Thursday, November 30, 2017

Well done, Victoria!

After a rumoured 100 hours of debate, both Houses of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia, have now adopted an End-of-Life Choice Bill to come into effect by 2019.

That's a huge result for this part of the world. Now we need to see how the David Seymour bill will go in the next Parliamentary term in New Zealand.

However, it is depressing to see the amount of discussion that this issue evokes. Even more depressing is that there is nothing new to be said. At a public meeting with our local electorate MP recently, I heard him trot out one or two of the risks associated with this kind of legislation as though they had never been considered. The meeting was Grey Power oldies and they didn't take too kindly to his naive and ill-informed comments.

But there was progress. A few months ago, he had declared on national TV that he hadn't made up his mind. At this meeting, when asked, he said that he had reached a point of view. As a lifelong Catholic, he was now personally against any form of shortening life. But, he said, he would "poll" his electorate when the Parliamentary vote was coming up and he would vote , not according to his conscience, but in the direction indicated by his constituents.

Funnily enough, that's exactly what every one of half a dozen candidates for Parliament said when asked for their personal views a few months ago by the same Grey Power members. But not one candidate described how they would organise this "poll". None assured us such a poll would be properly managed by a reputable profession firm. None even thought to mention that their poll would not be limited to members of their own party, or their own church or other easily accessible group. Sounds like a cop-out to me...

I'm pleased that our MP has now reached a point of conviction he can own up to in public. I don't share his view but I respect it. I certainly won't seek an audience with him to try to change his views.  And, personally, I would be happy for him to vote according to his conscience and not according to some mish-mash of a poll that might or might not represent the wide range of public opinion in any electorate.

I just want to see some action in response to the declared wishes of the vast majority of the population over several professionally managed opinion polls over a decade or more. Let's get on with the vote.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Literary Adventure with Parkinson's Disease?

Some time ago I made a commitment that I would not start another major project that might put me under pressure to finish before my Use By date was up. However, my Oncologist's challenge to do something worthwhile if I could enjoy another year of good quality of life has, in part, dropped me into another fairly large project.

One of our Village residents has recently prepared a substantial paper on a self-help regime that she and her husband worked on after his diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. They have experienced some remarkable developments and she has recorded their story in considerable detail. Her draft has received some significant commendations from professional people in the field. She has now come to me for some suggestions about how her story could be told.

We're first going to spend a little looking at what she's written and how it might be re-shaped to help other couples experiencing this condition. Certainly, my interest has been piqued. One can't help but be inspired by her passion. It looks as if we are going to be travelling an interesting road over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

On the bus this morning

Image result for at metro bus orewa
This morning I took a free bus ride to Orewa to return a library book (Anne Salmond’s “Tears of Rangi”, an amazing and powerful account of “experiments across worlds” in our tentative bicultural journey in this country). To take the car would cost about 90c in electricity and that seemed extravagant and unnecessary.

Waiting at the bus stop for the return trip, two of us were extravagantly blessed by a long-haired, bearded, barefoot, not very kempt fellow, who from three metres away wished us a very cordial and enthusiastic good day “following in the steps of Jesus”. When he came by again I asked him to what part of the various flocks of Jesus did he belong. “Oh, just the Jesus Way”, he said. Now, as a progressive Christian, I should have been satisfied enough to hear that.

But I still followed him onto the bus and sat beside him, leaving about 42 seats for the other three passengers. I invited him to talk a little more about his faith and way of life but there was nothing forthcoming. I ventured a few thoughts of my own but he remained non-committal. I introduced myself as a retired minister but on reflection I guess that was never likely to help.

I don’t know what I expected. But I guess I hoped he had something more to share than just the passing catchphrase, no matter how elegant...