Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on big boozers, politicians' promises and where will euthanasia lead?

Peter Rhodes on big boozers, politicians' promises and where will euthanasia lead?

Lucky Willy?

With relatives like these, who needs enemies? Mike Tindall has let it be known that he calls Prince William “One Pint Willy” because “he is not the best of drinkers.”

But then Tindall is probably basing his view of what makes a good drinker on his own rugby-club lifestyle where a man's proudest boast is that he can drink industrial quantities of alcohol without getting drunk. To which the rest of us respond: then what's the point?

Imagine having a constitution so hardened by booze that it takes a dozen pints before you begin to feel tipsy. How many drinks does it take for Mike Tindall to reach the pleasantly-squiffy stage that the heir to the throne achieves with just a single pint?

“One Pint Willy?” Wouldn't “Lucky Willy” be more accurate?

Dame Esther Rantzen, facing death from lung cancer, says she may end her own life at the Dignitas clinic. The old debate reopens: should assisted suicide be legalised? If the answer, ratified by Parliament and / or the people is “yes,” then so be it – so long as we are prepared for the consequences. Whenever euthanasia is allowed, it comes with the promise that it will apply only in cases of terminal and unbearable pain. And then the rules are relaxed until the yardstick “unbearable pain” becomes “looking a bit peaky.”

Canada took the step seven years ago, expecting euthanasia to be a rare, last-ditch option for desperate patients and their families. But the law was widened to include those with serious and chronic physical conditions, even if not life-threatening. Last year more than 13,000 Canadians had medically-assisted deaths – more than four per cent of all deaths in Canada. With legalised euthanasia, how would people die? Like flies.

Whitehall says it is taking “extremely seriously” the threat of Artificial Intelligence “deep fakes” influencing the next General Election. And not before time. AI has evolved to the stage where nothing we see or hear on TV, radio or mobile can be taken at face value. From this moment forth we cannot believe any promise made by any politician in any election. Whereas in the past . . .