Sep 102012

Once more “assisted suicide is in the news. A new health minister criticises law on assisted suicide as ‘ridiculous’ and calls for Britain to be ‘more honest’ about issue. Predictably there have been criticisms of her views, yet none of those criticisms attempt to address the views of the most important people involved – the ones who want to die. The ideology and/or religion of the critics can’t let them study the evidence, and especially not the views of the central person. According to the New Testament, and Christian doctrine, about 2000 years ago Jesus Christ knew he had to . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 242012

There is a persistent cynical claim that changing the law to permit assisted dying would diminish disabled people. (Variations include “it would make disable people more  vulnerable” and “it would suggest that disabled peoples’ lives are less valuable“). Wrong! It would empower disabled people, and enable them determine for themselves the value of their lives! The argument from “Ability” Able-bodied people can die if they want to. (Suicide is legal). They have autonomy. Tony Nicklinson’s fate demonstrated his dependence on others and the unwillingness of the law to help him overcome this particular aspect of his disability. His own opinions . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 222012

So after 2 years of a legal struggle for a relatively painless and dignified death, Tony Nicklinson had to starve himself to death. What a cruel system we have! And what cruel people there were opposing his death! I hope that they will reflect on what their opposition achieved, or rather failed to achieve. If they have sufficient empathy even to appreciate what they did. Some quotes from (BBC) Tony Nicklinson’s legal fight for right to die: “The condition left him unable to speak or move and relying on a computer to communicate….  Mr Nicklinson said he did not want . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 202012

Let’s remind ourselves: Suicide (and assisted suicide) is legal! You don’t need to justify it. You don’t need to ask permission. If you are able-bodied, you just do it! The question “whose life is it anyway?” was answered decades ago: if you are able-bodied, it is your life. What is special for Tony Nicklinson and others is that their disabilities stops them doing it for themselves. In any enlightened country, we would help disabled people achieve what able-bodied people can legally achieve. Mostly the UK aims for that. In this case the UK falls short. What sort of person could . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 302011
Alcohol consumption - discussion

This is the 3rd of a 3-part discussion on alcohol drinking guidelines: Part 1: Alcohol consumption at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Part 2: Alcohol consumption – science and politics Part 3: This article Preamble I started this 3-part discussion because of the recommendations in the report “Our invisible addicts” by the Royal College of Psychiatrists about alcohol guidelines in the over-64s. They were wrong on a number of levels. Much of the literature on alcohol consumption suffers from one of the errors made by that report: there is a failure to see the issue from the individual drinker’s perspective. . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 292011
Alcohol consumption - science and politics

This is the 2nd of a 3-part discussion on alcohol drinking guidelines: Part 1: Alcohol consumption at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Part 2: This article Part 3: Alcohol consumption – discussion Via Twitter, 2020Health say they will publish a report ‘Risky drinking’ in October. The Daily Mail and Telegraph have written about it, perhaps from a press release. I’m confident that it won’t say anything significant that I don’t already know, but if it does I’ll comment eventually. Lack of information Are the following questions reasonable? “If my alcohol drinking pattern and quantity is X, what is my increased . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 242011

This is the 1st of a 3-part discussion on alcohol drinking guidelines: Part 1: This article Part 2: Alcohol consumption – science and politics Part 3: Alcohol consumption – discussion In June 2011, the Royal College of Psychiatrists published a report “Our invisible addicts” which contained some sloppy analysis that was rightly ridiculed in the media. The Daily Mail has re-opened the discussion, perhaps to fill up spare column-inches: Why an extra glass of wine (or three) does more harm to older drinkers. This gives me an excuse to post some analysis I did before I started this blog. Sloppy . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 232011

A Demos report “The Truth About Suicide” (by Louise Bazalgette, William Bradley, and Jenny Ousbey) has hit the headlines. It suggests that at least 10% of suicides are by people with chronic or terminal illnesses. Let us hope that an important message is finally heard and understood: Sometimes suicide is a rational and sensible way of handling an illness or disability, and support or assistance rather than prevention is sometimes the best response. (Disclaimer: I am a paid-up member of “Dignity in Dying“, which lobbies for a change in the law on assisted dying. I want the change to the . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]