"I want to make sure that my government always looks after the elderly, the frail, the poorest in our country"
David Cameron, October 2010
The Supreme Court have made a decision in the case of Elaine McDonald a former principal ballerina in the Scottish Ballet. The legal arguments are varied but centre around whether there was a fair review of care conducted, whether the decision infringed Ms McDonald's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and whether there was a breach of section 21 and 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) (now superseded by Equality Act 2010)
On a 4-1 majority the Supreme Court have dismissed Ms McDonald's appeal. Whilst the legal principles are important, for most of us they aren't relevant. The crux of this issue is very simple.
"What do we, as a society, think is an acceptable way to treat our elderly people, our disabled people, our sick people?"
The answer from the courts is damning to us all. It says that as a country we find it acceptable to leave our elderly people, our disabled people, our sick people lying in their own piss. All night. Even when that person is not incontinent and only requires a few moments assistance from another person to ensure their dignity and comfort.
Is this what we want for our mothers and fathers? Is it what we want for our grandparents? For a generation who fought for all our freedoms? Is this what we want for ourselves? Even if you don't really care about sick or disabled people one day we will all be old. We will all be vulnerable. We will all learn the lessons of powerlessness, of how it feels to have our lives held in an uncaring hand. When that time comes for you, do you really want to be left in your own urine. All night. Every night. Until you die?