The past week has seen one mother, Frances Inglis, jailed for life for murdering a son who was in a persistent vegetative state, and another mother, Kay Gilderdale, acquitted of the attempted murder of her daughter, whose suicide she assisted.
The BBC has seen fit to mark these sad events by a ‘poll‘ – ‘vote now or the grand-mother gets it…’. That the BBC should think that a Simon Cowell type opportunity for the public to vote on such a sensitive matter is only to be expected when the media in general have failed to adequately distinguish between the different acts of assisted dying, assisted suicide, mercy killings and murder. I have spoken to several people this week who are under (myriad variations of) the impression that the two cases had different results merely because of the ‘vagaries of the jury system’.
The media likes to portray these cases as an example of the inflexibility of stony hearted judges who should not be allowed to judge the actions of the warm hearted parent or lover – who is invariably shown on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice supported by other loving members of the same family in a manner designed to sway our emotions. Does the media ever portray the human side of our judges?
Let us first make the distinction between assisted suicide and any other type of assisted death. Suicide is legal. You are welcome to take your own life for any rational or irrational reason. You do not have to have a terminal disease, you can be barking mad if you wish, your life is yours to terminate. If you wish to jump off Beachy Head, and your nearest and dearest book you a train ticket, (so far) they have not found themselves up before a judge charged with assisted suicide, not even if they have shouted out after you – ‘go on then, get a move on with it’. Woe betide you if you book them a ticket to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, worse, if you accompany them on their journey, perhaps hoping to change their mind en route, perhaps as an act of charity that they shouldn’t be alone on this final journey, then prepare to see your every action played out in the media – the mere mention of Dignitas is enough to get the CPS juices flowing.
However, accompanying someone to a country where euthanasia is legal, when they have made the decision that suicide is their choice, is a different matter from someone who has made that choice, but wishes you to ‘help them’ in a country where euthanasia is not legal. Because euthanasia is not legal in this country, there is no equivalent clinic where your death is supervised by objective medical staff, now we are in the realm of the back bedroom, and the lone statement of the surviving person that having a plastic bag put over your head, and sleeping pills ground up in your porridge was indeed your fervent wish.
It is hard enough to asertain the truth as to what goes on in the bed room when both parties are alive and well, as in a rape case, it is near to impossible when one party is uanble to speak for themselves. That is why I am concerned by the emotive route this debate is taking. Instead of an objective decision taken by a range of people in an objective setting, we are being asked to judge by media portrayal.
Mrs Gilderdale seems like a very nice and charming woman, her son was well spoken and supported her. The great and the good are loudly calling for a change in this ‘cold, inflexible law’ – we are quietly being groomed for the day when all Mothers can call for ‘closure’ when they find the ‘pain and suffering’, whether mental or physical, of a child ‘unbearable’.
There walk amongst us Mothers who would cheerfully put a pillow over our head if they thought they could plead putting an end to ‘our mental torture’ – ‘oh, he hated being gay, he cried himself to sleep every night…’, ‘she begged me to help her end the torture of her anorexia’ says the Mother who has an anorexic daughter and the possibility of a new marriage to hand – is that really what we want? The very words ‘mercy killings’ with their connotations of ‘merciful Mary’ are part of the MSM attempt to soften us up, on a par with ‘joy riding’.
Assisted Dying and Murder are two completely different categories, as Francis Inglis is contemplating this week. Again we are asked to contemplate the ‘terrible agony’ of a Mother who could not bear to see her son lying immobile and brain damaged. We were offered no evidence by the media as to his chances of recovery, nor of why the High Court were not asked to rule that his life was ‘futile’ as they did in the case of Tony Bland.
Had such a ruling been made, and Mrs Inglis had merely pre-empted his certain death as a result of dehydration and starvation – the Gold Standard for an obscene death, as documented here many times – I would have had sympathy for her revulsion of the state approved manner of obtaining ‘closure’ as it is so carefully called. But Mrs Inglis hadn’t applied to the High Court for a ruling that her son should not suffer any longer – she had decided that she/he shouldn’t suffer any longer, and with that we return to the back bedroom scenario. Indeed, had Mrs Inglis obtained that ruling first, and since she had already tried to dispatch her son once, she had nothing to lose by making public her wish that he should die, I suspect that she, like Mrs Gilderdale, would have been making emotive statements on the need to change the law from the front steps of the High Court, rather than leaving by the back door in a prison van.
Changes in the ability of medicine to maintain people in a state of ‘life’ that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago, and changes in our own ability to withstand any kind of distress or emotional discomfort – witness the ever rising divorce laws – have combined to bring us where we are today. That the great and the good are campaigning for us to see so called ‘Mercy Killing’, not as Murder, but as a brave and selfless act of love.
If Tom Inglis had been starved to death and agonisingly deprived of water until he died of thirst and dehydration, that act of cruelty would have been within the law. Because his mother loved him, and was prepared to risk her life for his, she is being punished. I hate living in a society where the law is as much of an ass as this. For God’s sake, let us change the law.
We are asked to compare the ‘cruel death’ that the state may or may not have sanctioned, with the ‘brave and selfless’ death which his Mother meted out to him – without any mention of why one death was within the law, and one was not. His Mother was not saving him from the ‘cruel death’ – she had decided that death was his fate.
This is Tiger country. Make no mistake, there are powerful forces in our utilitarian society who wish us to accept the death of those who are not productive, the elderly, the disabled, the less than perfect; they contribute nothing and are a drain on our resources at a time when we have no resources.
The Government have already armed themselves with legislation that allows them to make a decision on our death when we are no longer mentally competent to absolve a doctor from blame for complying – there is nothing they would like better than for the main stream media, that organ of government propaganda, to reposition this in our minds as a merciful act on their part.
I am not against euthanasia per se, I am against absolving ourselves of the responsibility to decide that this is what we want for ourselves, you and me, for it is not just that brain damaged boy you have never met, ‘ it’, in the fabled words of the Lottery adverts, ‘could be you-hoo’ and allowing it to be introduced by the back door on the basis of clever marketing by the masters of spin.
Honesty and Objectivity, that is all I ask – and don’t give my Mother the right to plead ‘mercy killing’ – I’d never have seen the light of day!