:: Monday, December 08, 2008 ::

The Right to Die?

BBC Panorama

Margo MacDonald is one of Scotland's most popular public figures - a firebrand, independent politician and forthright media commentator.

She also has the degenerative brain condition Parkinson's disease and has spoken openly of her desire to choose the moment of her death.

Now, in a deeply personal Panorama film, she uncovers the truth about assisted dying, meeting people with illnesses like hers who are desperate to choose the time and place of their death, and exploring whether British law should be changed to allow them to do just that.

Margo MacDonald is a politician I have a lot of time for. She is fair and personable and just a decent individual. It's no mistake that she is so popular and has been re-elected twice as an independent MSP in the Lothians. I also remember how terribly she was treated by the Scottish National Party who leaked details of her illness to the media when she fell out with the party.

I have my doubts about her bill however. There is evidence from the Netherlands that vulnerable elderly people have found their lives ended prematurely when the decision has been more with their relatives rather than themselves. However it is a crucial debate and I'm interested in how it progresses.

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Margo is one of those few high profile politicians who appear to value honesty ahead of personal ambition. Denis Canavan and Tony Benn are the only two others that spring to my mind but there must be others.

What could be more important than an individual's right to chose when and where and how they die?

I really hope Scotland is mature enough to have a sensible discussion about this most important of subjects. They're entitled to express their views but I hope the reactionary Christian mob don't dominate the debate.

At the moment, I'm in favour of euthanasia so reckon I support this bill but I'm open to persuasion. Where is the evidence from Netherlands? I'd be keen to check it out.

By Blogger don, at 1:31 pm  

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