UK Government Launches Legal Review of Assisted Suicide in Bid to End ‘Longevity Trap’

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UK Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is to launch a legal review of euthanasia (assisted suicide), in a bid to end what he refers to as ‘the longevity trap’.

The UK government currently spends £74bn a year on pensions, and the average retired household costs the NHS more than double that of a working household.  The government argues that the review creates an opportunity to reduce these costs while addressing a controversial matter of human dignity.

Mr Grayling spoke of the plans on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme earlier today.

“We have come to the stage where 40,000 elderly people are selling their homes each year to pay for end of life care costs.  It seems only fair to give the elderly the option to avoid the longevity trap, and choose to use that money to provide a financial legacy for their families.”

The review has received an unexpectedly cool response by leading campaign group Dignity in Dying.  A statement issued by the group this afternoon stated:

“While we welcome consideration of the legal position for those affected by assisted suicide, we strongly oppose the terms of reference for the review announced by the Ministry of Justice.  Any such review should be based on principles of personal dignity and liberty, not cutting costs.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith, co-sponsor of the review, challenged this view in an interview for Sky News about the review.  Mr Duncan Smith said:

“It is simply absurd to suggest that this would be solely a financial decision.  However, we must recognise the reality. Almost two out of every three pounds spent by the Department of Work and Pensions is spent on pensions, health care, and other age related benefits – and the elderly population is growing.  We have to question how sustainable this is.  The important thing here is that this is about choice.  Elderly people should have the right to choose.”

The review received strong criticism from the UK’s leading Unions and age charities.  Len McCluskey of Unite spoke out against the review at a public meeting:

“This is what we have come to? We don’t want to fund elderly care so we will ask them to sacrifice their lives to cut the costs? These are people who have worked all their lives, paid into a system, on the promise that they will be taken care of when their turn came.  They have been betrayed.”

These sentiments were echoed by Sheryl Bonham, Chief Executive of Age UK, one of the country’s most prominent age related charities. Ms Bonham, in a piece for the Guardian newspaper’s Comment is Free section, wrote:

“The role of the elderly in modern British society is a national disgrace.  Once an honoured group, our elderly were considered senior citizens with wisdom and experience to share with the younger generations.  Now they are dismissed as nothing more than a drain on resources.  It seems increasingly the case that human value is being calculated on ability to earn, with all other attributes – care, experience, wisdom – ignored.”

The Ministry of Justice will assemble a panel including members from the judiciary, parliament, the House of Lords and the charities sector to review the legal position on assisted suicide.  The Panel is expected to issue a report of findings at the end of the summer recess.

Author’s Note:

This piece is satire, but those of us concerned by the reduction of human values associated with the government’s commitment to ideological austerity must ask – for how long?

27 thoughts on “UK Government Launches Legal Review of Assisted Suicide in Bid to End ‘Longevity Trap’

  1. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  2. I thought it was a great piece of satire &, despite the pedantic criticisms, I would look forward to some more. It’s certainly looking like the pensioners are the next group to be attacked and set-up as wasters of resources. Maybe they will categorise pensioners by how much they actually contributed, during their lives. I think that the government will create their own euthanasia team, in order that the savings made are kept “in-house”. However, as they are privatising everything else, no doubt they’ll cock-up this, as well and there will be big profits in assisted suicide and little choice, if your name gets added to the list.

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  4. I to didn’t realise it was satire until the end.
    Considering I’m disabled and being forced through the DWP/Atos disability denial regime and my local council are charging bedroom tax, after assuring me of being exempt, I was not suprised at all. Damn.
    The ruling class and their lackeys in positions of power have softened up the people of Britain over the years so much that a full on Logans run euthanasia scenario now seems only a stones throw away.

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  6. A secret act will be passed to allow the signing of your consent form in your absence at a secret court. Initial trials will be held following an assessment of which opposition voters would benefit most based on factors such as number of ATOS appeals and level of benefit.
    Selling their houses? ..I heard something similar from a 92 year old in a nursing home “they’ve taken my house to pay for this. If I didn’t have one I’d get the same care. I always thought one of my kids would like it”.

  7. they will happily arrange for your consent form to be signed on your behalf in a secret court. They will run initial trials as soon as they have assessed which opposition voters would benefit most.

  8. They need to start this conversation again and leave anything about bringing costs down out of it because
    A) that’s going to get all the anti – euthanasia people even more up in arms
    B) It is wrong to be thinking about money when talking about people’s lives in that way – that will leave a very dangerous and disturbing door open

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  10. *Another excellent essay. I have two little corrections I noticed in my reading along the way! xx* * * *You need an apostrophe in act’s (as it should be possessive):* The acts main provisions allow five new categories of surveillance from bugging of phones to spying and intercepting of communications.* * * * *Did you mean to have two arguments in this sentence:* This corroborates the arguments of the arguments of those who suggest these cameras have more to do with state surveillance than public safety.

  11. Scriptonite, please don’t do this again, I thought this was real til I got to the end. This site is great at reporting the facts but maybe you should leave the satire to Daily Mash.

  12. Excellent it’s a start though – I think voluntary euthanasia should be the ultimate goal. Life is for living and all the time we are getting a quality of life thats fine but who wants to spend the last 15 years of their life in an old peoples home. Lets treat humans as well as we do our pets. I am 62 by the way and would love to look forward to having an in injection and die peacefully at a time of my choosing. Obviously there would have to be safeguards in place to stop criminal activity coursion ect but that I’m sure could be worked out. As for the drain on society well I do agree somewhat that is the wrong reason but hey everything revolves rightly or wrongly around money so if this is the catalyst for the M.P’s to get debating bring it on!

    • i also missed the fiction bit, i think this should have been made bigger, i started to post this all over facebook and fortunately realised when i read the comments so managed to delete the tweet. however i do agree that this is quite probably the direction in which we are headed and have only been waiting on this shower of bullies coming out with something like this.

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