Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Well done, Terry Pratchett. I didn’t see the documentary, but I think that it was right of him to make it in order to highlight the fact that some people want the right to end their own lives when living becomes too much of a burden for them.

I heard this morning on the radio, bishops from the English church decrying the programme, and of course I am aware that the CofE is not the only religion that feels that way. I fully respect their views. But not everyone has the faith of these bishops that the suffering involved in slowly dying of a wasting disease, or the pain involved in some other unpalatable end, is worth it because it is God’s will.

Some of us just don’t want to suffer. Poor spirited? No I don’t think so. If you don’t have religious belief, it’s not poor spirited to want to end a life that is no longer worth living.

At hustings during the election, I heard four different politicians from four different parties come down against assisted suicide, as proposed by Margo MacDonald. I heard talk of pain management and dignified endings, but pain management doesn’t ever really work. People are left with pain, restricted in what they can do and the side effects of the analgesics can be disturbing.

I’ve heard the arguments about the distress it causes relatives. But I know I’d rather someone I loved died quickly than suffered a long undignified decline. I’ve heard that pressure from greedy relatives might be put on people to end their lives, but as long as the suicide were to be supported by independent doctors, as a genuine bringing forward of the inevitable, I can’t see that being a huge problem. We need to remember the additional suffering caused to the dying person by the knowledge of the strain that it is putting on their friends and family.

It wouldn’t be perfect, but then what is?

Death is inevitable. It comes, like it or not. People must be allowed the choice.

I’ve put a poll on the side bar =>. What do you think?


  1. The programme was about the programme makers. TP was just a pawn. The whole difficult subject was demeaned by the film. I am unsure as to where I stand on this delicate issue. GV poses a worrying potential future at my place.

  2. I'll have a read of that OR.

    I'm sure there are any number of potential problems, but aren't there in everything?

    I personally want to be able to die, no question about that at all, if I'm either in pain or a complete basket case.

    If it is not legal in Scotland, I'll either do it myself illegally, or I'll make sure I've enough money left to go to Switzerland (even if the air fare is on the credit card!! But, I guess, lots of people won't be able to do that.

  3. Just read it OR... and I really don't have a problem with that. To my mind it should be normal, and what they do with my organs after I've snuffed it is a matter of complete indifference to me.

    I've already donated my corpse to the medical school in Dundee.

    Of course I know that some people feel very differently, but to me, I, and my body are no more important than any other creature.

  4. Jason phone in on radio Wales the first hour was on this topic. Listen to this guy its about half way through if it doesn't open in correct bit.

    It gets my vote anyway and I hope Margo gets the debate started soon.

  5. We are just another organism on this planet and nature does not give a toss for any of us - Human, plant or animal. Survival of the fittest.

    So for anyone to claim that some invisible man in the sky would rather you suffered a long painful death or that you are favoured over other people and living things just because you grovel to him is living in fairy land.

    We put our pets down to save them suffering time to do the same for our people.


  6. tris

    I'm a bit concerned about the use of 'independent clinicians' would much prefer unionist ones

  7. Luke I assume. Hugely sad story CH. Brave man to come on and talk about it.

    I have long said that even in the best funded health services (Swiss, French, etc) pain control is not always effective. And heaven knows, even Scotland doesn’t have one of the best funded health services, England and Wales probably even more so. I know; I’ve experienced it. I’ve been in hospital in terrible pain and there’s only been one doctor for the entire floor, and it took at least an hour to get hold of her, and then she was too inexperienced to prescribe anything but the most basic drug, which was not enough. Pain control my butt. (Heaven only knows what it’s like if you are in Southern Cross, especially when they sack another 3,000 staff.)

    Luke has an absolutely horrific choice to make. He lives to die, he said. His pain is so awful that the only way he can stand it is to be asleep with drugs.

    So they put him to sleep to put him out of pain, but then he wakes up and he’s back in pain, and so he has to be put back to sleep. And he’s 40. And he wants to die. And he will kill himself. And instead of dying in a bed with his family round him he will do it alone, because he can’t implicate anyone else in his death. And one day someone from his family will come in and find him dead...alone.

    How dare people tell him that he can’t die in a dignified way? How dare the man who came on after him, who, I imagine is not dying, telling him he can’t die? How dare people who have religion (like the man before him) tell him he can’t die because it offends THEIR religion, whatever it is? No one is asking him to sign up for it. How dare society tell him he must put up with the pain? Whose life is it?

    It’s barbaric in my opinion. Thanks for highlighting the case CH... although it has made me immensely sad.

  8. Yes Billy, that sums it up.

  9. LOL Niko. We'll get one specially for you.

  10. Certainly not! Thin end of the wedge and all that.

    Christ, have you SEEN what the tabloid scum are saying about sick and disabled people?

  11. Well, we need to disagree on the first part Anon. If we had good government, which we don't in the UK, but we do in Scotland, we could, like the Swiss, work out a proper law which would get rid of most of the problems...although of course you can never get rid of all the problems, and as we have found out there is always some smart solicitor with ‘greedy bastard’ stamped all over his face, who will do his damnedest to find a loophole he can make a buck with as they do with everything.

    As I say, I’ll be able afford Zurich but not everyone can.

    As for your second point ... nope I don't think so, but I've seen what that Tory slimeball Philip Davies is saying about disabled people working for less than the minimum wage. Is that what you mean?