A couple of years ago I contacted Holland’s top pro-euthanasia organisation. Our House of Lords looks likely to approve a bill legalising euthanasia here, I told them. ‘Very exciting!’ came the reply.
Next month Parliament will again be discussing ‘assisted dying’, and although the tone of the British debate is not yet quite like the Dutch one, a shift in tone has undoubtedly occurred. In the past few years euthanasia has been renamed ‘assisted dying’ and become part of the ‘progressive’ cause. As two assisted dying bills, including Lord Falconer’s, come back to Parliament, the onus seems to have moved away from supporters having to explain why people should be killed before nature takes its often-ugly course on to opponents of euthanasia explaining why they could conceivably wish to prolong anybody’s suffering. As Dignity in Dying puts it in one of their advertisements, this is about letting people safely control ‘the manner and timing of their death’.