David Blankett

Picture of David Blankett

Date of Birth: 1947

Age: 68

Place of birth: Sheffield

Citizenship: United Kingdom


Only caliber personality become objects of public scandals. David Blunkett, the former Minister of Internal Affairs of Great Britain, no doubt, belongs to this category. He has always evoked the interest and admiration of the public, many continue to believe him after his loud resignation in December of last year. He was 57 years old, and the story of his life can be recycled without any guessing in an exciting novel, where there is poverty, love, blows of fate and the opposition to them.

Blind from birth, David Blunkett has made such a success that it was difficult to find sympathy in his heart to other people with disabilities, less powerful and less successful. He recognizes how difficult it was given clock reception of their voters from Sheffield: "People come to the office and start complaining," Mr Blunkett, I am very ill. " I answer: "I feel sorry for you, have a seat." They begin to talk, they can not work due to high pressure or ulcerative colitis. I listen and think, wait a minute, I have all these sores are. But do not talk to them in the face: "What are you carrying, I have ten years of hypertension, ulcerative colitis, and besides, I am blind, so that free space."

Blunkett convinced that everyone can gather strength and struggle. In fact, his life, contrary to the prevailing blows of fate may be an inspiring example.

A bad gene

Blindness discovered shortly after his birth in June 1947. Due to the unsuccessful combination of parental genes in the baby did not develop optic nerve.

Mother blamed her age - she was much over forty, she already had a daughter from his first marriage. The experience was so strong that the woman turned gray eyes.

First there was the hope that his son will gradually see. At an early age he discerned a huge comic book titles, but the failure of the optic nerve and lead to the extinction of the weak eyesight. The only thing that Blunkett today can see - this is a strong contrast between light and darkness.

They lived in a council house closely, sharing it with other relatives, money was scarce, but the early years, David remembered how happy. The parents raised him in the spirit, he can achieve anything if you want.

And then came the shattering change - they were told that the boy will have to give to a special boarding school for the blind, who was away from home. There were tears and protests - as a four year old child can tear off from the family? But the municipality remained adamant.

At school he was given a uniform and taken to the dormitory, where there were nine other frightened newcomers.

The first weeks of muffled cries of children could be heard every night. Some were lying in a wet bed, and did not know what to do. They were absolutely helpless - in all senses. Nurses did not, and they had to dress themselves, wash and find routes inside the school. "Temporary mothers" - women 16-17 years - accompanied by the big boys only bathing, and were the ones who gave the kids warmly, gently hugging the night.

Sport has become another outlet. In games David and his companions were special rules - soccer ball could throw his arms, and cricket balls bells tinkled. Blind boys knew that the risk of getting hit a ball in the face, but it did not stop them. And it really can be called reckless cycling and karting - a favorite pastime of David. Broken collarbones and fingers, bruises and cuts had to pay for the love of games sighted peers.

The death of his father

For 12 years, David was going to gain confidence to move to the second stage of the school, and here there was another test. His 67-year-old father, who worked in the gas supply, fell into a giant pot of boiling water. By age it for a long time could be retired, but he was appreciated, I was asked to train the youth ...

For the next month he was fighting for his life. David Blunkett still remembers the smell of scalded flesh filled the hospital room, and exact time of his father`s death - 3.34 am.

The gas company for a long time did not want to pay compensation to the widow. Even when my father was working, they were poor, but now just become beggars. Of food in the house were only bread and margarine. Once Blunkett began to make money, the first thing he found in the tomb of his father`s tombstone.


In the second stage of special school he came in short pants, to the delight of new classmates, because the mother could not spend on pants. After receiving a couple of boxes on the ear, I realized that it is necessary to stand up for themselves, and succeeded in becoming one of the main pranksters. A broken front tooth and scars resemble Blunkett, the policy of the time when the teacher wrote his notes - "too noisy" or "out of control".

In 16 years, he had a confrontation with the director of the college for the blind. Director has "innovator" did not want to blind students took exams: they still intellectually limited. Blunkett had already realized that it condemns students - including his own - to life with strongly narrowed horizons, where the profession tuner of musical instruments has been an accomplishment. With five associates he started to attend classes in a normal technical college and passed the exams there. The director did not give them transport back to the whole company was getting closer to the night.

The independence and passion for education, supported by the mother`s suggestions that he, David, not worse, and even better than sighted children, stayed with him for life.


When Blunkett graduated from the course of political and social sciences, and began his career at Sheffield City Council, it was considered as an interesting local phenomenon, meaning that a blind man can not become a politician of national scale. Therefore, the election of a member of parliament in 1987, many thought a miracle. But Blunkett scale is not reduced even in a crowd of refined metropolitan politicians. On the contrary, he knew that temperament, full openness and folksy wisdom are added to his popularity, "I have no right to be a coward in front of people who are going to believe me, and do not want to be a standard member of the government, emasculated acting with texts."

Becoming head of the Ministry of the Interior in the government of Tony Blair, David Blunkett has created a historical precedent - to him in one country was not blind from birth of men or women, to get to such heights.

What helped him to reach the top? Among other performance and phenomenal memory. His predecessor in the high office complained about the inability to get acquainted with the huge volume of daily information, and it still remains a mystery as Blunkett had time to process all the material.

Every document that David Blunkett "read", was previously dictated on tape assistants. The most important papers were copied in Braille. He learned to listen to dictated the film at high speed. To the untrained ear recording sounded like meaningless chatter of cartoon characters.

But even those that exceed the ordinary human possibilities have come to the limit, when in the past year had to study the 300-hour report on the Euro-currency.

Former employee Blunkett says that if the case of a small pause in the work schedule, his boss never relaxed, and he filled the pauses, listening to recordings of chapters from books. His brain is constantly demanded new information.

Not being able to see the interlocutor, he learned to feel the mood and ulterior motives. And changes in voice guessing that he was lying. He could see the inner tension, even if the man remained silent. People said that his insight led them superstitious fear.

He used his gift, and at the meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers to assess the involvement of colleagues in the discussion, and listening to the sounds so insignificant as coughing, rocking in a chair, rustling papers.

His own sentiments and motives were always in sight. Unfamiliar with hushed disagreement signals, he expressed his own loud sighs. Wishing to attract the attention of the Prime Minister, as actively waving a hand that Tony Blair learned to warn him: "David, you`re next."

Like all blind, his sensitive fingers, a phenomenal hearing and a keen sense of smell. Visiting Prince Charles, walking on a summer evening on the estate Haygrov garden, he could not evaluate the aroma of flower and told the prince that prevails around lavender. "No, - said Charles - this is my lavender lotion after shaving."

Dinner at the restaurant with reporters, he heard that the people of the remote table talking shit about him and called fascist. Asked journalists not to write about what was going to happen, he walked through the restaurant to the table where he discussed, and said he had heard the whole conversation. As free men, they have the right to criticize his work, but he did not give them a reason to switch to personal insults. Eyewitnesses said that critics began to face deep-red.

In fact, the post of Interior Minister Blunkett gave many reasons for discontent - new laws against immigrants, especially illegal; measures to prevent terrorist acts, as well as the proposal to introduce compulsory identity cards for citizens of many seemed antidemocratic. He was accused that he wants to sacrifice the freedom of the individual for the sake of public safety.

But he had to resign to leave not because of its hard-line, but because of the great love.

Happiness Price

He was never particularly happy with women. The first youth novel ended unsuccessfully - she left him, and David was depressed. Then, as usual, took the initiative in their own hands, he found a girlfriend by correspondence, Mary, and the couple regularly exchanged letters, although he was in no hurry to report that the blind. When the summer of 1968 he came to her on a visit to Malta, Mary`s family was horrified - instead of the young budding clerk appeared to them impoverished blind man with vague prospects.

Returning home, he locked himself in the four walls, and brought himself to the variety of agoraphobia - every time you exit to the street it seemed to him that he was looking at and discussing.

But again, having decided to overcome the problem and find friends, he began attending a youth club at the Methodist church. On one of the evenings of David a long time up the courage to ask a girl to dance. "No, thank you very much", - said the man, to whom he addressed by mistake. After that Blunkett seemed that his whole life is a succession of various humiliations.

Meeting with Ruth changed much. He was pleased that she took it seriously, and married her in 1970, nesmotryana dire predictions mother. They lived for 20 years in a "loveless marriage", he said. They raised three sons and parted as friends. Immediately after the resignation of the former husband of Ruth has rejected the offer of one of the Sunday newspaper - 50 thousand pounds to share the details of their family life.

Blunkett has succeeded in many walks of life, but it seems that he was not destined to know a normal family life, the one where his parents lived and from which he pulled out a four-year child.

Beauty with dark shiny hair, American Kimberly Quinn when meeting jokingly tormented him, saying that she - a tall blonde, and innocently asking what it is - to sleep with a blind man. He thought - came to him the love of his life. The three-year secret relationship (married Kimberley) has led to the birth of the boy, his son as Blunkett learned after checking DNA, and then - to the new pregnancy and a complete rupture of relations on the American request. Kimberly scared seriousness of her lover, and the depth of his feelings. What this educated woman of the world did not expect - so it is that Blunkett in the fight for recognition of his paternity is not afraid to go public. After a mutual exchange of blows Quinn issued to the public the fact of abuse of official position Blunkett. It really accelerated training visas for Filipino nannies of their son.

The situation is exacerbated quotes from his new biographical book, where he spoke about his poisonous companion in the cabinet. Some he called spineless, others - incompetent, third - unable to change. He told the truth but people who could stand up to his defense, resentfully turned away from him.

Blunkett chased crowd of journalists, frightening even familiar to many guide dog, no one newscast did not do without mentioning Filipino nanny.

On the morning of his retirement, David Blunkett did not hide the shock. What it seemed to be the greatest joy and the beginning of future happiness, destroyed his career.

"I hope that, as adults, the little boy would understand - the father cared for him so much that he gave a career" - holding back tears, he fail result.

It can be called a man who loved too much. But some are far from romance observers saw it as insensitive to other egoist, who wanted to destroy the family. Kimberly is empathy - literally located on the heavily pregnant woman exhausted scandal. Their common son can not be avoided in the future trauma. Head and merciless frankness that brought success Blunkett-policy did not help him in the solution of personal problems.

But after he left the British political scene poskuchnela. "The peacock flew away, sparrows were left alone," - journalists noticed. They attacked him in the midst of the scandal, and after the resignation suddenly remembered that one of the great politicians was not a saint. David Lloyd George was involved in the scandals associated with money and women. Winston Churchill, though he was a devoted husband, drank heavily.

In the end, Blunkett fought for his girlfriend and her son, it was not in his case, neither prostitutes nor promiscuity. That would not just another modern figure, still comprehend against Blunkett - so it is not like the others.

Now repeatedly expressed sympathy and hope that he will return to politics. Intelligence and knowledge that man is enormous, it is unlikely native Labour will allow them to stay without. Yes, and it is doubtful that he will be able to for a long time remain in the shadows.