Wednesday, 19 December 2012

UKIP Geoffrey Clarke: Compulsory abortion of Down’s Syndrome

Only last night I was viewing video’s of an area in Siberian Taiga which is probably as close to Utopia as you can possibly get, where the population of 4,000 appear to live in perfect harmony with nature and teach children their complimentary male/female roles in society and what’s more, they all seem perfectly happy and content. The only problem is that the person who founded and heads this beautiful place is Vissarion. This man claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus. As much as I love the idea of being out of the rat-race, government control and living in harmony with nature I can’t say I'm overwhelmed by the thought of Utopia being overseen by someone who proclaims himself as the Voice of God.

 By the way, if you have never read the inspirational book ‘The Shack’ then pick up a copy! You will never see life in the same light again.

Reading the book and viewing Vissarion’s way of life has done one thing for me, it’s made me look at the real world around me...the ugly, self indulgent culture of the Western World where the ‘me’ society has sprung forth from a fountain of greed...where its commercial industry is destroying the land and waters and the ceaseless battle of violent video games and video nasties are poisoning the minds of our young. I hate what I see; I dislike what the modern world currently stands for and I'm repulsed at how far removed we, as a society, are from the rhythm of nature.

Last night I went to bed with a longing to part of a society who love and desire to be loved; have compassion for all living things, possess respect for one another and above all else, to live in harmony with nature.

Then this morning I woke to a News article that reflected everything I dislike about the modern way of thinking and living - Geoffrey Clarke, a UKIP candidate, stated that: 
"...Consider compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, spina bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family". 
 It? It! If IT is born.

And... 
"It should also look into medical treatment for people over the age of 80, which the 66-year-old says is 'extraordinarily costly' to the NHS".
So basically that's what modern life boils down to – burden and cost.

How have we moved so far along the road that we missed the turning onto the path of compassion and understanding?

I can’t express my upset over Mr Clarke’s statement because there just are not any words that could convey exactly how I feel. Instead, I would like you to see this from someone else’s point of view...Stephen, a 47 year old man who has Down’s Syndrome and who has beaten the odds with the help and devotion of his father Grenville Green and patience and understanding from Helene, Grenville’s wife.

I met Grenville, Helene and Stephen for the first time in 2010 and we've been in contact ever since. Admittedly I found it difficult to understand what Stephen was saying when I first met him, but Grenville was at hand to help me by ways of repeating Stephens’ words without actually giving the impression that he is. Over time and after a few phone calls talking directly with Stephen I began to hear his words for myself.

You really could not meet a more compassionate family than the Greens. Prior to meeting Stephen I had no experience of those with Down’s Syndrome, in fact, it’s through Grenville, Helene and Stephen that I have learnt so much in a relatively short space of time.

Grenville and Helene have spent time showing Stephen just how much he has to offer, that he has worth as a human being and can accomplish anything he desires if he puts his mind to it. Stephen has learnt to play the piano, organ and keyboard and most importantly, he has learnt how to read music, something that was once thought impossible for those with Down’s. His list of accomplishments is probably as long as my arm which includes a sponsored canoe paddle on the river Trent and more recently, in October 2012, he became the first man with Down’s Syndrome to be elected as councillor for Nuthall parish.

But with his accomplishments aside and looking at Stephen through my eyes, he is a warm and considerate person who smiles a lot and is brimming with enthusiasm for life. He is like any one of us except he has Down’s Syndrome. He has a tremendous sense of humour, he hurts inside when someone upsets him because he simply cannot understand why anyone would want to use hurtful words, and he feels for the plight of others, eager to help where he’s able and loves to make people laugh. He has never had a bad word or thought about anyone...and there lays the magic of Stephen...his thoughts. He thinks. He lives. He loves. He learns.

What right does anyone have to look on those with Down’s Syndrome, or any syndrome for that matter, as an ‘it’?! And what right do people like Mr Clarke have to condemn them simply because he believes they are “a burden on the state as well as on the family”. If families like the Greens love their children regardless of their outward appearance and have patience and love to teach them then the likes of Mr Clarke has no right whatsoever to play God.

It’s about time we ditched this modern way of selfish thinking, step off the road of the ‘me’ society and take the next turning onto the path of compassion and understanding that we all have within us. If we don't then where will it end? Who will be the next group of people to be targeted by the likes of Mr Clarke because he considers them a burden on the state or an extraordinary cost to the NHS?

Compassion, Mr Clarke, a word that encompasses the very nature of all human beings even those born with any type of syndrome or disability. Perhaps you should pick up a dictionary, learn the meaning of the word and engrave it in your heart and mind.

UPDATE: UKIP has suspended Mr Clarke
"The UK Independence party has suspended one of its election candidates who suggested that mothers carrying foetuses with Downs syndrome or spina bifida should be forced to have abortions to avoid the child being "a burden on the state as well as on the family". 

Ukip had initially backed Geoffrey Clark, saying that members held "a range of views and opinions" that were not party policy and adding that while it disagreed with his comments, they were contained in a "personal manifesto". 

But following a backlash, the party performed a u-turn and said in a later statement the views of the would-be Kent county councillor were "abhorrent" and that he would not be standing for the party again.

"Ukip reject the abhorrent views expressed in the personal manifesto of Mr Geoffrey Clark, a candidate in the local elections," said a spokesman who said that Ukip wanted to apologise to anyone who has suffered distress as a result of this matter. 

"The party was not aware of these views when it allowed him to stand under our name."