Saturday, December 13, 2008

Life and death

I watched the programme on assisted suicide earlier this week. It was well put together and honest - wonder why we are still so squeamish about death? Actually, I don't - it is the product of religion and its influence, yet that doesn't manifest itself in the same way everywhere. It is clear that the CPS are unlikely to pursue prosecutions of those who go to Switzerland - and absolutely clear that there will need to be accommodation for the overwhelming sympathy that people in the UK have towards voluntary euthanasia, and assisted suicide. Margo MacDonald MSP put the case forward eloquently on Monday's Panorama.

I don't think Parliament can stand against this very necessary change forever. We cannot continue to enable keeping people alive via medical advance if we are unable to also offer quality of life. And we need to make clear that the sub-text of the value of suffering, promoted by Vatican plc and many of the advocates of failed palliative care , is something which has no place in contemporary society. Suffering is neither beneficial nor compulsory, and people should have the right to end their suffering should they so choose.

As far as the life of Jean Charles de Menezes, though, the situation is far more unclear. I don't think that the police can be entirely blamed, given the situation and febrile atmosphere which existed at the time - but I think they would do themselves a favour or three if they admitted to having made mistakes (they should have stopped him going down into the tube station, for a start, but its easy to say after the event, and he shouldn't have run away, perhaps fearing arrrest because of his illegal immigration status). Fact is, though, that they really did believe that he was carrying a bomb, and given the events of just days before, mistakes with tragic consequences would be made. It was a mistake, I don't think that anyone thought that the police actually thought it wasn't the suicide bomber. And lets not forget that the suicide bombers are the real villains of the piece. But, the police should have been upfront and said - yes, we made mistakes. Why didn't they? Perhaps because there seems to be a wish not so much for 'justice', but money and having a go at the police.

1 comment:

Tracie the Red said...

This is what the Hemlock Society and Compassion & Choices have been promoting for so long.

Hemlock Society:

http://www.compassionandchoices.org/hemlock

And of course, Compassion and Choices:

http://www.compassionandchoices.org

Does the UK have any similar organizations?