If ever there were proof of the folly of doctors playing God, it’s this man’s barbaric death

Last Christmas, I attended a carol service at a church in London. Amid the festive bustle, I sat opposite a woman and her elderly mother.

The daughter placed a tender hand on her mother’s shoulder and gently guided her through the carols, helping her remember words that were now fading from the old lady’s memory.

I watched as the daughter looked after this tiny, fragile little bird of a mother — so frail she looked as if a puff of wind might have blown her away.

Full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1220221/ROS-COWARD-If-proof-folly-doctors-playing-God-mans-barbaric-death.html

Reality TV’s talent for naivete

Producers of shows such as Britain’s Got Talent must stop pretending that participants like Susan Boyle choose their fate

Why is it no surprise that Susan Boyle was checked into a clinic this weekend at best suffering from exhaustion, at worst some kind of mental breakdown? Anyone who remotely thought about this reality show star as a real person might guess that could happen. It’s the probable outcome when a unattractive, church-going, middle-aged spinster who suffers from learning difficulties and has lived a completely sheltered life with her parents until her mother’s recent death gets discovered for her talent, made over, sought out by the world’s media and then thrown to the media commentators, bloggers and twitterers to indulge in the atavistic bullying now part and parcel of modern celebrification.

Full article:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/jun/01/britains-got-talent-susan-boyle

Podcast:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/audio/2009/jun/02/susan-boyle-britains-got-talent

The health service’s dementia shame

I can identify with John Suchet’s brave and moving discussion of coping with his wife’s disease. Sufferers have too little support

John Suchet has done an incredibly brave thing talking so openly about his wife’s dementia because, as he himself said, it isn’t his illness, it’s hers. And that could be seen as “a betrayal”. Why “betrayal”? After all, he spoke so movingly and so tenderly about her and his grief at losing her this way, and there was nothing disrespectful at all in what he said about her.

The answer is that when you are dealing with someone with dementia you never really know how much they know – or remember – about what has been said about them. And if his wife could, or does, remember something of what has been said, she might feel shame.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/feb/17/dementia-health-service

Start talking rubbish

We should be asking why we are creating so much waste and how we can reuse it, rather than sweeping it under the carpet

News that the recycling chain has all but collapsed because of failed demand in China has produced the usual wringing of hands and a startling lack of alternative voices.

In terms of straight news reporting – last night’s BBC news for example, and today’s broadsheet coverage – the mountains of rubbish are presented as a “crisis” symptomatic of problems with the global economy. For the Daily Mail, this crisis is symptomatic of something else as well, not just a global crisis but proof that recycling is yet another pointless nanny-state demand on the already overburdened lives of the taxpayer. The paper hasn’t yet run the headline “Waste of time” but it can’t be far off.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/jan/10/recycling-credit-crunch