Past Posts...

Creeping Towards Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism does not arise spontaneously. It arrives instead by a series of steps, each one small enough; and, like the journey of a thousand miles that begins with a single step, many small steps can take us a long way from home; until one day we arrive in a strange world where the pigs walk on two legs, all are equal, but some more so that others, and the clocks strike thirteen.

One of the tenets of totalitarianism is the central importance of the State, and it is but a short step from that central importance to move towards notions of enemies of the State, and so to traitors in our midst. And so it is that the machinery of totalitarianism seeks to know the each and every detail about the lives of each and every one of us, lest we be the traitor in the midst. We move from a liberal default position of trust, to one of mistrust, and then distrust. No one can be trusted at face value; only the State can collect the data and decide who is trustworthy and, who is not.

A Year and a Day

Today is St Valentine’s day. It is also, by coincidence, the first anniversary of Dr No’s first post – a frivolous piece that borrowed from the wonderful Peter Cook, posted in the main to verify the site was live. A summer of distractions followed, and it was only in August that Dr No went public, with The Peter Squared Principle. Other bloggers were kind enough to link to Bad Medicine, even if the wise and sage Witch Doctor noticed the erratic posting history, and asked very reasonably ‘is he only going to be a blogger on heydays and holidays’?

Well, six months on the answer is plain for all to see. Dr No now posts regularly. And, as befits an anniversary, he finds himself reflecting on the past, and looking into the future. Whichever way he looks, he sees three dominating themes that have and will continue to exercise him. They are the Big Themes, and all carry a threat of very very Bad Medicine.

Frankie Goes to Holloway

The trouble with love is that it can cover a multitude of sins.

No doubt a number of the catholic priests who abuse little boys believe they have ‘love in their heart’. Those that do not have cynically used the love of the Mother Church to mask their obscene acts. Where better for those with sin in their heart to hide than under the cloak of the priesthood?

And as in priesthood, so in parenthood. Not all parents will have the best interests of their children at heart. Some will be misguided, others more sinister in their intent. And what better mask for such a parent than a plea of ‘love in the heart’?

Killing with ‘love in the heart’

Towards the end of Disney’s The Jungle Book, there is a climactic fight between the tiger Shere Khan, and Baloo the bear, who is protecting Mowgli from the tiger’s claws. The bear is no match for the tiger, and soon lies stricken on the jungle floor; only Mowgli’s use of man’s great secret, fire, causes the tiger to flee. But it is too late to save Baloo. A wise and consoling Bagheera comforts the grieving Mowgli, and sings a song of valedictory praise to Baloo’s greatness. Only, Baloo isn’t dead. Unlike Bagheera and Mowgli, we see the bear’s eyes open, and hear his mumbling delight at his own magnificence (“…he’s crackin’ me up…I wish my mother could’ve heard this…”). As the panther draws to a close, and he and Mowgli start to leave, Baloo suddenly looks up and calls out: “Hey! Don’t stop now Baggy, you’re doing great! There’s more - lots more!”

Assisted Suicide: Calling Spartacus

There’s nowt so queer as folk. We expect Scousers’ ‘mawkish sentimentality’; and the red-tops to bleed for mothers who kill ‘with love in their heart’. But what we do not expect – well Dr No did not expect – was a doctor going online with an account of how he too assisted suicide with a “secret gift to a dying friend’ and had ‘never for a moment regretted’ his actions.

Assisted Suicide and The Law

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, looks a beefy sort of chap. He’s going to need to be, because he’s the one with his finger in the dyke.

Until last year, the law in England on homicide and suicide was clear. Homicide – the killing by one human being of another human being – is, except in a small number of clearly defined cases, a crime - murder (requires intent) or manslaughter. The related crime of attempted murder is just that – an attempt to murder. Killing oneself – suicide - was decriminalised by the Suicide Act 1961, although assisting – aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring - a suicide, remains a criminal act.

Withered on the Vine

Killing, it seems, is an idea whose time has come. Hot on the heels of the Inglis and Gilderdale cases, we have seen veritable death-fest. The celebrities have been wheeled out in force. Sir Terry Hatchett this morning called for suicide tribunals, and will tonight deliver his Richard Dimbleby Lecture ‘Shaking Hands with Death’ from – Dr No kids you not – The Royal College of Physicians. Only last week, Martin Amis – whose bad breath is said to be capable of assisting suicide at twenty paces – warned of a ‘silver tsunami’, and a need for euthanasia booths on every street corner.

Why Barton Didn’t Go for a Burton

The Barton case may well come to be remembered as the one in which the General Medical Council lit the fuse of its own destruction. But the fuse that has been lit is not the one that appears to have been lit.

Unlike the Gosport relatives of Barton’s victims, and the multitude of commentators on the web, and in the press, Dr No does not think that GMC stands for ‘Gross Medical Cover-up’. He does not think this is a simple case of a profession looking after its own.

Sure, there are doctors involved. But this is not about doctors protecting doctors. It is something infinitely more troubling. It is The Establishment looking after The Establishment.

The XX Factor

Were it not for the genuinely sad nature of the case, the last few hours of Lynn Gilderdale’s life could almost have about it the air of a grotesque Benny Hill sketch. In a surreal speeded up video, complete with that memorable theme tune, one might see Kay Gilderdale rushing around their home, searching out pills and potions, furious grinding in pestle and mortar, frantic googling, over-size syringes full of air…

…and all in very bad taste, Dr No fully agrees. But sometimes he wonders whether it isn’t necessary to look a little harder at the current wave of mother-love hysteria that has risen on the back of the Inglis and Gilderdale trials for murder and attempted murder of their respective children.

Transactional Euthanasia

Thomas Harris, in his popular account of transactional analysis ‘I’m OK–You’re OK’, describes a toxic life position known as ‘I’m OK–You’re not OK’. How long, Dr No wonders, will it be before the current spate of ‘mercy’ killings mutate via ‘I’m not OK–You’re not OK’ to ‘I’m not OK–You’re Dead’ and then ‘I’m OK–You’re Dead’?

Make no mistake, Dr No has every sympathy with mothers like Frances Inglis, and the appalling predicament they find themselves in. But he also sees creep at work. And creep is nasty, sinister, very sinister…

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