Archive for December 10th, 2008

British Prime Minister saves the world

Prime Minister’s Questions today  may go down as one of the truly memorable PMQs – a slip of the tongue, condemned him to mockery from the opposition benches and provides a bit of copy for Guido Fawkes (Pic from Guido blog) and a host of other commentators.  So… at least some benefit to current government policies.

The BBC reports: ” When the prime minister said “we not only saved the world”, when, I think, he meant to say, “we not only saved the banks”, he gave David Cameron a priceless opportunity to accuse him of being more concerned with grandstanding on the global stage than dealing with the fears of small businesses and homeowners caught between a Northern Rock and a hard place.”

Rather more amusingly, it is not mockery from journos and politicians in this country attracting my attention tonight – but an excoriating analysis of Gordon Brown’s policies by German Finance Minister.  The BBC has the story:

  • The German finance minister has launched an outspoken attack on the UK government’s plans to help pull Britain out of the economic downturn.

  • In an unusual breach of standard diplomacy, Peer Steinbruck attacked the UK’s decision to cut VAT and raise the national debt to record levels. Mr Steinbruck said the UK’s switch from financial prudence to heavy borrowing was both “crass” and “breathtaking”

Steinbruck stated “Criticising the UK government’s decision to cut VAT from 17.5% to 15%, Mr Steinbruck questioned how effective this will be….. Are you really going to buy a DVD player because it now costs £39.10 instead of £39.90?” he said…. All this will do is raise Britain’s debt to a level that will take a whole generation to work off.”

I had a few glasses of wine last night with Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog.  He made a state visit to The Boat. We discussed many things but as the cheap credit-crunch wine we drank spread through our veins, the conversation about our Labour voting  and appreciation of the the current government  took an unusual turn when Carl told me, out of the blue, that quite a lot of women fancied Gordon Brown.  It did not take us long to go on to Google.  We chose the search term ” Gordon Brown erotic story” on the age ofld pic/words distinction in terms of erotic entertainment between men and women.

Google thew up some fascinating results…

Yahoo was asked…Please help me write an erotic story about Gordon Brown… he’s hot.”

My favourite however, and again I apologise for the lapse in taste, an increasing problem as Christmas approaches,  was this Google search entry.  I’ll get my coat…

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The Anti-euthanasia campaigners who fear the possibility of abuse if assisted suicide is made legal (among other fears;  some rational, some founded in accepted if not proven religious belief systems) will not be pleased with the decision of the new Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, not to prosecute the parents and a family friend of rugby player Daniel James ‘despite having sufficient evidence to do so.

The story is well covered by The Times and The Guardian – but briefly: Daniel James was left paralysed from the chest down after a rugby accident.  He tried to commit suicide several times.  The DPP points out in his statement to the press “In particular, but not exclusively, I would point to the fact that Daniel, as a fiercely independent young man, was not influenced by his parents to take his own life and evidence indicates he did so despite their imploring him not to,” he said. It also emerged that Daniel had contacted Dignitas directly after his third failed suicide attempt and did not want to try again by his own hand “for the sake of his family”.

Daniel’s parents had “implored” him not to take his own life, before finally agreeing to travel with him to Switzerland.Daniel James died at the Dignitas euthanasia clinic in Zurich on September 12.  His parents were then investigated by West Mercia Police and the threat of prosecution under the Suicide Act which makes it an offence to ” “aid, counsel or procure the suicide of another” (maximum sentence 14 years)  has hung over them.

The DPP has taken the unprecedented step of publishing his reasons for not proceeding with prosecution. The DPP states that while there was sufficient evidence to support a prosecution it would not be in the public interest to proceed.  The fact that a custodial sentence was unlikely was also reported to be a factor.

This is a brave decision of the DPP, but it is a decision which should not have to rest on the shoulders of the DPP (as his predecessor and the courts have already  stated).  The issue of assisted suicide, the right of every individual to make the decision to die with dignity, preferably at home without having to travel to a more tolerant country, is one that should be enshrined in law – and, for the law to be absolutely clear and not to depend case by case on finely balanced (and clever) assessment of prosecuting codes, parliament must act.

The Guardian reports that ‘Labour peer Lord Joffe is likely to introduce a bill proposing a new legal framework for assisted suicide.’

I hope that Britain will join a growing list of countries where assisted suicide is permitted and those who choose to end their own lives (because their lives, in most cases, have become a living hell) will have the right to die with dignity knowing that their family and loved ones will not be prosecuted for assisting in a medically supervised suicide.

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