Sunday, January 01, 2012

What makes a 'Commission'.

Just read today's Guardian report about the publication on Thursday, 5th Jan. of the 'Commission on Assisted Dying'. The Guardian describes this as "a major independent report". I really don't think that's a very accurate description. Even using the word, 'Commission' is questionable, because that normally implies something commissioned by a statutory authority. This report has been been arranged by interests which support a change in the law. The group which has produced it has been chaired by Lord Falconer, whom the Guardian describes as "a former lord chancellor". Accurate - but makes no mention that he's been a longstanding campaigner to legalise assisted suicide. Lord Falconer is a clever and jovial fellow, but 'independent' he is not.

Also worth noting that this 'independent' commission is being funded by Sir Terry Pratchett, who is also a very good man. But Sir Terry Pratchett has been a declared supporter of legalising assisted suicide in a very public way for years. The Guardian quoted Baroness Warnock at length, who is another very public longstanding supporter of changing the law - and it makes no mention that the the Director of Public Prosecutions told the commission that the law currently works well. I also believe that the BMA and the medical royal colleges refused to give evidence, except in writing to express opposition to a law change. I guess all this tells us just how 'independent' the Guardian is going to be.

I'm rather looking forward to reading this report. Its an issue of great interest to me. But I do not pretend to be 'independent'. I do not support a change in the law to legalise assisted suicide. I am not impartial, and on Thursday, after reading the report, I will say why. If anyone asks me that is.

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