Posts tagged ‘Anne Milton’

Street Theatre

There has been some reportage, and blog coverage, recently of remarks made by Public Health Minister Anne Milton.

As said Minister was last seen on this blog looking longingly at your organs I thought I’d investigate and see how she’d managed to put her foot into it this time.

The answer, somewhat surprisingly, is that she didn’t. At least not to any great extent. Her remarks came in a Westminster Hall debate on May 3rd on the subject of Childhood Obesity at which she, as Minister responsible, was present to respond. Towards the end of her response she talked about her recent junket to the World Health Organisation sponsored ‘First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Noncommunicable Diseases’ held in Moscow on the 28th and 29th April.

Passing over such questions as how noncommunicable diseases and healthy lifestyles are in any way related and why politicians feel the need to have an international conference on the subject (further documentation is available online for those who are interested) the comments in question are these:

…the Minister of Health for Columbia talked about a scheme they have there. On Sundays they close certain streets so that everybody can play in them. That is an outstanding idea. Before constituents e-mail to complain about their streets closing, I should say that I accept it would not work everywhere. It could, however, work in some places.

And that was it. A silly, unenforceable and completely impractical idea to be sure but hardly a proposal or anything binding. Certainly nothing worth getting overly excited about.

No, the real revelation, although it seemed to pass unnoticed by hacks who either don’t care or can’t be bothered to report anything beyond trivia, came earlier on in her remarks when she said, on the subject of food labelling:

The regulations surrounding front-of-pack labelling are an EU competence.

A government minster for once admitting that an issue is out of their hands? We can applaud, for once, some honesty by a politician in admitting that, as a result of the actions of all governments and Prime Ministers since 1972, they have surrendered their ability to set policy in at least one area to their masters in Brussels. Now all they have to do is admit everything else that they and their predecessors have given up.

Even if they do, what are the chances of the MSM reporting it rather than some piece of trivia?

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

Charity begins at…? Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, the Government’s spirit of giving seems to be in full swing this festive season. Not content with our money, it is after our bodies as well.

Yes, all right, before the howls of anguish start, I am being slightly dramatic.

Anyone who has had to fill in a D1 form to obtain a new or alter details on their existing driving licence will be aware that for quite some time now there has been a section to allow you to indicate that you would like to join the organ donor register. Completion of this section has been entirely voluntary.

But not any longer – or not after July 1st anyway. The Public Health minister, Anne Milton, has announced (news report only I’m afraid, I haven’t been able to find her actual statement) that from then on anyone filling out the form will have to indicate one of the following responses:

  • Yes I would like register on the NHS Organ Donor Register;
  • I do not want to answer this question now;
  • or I am already registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

It might not seem like much of a change, indeed the second answer is perhaps much the same as skipping over the section completely. The problem is that this change is forcing people to give a government mandated answer – and there isn’t a ‘No’ option. My organs are my property and it is up to me what I do with them, not for the state to reduce my say in the matter to a choice of “yes; already have done; ask me again later”.

It isn’t even a one time answer. Legally one has to notify the DVLA of every change of address as well as renewing the photo card portion of the licence every 10 years and then there is every extension when you get past 70. Each time the state gets to nag you again. Each time the question and the possible answers may change. How long before mission creep means that every person who wants a driving licence is automatically enrolled on the organ donor register?

Over the top? Not really. The likes of the BHF would like to see organ donation become an opt-out thing where everyone is included unless they say otherwise. That to me is tantamount to an organisation declaring that it owns your body unless you choose to take that ownership back and is completely unacceptable. The choice should always be mine to make. Anything else is unacceptable force by an outside agency and should be opposed.

And before anyone complains, I am not against organ donation. I am simply against the idea of someone else making the decision for me.