A few weeks ago I attended a lobby of MPs, at Portcullis House near the Houses of Parliament, to ask them to oppose Rob Marris’ Private members bill on ‘Assisting Dying’. I was pleased to see that my own Labour MP, Geoffrey Robinson, had turned up to meet me, although that was as far as my pleasure went.
I tried to explain my position on the matter to him and quickly realised that due to my speech impairment, he was not getting a word of what I was saying. I grabbed one of the eager organisers of the lobby, who started explaining the issues we all had with the bill and then invited my MP to have his picture taken with me and a placard saying he opposed the bill. This is when Geoffrey went white as a sheet and started repeating he was undecided. I tried to ask him what were the points he was undecided about, but he simply ignored me.
The conversation ended bizarrely when he talked to the organiser and said ‘I think I met this constituent in Coventry before’, which was absolutely true, but he said it in a manner where I felt he assumed I had ‘learning difficulties’, and I was not really part of the conversation. I raised my eyes up to the ceiling at this point in disappointment and dismay to his actions. I was also glad that this time, I had not voted for him in the last General Election, he was certainly a dinosaur of politics!
But for me, the event raises a wider concern of what is Labour’s unwritten policy on Assisted Dying? And indeed the left in general? The green party, claiming to support independent living for disabled people, also publically support Assisted Suicide, raising questions to what this equality utopia looks like! It is also important to note that Kate Green, Labour’s current Shadow Minister for Disabled People, has recently shown her support for the Assisted Dying bill, but how can you publicly defend the right of all sick and disabled people to enjoy a good life when you also publicly believe some of them are better off dead?
If this is what the supposed good guys of disability think, what about the bad guys? In talking to the organisers and others, I realised that most Tories in both chambers of the House are opposed to the idea of assisted suicide. While the vote on the Assisted Dying bill on 11th September will supposedly be a free vote, it is likely the Government will oppose the bill, including David Cameron and the Cabinet. This is a very significant point, has it questions the whole purpose of welfare, as defined by the Left, and what the people shouting about protecting the lives of sick and disabled people really think about us.
If you are unwilling to fully commit to my absolute right to exist, without fear of state sanctioned killing based on my health status, then very little else matters. Is welfare simply about warehousing society’s unwanted, out of sight and out of mind, until society is ready to accept a more proactive eugenics agenda? Social Darwinism is nothing new although political correctness has made any meaningful debate with those with that mindset difficult as they are not often public about their beliefs.
My MP clearly has the right to make his own decision in his own time, but how can I trust Labour is truthful when it proclaims itself the natural friends of sick and disabled people, when one of its more experienced MPs is unwilling to even pretend to care about my worries over Assisted Suicide?
The impact of who does or does not support Assisted Dying/Suicide can not be seen in isolation, as it goes to the heart of their long term political objectives, including their vision of welfare for sick and disabled people. Does Labour’s implied support for the Rob Marris’ bill offer an insight to what an anti-pc Corbyn government may mean for me?