Monthly Archives: July 2009

Help to die

A recent survey indicates that a slim majority of Britons support the right to assisted dying.

Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of people want doctors to be allowed to help terminally ill patients end their lives, with support particularly strong among those aged 55 to 64.

Six out of 10 people want friends and relatives to be able to help their dying loved ones to commit suicide, without fear of prosecution, the Populus survey for The Times showed. (via The Telegraph)

Clearly, this is all a deeply emotive topic and the arguments about slippery slopes and placing too much pressure on people to make a slightly quicker exit than required are all valid.

But we’re already on a slippery slope.  It slips one way with life-prolonging equipment, treatments and medications.  And it slips another way with the withdrawal of necessities for survival, i.e. food and water for those in the very last days or weeks of life.

I cannot understand why we can allow the withdrawal of  liquids, but we can’t allow people to pass peacefully and quickly away.

I can certainly understand why people with debilitating and terminal illnesses would want to end their lives while they still had some control of it.  I’d certainly like to have that chance, should the circumstances suggest that option.   But I cannot understand why British residents have to travel to Switzerland to do so.  For myself, I’d prefer to die without having my luggage screened by surly airport staff.  If I’m well enough to travel, I’d surely be well enough to still enjoy precious time with my family.  That means that current prohibitions are forcing people to make that choice while they still can and curtailing life where there is still some quality.

I’m strongly in favor of changing the law on assisted suicide.  If you could choose  a peaceful and humane ending for my cat, why can’t I choose it for myself?

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Fun on the South Bank

Having believed the weather liars, we packed the family up for a day of fun and carnival atmosphere on the South Bank.   Our balmy day of bliss was blighted by a light mist and overcast  skies – so we headed for Tate Modern and its vast indoor spaces.

Our toddler hasn’t been to Tate Modern since he could toddle and we were hoping for a good turbine hall display.  But it was empty, bar the other families with very young children, I suppose it’s between displays or perhaps it was an artistic commentary on the emptiness and futilityof modern life.   Simon and I discussed where the empty hall placed in our mental ranking of exhibitions.  Definitely below The Weather Project, a bit below the giant spidery things that were the first installations in the hall, but well above that weird audio installation and the crack in the floor.  (I ranked it below the q-bert boxes, but Simon disagreed).

Our boy decided to get into the artistic spirit and created his own performance piece on the mezzanine.  Hope there’s a lottery grant forthcoming.

As per usual, the boy wreaked havoc in public spaces, literally crawling through one exhibit of enamel metal boxes.  Museum staff said nothing, although I was warned fiercely against photographing any of the art.

At one point, he screamed Dada and then sat down in a shiny red pod to watch a film on just that movement, hurling red cushions in a suitably anti-conformist fashion.  Clever boy.

I find your bourgeouis arrangement of cushions oppressive

I find your bourgeouis arrangement of cushions oppressive