Assisted Dying – A guest posting from Jen Robertson looks at conflicting views. Corbyn’s is quite off the wall.

To start this posting it is important that I make it clear I am a supporter of assisted dying.

Here’s what Jeremy Corbyn had to say. In my view a terrible stance on the matter:-

www.islingtongazette.co.uk/seasonal/election/jeremy_corbyn_1_4016434

How would you/did you vote on the following issues:

Assisted suicide? “I don’t believe we should be talking about assisted dying until our social care and health care systems have been improved sufficiently with focus on the sick and elderly, especially since we are living in an age where longevity is on the rise and so many more elderly people are in need of health care.

Only when we have made enough effort in that direction can the luxury of such a choice be looked at properly.”

Apparently it’s a luxury…I can’t even begin to say how little respect I have for him here. At least the likes of Tim Farron, who clearly struggles with this matter, always seems willing for debate to take place, this man would rather shut it down completely in favour of his own set of priorities that he clearly deems superior.

What shocked me most though was his lack of understanding. Legalising assisted dying would be the only way to stop it being a luxury. Currently it is available to anyone with the means and ability to travel to Switzerland. Quite aside from the fact that no one should be forced to such lengths, this also means it is not available to anyone lacking in those means. It is not available to the very people Corbyn is supposed to be representing, those with low incomes, hard hit by the recession and struggling to get by in the face of a fairly soulless system. Luxury is what we have now, dignity is available to those who can pay for it. Even to discount all of that though, to say that there is anything we ‘shouldn’t talk about’ is anathema to me and surely to any Liberal. Debate is the lifeblood of real politics. Tim Farron and I may disagree on assisted dying but I suspect we at least agree on this.

In opposition to Corbyn we have fellow Labour Leadership contender Liz Kendall, the only one of the four leadership candidates to vote on the bill.

www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/13611503.Liz_Kendall_pledges_to_vote_for_Assisted_Dying_Bill/

“But I also believe that this Bill would be a step forward as a country. We don’t talk about what might make a good death and it’s something other countries, I believe, may be more open about. I will be voting for that Bill.”

I couldn’t help but notice she’d made her position on this clear a few times but no one paid her a lick of attention about it. Norman Lamb said he was in favour and, let’s be honest, was there anyone left in the UK in doubt of his position? It’s clearly not from any vagueness in her statement so I am left to conclude that as a woman her opinion was deemed unimportant, especially when there were much worthier issues like how many kids she had or hadn’t and what she wearing this week. As an aside I still don’t know if Corbyn has children, it never seems to have come up – probably because it’s so utterly irrelevant.

It was very surprising seeing Kendall take the clearly more liberal position here but it does show again she’s a politician who at least says what she thinks, and to hell with it if people don’t like what she says. I can admire conviction even if I don’t like what those convictions are. Now if she’d just start saying some nicer things…

Bill Esterson MP on the Labour Leadership

6th September 2015 via Twitter – “It’s between Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn in the #labourleadership election. Only Andy can unite our party and win in 2020. #Andy4Leader”

and 8 days later

14th September 2015 via Southport Vister newspaper web site -“Jeremy has a popular mandate and we should respect that. He has the backing of the members and he has my backing as leader of my party.”

No mention of winning in 2020 now but one thing’s for sure it would surely never have happened under Burnham and is highly unlikely to happen under Corbyn.