LISTEN: Ed Davey talks about his life as a carer

Ed Davey has given an interview to the Times Radio podcast What I Wish I’d Known. He talks about his life as a carer for his Mum, Nanna, son and wife.

The Times newspaper has a report on the podcast (£)

He describes how he was with his mother when she died of Cancer when he was 15, in his school uniform and how he felt afterwards:

It must have felt like a huge responsibility at such a young age. “I don’t think I felt that way. I just got on with it. It was relentless. There was a lot of caring to do. It was only when I lost my mum that I had to reflect where I was going as I was no longer working to please her. That was the moment I grew up. I remember one weekend in the kitchen thinking about doing my O-levels and wondering why I was bothering; I had no one to please. That was when I thought, ‘It’s up to you. Do you want to do well?’ I had a little chat with myself about my priorities.” He became head boy.

“Throughout my life, I’ve always thought that people need to see things in proportion, even at school. There are millions of family carers — six to nine million. That’s a lot of people who are looking after loved ones. Sometimes it’s a temporary phase where they end up dying or they get better, and sometimes it’s lifelong caring, but they are being forgotten. Most do it because it’s the right thing to do and they want to do it. But for many of us, our greatest worry is what happens when we are not there to care for loved ones because no one can look after them like we can.”

He has some advice for young carers:

“I wish I had a bit more self-belief and trust in myself. I’ve sought stability; I had a lot of self-doubt. I’ve put in coping mechanisms to make myself feel more able to deal with what’s around the corner and I’ve learnt that life is more fragile than you think, but we are stronger.”

How did he end up in politics?

“I wanted to be a writer when I was young, and then I read Seeing Green by Jonathon Porritt and got into environmental thinking. I wasn’t political, but I knew I wanted to do something and was determined to get on with life in case it was short. I wasn’t intense about it; there was no piece of paper with plans to be Lib Dem leader. My first political campaign was on recycling and potholes.”

This is well worth listening to and gives a real insight into how Ed thinks and how his personal experiences inform his values and priorities for the party.


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  • Very good article. Similar to his interview on the Leading podcast. Those with digital access should check out the comments which are very positive.

  • Sorry, my previous comment relates to the 5 page article in today’s Times magazine.

  • Denise Norris 16th Dec '23 - 6:28pm

    Ed Dave’s,thank you,not heard such heartfelt honesty from a politician.Displaying your vulnerability is a wonderful hint in these days of all the dishonesty in Number 10.I will vote Lib Dem,I’m off the fence thank you Ed Davey.

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