So – Westminster has voted 330 votes to 118 against changing the law to allow people with terminal illnesses the right to end their own lives with assistance from professionally trained medical personnel. That’s 448 members out of a total of 650 members had the guts or interest to vote anyway. 202 of them didn’t bother to show their faces or merely sat on the fence.
In the first time in twenty years, Westminster debated the Right To Die. In twenty years the members of this Parliament have moved forward not one jot. Well – maybe a jot – there were 118 members who voted for the Bill, proposed by Rob Marris. Yet even that number constituted a 2% swing to the Nay sayers this time around. It really is disgraceful.
I watched part of the debate and saw the tears and heard the wobbly voices from those who had nursed and lost family members; sons, daughters, mothers and fathers and others. Heart rending as those stories are, they are personal anecdotes. They do not, under any circumstances, reflect the view of the general public whose number have, over the years of polling, increased to the point that some 80% of those polled are in favour of assisted dying for the terminally ill.
The salient point in all this is that by virtue of the Private member’s Bill introduced, assisted dying has to be requested by the dying patient; such request has to be approved by a high court judge and two doctors. The weasel words from those who opposed the Bill had to do with ‘not enough control measures were proposed in the Bill’. Utter bollocks!
I know I must sound angry and I most certainly am. I am appalled that 330 parliamentarians – that’s about half of all members voted against the people’s voice. They called it a conscience vote! Smacks of religious woo-woo and mealy mouthed fear to me. Their own feelings influence their ability to determine legislation? Feelings should have no place in legislative matters! Just over 50% of Westminster voted against a Bill that some 80% of polled constituents approved. The medical profession itself has organised into a lobby group to tell Westminster that the Bill should be passed. And these parliamentarians are elected representatives. Of course it makes me angry.
Tory Fiona Bruce said: “We will have crossed the rubicon (sic) from killing people being illegal to killing people being legal.”
Tell us more Ms Bruce. How many of the military (healthy young people) have been killed because of wars/skirmishes sanctioned by this government of yours? How many disabled, homeless and desperately ill people have died because of your government’s sanctions on available benefits? How many children have died as a result of poor monitoring over fostering? How many people commit suicide because they can no longer abide living under Tory austerity? How many dying people commit suicide in horrendous fashion because there is no safe alternative available to them? Have you ever added those figures up, Ms Bruce? How many of these deaths have been legal? Or would you prefer to say that all the deaths have been illegal and you have washed your hands of them all? I forgot to mention that Ms Bruce is an evangelical Christian and therefore cannot be trusted to vote for the whole community, only for those who have been ‘saved’. In a country whose polls show a larger percentage don’t even have religious belief. This makes me even more angry.
Your Tory government crossed the Rubicon many moons ago. More people have died under your Government’s regime than would ever make the choice to die because they are already dying.
I find the lack of reason and ethical thinking abominable in our leaders. It is easy to blame the churches and religion and their lobbying – it is less easy to accept that mealy-mouthed and weasel-worded parliamentary representatives are more interested in themselves and their own stories than in the plight of those few people who are requesting the ability to determine their own deaths and the means of those deaths and to be able to call on professionally trained people to help them.
There have been several high profile people coming out publically in favour of assisted suicide – the most recent was Terry Pratchett. Then there were the tragic cases of Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb who took their pleas to the highest court they could find – only to be knocked back. Poor Tony – he cried at the verdict, stopped eating and died 8 days later. Thank you High Court – for nothing. And what about those (who could afford the ten grand) who had to go to Dignitas to achieve their wish to die at the time of their own choosing?
Why on earth haven’t we a place here in the UK that is registered to deliver the needs of sufficient people to warrant it being an NHS supported directive?
I was going to mouth off further about this but then found this article in The Huffington Post and decided that the author was a better writer than I am.
We really do have to stop the well among us from telling the dying how to die.