Knowing what people want for them


Richard Carvath, a “Conservative political activist” in the UK who hopes to be an MP, has written a rebarbative piece on Tony Nicklinson.

Tony Nicklinson shouldn’t have done it, you see. He was being a selfish baby doing it. Carvath knows, because he once fell off a mountain and spent weeks feeling like crap – and then got better. That’s totally comparable to Nicklinson’s life being locked in without the ability to talk and with no prospect of getting better.

Poor old Tony Nicklinson.  His wife wants to kill him, his family want to kill him, his barrister wants to kill him, the mainstream media want to kill him, the euthanasia lobby want to kill him and a vociferous mob of Twitter followers want to kill him.  It’s enough to depress anyone to the point of despair.  In a recent tweet, Cheryl Baker (yes, she of 1981 Eurovision Bucks Fizz fame) seemed to sum up the general attitude of the misguided ‘Kill Tony’ mob when she wrote: “My heart cries for Tony Nicklinson.  If he was a dog there would be no ethical or moral decision to be made, just whatever is best for him.”  But Tony is not a dog.  Tony is a human being.  Last week, thankfully, Tony failed in his attempt to change the law which serves to protect us all from murder.  The upholding of the law was applauded by champions of justice and pro-life defenders of the disabled – and rightly so.  Tony Nicklinson isn’t terminally ill; he is severely physically disabled but he is not dying; Tony has a life to live.

A horrible life, of being totally dependent, unable to do anything but watch tv, unable to scratch an itch or make a point in a conversation. He didn’t like it, and he wanted to know he could end it if it got unendurable. The fact that he wasn’t dying was part of what worried him: he didn’t want another twenty years of that emptied-out life.

The first day that I stood up after the accident was Day 33, and it was many more weeks before I was able to proceed with learning to walk again.  Wheelchairs, frames and sticks were my lot for a long time.  To be severely incapacitated for several weeks was painful, humiliating and unpleasant – but despite it all I had peace, hope, purpose and the will to live.  My memory of being completely incapacitated is such that I can reasonably claim a better insight than many able-bodied observers into what it feels like to be trapped unable to move in one’s own body.  Tony Nicklinson’s epic trial of years of paralysis is greater than my few weeks and months of incapacity, but unlike many I can claim to have had a taster of his torment, and hand-on-heart I say there is no suffering so great that it cannot be endured when we know the source of the courage to conquer our worst fears.

Sanctimonious piece of shit – he doesn’t know that, his experience isn’t comparable because he knew all along it would end soon, and in any case it’s not up to him to decide instead of the person whose life it is.

Let me make it plain: anybody who wants to kill Tony does not want to care for him.  Nobody murders another person they claim to love and are committed to caring for.  Nobody who loves and cares for a disabled person thinks or speaks in favour of putting that disabled person to death.

Okay that’s it, that makes me so angry I’m not going to read any more of it. That’s a wicked thing to say.

A bad bit of work, Richard Carvath.

Comments

  1. gregorylynn says

    A revolting piece.

    I don’t understand how someone who would no doubt abhor the idea of a government telling someone they have to die can be okay with a government telling someone they have to live.

  2. 'Tis Himself says

    A pet owners last duty to their pet is to ease suffering and let the pet die quickly and painlessly. Why is this considered a good and reasonable treatment for animals and not for humans?

  3. Randomfactor says

    Why is this considered a good and reasonable treatment for animals and not for humans?

    Because forcing animals to suffer pointlessly won’t get you any votes come election time.

  4. LeftSidePositive says

    Does this asshat even realize that Tony has agency and is a sentient being who has made his wishes known? He is acting like everyone else is making a decision FOR Tony, while showing great insensitivity to Tony himself, and what he actually wants!

  5. says

    Holy shit.

    I can’t understand Richard Carvath. I just don’t have the ability to understand how someone can go through that type of experience and have so little compassion coming out the other side. I’m not going to say trite shit like, “everything happens for a reason” or “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but I do hope that going through terrible medical problems and living with disability will, at the very least, help me to be more compassionate and empathetic. It’s the good I’m trying to take out of a very bad situation.

    I, too, have had to re-learn how to walk. I spent seven months in the hospital, had 14 surgeries during that time. I have been in bed with tubes and wires and IVs and central lines and no one knowing if I was going to live or die. I’ve wanted death, begged for death. And I learned to live with what happened and make the best of it (most days).

    But I would never, ever, use that situation to judge another person. Because, a) I fucking got better. Not totally, but how dare he judge another person who wasn’t as lucky as he was? And b) everyone handles things differently. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people’s thresholds for pain and suffering are different. And that isn’t a moral issue. Christ, only in this fucking insane society where suffering is treated as something rightous (sharing the suffering of Christ, maybe?) coupled with that goddamn “pull yourself up” mentality could a person’s inability to deal with pain and suffering be considered a moral failing. This makes me furious! I have been judged for finding certain procedures painful (“most people just say it’s a little uncomfortable; other patients don’t need pain medication for this”) and I have been used to judge others (“she doesn’t complain”). BOTH piss me off like nothing else.

    I’m having the rage shakes, now, and I better stop this before I go incoherant, but GAH. You called it, he’s a sanctimonious peice of shit.

  6. says

    He is acting like everyone else is making a decision FOR Tony, while showing great insensitivity to Tony himself, and what he actually wants!

    Exactly. It’s infuriating, especially because he’s claiming to be such a champion of the guy. I could maybe see this being relevent if it was a case where Tony was in a coma or something and his caregivers were petitioning to do what they believed Tony would want. Maybe. But when Tony is completely able to communicate his needs and desires? Christ. What a condescending asshole.

  7. Arthur says

    Richard Carvath was involved in some absurd bigoted episode earlier this year, but I can’t remember what that was.

    Fortunately, he’s a very marginal figure, who despite his ambitions, has no chance of getting elected anywhere.

  8. F says

    I can’t stand people like that. Not only does Tony suffer, he and his family must be dragged through court and the media only to be denied a basic human right. FFS.

    _OT_
    EEB
    You seem to have a very interesting blog there, but somehow the linkback in your username here is borked. (URL from the current article here is mashed up with your blog URL.)

  9. maureen.brian says

    I bet Carvath is among that army of shiny little plastic soldiers which follows David Cameron through every U-turn and which cheers every unsupported assertion he makes.

    Someone should ask him – no, I cant do it ‘cos I might kill him – why he and his mates want to take away from a huge proportion of the disabled the money which recognises the extra cost of being disabled. You know, the money which lets them live independently, run a car perhaps, which lets them work, which allows them to have friends of their very own choosing and not just the person who happens be in the next bed in the dump for unwanted humans. (I’m one so I’m allowed to say things like that about how we used to be treated.)

    I’m sure that if we took the idiot to a conveniently sited chop house and wasted a couple of good bottles on him we could persuade him to see the very sad death of Tony Nicklinson as a massive saving of public funds. Which it is but that’s beside the point.

  10. says

    Huh. It’s working for me…I don’t know what’s going on, there. I tried re-entering the URL. I am very, very bad at this sort of thing. I may not be completely computer illiterate, but I’m at maybe a fourth-grade level. ;)

    (And thanks. I don’t update near as regularly as I should, but I’m working on that. I blame facebook; where I used to write a post on something, I now do three lines and a link, and a lot more people see it. I need to get back in the habit.)

  11. says

    Oh, shit. I was wrong; it’s not working Grr. This is my last try.

    (I’m so sorry for spamming your blog, Ophelia. Please feel free to delete this. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong!)

  12. dirigible says

    All that it takes to get through unendurable, unending suffering is courage? Which means that people who…no, I can’t even…

    Tellingly, Tories fear right-to-die because they think their children will kill them to get their inheritance.

  13. Bernard Bumner says

    Let me make it plain: anybody who wants to kill Tony does not want to care for him. Nobody murders another person they claim to love and are committed to caring for. Nobody who loves and cares for a disabled person thinks or speaks in favour of putting that disabled person to death.

    There is nothing quite like smugly telling the family of desperately suffering man that you – an ignorant stranger – have more love for him than they do. What a contemptible wanker.

    His tweet on the matter of Nicklinson’s death:

    Well, the humanists’ euthanasia idol is dead. It’s no wonder they’re tweeting hysterically. Guess I’ll just get on with my life. Goodnight.

    I’m speechless.

  14. Arkady says

    What?…. I know it’s a matter of probabilities, but how often does someone get to be an adult without seeing (or knowing of) at least one relative dying from something slow and horrible? Thankfully in my family most of the cancer deaths in my memory had decent hospice care (my grandmother had terrible end-of-life care in the 70s, not even the most basic painkillers much of the time). His total lack of empathy is just… horrible.

    Like others here I’m wondering if he’s voted to support all the cuts to benefits and endless incompetant medical assessments (by private contractor ATOS) that are currently hurting the disabled in the UK. Can’t let them have the means to make life bearable and/or pleasant, but can’t allow them a way out if it becomes too painful, oh no, not the ‘Christian’ thing to do.

  15. skpoly says

    What an utterly comtemptible piece of shit Richard Carvath is. Lets just ignore everything Tony Nicklison himself actually communicated, completely misunderstand the situation and twist it to make ourselves look like heroes.

    As someone who is not (yet) disabled, I would like the right to choose when and how I die should I be in this situation. I don’t want some smug Tory prick telling me I should find Jesus.

  16. sailor1031 says

    “there is no suffering so great that it cannot be endured when we know the source of the courage to conquer our worst fears…”

    Ah yes – that mythical doG creature. The source of all compassion…if Tony Nicklinson had only opened his heart to doG he could have enjoyed his paralysed condition. He could just lie there day after day, night after night thinking about nothing except how fucking wonderful doG is, while family members washed him down, wiped him, somehow fed him and did the many little things needed to keep him alive so he could contemplate the fucking mysterious ways of doG.

  17. Niall Anderson says

    …and now I see (because I’m reading through articles in reverse chronological order), that OB had already written about this. Sorry all – maybe our gracious host could take pity on me and delete all of the above?

  18. Arkady says

    *Correction from my earlier comment: in skimming too quickly I thought it said he was an MP, rather than an MP-hopeful who managed a grand total of 384 votes the last time he stood in an election. Obviously means he’s not voting in parliament on benefit cuts to the disabled.

    The lack of empathy and basic humanity still stands however. I notice on his twitter feed that he’s calling himself a capital-C Conservative, is is actually a member of the party? If he is, there could be some recourse to pointing out to Conservative party HQ just how unpleasant this guy is and asking if they want to distance themselves from this…

  19. Matt Penfold says

    Near speechless. There is a reason the Tories are known as The Nasty Party.

    In this case the Tories are in the clear. He is no longer a member of the party, and they will not allow him to re-join, although that might be because he stood as an independent in the last general election. He even got expelled from the right-wing Conservative Christian Fellowship.

  20. interrobang says

    He’s got it completely and factually backwards. Nobody wanted to kill Nicklinson, Nicklinson wanted to die. Just because Nicklinson had the support of a lawyer and of his own wife and family doesn’t mean that they were actively gunning for him; it was Nicklinson’s decision all along.

    Of course, this asshat probably feels that Nicklinson should have been force-fed after refusing to eat (which is about the one act of agency he did have left), and that his supporters are now culpable.

    Grrrr…

  21. catwhisperer says

    I heard someone spout this kind of crap on a radio phone-in on the weekend. She started badly – “For a predominantly christian country we don’t pay enough attention to the 10 commandments” – then got a bit vague before wandering down the road of “I can’t understand why nurses and doctors and his family don’t want to care for him and make his life as good as it can be”. The radio presenter said something to the effect of “it’s not those people wanting to kill him, it’s a choice that he wants to be able to make for himself” and she went even more vague, to the point that I almost laughed because it sounded like she was going to change her mind live on air. The she said this:

    “oh, well… if that’s how he really feels, then he’ll just have to stop eating”

    Disgusting fucking evil heartless… I just don’t have words.

  22. catwhisperer says

    Oh and the other thing that made me wince: Anti-euthanasia campaign groups responding to his death with (something very close to) “Although we were opposed to his ideas, we are saddened by his death”

    Yeah well, you wanted him to live another 20 years and be bloody grateful for it didn’t you.

  23. Lyanna says

    Utterly revolting, but utterly typical. I once saw an arch-conservative half-mad Catholic decry Hilary Swank’s “cowardly” suicide in Million Dollar Baby. They are unimaginative, cruel vultures.

    Why it is more cowardly to face death than to cling desperately to life as a vegetable, I cannot say.

  24. Me says

    “I don’t understand how someone who would no doubt abhor the idea of a government telling someone they have to die can be okay with a government telling someone they have to live.”

    That’s just it- he’s a death penalty advocate. So he doesn’t have a problem with the government telling someone they have to die, or that they have to live- it’s not life itself that he’s concerned with, its a person’s right to decide for themselves if they want to live or not that he has a problem with. He’s a sadistic control freak, not a pro-life activist.

  25. a miasma of incandescent plasma says

    hand-on-heart I say there is no suffering so great that it cannot be endured when we know the source of the courage to conquer our worst fears.

    If the source is god, it’s the source of the suffering, too.
    If the source is ourselves, then let us all have the autonomy to act in the source’s best interest.

  26. F says

    OT to EEB

    No, you did fix it, whatever it was. As of post 15.
    (The links are obviously statically embedded after being dynamically generated. They don’t change retroactively like the username or avatar.)

    Apologies again for the OT. Kill me if you must, I’d understand and respect that.

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