“The thinking man’s crumpet” wants to celebrate achievements of elderly
Dubbed "the thinking man’s crumpet" in the 60s, 75-year-old broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell, as famous for her short skirts as her rapier intellect, has been appointed Britain’s "old people’s czar". The British media reminisced fondly about Dame Joan’s controversial career: her two marriages, her seven-year affair with Nobel laureate playwright Harold Pinter, her frank 2001 BBC series Taboo with its explicit sex and blasphemous gay poetry and so on.
Lost in the fog of nostalgia about the old girl’s exploits in the age of Aquarius was her call for a euthanasia debate. Dame Joan wants Parliament to "revisit" a bill proposed by Lord Joffe that would have allowed doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs for terminally ill patients.
"I don’t want people to be kept alive where in the normal course of things they would have moved to their death simply because there’s a lot of enormous machinery that can keep them pumped up and with all the organs going, when in fact their identity has really ceased to exist," she told the London Telegraph. Her advice to the elderly is to make advance directives: "I have a living will so that I’m not kept alive if I’m a vegetable because no doctor wants to pull the plug."
Dame Joan insists that she wants to "celebrate the achievements of older people" and help the middle-aged to prepare for decades of active living. "I don’t want to be the government spokesman on how government bureaucracies are betraying the old," she said. ~ London Times, Nov 9; Independent, Nov 10; London Telegraph, Nov 17
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