What going blind taught me about humanity

Twenty-one years ago, when I was a young Labour MP, I wrote a piece in these pages about going blind. I described a rare degenerative eye condition called choroideremia, which shrinks and darkens one’s vision until eventually there’s nothing left. I started to see less in my late teens; by the time I wrote the piece in 2002 I was 33 and perhaps half-blind, but could still manage to do most things pretty well.  The daily differences were such, though, that people could tell there was something not quite right. I would do things – such as failing to see, and therefore to shake, an outstretched hand – which just

John Paul Getty: a life of miserliness, mistresses and hotel hopping

I grew up watching re-runs of ‘Thelma and Louise’ on VHS and mouthing Geena Davis’s line, ‘I don’t remember ever feeling this awake’, in the bathroom mirror, so when my agent rang to tell me that Ridley Scott had ‘responded’ to my audition tape I was a little excited. The audition in question was for the part of John Paul Getty’s mistress in Ridley’s new biopic, All the Money in the World, about the aforementioned oil billionaire who was initially played by the substantially younger Kevin Spacey in full prosthetics. Just a few months later there I was in full 70s costume shooting in Hatfield House, blissfully unaware that the