British Prime Minister going blind - Does it really matter?

I’m torn between being disgusted that this is such a big deal and wanting to make a joke about Diane Dixon wearing the same perfume as Michelle Paterson.

And Milton was Secretary of Foreign Tongues and blind.

I hate to reveal my ignorance here (more than usual, anyway), but: who are you talking about?

The current governor of New York is legally blind and manages just fine… although he adapted to his poor vision years ago. If you’re going blind there’s a lot of emotional stuff to work through, which might account for irritability for the PM mentioned. Particularly with modern adaptive aids, and actual human aids, I don’t see where this would stand in the way of running a country. If this is brought out in the open then the need to hide/keep a secret goes away, which should involve less stress on everyone, which has got to be a net benefit.

His opponents will it is hoped refrain from accusing him of lacking the Vision Thing.

I think this is a problem for Brown and that they are right to try and get out in front of it and control the spin. It’s not a problem because blind people can’t function well. It’s a problem because he specifically suffers constantly (and always will AFAICT) from comparison to Blair’s “youthful dynamism,” “cool Britannia,” and glib communication style (I obviously don’t much care for Blair, but he was pretty good at exuding a rather oily charm, and specifically, at the old “making people feel he cares about them” angle).

Brown can’t do that, for a lot of reasons: he’s phlegmatic, he’s a finance guy, he looks kind of old and fleshy (I guess Cameron is young and fleshy). He really does not need another impediment to “relatability,” even if it is not his fault, and if his condition impairs his ability to handle photo ops, meet and greets, town halls, sewage plant openings, Question Time, or televised speeches, without looking stiff, awkward, confused, it’s just one more perception burden he’s got to overcome.

Patterson didn’t have quite such a burden for the reasons noted, and also because he was succeeding a ferrety little balding lawyer who no one ever accused of being a Great Communicator. Patterson came across as having the greater charm and gravitas.

The problem would be that, even as it is, senior government ministers spent most of their time just reading digests. Not being able to read at the same speed would put them at a significant disadvantage. But not one that is impossible to overcome. The technique David Blunkett used was not to have officials read to him, but to have them record their reading of the documents on to tape, which he then played back at faster than normal speed. Whatever else was said about him, no one accused Blunkett of being unable to master his brief.

But Blunkett had been blind since birth and had held executive office long before he became a minister. Adapting to blindness while in office, especially while in No. 10, would be a whole different matter.

But that’s true of any prime minister. He cannot ‘see’ everything anyway and part of the job of his staff is to decide which documents should be passed on to him.

Would he develop super-powers to compensate?

By all reports, Bush’s eyesight is all right, at least when he is sober.
Look at the good it has done us.

Joaquin Balaguer.

Take that article with a liberal dose of sodium chloride. It may be my bias showing but that article paints him as more benevolent than I believe him to be.

To his credit, blind or not, there was never a question as to who was in command.