Cost of everything, value of nothing

Picture of Celyn Vincent, a young girl with severe cerebral palsyYesterday, I listened to a discussion on Radio 5 (the Victoria Derbyshire show) featuring Riven Vincent, the mother of a disabled daughter who challenged David Cameron on Mumsnet and then said she was planning to put the daughter into care as she was finding it difficult to cope. A number of other disabled people and carers were involved, but there was also someone called Claire who said that, essentially, children like Riven’s daughter Celyn should not have been born or should be abandoned, as they are a burden on the taxpayer and on their brothers and sisters. Other callers were outraged, with one asking her if she was related to Hitler, but most said she had a right to freedom of speech. (You can listen to it here for the next week.)

Picture of Lynn GilderdaleLater on, Claire posted a transcript of the exchange on her blog, and it turns out that this was Claire Khaw, who is known on Mumsnet and elsewhere for expressing disturbing views such as that a nurse dealing with a severely disabled baby should “drop it on its head”. Someone told me that she had a blog with a link to mine, and it turned out that she was the same “Andromeda” who used to comment here from April 2008 to June 2009 and runs a website advocating “one party for all”. She also expressed other unpleasant views such as that Baby P (Peter Connelly) would have grown up to be a feral criminal, so his death (at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend) was no tragedy, and that the prosecution of Kay Gilderdale in January 2010 for the alleged attempted murder of her daughter Lynn was a waste of money because Lynn wanted to die and “was no good to man nor beast”. While I actually think the outcome in that case was the right one, money really has nothing to do with it and Lynn certainly was not “no good”, she was well-loved and a great friend to many people. It’s easy to see why many disabled people are terrified of the whole idea of assisted dying when attitudes like these are expressed openly. Lynn Gilderdale took 15 years to decide she wanted to die; the likes of Claire Khaw would not wait that many months to make that decision for her.

I don’t know why she keeps the link; I’ve not had any referrals from there as long as I can remember and she no longer comments here. I haven’t asked her to remove it as that would mean contacting her, which I have no intention of doing. I am a Muslim and do believe that human life is sacred, that it is not acceptable to “put someone down” like a sick cat because we deem them to be of lesser value than someone else or because we think they would be better off dead. Unfortunately there are some in our society that see the cost of everything and the value of nothing, even people’s lives.

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