The Starmer Fix

When people are living in terminal distress, with a quality of life diminished to vanishing point, it is all but impossible to frame a general law to capture the subtleties of every particular case. The studied ambivalence in the revised policy issued yesterday by Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, is therefore a form of wisdom. With so many citizens having already travelled to Zurich for merciful release, the position is effectively being decided by default. Starmer proposed yesterday that there should be no change to the law but simply clarified the circumstances under which prosecution might be pursued. The focus will be on the intentions of those providing assistance rather than the condition of those in distress. Of course, any guideline will require subtle interpretation and it still remains to be seen in each case how the motives of a compassionate suspect are to be determined. Clearly no drafting can avoid all moral conundrums and the new framework is clearly not the end of the argument but it is a victory for common sense and compassion.

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