This is the UK blog of a 34 year old man from Sussex who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last year, charting his attempts to get on with life, keep working, stay married and avoid being eaten by his Border Collie puppy.

Friday, 27 June 2008

'Positive' Discrimination

This new positive discrimination thing is puzzling to me. Even before I had MS, going for a job meant taking the risk that you weren't the best and if you were as good as another candidate, it was going to come down to subtler things like who they thought it would most productive to work with (e.g. personality, face-fitting vagaries). Then I became 'disabled' (hate that word, a ship that gets torpedoed and can't move under its own power is disabled. I am a cripple, not a ship, I haven't had 'ability' 'dissed', I've had function destroyed. Crippled, you may say...) and it all got more challenging - what could I do and who could work with me without going as patently weird as my last employer in rural Sussex?

Now it turns out that being the best person for a job won't matter. Being a white male, employers are now positively encouraged to discriminate against me. Worse, I'm married (ick!) which implies heterosexuality so no browny points there. I'm hoping, in this bizarre identity-politics employment market, that having Irish ancestry will help (+ Ethnic points!) and, perversely, being a cripple makes me a minority and thus of greater employment tokenism value (+ Pity The Disabled points). I suppose I'm dismayed because I used to want to get jobs by virtue of being the best candidate. Now I guess I'll have to get used to ticking some bureaucrat's boxes!

The really, really perverse thing in what is already a pretty twisted matter, is that Melanie Phillips makes a fairly good pass at highlighting the iniquities and illogicality of this positive discrimination malarky. And I *never* thought I'd be linking to one of her posts!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Well I've now spoken with the Dignity in Dying media director and should be doing some interviews for them soonish.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Dignity in Dying

Debbie Purdy has MS and is fighting to ensure that if she travels to Switzerland to commit suicide and her husband accompanies her, he is not prosecuted for 'assisting' a suicide. How 'accompanying' can be held to be 'assisting' is beyond me and, I hope, beyond the High Court Judges who will have to decide this case.

I expressed my support for this brave woman's case to Dignity in Dying and they have asked if I would be interested in doing some press interviews to put forwards this position. I've agreed to do a couple and to see how it goes and how everyone feels about it. I'm worried about my wife, mostly, as for rather obvious reasons she's uncomfortable with me having to contemplate suicide rather than being trapped in some shattered physical shell of a body with limited sensory input while clearly appreciating the necessity.

The idea of lobbying for it just confronts her with it in an uncomfortable way but I strongly believe that if I can do anything, anything at all, that means if I ever have to take the euthanasia option, I can travel abroad to do it and have my beloved wife with me to say goodbye without fear of her being prosecuted for 'assisting' my suicide and facing up to 14 years in prison then I have to do it.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The right to die

I don't want to die but a time may well (60% likelihood) come where I develop a progressive form of MS and head inexoribly downhill. When I can't see, can't move and can't touch, frankly, I don't want to be around. I'm not squeamish about dying, I'm, squeamish about needless suffering.

What this woman is doing is to ensure that when/if I die at a time and method of my own choosing is to ensure that my wife won't be prosecuted for saying goodbye and/or closing the door behind me, let alone for accompanying me to a more civilised nation which permits me to end my own suffering.

To hell with the Christians and other religious fanatics who'd condemn me to suffer, trapped in my own dilapidated shell of a body and/or mind, to satisfy their beliefs. Fuck them and fuck their non-existent God.