Maggie Barry – Trust Her, She’s Always Right

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 | 6 Comments

It’s an interesting contradiction that never seems to get fully explored; why it is that politicians of the Left are the ones that get hit with the “nanny state” label, when it is so often the politicians of the Right that like to tell the citizenry what is best for them.

Mazza Barry - omnipotence just comes naturally to some

Take the latest example from the increasingly unlikeable Maggie Barry. Maggie has decided that she really knows what is best for people with incurable illnesses, and that no matter what their circumstances, her will shall rule.

Perhaps they’re not aware of the excellent palliative care that’s available to them, she opines. A nice nurse, some fun sing-alongs and room with a view of some trees goes a long way to taking the edge of not being able to move or speak or communicate (except with your eyelids).

This is exactly the situation Tony Nicklinson finds himself in. A UK man with Locked In Syndrome, he has recently lost an appeal to allow him to be assisted to die. Unlike many in his situation, Tony is compis mentis, and can communicate via blinking. He has described his plight as “a living nightmare.” On hearing of his declined appeal, he issued a statement; “I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery.”

But no! Mate, you need to have a chat to Maggie; she’ll tell you all about the great palliative care her mum and dad got at the Mary Potter Hospice. Coloured straws for the intravenous food, special beds that go up and down, and a little buzzer that calls the nurses 24/7. You just need to pull yourself together, perhaps stop feeling a bit too sorry for yourself, and join in the social activities that these hospice people go to great trouble to organise!

In fact Maggie is so convinced she knows better than these people, she is initiating a campaign to ensure she gets her way. “You can’t have people being helped to die” I can her saying. “If you did, everybody would want to”  – that other great conservative catch-cry, based upon the assumption that the masses are poised to demand more of your share, given the chance.

If there is ever a case of the nanny state overstepping into individual rights, surely this is it.

Unless of course, like Mazza Bazza, you’re a bit Tory, you know what’s normal, and you just know you’re right.


  1. Pistol Pete says:

    It’s an extremely salient point that Tories are fond of attacking the “nanny” state but can’t help themselves when in power from telling others, usually those in a struggle to survive, what is good for them and what they need to do to retrieve their circumstances – usually pulling themselves together and them pulling themselves up by the bootlaces.
    Sarcasm, mockery, irony, disdain, scorn are the tools of political commentary and you, Speckie, use them well. Keep it up.

  2. Pete says:

    Wow – some warped logic here Ed.
    Maggie Barry takes a stand opposing a proposed bill that creates a right to assist someone to die.
    The Speculator publishes a vitriolic personal attack on Ms Barry for doing so, and that attack contains statements which clearly support Tony Nicklinson’s claim to have a right to such assistance.
    But you say the article does not take a position on the euthanasia debate? Get real.
    As regards Chris’s comment. Anyone is allowed to die, whether their affairs are in order or not – suicide is not a crime. Nor is allowing “the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness”. What we are talking about is the right for someone to kill another person.

    Now come on Pete; the English language provides enormous resources to communicate vitriol; “increasingly unlikeable” hardly features among them.

    Once again, The Speculator has no position on Euthanasia, because – which is kind of the point of the article – it believes it is impossible to have a position on an “issue” which covers so many permutations. That Mazza thinks her experience with her parents in palliative care gives her insight into Mr Nicklinson’s situation (this can be inferred from her unequivocal opposition to all cases of mercy killing) demonstrates the simplicity and casual callousness of her position, which, if implemented, cannot help but inflict misery on other people. – Ed

  3. Ruth says:

    Dear Speccy
    I dont know who you aree and you have ignored my last attempt to connect….
    But there is a real issue of interest to Devonport – we are being force fed a set of hideous, and enormous exotic trees in Cambria reserve by theAC’s arborist. We have been told by the local Board (we made a submission at the last meetig) that there is not a lot they can do – the “discretionary money ” has to be spent!. neighbours are outraged at the user unfriendly monkey puzzle trees, tipuarias, and bunya bunya pin, all no native and all grow to 40 m.

    Derek Brickell is organising community response at 3pm on Monbdat (4451082) – he has the kindergarten lined up, dog walkers etc etc.
    Please call him – and see if there is a w ay to get crowds there.
    Many thanks

  4. Pete says:

    It’s an interesting contradiction that never seems to get fully explored; why it is that some bloggers attempt to turn every debate into a conflict between the “Left” and the “Right” and categorise the view that they oppose to belong to the whichever grouping they oppose.
    Clearly, the Speculator knows he is normal and right to support providing someone with the right to medical assistance to die.
    Many others are less certain, and very few countries (whether governed by the Left or the Right) have legislated to create such a right.
    So perhaps the question is a little more nuanced than the Speculator acknowledges, and a sensible debate would be helpful than sarcasm – undoubtedly the lowest form of wit when commenting on people in the situation of Tony Nicklinson or Maggie’s mum.
    If the Speculator offers to open the paper to a sensible debate, I am sure many people would have useful, and more intelligent, comments on the subject.

    To be fair to The Speculator, it doesn’t take a position on the euthanasia debate in this article, so your accusation regarding it believing it to be “normal and right” is mis-directed. Nor does it take a position on the Left/Right spectrum. The article is more about a) the irritating tendency of people with too little knowledge and too much power deciding what is good for others and b) the vacuous nature of debates framed within a Left/Right spectrum. – Ed

  5. Cathy Miller says:

    After reading the this I watched the video your story line links to and it does make poignant viewing, however I found the sarcastic tone and trivialising manner of your story dealing about this topic disappointing. All it does is criticize Maggie Barry and belittle palliative care. It does not contribute anything helpful to this important topic.

    Interestingly the story holds that Tony wants to kill himself “with the aid of his doctor” rather than with the aid of a sympathetic family member or friend. Why is this so I wonder?

    Having been a doctor for over 30 years I have often wondered why the public have never considered whether doctors are actually willing to kill others, and have never asked the opinion of doctors when framing up pro euthanasia legislation. The assumption is overtly made that if euthanasia is made legal then we must start to train medical students to kill.

    Doctors may feel uncomfortable about this expectation. The British Medical Association holds that this is unethical, as does the World Medical Association, which says “Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.”

    Would you be willing to help someone kill themselves? If the answer is yes, then I challenge you to write in favour of a law that non-doctors do the killing if euthanasia is legalised? If the answer is no then what right have you and others to ask doctors to do this?

    Cathy – The Speculator deliberately did not take a position on the Euthanasia debate; the article was about the dangers of those in power deciding for other people what their needs are.

    Like anything, palliative care can have tremendous benefits in certain situations and be completely inapplicable in others. The article is referring to a situation that falls into the latter category. – Ed

  6. Chris says:

    If someone’s affairs are in order and isn’t going to leave behind a whole load of problems for other people then why the hell shouldn’t they be allowed to die!?! What business is it of anybody else’s? Mazza, just another self serving useless politician.

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