To: The Rt Hon George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ.
From: Ron Trubuhovich
7 Bingley Av,
Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand, 1023.
As a citizen of a country of which Queen Elizabeth is Head of State may I ask you, thereby, would you kindly allow me the liberty of writing to you? My own background has been a professional life as an intensive care specialist, I am long in retirement, with my major activity now in writing medical history. Within the time of my history studies the outstanding lesson I have learnt is how absolutely essential it is to base the conclusions one makes solely on securing genuine confirmatory evidence. Such evidence comes from and is substantiated by primary sources, instead of being repetitive of what others say or have written if it is without reference to primary sources (or if based on hearsay). This principle has relevance in what I want to comment to you about: the commitment your government has made to fund the financial shortfall needed for installation of a statue of Mary Seacole at St Thomas’ Hospital.
I applaud the noble intention for equitable recognition for the role of ‘coloured’ pioneers among nursing (and medical) personnel. As you would be well aware Mary Seacole has been advanced for such a role as a ‘black’ pioneer for nursing in Britain – as well as in her home island. The exaggerated claims made by partisan enthusiasts to reinforce such an image do not contain credence on the basis of available evidence – however worthy a person she truly was, in herself. Support of my contention lies in the effective debunking of ten current myths about Mrs Seacole, lucidly and concisely set out from primary sources in Prof Lynn McDonald’s book ‘Mary Seacole The Making of the Myth’. It was published last year and is readily available in paperback, I will ask The Book Depository to forward your office a copy, presuming you would allow me that privilege.
May I then respectfully make this suggestion to you? I would ask you to have a member of your staff who is appropriately authoritative in history to read the book then report back to you on her/his assessment. (I can of course appreciate how limited is the time the busy Chancellor of the Exchequer can have available). My expectation is for him/her to conclude that wherever in London there is a suitable site for a statue of Mary Seacole to be installed, it is not in the grounds of the hospital of the true pioneer of British nursing, i.e., Florence Nightingale, a lady much revered in my country too. It would take political courage to require that a statue, which your government is assisting with financially, be located where it is appropriate elsewhere as a condition of your continuing support by funding. I would expect that armed with the true facts of this issue, you would not hesitate to face up to that issue in its own right.
With my kind regards
Ron Trubuhovich (Dr), OMNZ.
1st Dec. 2015