Iain Dale's Diary used to be the blog which some of us LibDems read avidly to disagree with. I don't bother with him anymore as his credibility has evaporated and he has become a self-parody. Perhaps he will get better after July 19th.
So the Norfolk Blogger now seems to be fulfilling the role of the blog you read avidly to disagree with. Bless him. It's so much nicer for this role to be performed in-house.
Making organ donation after death an "opt-out" rather than an "opt-in" procedure is practised in many countries. Stephen Pound MP made a very sound case for it last night on Radio Four's PM. But it is fundamentally illiberal. It means that the state owns your body upon death and can remove organs from it. The idea that someone may be too embarrassed or too busy to fill out an exemption form, then die, then their relatives see their body "carted off" by the state, is disgusting.
Britain has one of the highest family refusal rates for organ donation of 47%. A presumed consent system is an insufferably blunt instrument to override that current "spur of the moment/after the death of a loved one" resistance. But:
John Oliver, of UK Transplant, the organisation that oversees organ donation, said: “Britain’s high relative refusal rate is the single biggest barrier to more lives being saved. Four out of ten people identified as suitable donors do not go on to donate because their relatives refuse. One of the main reasons is because the family, at a traumatic time, say they have never discussed it.”
Perhaps we have some work to do, to break down the taboo here before introducing draconian measures?
And don't go round waving the shrouds of 1,000 people a year to get this through chaps! My son died and we would have loved to have given his organs, but none of the medical staff brought it up. (When we brought it up I seem to remember it was explained that organ donation wasn't possible due to the need for a post-mortem, which is a shame because it didn't need a genius to work out that my son had died from Meningitis.) There should be more asking about organ donation by medical staff and more encouragement of discussion amongst families before death.
I've been there holding a loved one's dead body - actually giving their organs strikes you as a wonderful way of making some sense of their death. But if you've never discussed it with the deceased I suspect you don't want to presume what they would have said on the subject.
Only 25% of people carry a donor card in this country. The rate is 44% in Holland, which suggests there is great scope for improving our card carrying rate without bullying. More asking and more advertising, more pushing and more discussion of the card system is needed, not an illiberal and repellent practice.
And its nothing to do with religion! Opt-out organ donation is immoral.
PS. I have carried an organ donation card for seven years. But then, I am an anorak and take care over these things.