Myths are powerful.
Since I’ve been part of Justice for LB and have come to know the other individuals or families involved, I’ve been increasingly struck by the similarities between professional attitudes to the learning disabled and to the old.
Mark Nearly and Sara Ryan point out how those with learning disabilities are regarded as somehow less human, so that their rights are seen as quite OK to overlook.
Well, I’m sorry to tell all you younger folks that it’s becoming worrying similar the older you get. Fear and dread of “care” is rife amongst my age group because, like the learning disabled, we oldies tend to have, or develop, complex medical needs. Older people are also seen as not worthy of certain categories of treatment.
I’d hoped that some older campaigning groups might see it politic to join forces in supporting the learning disability lobby, but possibly active Golden Oldies are too busy making the most of their lifetime’s Indian summer, or it’s just too uncomfortable to confront the realities of being vulnerable in the UK today.
Or perhaps, at our age, we just hope to be mercifully carried off before it comes to that.
When I was young I used to be part puzzled and part amused by my elderly Irish neighbour who used to pray diligently for “a good death”.
Now I find it horrific, that decades later, my generation should do the same, not because of lack of medical knowledge or facilities, but on account of a cruel, systematic downgrading of the rights of the vulnerable to decent, humane consideration.
And it is the cynical abuse of power by the authorities charged with our “care” that induces such disillusion and despair.
I can only liken it to being thrown out of Eden after eating from the tree of knowledge.
But, in our case, the knowledge we have sadly gained is of inhumanity and naked corruption where once we had trustingly believed to find honesty and a desire to serve.