Today is not a day for levity. Today is a day to reflect on the sorry state of a nation that insists that people must continue to live in intolerable circumstances just because they are physically incapable of ending their own lives.
I have written on the subject of assisted death many times. It is a subject on which I hold strong views. Recently I have been appalled that the courts in the UK rejected a plea from Tony Nicklinson to end his suffering.
I cannot imagine the living hell that must accompany locked in syndrome. Some people would obviously cope with it better than others, but I know I couldn’t cope with it and would see no point whatever in carrying on with life. Nicklinson himself put it eloquently in an article for the BBC which he wrote prior to his recent court appeal :
“What I find impossible to live with is the knowledge that… I have no way out – suicide – when this life gets too much to bear. It cannot be acceptable in 21st Century Britain that I am denied the right to take my own life just because I am physically handicapped.”
Well, it seems that there is a God after all, because now Tony has died. Having refused food since last week, he developed pneumonia over last weekend and went downhill rapidly.
My thoughts go out to his wife and children.
Meanwhile, the fight for a change in the law goes on. It must come one day and, perhaps, when it does, that change will be a fitting memorial to a courageous, determined and principled man…