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Cruel to be kind, or premature murder?

Proposed "right-to-die" law favours Surrey

A proposed scheme that would help dementia sufferers to end their lives might lift Surrey out of the doldrums. Baroness Marjorie Warrington created a stir last week when she argued that dementia sufferers should be granted the right to die.

The proposal which included the recommendation that a County Cricket euthanasia pilot project be trialled next spring has been criticised by seventeen of the eighteen first-class counties in England and Wales - Surrey are alone in lending support.

Their enthusiasm is understandable given that the Baroness chose to limit the Club's involvement in the experiment to that of a "control" county for the purpose of comparative analysis. In other words, Surrey will be the only side in which players will not be able to express or imply their wish to die.

Equally unpopular is Lady Warrington's simplified approach to establishing dementia, determining societal burden, and possessing sufficient mental competence to choose to die.

The ethicist claims that the recently introduced Mental Capacity Act empowers opposition supporters to make key euthanasia decisions, including the ability to establish implied consent in instances where cricketers would prefer to die but are unable to convey their true intentions due to mental incapacity.

picture of an assisted suicide
The Baroness insists that assisted suicide has become a sensible option due to recent advances in mercy killing methods.

"Families, friends, supporters, and team mates are too emotionally involved to make important decisions like this. Quite clearly it is the card-carrying members from opposing counties who are far more likely to objectively determine when a cricketer's mental state has deteriorated so badly that they deserve compassionate release.

But she warned: "Some people will ignore a cry for help out of fear of being stigmatised. In extreme circumstances members might even fail to attend a game on their home ground if for arguments sake they are in the process of organising assisted suicide for the away team's leading run scorer. Or perhaps it's early May and they recently euthanized the team's best seamer. For this reason anonymous reporting of implied consent is fundamental to the success of the programme".

But most of the counties have reacted angrily to the proposal.

One unnamed county official said "I wish I could believe that this is about tackling mental illness. I have endured the pain of watching two of my children suffer from what is probably dementia and I confess there are times when I would love to fill out a form and leave the rest to the experts.

"But this is different. The Baroness is a Surrey supporter and this is little more than a plot to improve the Clubs faded fortunes by decimating the opposition. We are probably one of the mentally soundest teams about yet if this proposal is implemented, we stand to lose as many as four players who are suffering from the onset of dementia.

"We have a batsman who gave money to Comic Relief, another who thinks Katy Brand is funny, a wicket-keeper who has started to show his wife affection, and a captain who voluntarily recycles household waste.

"Imagine if there was a new outbreak of the plague epidemic and every Championship team aside from Surrey was contaminated. That is what the effect would be like. Quite simply Surrey would dominate the competition for decades".