Monday, July 21, 2008
Not so daft.
So 'lunatics' and 'idiots' are going to be allowed to become MPs, according to today's Telegraph. "What's so new about this", I hear you cry out. "I thought it was already compulsory". Well, OK it sounds a bit daft, but its a serious issue. The reality since Elizabethan times is that these two categories of people have been banned from standing as MPs in their non lucid periods. The problem has been that 'lunatics' and 'idiots' have not been allowed to stand for Parliament even after they have fully recovered. Participation of those who are not capable of reasoned judgement in our democratic processes is a subject that has become of great interest to me recently - since I became involved with specialist elderly care, often involving people with dementia. My conclusion is that because it impossible to be sure when capacity to reason disappears, and because the path towards a loss of reason is not a straightforward constant deterioration, it is unacceptable to bar anyone from full participation in our democracy on health grounds. Its a subject that isn't given enough serious thought. So news that there is to be reconsideration of outdated laws about lunacy is welcome.