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Assisted D-Day

Posted by Dr No on 07 June 2014

d-day.jpgYesterday, BBC One’s News at Ten saturated itself with D-Day coverage, and rightly so. Hu Wedwards was on hand in Normandy to anchor clips of dignified talking berets, many spry despite their ninety years, cut with long vistas of white tombstones. Obama, naturally, outbarmed his own high standard of excellent oratory. Yet the tone was at once both sombre and urgent: sombre with remembrance, yet urgent with the certainty that this, the seventieth, would be the last decennial commemoration attended by many who had been on those blood stained beaches in 1944, beginning the fight that would erase the dark stain of Nazi tyranny from Europe. Liberation, as Churchill foretold, was sure, but at a cost of so many lives. Yesterday’s urgency, as Prince William told us, was to ensure that the baton of remembrance is passed to future generations.

It is therefore not without extreme irony in a week when we have been remembering both the lives of the fallen, and the living hope embodied in the liberation of Europe, that back here in Ol’Blighty, in the corridors of the undead, the Fat Controller is on the march again. As the rest of us remembered an event about life and liberty, Lord Falconer gave the first reading to his revised Assisted Dying bill, a bill about death, and, so far as it is about liberty, about the freedom to pursue the finality of death. No more stark a contrast could there be than between the will of those who fought for life on the D-Day beaches seventy years, and the will of today’s Fat Controller and his confederates, pushing a law to enable assisted dying; no greater irony could there be that the very liberation bought at such great human cost now gives those who care to the liberty to pursue death. Yet, so broad was the D-Day coverage that the BBC’s News at Ten found no room to cover the bill’s first reading. A distant Machiavellian voice whispered in Dr No’s ear, ‘You do see, dear boy, such a good day to launch an assisted dying bill’.

But a Machiavelli would say that. The rest of us are confident the Fat Controller – who probably can’t even see his own shoe-laces - would never stoop so low; and in any event, the first reading is merely the formality of a minute that sets the bill on its parliamentary path. The debates – debates we can have because of victory bought at such cost in Europe over half a century ago - have yet to come. Dr No can’t help wondering on which side of the debate those D-Day veterans we saw and heard from yesterday will stand.


I am not one of those folk – (I have found) usually quite passive aggressive folk – who view honouring the dead of wars as somehow a glorification of it. War is what mankind does, and there is no war. Look around the world today and see how much conflict there is. We (as a species) remain primitive and indeed (I would claim) are slowly being sucked back into the swamp from which we getting away from it. We are what we are. Sitting round a ‘peace table’ is not what we do – we go to came.

I do honour the dead of wars – in the vain hope we will learn from it – but we never do. Whatever our motives – whether they be pure or evil (greed, prejudice/caste/tribal (hatred/discrimination is not purely a black/white ishoo), religious or whatever petty effin reason we can come up with – we go to war.

Enough of that, bar repeating I do honour the causalities’ of war. And we all should, otherwise their sacrifice is meaningless. Is it? Yes, in my ‘umble opinion – some of our anti-war friends would say that it is…

Of assisted suicide and the wisdom of the Fat Controller, interesting reading here: - and I would draw your attention to the interpretation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). How subjective this is on questions asked… As one who asks these questions in my workplace, I do realise that my interpretation of responses are as much a shackle as a release to liberty… It is down to my interpretation…am I right? Do my personal feelings of the capabilities, the insight of those I ask these questions have bearing on the actualities of who they are – or who I think they are? Do I have a right to determine their future – or the lack of it?

And so I worry about assisted suicide…and the influence of others. (Of my father’s death – many moons ago – I begged docs to hasten it – things were very different then. Oh how he endured exquisite pain as there was this fear of administrating morphine – such was the quandaries of being a doc, of prevailing and destructive opinions (for the patient).) I do so appreciate the ‘we wouldn’t let a dog suffer like this’ argument yet my fathers death was not of this. He suffered ‘like a dog’ because of prevailing opinions, of doubt, of medical ethics, things that change all the time…

And so it is that we enter the war zone that is medical ethics – “The Act makes it clear that if there is no demonstrable disorder of mind or brain then the patient is free to make whatever decision they choose regardless of whether this is wise, unwise or no decision is made at all.” Oh how so that is not so – on a personal level I know this is not so. It is based on an ‘others’ interpretation of the MCA. What a slippery slope we slide upon.

As a nurse I have viewed palliative care nurses string up those who were deemed to require LCP – and perhaps it was a kindness – but it was done without kindness, it was done with an automaton response, “We are used to it.” – a coldness. And I recognize this required coldness in my heart – for if we did not develop this – how could we cope with death that surrounds us, the decision of some will be based on he expectation of others.

I do not doubt that assisted suicide will soon be enshrined in law, and I do so understand the ‘we would let dogs suffer like this’ argument – yet I see this as a downward spiral, in which assisted suicide will be blurred with euthanasia and we will follow the sad path of Belgium. Please research - scary stuff!

Anna :o]

War is what mankind does, and there is no war. Forget the 'no' Dr No!
"we go to came." If only...! We go to war.
Anna :o]

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