Dame Joan Bakewell (pictured), the broadcaster, was appointed by the government to be a "Voice of Older People" in November. Soon after her appointment, she used her Times
column to back assisted suicide and euthanasia, as I blogged about
at the time. Today she has similarly used her Times
column, this time to back Dr Philip Nitschke, the pro-suicide campaigner dubbed "Dr Death". Dame Joan writes:
"Dr Death should have been welcomed ... [The issue of assisted suicide] won't go away because we are living longer into an old age that brings with it all the humiliations of being helpless, incontinent and in pain. What’s more those now getting on are the baby-boomers, even now in their sixties, a generation of assertive and insistent individuals who won’t be willing to face their declining years with timid submission."
And who appointed Dame Joan as a "Voice of Older People"? Why, one of the most assertive and insistent anti-lifers among British baby-boomers, Harriet Harman
. Perhaps a case of "jobs for the girls"? In the statement announcing Dame Joan's appointment, Ms Harman said:
“Joan is a champion in the fight against discrimination against older people and a role model for active and positive senior citizens; so I’m delighted that she’s going to contribute to the equalities agenda and be a voice for older people.”
Yet legalising assisted suicide and euthanasia will lead to more, not less discrimination against older people - fatal discrimination by those who think the lives of older people are not valuable. A true "equalities agenda" would make the equal right to life and dignity of older people its top priority.