Episode 19 The Big Questions

Episode 19

Nicky Campbell presents religious, ethical and moral debates. Topics include should you be able to delete your past on the internet and should assisted dying be legal?

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Today on The Big Questions, wiping the slate clean - Christianity


versus UKIP. And, getting help to die.


We are live from Shelfield Community Academy in Walsall. Welcome


everybody to The Big Questions! Last week, the European Court of Justice


ruled that Google must remove search links to an old local newspaper


story about the bankruptcy of a certain Spanish gentleman. It is a


judgment with far-reaching implications for all internet search


engines, and for all of us. Everybody now has the right to apply


to a search engine requesting that should anybody search for your name,


no links will appear relating to anything which you have asked not to


be made public. It is all about the right to be forgotten. Lembit Opik,


nobody is ever going to forget you! What are you worried about, there is


a lot of stuff there were about you that the you would like to have


deleted, isn't there? Reality is that we do not really control our


identity in the public eye any more. If you Google something, you get not


what you want people to see about you, but what has been reported


about you, rightly or wrongly. For me, personally, there is tonnes of


libellous stuff which, if I had the money or time, I would have taken to


court to get rid of, but I have not been able to do that, because it


takes two or three years. So, most people form a judgment based on what


they read about me, and I do not think that is fair. People in here


are all subject to the same problem. I think this is a very good


judgment, not easy to enforce, but a very good judgment, because


ultimately, our identity is our property, and we must be able to


define who we are. The problem is that it is pretty nebulous stuff,


isn't it? Is their stuff about you which is true but which you would


like to have deleted? Varies. There is the libellous stuff which


obviously I would like not to be there. Then there is other stuff


which I am not comfortable about but which may be true. The problem is,


are we going to censor stuff according to what we judge about


it? This is probably going to have to be decided in court. But the


principle for me is simple, we have all got the right to privacy, and


the rights to be free from libellous stuff, and some sensitive


information which is not in the public interest. At the moment, it


is carte blanche, anything can be on the internet, however embarrassing,


however personal, and it is extremely hard to get rid of it.


That is why I believe this is a really good piece of legislation.


That is fair enough, isn't it, Mark Stephens? It is down to accuracy as


well, and stuff which was unfairly reported? I see a politician who


wants an image which is his own self-image, the way he would like to


project it to the public, not the way in which the public is entitled


to know about the politician, warts and all. I think that is part of the


problem. It is not that the information is going to disappear,


so, if you Google Lembit Opik on the BBC website, then, in those


circumstances... It is the conduit of Google in these search engines


this is a major problem, for example, it means that contemporary


social historians, students, academics, will not be able to find


out about the truthful information about individuals, if they are


perhaps writing a biography about somebody, those sort of pieces of


information will not be out there. It is not intended that it should be


there to try to redress libel. We have got libel laws. If you have


been libelled, go and sue somebody. This is about something completely


different. This is about allowing people to rewrite their own personal


history, and that is just an except double. That is completely a


misinterpretation of what is going on here. No it is not. Do you have


any much idea how much it costs to run a libel case in this country, it


can bankrupt someone! I know precisely how much, and it will cost


you nothing come Lembit Opik because lawyers will do it on a no-win, no


fee basis, if you have got a half decent case. I am not talking about


this as a politician, I am not an MP any more. The time and money and


paying it takes is enormous. This is not a debate about libel, this is a


debate about your right to be preened by yourself. That is not


acceptable. This is a continental law, the right to be forgotten. We


are not allowed to know about President Mitterrand's mistresses,


we are not allowed to know about all of those things... Some examples,


Max Mosley is very supportive of this judgment, and of course, he was


involved, it is Sunday morning, but he was involved in aid two do, a few


years back. But aspects of that were misreported, and inaccurately


reported, and he was not apparently talking German when that party took


place. And that was reported, and that is there for ever. Why


shouldn't he have the right to expunge that from the records? He


was vindicated, the public judgment of the court indicated Max Mosley,


both in privacy, and he was given the largest award of damages that


this country has ever given in a Prevacid case, and the German courts


have similarly given him an award in libel. -- in a river see case. -- in


a privacy case. This is something different. 50% of people, as of last


Friday, who worked asking for this to be taken down, where paedophiles,


politicians and people who did not like the information about them.


People like tax scammers, people who have been scamming the British


public. Those sorts of individuals have been abusing this new law.


Richard Beaumont, you are on the edge of your seat! What would you


like to say to the points that you have heard from Mark Stephens? I


would like to say that there is a fundamental right here to privacy,


and it has to be protected. The World Economic Forum published a


survey recently... Sorry, but if something is a matter of public


record, and also is a fact, do you want to erase that? I think it is


right that it should become obscure. It is not getting erased from the


record. Yes, it is. The signposts to enable us to obtain it are not


there. Mark, let him talk. The newspaper was told they did not have


to take the contents down. This is about the role of the search engine.


The search engine is not an index which is without value. It is an


economic reason, there are economic reasons why they promote certain


links and so forth. Therefore they have a slightly different interest.


This is a really important point - there is a technological solution


here, which will be fermented by all major search engines, Google, Bing,


Yahoo!, all of them, which is that, if you look up Nick Clegg, arson


conviction, on your computer dialled up from within the EU, you will not


find that search returned to you. If, however, that truthful


information... The follies of youth. Sure, but if you turn up that


information from South Africa, India, any of those countries,


Switzerland even, you will find that information. We are going for a


two-tier internet. The great thing about this is, at last we are


beginning to respect privacy. There is a Big Question which you have not


mentioned, public interest. Where is the public interest in knowing


everything about everybody? Answer that question, Padraig Reidy. We


have this focus on the details of a specific case, which is about a


bankruptcy which is a matter of public record. It is this banished


gentleman, who was bankrupt. I want to know, if I am going to go into


business with this person, if there is something dodgy in his financial


past. You might say it is not censorship, but essentially, you are


making this information impossible to find. There is a public interest


caveat, though. I would have thought bankruptcy was a pretty strong


public interest. It is 16 years ago! The other issue we have is that


there will be a flood of these request is coming in now. There has


already been a flood. These companies are very, very big, but to


cope with these impossible requests, and it will be impossible,


to comply with this. It will be really problematic. They have got a


few bob, Google. They have got a few bob. But Facebook, for example,


people complain people do not take things down fast enough. They get


about 100,000 complaints a month, at least. People are slightly scared of


how big search engines are, but eagerly Google. Somebody in the


Guardian newspaper wrote a piece saying this was great because it was


taking on the power of Google, but it has nothing to do with taking on


the power of Google. The fact is, people are scared of Google, but


this is not how you cope with the power of a very large company, by


essentially censoring the Web. It will affect anybody who tries to set


up a new search engine... Is this an infringement on free speech?


Essentially, I think it is an infringement on the right to


information. So, it is censorship? The access to information is being


severely damaged. Personally, I kind of agree with the right to have


privacy, but at the same time, it is a redundant argument, because there


is no way to completely get rid of any type of history about yourself.


You said, a certain Spanish gentleman, I could name another


story from a couple of years ago about a Welsh football, I will not


say his name... But at the same time, it has come out. Was there a


public interest? Because he is a public figure, it had to be out


there, but even if it has been blocked, people still know who it


is. Also there is the freedom of expression of the people who wanted


to talk about it. Anyone else? In a sense, is it not the same as a


criminal record? If somebody has done something incorrect and they


have that history about them, a criminal record does the same thing.


You cannot get rid of a criminal record. So why think of getting rid


of your internet history if you have done something wrong? Let's bring in


Milo Yiannopoulos, technology journalist. Now, here is a potential


problem - in the last couple of weeks, you did and effect give and


very, we hence if Expose of a self-styled so-called community


spokesman, who had spent a lot of time deleting, or attempting to


delete, his own internet history, covering his tracks. Will it not be


a charter for people like that? Yes. Mentioning no names a lot of the


objections boiled down to press reports from journalists. As one of


those journalists, you might expect me to say, I want my stuff online


for ever. But I also believe in redemption and compassion. I think


if this individual were to turn his life around, in ten years' time,


there is no reason why he should be prevented from getting jobs just


because he made a few mistakes. But I think it is different when you are


talking about politicians and properly public figures. To hear


Lembit Opik, I am sorry to say, sketch out this Orwellian vision of


an internet which is entirely created by politicians, to hear of a


by politicians to protect politicians, I am sorry, but it


makes my flesh crawl. Respond to that. I'm not a Member of Parliament


but I am a citizen. As David Trimble once said, just because you've got a


past doesn't mean you shouldn't able be to have a future. And what this


does is you can find everything out about everybody, you are bit smudged


for ever. That's not the world I want to live in. What is interesting


about the internet is it has introduced permanence into


reporting. Previously you would have the newspaper on your breakfast


table, stuff would be on the telly. Three weeks later there wouldn't


really be any way to get that back. Don't worry about what is in the


news, it will be tomorrow's chip wrapping paper. The internet has


changed that. I'm sorry, when you look up some of the absurd behaviour


and the way some public figures make themselves into spectacles and joke


figures... You just think... The idea that this person... You believe


your own profession. I stand accused! I see people dismantle...


Nigel Evans, very good friend of mine, spent a year defending himself


in court against sex charges and he was found innocent. When you look at


the reporting now, a massive amount about the accusations. He's got the


right to not expect all of that... I'm putting this to the audience and


the viewers as well. Does Nigel Evans have to spend the rest of his


life knowing all that stuff comes up... He doesn't deserve that. I


think it's a very specific case. In rape allegations there is a good


case for keeping the identity of the accused secret. Rape and sexual


charges, there are other problems in the mix there. But I've got to tell


you, when Ikea politicians and former politicians... The reason you


are here and that you have a career is you are using the prominence that


you gained as being an MP, using the name recognition that you had then


to do whatever you are doing now. When I hear people like that saying,


as you did, I want to be able to craft my Google results, it


terrifies me. It's exactly what you said. Winston is a former boxer. He


is terrifyingly right now! I believe 100% what this guy has to say.


Listen, you are just natural media creating the hype. People like you


are the reason why I can't find a girlfriend, man! That's a stretch!


I'm on Google... Listen, you've got to listen to me. I'm on Google as


being 61 years old. Look good looking I am! People read that...


Come on, now! The reader thinks this guy is 61 years old. How old are


you? I'm going to keep that secret. You've got the right. My political


career has been a terribly damaged. They said I joined every political


party on the sketch -- in the spectrum. I never joined Labour. I


have the greatest of sympathy for you, I'd want to sue, too. That this


inaccuracy. Everybody is entitled to privacy. Wikipedia, everybody


believes it. It's all on there. There was a very clear distinction


made in the ruling by the court that says if you are a public figure and


are in the public interest, then that can override the individual


privacy right. What is much more concerning is for people who are not


in the public realm and have damaging information for their


reputations. For example, should kids be allowed to make mistakes and


have those mistakes forgotten when they go to get a job? It's the same


fundamental rule. Let's go back over here. Mark Stevens. It's quite clear


that children are a different case. The UN covenant on the rights of the


child makes it clear that the indiscretions of childhood, use, if


you will, are the sorts of things that will be forgotten. That is Nick


Clegg with his arson offence. He was a student, he was over age, he was


living in Germany at the time. Everybody in this room has done


something they are ashamed of or would prefer things to be forgotten.


But we have to live with it, it's part of who we are. It's part of how


we grow up. It's part of what matures us. Everybody recognises


that and everybody we interact with recognises that. What about forgive


and forget? We forgive and we understand, but we embrace the


challenges we have of youth. That is not about rewriting and airbrushing


history. I promised I would come back to Lembit Opik. I see an


element of agreement developing here, in the sense that both of you


have said there are certain circumstances where this property


situation should be enforced. So we are not really arguing about the


principle now because we are all agreeing that in some circumstances


it is relevant, like innocent Nigel Evans... What we've also all agreed


as you are not eligible. In your rise. There was an element of


agreement on how far we go. There's a simple point. Every person in this


room and in this country, everyone watching this, has the right to the


public interest protection. Most of what is reported about public


figures is spurious and does -- has no relevance whatsoever to the


public... We are, I'm afraid, but you are welcome to contribute to any


of the other debates, we're out of time. Thank for that. -- thank you


for that. Now, if you have something to say about that debate, log onto


bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions. Follow the links to where you can join in


the discussion online. Or join in on Twitter as well. We are also


debating, can you be a Christian and vote for UKIP?


We won't know how UKIP has fared in the European elections until the


polls close in Italy tonight. But they gained over 160 seats in the


local elections in England's towns and boroughs, at the expense of all


three major parliamentary parties. The success was despite a lot of


slip-ups, mis-speaks, whatever you want to call them, which suggested


that some UKIP candidates don't appear to abide by Christ's


commandment to love thy neighbour as thyself, or seek to follow the


example of the Good Samaritan by helping foreigners down on their


luck. Flat rate taxes, for example, might be hard to combine with


blessing the poor. Can you be a Christian and vote for UKIP? Rev


Arlington Trotman. You wanted to come on the last one, but you can


now. What aspects of UKIP do you believe and Christian? Let me start


by a comment my son made to this question. He said, if Christians


find themselves voting for UKIP, they are on very seriously shaky


ground. What he meant was that the perception on the one hand of UKIP


as a racist party has absolutely no place within Christians as it is


expressed. But my point is this. Whose perception is that? The


general public's perception. Lots of members of the public believe that


UKIP is racist. There are reports that suggest that UKIP, 40% of its


membership are people with racist abuse. Those who support UKIP


financially are people who are on the far right. So there is a


perception there but there is also the reality. Where did you get your


40% figure from? This is a report which has recently been written that


suggests there are at least 40% of its members. What is racist about


wanting to have, whether you agree with it or not, but what is racist


about wanting to have a points -based system for immigration so


that this island doesn't become too crowded? For skilled workers from


all corners of the world rather than just concentrating on Eastern


Europe. In certain areas public services are under strain, so surely


to lift the pressure on those public services is truly to love thy


neighbour. But that started from the other end of the question. Migration


is as old as the hills. People have moved and immigrated in order to


make personal progress and progress generally as a society. The


contribution of migrants to Britain, Britain has been built on migrant


labour. Britain has continued to exploit and explore the realities of


migration in very positive way. So the question about numbers is a


non-question. Is there a Gospel imperative for mass immigration?


No, not necessarily but the reality is whether the Gospel expresses it,


it is a reality for us today. What UKIP is saying on the one hand, most


people can agree with it. That if a country is open, if there is an open


immigration policy, for example, and everybody and anybody comes, those


who will no good to people within the country, there is a question


there. But the reality is this. If you take UKIP's stands on this, and


anti-immigrant stance, several things have fuelled that. One is the


current Immigration Bill 2014. We need to get a response to some of


the stuff you've said. Sure, but the final point on this is the


anti-immigrant stance in our country doesn't stop with UKIP. It starts


with the fact that the two main political parties have not addressed


this question seriously enough, with sufficient commitment in allaying


the fears that permeate the country. So groups alike UKIP and


other far right groups can actually have their say on a question that we


all should be working on. As a UKIP candidate... Commonwealth


spokesman. Is UKIP founded an un-Christian principles? Nigel


Farage, our leader, is a Christian. This man believes in the Church of


England. At this present moment I am absolutely furious, we have this


massive situation whereby the carnival went on and the whole thing


was deemed as some sort of carnival procession to prove that UKIP isn't


racist. This word racist, which has been dreamt up by the so called


three political parties and pushed by the media, has been put out there


and been used to freely. It has been used to separate and divide people


in society. The pastor, he has his opinions. In my group we run 18


candidates for this last election. Nine black, nine white, all


different types of people. I have my two pastors here today to have it


out with you. You have got your opinions and you think what you


think, but most people are going on this media agenda. Many men, some


big men tonight, let me finish, please, you had your time and I was


polite and didn't jump in. Many men in top jobs tonight will lose their


position in life, so the agenda is to bring UKIP down and bring it to


the floor. When I look at the policies that have been created by


some of these political parties, looked deeply into them and realise


that it wasn't UKIP who pulled out the advent, it wasn't UKIP who took


us to war, it wasn't UKIP who created Air Passenger Duty will stop


looking to these political parties to see how demonic some of them are.


Demonic? There are aspects of their parties that are demonic. One


second. Nigel Farage has said some pretty controversial things. He said


he was on a train and no one was speaking English. Could you imagine


Jesus going to a marketplace and saying, there is no one speaking


Aramaic here? Loads of people say that. The comments that Nigel Farage


passes comments that... I have been campaigning in this last election


for some six months now. I knocked on doors and some of the


expressions, verbal, not abuse, but verbal taunts I got from some people


was amazing. English people coming to the door and saying, you are


UKIP? Black people, my people coming to the door. I want to vote for


you, Winston. I want to vote for you for the simple fact that we, as


black people, have come to this country and have been


disenfranchised. You speak on behalf of of communities. Who have you been


disenfranchised by? Successive governments. UKIP is the answer? We


consider ourselves to be a predominantly Christian country.


Lembit Opik is dying to come in here. -year-old I've got quite a


strong faith, and however well or badly I live my life I can't deny


that faith. -year-old Wace 's Church has a presence in the Midlands here


too. I'm not a UKIP member. It is disingenuous to say a political


party is not Christian. Nick Clegg claims to be an atheist, that


doesn't make the Liberal Democrats and unchristian or demonic party.


I'm a Christian. UKIP has been demonised to an extent. These sorts


of things don't do credit to policies, because we should be


arguing about the policies... Is it about the individuals or the


policies? It should be about the policies. You can have different


views about immigration but still have faith. Let me make my position


clear with respect to Winston. I congratulate you for standing up for


what you believe, and all the other black guys in UKIP. What I am saying


is, there is a perception of racism. And if there is a perception,


Christianity is based on the principles of justice, truth,


looking after your neighbour, etc. It is therefore crucial that not


only the perception but the reality of what UKIP stands for... Let me


put something to you, hang on. Please. Racism in this country has


killed people. Wait a minute. Let me steer it this way. This has been


much in the press as well, the whole debate about equal marriage, he said


he would not expel anyone from the party who had, as he put it,


old-fashioned views on homosexuality. Then we have the


councillor saying the floods were punishment for gay marriage. You


have got leading evangelical Christians in America who have said


9/11 was punishment for homosexuality, New Orleans was


punishment for homosexuality and so forth. Are they not Christian? As


Lembit Opik has said, Christianity is lived according to people's


perception of it, according to how people understand who Jesus was for


them, whether that is accepted or not. In this country, there are


nominal Christians, people who are regarded as Christians simply by


birth, or by marriage. There are others who live their lives every


day according to very strong core principles of justice, truth, peace


macro and so on. Therefore it becomes important to understand in


this debate that when I speak about racism, I speak about the fact that


people like Stephen Lawrence have been killed, and several others have


been demolished... There are some who say to oppose gay marriage is


unchristian, there are others who say that to support it is


unchristian. So, perception is the keyword. If you look at parties


which to identify as overtly Christian, they are overwhelmingly


awful, from the Democratic unionist party in Northern Ireland - last


week you had people they're trying to band plays, you had another


candidate, not a DUP candidate, but saying she would outlaw


homosexuality. You go across to the Tea Party in the United States, who


identify very much as Christian, all the way to the Lord's Resistance


Party, who murder thousands of people in the name of God. So I am


wearing of -- I am wary of identifying Christian as meaning


good. Did you vote UKIP? I did. The churches are groaning under the


weight of catholic Polish people, use said be celebrating that. All of


the institutions in this country are essentially very left wing, they are


horrified by UKIP. There is this assumption that right-wing opinions


and moral failing are linked, and people have normal, everyday


concerns, shared by millions of people, and it is this attitude of


saying, there is something wrong with that. I got called all sorts of


things. But I thought about it for a long time, and eventually, I came


round to giving you my vote. To say that UKIP is racist is absurd. The


BNP WAS racist. I do not think you could be a Christian and vote for


the BNP. But it is plainly obvious that Nigel Farage is not racist, the


party is not racist and it is ridiculous. I am glad we can agree


on something in the media as well, as the media has got this totally


wrong. If they wanted to cause UKIP damage, the last thing they should


have done is identifying normal, everyday worries and anxieties,


shared by millions of people in this country, as racist. The media has


got this wrong. It is the Christian principle about helping your fellow


human beings? What I am saying is, to say that love thy neighbour means


we should have an open-door immigration policy is incredibly


naive. Gentleman over there. Good morning. Good morning. I believe


that the message from UKIP is about people enjoying their rights


responsibly. You do not walk into a country believing you can get so


much from a country and putting less in. That is not fair and it is not


right. Here is a party who is making this very clear to everybody. So,


you applaud that message? I do, even though I did not vote UKIP. I


believe that! I want to hear this gentleman out, and then I want more


audience members, please. I believe that people coming to this country


should come with the aim of putting something into the country, and then


expect to take something out of the country. That is fair. And down


there, the gentleman with the glasses? It is all about people


contributing to the country, if that is the case, does that mean we can


look at people who were born here and are not contributing to the


country? It is not about that. Let's get this right... Wait, I want to


get to the audience. You come back to me, we can do some sparring. If I


have got time! On the basis of some of the arguments, would it not be


different for a Christian to vote for some of the other parties as


well, though? The fact is, at the end of the day, voting for any


political party, as a Christian, is a major issue. If we look at what


Nick Clegg has done, at what the Tories are doing, about putting


people into deeper poverty, if we look at UKIP, they are exploiting


quite cleverly in my view the things which divide society, which some


people think but do not want to say. But there is one massive thing which


UKIP has got. Over the past three months, when did you not see Nigel


Farage in the newspapers and now their media machine must be


revelling in this. They are being contribution, they are saying things


which people are saying in their living rooms. At the end of the day,


the danger is, by exploiting the divisions in society, are we going


back, Winston, to the days, and you know this, no blacks, no Irish, no


darks? That is the danger. I saw Kevin agreeing to that... I am


Irish. The Reverend said earlier on that this country was built on


immigration. So, the question now is, if you take a view on


immigration, and what we do not want to do is to take a naive view of the


immigration problem in the 21st century, or take a very simplistic,


easy hit. I agree with Lembit that just demonising a party, calling it


racist, is an helpful to the debate. -- an helpful. I take the point that


the way the debate has gone this morning is that it makes it seem as


though no Christian should ever vote for any party in this country. But


the problem then is that what you might say is that if you are a


Christian, you have to take seriously the possibility to use


your franchise for a good end. What that then means is that it is


actually using your vote in order to make sure the politicians who do get


in are the ones who actually hold those values. Whether you are a


Christian or not, I think those values are still important for a


society. So the question then becomes, what kind of society do you


want to be? Those of us who have faith, we all fall short... RU


pro-equal marriage? I am. These are difficult issues to wrestle with. I


have two very short and simple thoughts. One is that to prick food


anyone from a particular faith from a party is offensive. -- to


preclude. Secondly, if Jesus was here, and we said, who should we


vote for? He would say, vote for love. But which political party


right now is representing love in this country? None of them! One


thing with UKIP, and I am not a UKIP supporter, Winston, but one thing


with them, what you see is what you get, you know what they stand for.


People say they wish more politicians were like that, so thank


you all very much indeed for that. APPLAUSE


You can join in all the debates this morning online.


And you can tweet using the hashtag #bbctbq. Tell us what you think


about our last Big Question - should assisted dying be legal? We are


looking for audiences for the last show in this series, from Brighton,


on 15th June. Next week we are back here at Shelfield Community Academy,


with a special edition, asking one very Big Question - is there life


after death? Join us then. Last week, Lord Falconer's bill to


legalise assisted dying went through its first stage in the House of


Lords. Its aim is to make it legal for doctors to give certain drugs to


people who want to die. Should assisted dying be legal? Well, Peter


Squires, good morning. You accompanied your mother to Dignitas.


Tell us about that, it must have been so difficult? It was very


difficult. Mum was suffering from Huntington's disease, which is an


hereditary condition. She had seen her father and her elder sister die


of it so she knew exactly what it was like in the end stages. Man was


six to seven years of age, she was in the advanced stages of the


disease. She was suffering things like loss of movement, stumbling,


falling, difficult to speak, express herself. She regularly struggled to


swallow and choked on food, for example. So, very advanced symptoms


but not the end stage of the disease. She determined, based on


her understanding of what the disease looked like in the end


stages, that she did not want to go through that. Cuff had at least two


to our knowledge failed suicide attempts, the most recent of which


ended up in her being hospitalised for six months. And when she came


out of hospital she was absolutely determined that she wanted to go to


Dignitas. She discussed this with her close family, especially myself


and my brother Andrew. Of course we offered alternatives to her. But


over a period of months, it became clear that this was her rightful


choice, in our mind. Her personal autonomy? Indeed. So, we came round


to support her in her objective to go to Dignitas. Do you feel it was


released when she did go? I strongly believe that a change in the law in


this country would have a lot of benefits, including giving people


the mental and emotional safety net that there was something there for


them, that they would have control over their own death. She would have


been able to do it at home but she felt forced to make the arduous


journey to Switzerland whilst she was still fit to do so. She did not


want so in my mother's specific case, she ended up travelling to


Switzerland by our estimation several years before she would have


needed to die. But when you start the application process, which takes


several months, to go to Dignitas, mum did not know whether or not she


would be accepted right Dignitas. I remember very clearly when she got


the acceptance letter, the relief that came over her, that she knew


that she had a way out and she was not going to have to go through the


end stages of this disease, which is progressive, there was no way of


getting out of the fact that she was going to have to suffer. We felt


that sense of release with her, after we'd spent the last five days


with her. It was a very surreal experience, to spend the last five


days of her life, all three of us being strong for each other, trying


to enjoy our last five days together, at the same time knowing


that she was going to die on Friday. Hey, you had locked-in syndrome.


Yours is an amazing story. You are writing a book about it. I've


written a book. It's worth reading, it's amazing. You think this is


about personal autonomy, it's nobody else's business. Absolutely. I have


locked-in syndrome. That's where you literally can feel everything, think


normally, like I think now, but move absolutely nothing. For a short


period of time, and mine was in the acute phase in hospital, not in the


community for years on end, but in the period of time I was locked in


it was hell on earth. It was painful beyond belief. I had leg cramps that


I had no way of communicating. I had no way of relieving them because I


couldn't move a muscle. Did you think about taking this option? In


hospital, I wanted my life to end for the first few weeks. I don't


think that should be offered to anybody in hospital, so I'm not in


favour of that. But ultimately you are in favour of people having that


choice? Absolutely. We should have autonomy. It should be freedom of


choice. Specifically for people who are fully cognitive and are able to


communicate, one way or another, whether it is with a digit or an


eyelid, but to show their cognition. And have had some sort of


psychiatric evaluation, so that it's not just the patient and the doctor


or the patient and beloved one. There is a witness. I think


absolutely. You make it as safe as possible. Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick,


director of the euthanasia prevention coalition, why is it any


business of anyone else's? Isn't that exactly the point? Let's be


clear, I want to be absolutely open about this. I am not making any


judgment about these individual situations. My concern is what


happens when you legalise what is called assisted dying. Let's be


clear about our terms here. Assisted dying is described by the


full-colour Commission report as a compendium word which includes


assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia in. Lord Falconer himself


has been quoted as saying that this country is not ready for euthanasia.


And that's quite right because when people actually understand that


euthanasia is involved here, they do look at places like where I've just


been, Belgium. What's happening there? The law has just been passed


to allow children of any age, as though a child of seven who is just


beginning to have a concept of death, could actually understand


what it means to choose euthanasia. It's nine in Belgium? No, it's any


age at all. The legal age in Holland is 12, but in Holland they also...


What the circumstances that that might be enforced? For example, a


child... Part of the difficulty in Belgium is that people don't have to


be terminally ill, people are being used delays to a depressed.


Euthanasia is an emotive term. -year-old I'm talking about Belgium


now, it is a law. One of their proponents was for disabled people.


People who are depressed, people who have had failed sex change


operations, and anorexic woman who was being abused by the psychiatrist


who was treating them. These people have no hope. There is the illusion


of choice. When you have nowhere else to go. But they felt that they


didn't want to go on, so isn't... The children point I will put to


Stephen in a second, but isn't it, ultimately, as adults, their choice


and none of your business? That's exactly the point. What is happening


in individual situations... I agree, no one should have to pay Dignitas


or go through the horror of travelling out of their home and out


of the country to fulfil whatever decision. But the problem is that


when you legalise, what you get behind the law is a society that I


don't want to be part of. If Peter and his brother had helped their


mother in this country, should they have been faced with a criminal


prosecution? No. The issue is should they face an investigation. In order


to make sure that people who are vulnerable, people who are co-wurst


into killing themselves people can be, it's very subtle coercion,


should actually have protection from that coercion. In that context, when


the law is passed, that coercion... That protection order is therefore


vulnerable people. I get so frustrated when I hear people like


Kevin, who are trying to confuse the issue and compared this to the law


in Belgium. The proposed law from Lord Falconer does not bear any


similarity to the law in Belgium, it's based on a law in Oregon. It's


not about euthanasia, it's about assisted dying. It's for people who


are in the last six months of their life, suffering from a terminal


illness. How does this proposed law change make you feel? It makes me


feel cold inside and afraid. It makes me feel afraid for all of you


because we've talked about perceptions today, the things we


think, the things we do affect our perception of society. There is a


perception in society that being disabled is bad and being


perfect... We are all surrounded by these programmes about Botox. For


me, it's almost like we can say we can Botox death out of life. I would


like people to consider, if it becomes legal, and I'm sorry to tell


you, Kevin, I think it will because people don't see the big picture.


Just think, we won't be saying, when did he die, about somebody. When --


will be saying, when will he die? We are a country that like to make


formulas out of things. So what will happen, you have from care ward to


crematorium? Will a doctor come round the village, will you trust


your doctor? In Oregon there are people known as death doctors.


your doctor? In Oregon there are doctor said to my son when he was


very little, he was nervous about having injections, he said, you've


got to have them or you will end up like her. I've heard Kate talk about


the indignity you felt. I was locked in for many, many months and I know


exactly where you are at to an in for many, many months and I know


say. I'm interested as to why, from what I can gather of your


interviews, that you didn't want to live? A sort of message to your


children... I can only take from that there was a sort of message


from your children that there was a sort of message


doesn't want to come home and live. That is absolutely rubbish! It was


Peter as well. My youngest was six and my eldest was ten at the time. I


can't tell you the separation anxiety that I had. You don't need


to because I had it. I can bend, it was absolutely intense. Plus the


fact that where I was heading for was a care home, at the end of the


day. Wide? Because I was making no progress. My progress turned around


in May 2010 beyond all the expectations of the doctors. You are


confusing lots of issues here. I work in the charity I founded that


is about inspiring people to motivate them to develop, whether it


is emotionally, physically or otherwise. However... If the law had


existed and you had taken benefit from that law, you wouldn't be here.


Did you not hear what I said at the top of the programme? It should


never be offered to anybody in the acute phase in hospital. The minute


it is open... One at a time. The minute it is on the table, then the


problem is it is not just offered to you, it's offered to everyone in the


situation. Oregon, there is no regulation once the person has


passed the test. The death might happen two years later, they doesn't


even haven't -- to be anyone in the rule. The doctor who knows his


patient for ten years... Different legislation could be drafted here.


That's a false food. No, Winston, we've got people we must come to. I


want to listen to Dr Stephen Smith from Birmingham Law School, an


expert in bioethics. What do you say about Kevin Vase and Nicky's


objectives and what is happening in Belgium, how can that be right? I'm


with Peter on this. Belgium's law, it is different from what the


Faulkner bill is. People worry it will be the direction of travel.


Greene I understand that will stop I think what we need to pay attention


to is what the law is set up to do. If we are talking about what the


procedural safeguards are and those kinds of things, we need to focus on


what this law says as opposed to what other one say. The issue in


Belgium, particularly the issue involving children, is not one we


ought to pay attention to, it's not one that ought to control the


discussion. Quite simply, Lord Falconer's law doesn't envisage


anything close to what Belgium is doing with children. What about the


pressure that Kevin referred to above people feeling a burden? It's


interesting to look at the data on this. There is a reasonable amount


of data from the Netherlands, Oregon, every year in Oregon they


publish an annual report. It isn't, in fact, vulnerable groups which are


being pushed into this. The average person who undertakes assisted


being pushed into this. The average suicide in Oregon... It is... The


average person who takes assisted suicide in Oregon is white,


middle-class, college educated and younger than they otherwise, so they


tend to go younger. It doesn't pay for their treatment but it says you


can have euthanasia instead, it is much cheaper. You wanted to say


something. I'm vehicle water mater of disabled activists for dignity in


dying. -- in water mater. In terms of disabled people that have been


surveyed, recently 79% have said they support assisted dying for


terminally ill people only. In terms of people's value in society, you


support the bill with the strict... Which disabled Persons organisation


has come out in favour of this bill? You are paid by the lobby group.


There is no disabled lobby behind you. This is a nonsense. What is


your name? Greg. You believe you should have the right. You, me,


anyone, one should have the right? In terms of the bill, it is


terminally ill and dying people. And disabled people. Disabled people are


always mentioned. You pick any paper up. They are not in the bill. Lord


Falconer wants them to be in the bill. They are not in the bill. You


pick any paper up that is a pro-assisted suicide argument and


you will see, and disabled people. Every day in this country you can


hear a negative attitude. Is this not scaremongering? Will it happen?


As the doctor said from Birmingham, the bill you start with is the bill


you get. You have to look at the detail. That's what happened in


Holland, they started out with a bill for terminally ill people and


they ended up killing... Sorry, we haven't got time. They started out


with a bill for terminally ill people with cancer with less than


six months to live. They've ended up where they are. As always, the


debates will continue online and on Twitter. Next week we're back here


in Walsall for that special - is there life after death? But for now


it's goodbye and have a great Sunday.


When the first travellers crossed America, they were faced with this -


Nicky Campbell presents religious, ethical and moral debates live from Shelfield Community Academy in Walsall, asking should you be able to delete your past on the internet, can you be a Christian and vote for UKIP, and should assisted dying be legal?

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