My mother, the late Baroness Williams of Crosby (Shirley Williams), died in April 2021. In accordance with the Covid restrictions that were in place at the time, her funeral was attended by only 30 people, and was limited to 40 minutes, with no singing allowed, and no indoor gathering following the service.
I did invite a very few close friends of my mother afterwards to my garden, insisting that they remain outside, despite it being a bitterly cold day, as I understood that that was what the law required. Most of those attending were elderly and became very cold outside. I took blankets out for them, but was adamant that I could not invite them in.
Three close friends of my mother have died in the year since then and did not get the opportunity to say goodbye to her.
Had I known then what I now know, I would have had the funeral I wanted for her and the one that my mother deserved.
Much of my working life was spent as a government lawyer, advising the government of the day on the legality of policy proposals and ministerial decisions. The governments that I served as a member of the civil service took their democratic responsibility to act according to the law seriously. I could not have served this government, and this prime minister, for whom “taking responsibility” are empty words without consequences.
My mother, a lifelong public servant of the utmost integrity, must be turning in her grave at this country’s current pitiful state of governance.
While I miss her every day, I am glad she is not alive to see the cynical abandonment of the foundations of our democracy to which she devoted her life.
Little Hadham, Hertfordshire
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