Thursday, January 05, 2012

Assisted Suicide ? Was that it.

I'd been expecting totally one-sided wall-to-wall coverage of Lord Falconer's report on legalising assisted suicide today. With others I'd been preparing for this 'launch' for weeks - and was concerned that the coverage would be skewed in favour of the report, without much reference to the opposing arguments. That is why I, and others tried to generate some balance into the debate prior to its publication. That's why I've been posting blogs about the issue and using Twitter and Facebook to direct readers towards them.

Must admit the coverage has mostly been fair. Inevitably, the headlines have been about claims made by the Lord Falconer's report, but almost every article has carried rebuttal material as well. The whole thing seems to me to have fallen a bit flat - which is exactly what it deserved. The blatant attempt to present a campaigning tactic as a 'Commission of Independent Experts' did not fool many in the end.

Though I'd prepared myself to play a part in the 'rebuttal' exercise, I finished up not doing much at all. Just an 'appearance' on Radio Cymru at 7.10 this morning. I was invited to appear on Sky News to debate the issue with Dr Evan Harris, but I was on the top of a Cambrian Mountain above Pantperthog when I got the call to be in a studio two hours later. But I did hear some excellent work from others in my 'team'.

Apropos my Post Cynta slot this morning, I was not that happy with it. And its not just that my Welsh is not quite up to coping with a complex sensitive issue, where nuance matters, but the way the producers set it up. They did the same to me on Post Prynhawn when I agreed an interview on 'presumed consent' a month ago. What happens is that there's a package based on a very difficult emotive case, which attracts every listener's sympathy - and then they turn to me as the big bad Conservative MP who has to explain how I could possibly be so cruel. I always try to accommodate Radio Cymru if I can (because I've heard others refuse to appear and they have a programme to make) and I'm also nvery keen to develop my Welsh Language competence. But I'm not sure I'm getting a fair crack at the moment.

Anyway, its not a time for grousing. I feel I've been part of an exercise in saving future generations of vulnerable people from the obscenity of a law legalising doctors to prescribe them drugs which would kill them. Its the sort of feeling that makes politics very satisfying.

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