. He died 4 months later. The NHS had thrown everything including the kitchen sink at his condition, with no concern for the cost. He was cared for by units  in London and in his own town and county; even the lead professor in the Birmingham unit found time to see us.  I had nothing but praise for the way different parts of the NHS worked seamlessly together. Nobody in the local Trusts ever saw any problem in throwing resources at a patient who wasn’t (strictly speaking) ‘theirs’. I worry that this sort of integrated, cooperative care is going to be much more difficult to achieve after the present ‘reform’ comes into effect. 

    But a personal ‘thank you’ for what you have done, and continue to do, to find ways of beating this dreadful condition.

  • Gilliebc

    I don’t dislike John Bercow.  I think as Speaker he is fair to both sides of the House.

    Many Tories and their supporters dislike him because of this.  So I reckon he’s getting it right.

  • Ehtch

    Cancer frightens the life out of people just talking about it. It is said one in four people will get in their lifetime. But there is a world of difference of having a localised form to having a systemic form with the blood or lymph system. The later needs as much research as possible, which discoveries helps treatment of other forms.

    It is incredible the advances that have been made in the last couple of decades. My father has recovered and is in remission from bowel and prostate cancer, and the chemotherapy and the radiotherapy was impressive, especially the later. But he couldn’t get down the hospital in the last two weeks himself, he was wrecked with the treatment. But it did the trick for two successful operations afterwards to remove the much reduced cancerous area. He has been lucky, in a way.

    Here’s hoping for more successful advancements, but very especially on the systemic forms as impressively supported by LLR.

  • Michele

     I hope the woman physicist on the new TV series with the lovely Kate Humble (who was so out of place on macho Top Gear) will raise the profile of sciences for girls too.

  • Ehtch

    Sorry, forgot to mention the last two weeks, I took him down for the last two weeks of treatment, carrying him to the car, grabbing a wheelchair at the hospital, and carting him in for zapping, even though he didn’t fancy it. It worked though. The last couple of weeks, I have been told, is the hammering of cancer, no matter what how the patient complains, and fair to my dad, he didn’t complain much, he just said over and over and over and over again “I feel like crap”, But he is still here, bagged and happy. Save’s on toilet paper each morning, I suppose, in movements.

  • Ehtch

    Good move it would be is for concerned commonwelthes coming to visit from, say India and Singapore with good handshakes recorded, from now to July, wishing us a good olympics. Now that is proper imagination.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmikLA5DI7w

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been trying to find info – is it called Orbit? Who is the woman physicist? One of the ones from “A Brave New World” with Stephen Hawking perhaps?

    A friend of mine went to an event celebrating female technology entrepreneurs yesterday, there were 3 speakers all who are running their own tech startups (if thats still a fair name – one had been running for 12 years), one of the companies in particular was beyond just website stuff and seemed to be involved with quite cutting edge biotech.

  • Michele

     Hmmmmmm, I think he lets Dave get away with murder (just throwing in a bit of hyperbolic melodramatic exaggeration there).

    The mockery during PMQs should be controlled imhoo.

    The custom of responding through the Speaker (the ‘he said she said’ MO) means he’s tarnished if he doesn’t insist on clean answers.

    ‘Call me Dave’ has a lot to say about EM’s ‘scripted questions’ (what on earth else should they be when time is so short?).  Judging by his side’s timely cheers – even in between MPs tweeting or texting – it seems some answers are also quite scripted.

  • Michele

     It’s a hard time Ehtch, commiserations again.

  • Michele

    I know this is off-topic but it would be anywhere.  I’m quite shocked by Labour’s behaviour to Eric Forth (who I heard recently had been showing obvious signs of ill-health for months before his very bad drunken behaviour).
    I hope his constituents will continue to be supportive to him.

  • Gilliebc

    You are a very good son to your dad Ehtch and please don’t tell me it’s because you are Welsh!

    You have a great sense of humour which is invaluable in any given situation.  But is especially valuable when having to cope with the sick and elderly I believe.

  • Anonymous

    All the best to you and your dad Ehtch. They can work miracles in hospitals these days so I hope they can do so for your dad.

  • Anonymous

    Following Michele on the off topics, just wanted to say that I finally got round to watching Alastairs sky arts bagpipes programme last night and it was brilliant! So much more than a bagpipes programme.

    If Dave Simons is reading, one of my favourite tunes was played a lot as background music in the first 5-10 mins, a tune I often hear played along with Scotland the Brave but I think its a separate tune.

  • Michele

     Aaaagh I got the Erics mixed up.

    I meant Joyce of course.

  • Michele

     Yes it’s this one :
    http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/pszsd/orbit-earth%27s-extraordinary-journey–series-1—episode-2

    I was hopeLESS at Physics and at Chemistry and …….. so on.

  • Anonymous

    Your fault or teachers? Just lack of interest? The school I went to was quite big on science luckily. Sometime in the past few years it became a specialist science academy (or some similar title) and has been winning awards like Young Scientist and stuff, so it seems to have kept that up. Plenty female science teachers in it too!

    If only careers in science paid as well as careers in finance and so forth. Or just paid well. That might not interest more kids, but it would help to keep more of the kids who are already interested.

    There are ways this can be achieved, I believe.

  • Anonymous

    Heh I wondered! I can’t make my mind up on this one. On the one hand there is something satisfying about 4 politicians getting beaten up, Tories to boot.

    On the other I don’t like the idea of (what appears to be) an arrogant thug getting off with no sanction.

    A boss in a company I worked for swung for (and missed) one of his underlings at a christmas party and got sacked.

    I think probably if its first offence there should be leniency, if not first offence then there should be sufficient punishment.

    Prescott on the other hand has my full support for his fisticuffs! Also laughed at Ken Clarke’s defence of him on QT the other week saying Prescott’s actions were justifiable but “I of course would have behaved impeccably and said thank you kind sir and could you throw an egg at my other cheek please.”

  • Ehtch

    Thanks all. But as any undesirable events in life, it takes it out of you, and of course also the one that is ill. It is a type of “life stops still” event.

    But Christ knows how I would cope if it was a small child of mine that goes through such. They are the ones that need as much support as possible with this bugger of life.

  • Ehtch

    Well, Gilliebc, there might a message what I do and say – we are not quite yet at the nuclear family stage, but Mother Earth with Yellowstone and visiting asteroids to her might have something to say about that. Have a good day. : )

  • Ehtch

    Could tell you the story of when I met Helen, and she used a single consonant as her day to day surname, away from Indian community life, as a tour guide and a PR at a mushroom farm in Singpore. Yes, I am not joking you, at a mushroom farm in Sing. And she could talk Sing, as the chinese there could too, kanh this, kanh that, canh come to you bed you welshman and let me tickle you.

    Anyway, spotted Helen not in above video, but in another video. Sir Lanka she told me her family originally came from, maybe Tamil, but she is not sure, since it was too long in her past in Singapore, since they tend not to go into difficulties. Japan bars opened and tourists are gladly welcomed, as one lad I met who run a bar off Orchard Road – a japanese bar, with a shelf full of the best scottish whiskies, which I educated him in, until I fell off my seat.

    Anyway, a song for Singapore, from the commonwealth, who are well up for the London Olympics, Boris, and looking forward to them. Sing island city,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq8lzJR0gGc

    Interesting place, Indian subcontinent and chinatown together, with us ex-empirers fuckers popping in now again to take the best girls….

  • Ehtch

    and by the way, I am not 100% welsh, I was just brought up and taught here, properly.

  • Ehtch

    Suppose I should say the evening bothering on the each evening stroll from the Orchard Road exclusive Hotel down Orchard Road and back also, passed Orchard Towers, Four Floors of whores, until I gave up final but night, and said ok, but not young. He felt I think I was hanging on for him to impress me, and impress me he did. This lady came out, she told me later from Brunei, about thirty, hazel coloured skin. Bartered what it should be for the night, happy with that, but we just talked. Got plastered, talked about things, family and life, and all things. She had a son in Brunei, and told of my young one, daughter. Shagging didn’t seem to be right, as she didn’t mind, no offence either taken, learnt loads about Sing, Malay’s and Brunei.

    She gave me an incredible hug when she left at morn, down the lift, darting security, so not to tell she overstayed.

  • Gilliebc

    Just occasionally Ehtch I don’t understand what you are on about.
    This may be one such occasion!

    However, if you are thinking that Yellowstone will blow one day soon in the not too distant future, then I agree.  But, here we probably may not agree – I don’t think the cause will be ‘natural’ – it will be the latest and biggest ‘false flag’ operation of all time.

  • Ehtch

    You flatter me.

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, clip here of local government shitting themselves and in a total panic, dramaed if “that” did happen. Knew a girl from Carmarthenshire County Council that was part of their team – she has never been the same since, after the several excercises they had to do then,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKLSGLjcJJc

    Quite frightening, you could say. Clips of the full dramadoc are available there, not nice, to say the least. Doing full NBC warfare excercises in the RAF and TA were interesting, really had an affect on me. And running from one end of an airfield to the other in full NBC kit, respirator on, was almost asthma inducing.