Virginia Barton

19 March 2014: Mid-March blues


19 March 2014


VB was struggling, pitted against the cliff-face of a thesis on Medical Ethics, but only too happy  to proof-read for a doctoral student – anything to keep the old grey matter alert. Perhaps it might have been wiser to ask what the actual subject was before agreeing to do the job: The Legal Aspects of Euthanasia.

Sensitive souls of my age will find this a profoundly depressing subject; it’s too close to home.

Does it not sum up what seems to be a creeping anti-life attitude? Creeping I hear you say? More like trotting.




It is unlikely that your newspaper blazoned the news that ten days ago King Philippe of Belgium signed a new law: the Belgian parliament voted for it by a substantial 86 to 44. Namely, that a child of ANY age can ask for euthanasia, if he/she is terminally ill, in great pain, and has parental consent.

Can a child of 7 or 9 for example, possibly have any concept of what he/she is asking for? It is so utterly contrary to a child’s character, so alien to every single thing a child wants or expects from life; and  the complete opposite of a child’s naturally hopeful and optimistic outlook. I cannot believe that any child, in however much pain, could say without prompting, kill me.

A parent yes, that I can understand. In the agony and exhaustion of watching over a beloved child in pain and suffering, maybe for years, one would/could do anything to stop it. Even kill that beloved one, to put it out of its misery – as one would a snared rabbit.

Please, let’s be honest: that’s the parent speaking, not the child.


But I’ll spare you any more of my distress on a topic that fills me with fear and trembling. Perhaps one day someone will write about Dame Cicely Saunders, and Sir Robert Twycross; pioneers of the Hospice movement and palliative care in the UK.

What with Putin annexing Crimea (who gives a toss for a few Tartars?) and euthanasia, it’s been a tough day or two.


LuckyThank the Lord for a tawny owl! Nicknamed (inevitably) Lucky, the bird (right) travelled more than 300 miles between Glasgow and Crick in Northamptonshire, clinging below the driver’s cabin at the front of a train!

It was found when the loco pulled into its destination suffering from a sprained wing – well you would, wouldn’t you?

Lucky is now recovering in a Wildlife Sanctuary whose owner pronounced it a miracle of survival. The newspapers will be full of the story tomorrow. No doubt headlining a few owlers…


I am NOT going to search for the number of Hospices in the UK vis-á-vis the number of Wildlife Sanctuaries, or even hazard a guess.


22 March 2014

PS. Yesterday, at a Charity tea party, poor BH was accosted by a woman peddling the Voluntary Euthanasia Society spiel. Being a gent, he couldn’t exactly walk away; and she being no lady, gave him the lot. He came home rather green round the gills and it took a large Cuba Libre to bring him round. 

My golly I wish I’d been there. VB 





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