I gather Newsnight will include discussion of assisted suicide tonight. Alison Davis, who I've got to know through my book, and her carer Colin, will be on. She has a remarkable story. She wrote about it after the Lynn Gilderdale case in a letter to the Independent:
'I use a wheelchair full-time, having spina bifida, hydrocephalus, emphysema, osteoporosis and arthritis. Like Lynn, I desperately wanted a child, and had to come to terms with the knowledge that I never would. I have severe pain every day, and, as with Lynn, morphine doesn't always alleviate it. I also have crushed and fractured vertebra, caused by my osteoporotic bones, which means additional pain. Typing this causes even more pain, due to arthritis in my fingers, wrists and elbows. But writing this letter is important, despite the pain.
'Twenty-five years ago, I, like Lynn, decided I wanted to die, a settled and entirely competent death wish that lasted for 10 years. During those years I attempted suicide more than once. On the occasion I best remember, I was treated against my will by doctors, who saved my life. Then, I was very angry with the doctors who saved my life, but now I'm extremely grateful. Yet because of the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act, and the Director of Public Prosecutions' new guidelines, if similar circumstances obtained now, I would be left to die.
'Had someone taken the apparently "common sense, decent and humane" decision to end my life all those years ago, no doubt a jury would also have given my "helper" a conditional discharge, if that.
'But I would actually have missed the best years of my life, notwithstanding pain that is worse now than it was when I wanted to die. No one would ever have known that the future held something better for me, not in terms of physical ability, but in terms of support and the love of friends who refused to accept my view that my life was "over".'
I've never met Alison, but I look forward to seeing her tonight at 10.30, on BBC2.