I have been reading with sorrow the tragedy of Alfie Evans who, according to some of the best medical specialists in the country, is terminally ill with no prospect of recovery, let alone being able to lead a normal life. As before with Charlie Gard, the highest courts in the land have considered all the available evidence and have with heavy hearts granted an application to turn off Alfie’s life support machine and let him die.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the latest challenge because it was the same legal argument – albeit with a different legal term – that they made in February and March and moving him to a hospital in Italy, his father’s wish, was “contrary to his best interests”.
The judges said: “The application of a different legal label… does not change the fact that the court has already determined the issues which the parents now seek, again, to advance.” For my part, I do not understand why the parents are being advised to return to the courts again and again and again, when it should be quite obvious that the courts’ decision will be the same, again and again and again. As any competent lawyer should know, repetition does not make a bad point better.
“The views of the parents do not take precedence and do not give them an ‘unfettered right’ to make choices and exercise rights on behalf of Alfie.”
The judges said Alfie was not being “detained” in hospital or “deprived of his liberty… the doctrine of habeas corpus.”
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has said continuing to treat Alfie, who has an undiagnosed degenerative neurological condition, was “inhumane” and “futile”.
It said taking him abroad for treatment was “expressly not in his best interests”, adding: “Our priority is to continue providing Alfie with the best care possible.”
Of course I feel for the parents who are clutching at straws in their distress, hoping against hope for a miracle, and suddenly, judging from the reports in the Media, everybody is a expert, and presumably, that includes Alfie’s dad and his megaphone.
But what I find all the more distressing is the emergence of the mob culture when compassion and wise counsel should prevail. This ‘rent a mob’ appears time and again to shout and scream and jostle and threaten, regardless of the ’cause’ they seek to espouse, even if they bothered to inform themselves, which they don’t. Disinformation, not information, is their only weapon in their battle against law and order and reason.
This mob travels from one hotspot to another, ready to challenge the ‘status quo’ with their confrontational behaviour. They can’t be reasoned with, as reasoning is alien to their culture and an intellectual exercise they are incapable of performing. Their demeanour and banners of hate are the same, whether it’s women’s rights, or slavery, or Tory scum, or Jews, or doctors, or Uncle Tom Cobley, and so it goes on. With Alfie Evans, the mob forces their way into Alder Hay Hospital, disrupting the work of doctors and nurses, regardless of the consequences, which means that the police, with better things to do, or at least I hope so, are called to deal with an unlawful assembly.
What those who use the services of the mob fail to understand is that the price to be paid by confrontation achieves very little. They have no room in a civilised society, and civilised people will pay them scant regard.
There is now a determined but futile effort to take Alfie to Rome, apparently with the blessing of the Pope. Whilst the Holy Father is a powerful figure in the Catholic community, not even he can perform miracles, so to pretend otherwise is a cruel deception.
Far better for the parents to receive specialist counselling to prepare themselves for what comes next, and most important of all, to act in Alfie’s best interests. It is not in his best interests to suffer needlessly.