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Peter Rhodes on 'death with dignity'

Peter Rhodes | Published:

IN this Caribbean storm season, a reader points out the spread of the American way of pronouncing "hurricane" as "hurricayne." The traditional British pronunciation is "hurricun." There was a time when, thanks to the race memory of warfare, every schoolboy got it right. But how many kids these days have heard of the Hawker Hurricane?

Medal worthy?

THE bereaved of Grenfell Tower are said to be clamouring for individual prosecutions for manslaughter, not just corporate-manslaughter charges. They want people to be named, shamed and jailed. Be careful what you wish for. On the night of the inferno, firefighters raced into danger, putting their lives on the line for the sake of others. They were heroes. And yet the assessment of the tower-block cladding before the fire was done, in part, by firefighters. Does anybody really want today's heroes to be tomorrow's defendants?

WHITEHALL is debating whether to award medals to RAF "pilots" who destroy terrorist targets flying Predator drones from 2,000 miles away in the UK. Their work may be vital but it hardly fits the citation of courage "in the face of the enemy." In any case, in these turbulent times, who in their right mind would want to wear a medal telling the world he (or she) took out Islamic State's finest? You'd have to be braver wearing the medal than winning it.

A READER poses this question. Why is it that drivers with no insurance have their vehicles seized by police but people using mobile phones do not? I can't help feeling that having to complete your journey by taxi and pay a few hundred quid to recover your vehicle might make the point that using a mobile is about as socially acceptable as driving while drunk.

AN end is in sight to all those agonising, drawn-out court hearings to decide whether a terminally ill person should be allowed to die with dignity. In a landmark ruling in the Court of Protection, Mr Justice Peter Jackson says that, so long as doctors and relatives are in agreement, there is no need for "judicial authorisation." You may see this as a great leap forward for common humanity. But then look at the details of the case behind this ruling. It involved a "minimally conscious" patient aged 50 in the final stages of Huntington's disease. A judge gave permission for all nutrition and water to be stopped and this was done on July 24. The patient took until August 4 to die. Is there really much dignity in allowing someone, even while unconscious, to die slowly of malnutrition and dehydration? It would be unthinkable to treat a dog or cat in such a way. Would it not be more humane, once the decision has been made, to administer a painless lethal injection? If I am ever in that position, it is what I would want, and I bet you would, too.

A TEACHER in Kent resigned after being accused of inventing a sick partner in order to get time off work. It makes you wonder how many ailing relatives, invoked for compassionate leave, actually exist. Does anyone check? If I remember rightly, in Peter Kay's comedy Car Share, Kayleigh (Sian Gibson) admits having attended her granddad's funeral three times.

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