The mouse: âHey, you â baby, over there! Thatâs my cheese!â
The baby: âFinders keepers losers weepers, my friend.â
The mouse: âAh, come on mate. Youâve got an endless supply of milk at the drop of a tear. Youâre constantly the centre of attention and everyone around you is desperate to please you. I, on the other hand, am a tiny little rodent who lives under the cracks in the floorboards. My mum was killed by your cat last month and Iâm an orphan. That cheese is the only thing I have left to live for.â
The baby: âHmm, when you put it like that âŚâ
The mouse: âYou have an average lifespan of about 80 (well, depending on your socio-economic status), whereas Iâll, at most, live for a few months (if Iâm lucky). Not to be hard-done-by or anything, but you can see where Iâm going with this âŚâ
The baby: âWell yes, to an extent my lifespan does look rosier than yours. But if I contract something like cancer âŚâ
The mouse: âIf you contract something like cancer one of my comrades from the old days will undergo tests to ensure that you survive. In fact, theyâre busy down at the lab as we speak! I probably wonât see my poor brother again, but heâs a hero in my eyes.â
The baby: âUm, not sure if you read the paper this morning or just bit your way through it, but the latest news is that a high-profile boycott campaign is being launched by animal rights campaigners, Animal Aid. Theyâre planning to take out a series of newspaper adverts urging the public to stop giving money to four of the biggest health charities in the
The mouse: âOh âŚâ
The baby: âOh indeed. The said campaigners have released a report called âVictims of Charityâ which have highlighted charity-funded tests which caused âappalling sufferingâ to animals. And its director, Andrew Tyler, has said that âthe public do not like the idea of animals enduring great suffering to no purpose.â
The mouse: âIf you donât mind me saying so, I think thatâs both irresponsible and damaging.â
The baby: âI donât mind you saying so at all â in fact, you have just merely echoed the words of the charities and scientists who are equally appalled by whatâs going on. And as Professor Tipu Aziz, who used animals as part of his work on Alzheimerâs, said: âif you stop animal research you will stop medical progressâ. Which means, buster, my life may not be as rich as you initially anticipated.â
The mouse: âIn that case âŚ wanna share my cheese?â
Thereâs a new TV show on tonight and I canât wait to watch it! It basically films a group of teenagers travelling to
No? Donât tickle your pickle? Well then you can always tune in next week to a documentary on paedophilia. Apparently paedophiles operate unchecked in many European countries, such as
Can you imagine? The horror, the scandal, the sheer disbelief! No upstanding, respectable broadcaster in this country would ever dabble in subject matter such as this.
Apart from the BBC, that is.
Okay, theyâve had their fair share of controversy over the years. Hell, we donât even need to look further back than last Christmas, as the baby-swap storyline in Eastenders both simultaneously shook and stunned the nation, and is still reverberating now with the too-intimate-for-some scenes recently portrayed between two homosexuals.
But at some point, we must distinguish between the inherent button-pressing nature of a soap, and a real-life documentation of an event which is not even legal in this country.
Even calling it âreal-lifeâ is a bit misleading. Because this weekâs highly contentious Choosing to Die by euthanasia campaigner, Sir Terry Pratchett had about as much to do with life as Princess Diana does.
900 complaints followed the documentary, which portrayed a 71- year old motor neurone disease sufferer dying on camera after arranging the legally assisted suicide and flying to the Dignitas clinic in
You see, whilst assisted suicide is illegal in this country (and most other countries), it is very much an accepted part of the constitution in
âI was ashamed that British people had to drag themselves to
Now, despite agreeing with British law on this particular issue, my comment today is not to preach about the value of human life. Iâve read enough articles and engaged in enough debates to appreciate that there is always another side to the argument. âYou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in itâ, Atticus Finch says in To Kill a Mockingbird. And Iâm thankful every day that I cannot profess to understand the desires of someone who no longer wants to live.
However, broadcasting it on national television is another issue altogether. âWhile it might not seem fair to say that you canât show something because of what viewers theoretically might do in responseâ, the YouTube guidelines lay out, âwe draw the line at content thatâs intended to incite violence, encourages or shows dangerous or illegal activities that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death.â And if this is the protocol of an internet sensation, then why is the BBC so reluctant to adhere to the same principles?
If I wasnât so appalled by the whole thing, Iâd actually be able to appreciate the irony in the decision to broadcast the programme. You see, my main issue with Dignitas is its sheer willingness to publically normalise suicide in what is rapidly in danger of becoming âjust another clinic.â And regardless of whether or not people should be able to legally assist a loved one who has decided that living is no longer for them (which I can appreciate may well be a human-rights necessity), I donât believe that this is an act which should be glorified beyond closed doors. Engaging with a clinic to commit suicide is the most perverse action imaginable, because a clinic, of any sort, is meant to prolong life, not cut it short. So too, with the documentary. By all means, fight, plead, and campaign for the right to help another die, if thatâs really what you believe. But to publically broadcast this on national television AND potentially encourage others to follow suit is just a step too far for my liking.
Dignitas has already seen more than 1,000 foreigners travel there to die, and of those 160 were British. Does it really need any more publicity?
Itâs been a trying week for GPs, what with the not-so-glowing news reports which have been plaguing the headlines. First was the religious debacle, as a Christian GP is now left fighting for his job after suggesting a patient could find solace in Jesus. Then we were left, shocked, at the revelation that a doctor had sex with a cancer patient in her bath during a home visit after being âflatteredâ by the attention she gave him. And then, the best headline of them all: âGPs will be paid extra to tell patients they are fat.â
Now Iâm not saying that the intention behind this isnât admirable; obesity, as we all know too well, is a growing concern which must be addressed. But why doctors feel the need to be paid more for doing what should be part of their job description anyway boggles the mind.
Nevertheless, the GP-centered news reel continues to spin, with reports that nationally, 13.5 million GP appointments are missed annually, at an estimated cost to the NHS of ?180 million, and that there has been a rise in the number of parents taking their children to hospitals' accident and emergency departments for non-emergency treatments.
Speculation as to why contact hours between doctor and patient have decreased so significantly has been rife, with some suggesting that the increase could be down to a fall in the number of GPs offering an out-of-hours service. âParents have found in the last few years that accessing primary care is more difficult than previouslyâ, said president of the
But Iâm desperate to understand why and where this confusion has stemmed from. For correct me if Iâm wrong, but putting the entire weeks-worth of GP-related-news together seems to give a pretty clear picture.
A holier-than-thou attitude? An over-hyped sexual appetite? Telling your patients that theyâre fat? Itâs like THAT relationship all over again. Is it really any wonder that weâre missing our appointments?
Yes. I said it. If reports are to be believed, it would seem that GPs are becoming worse than the worst boyfriend.
So Doctor, donât take it personally. Itâs not you, itâs us. And donât worry, weâll call you.