Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Author Calls for "Euthanasia Booths"

Martin Amis in new row over 'euthanasia booths'

• Novelist wants euthanasia booths for elderly
• Warning of 'civil war' between young and old

Martin Amis

Author Martin Amis believes the 'silver tsunami' of increasingly ageing people puts pressure on society. Photograph: Rex Features

Martin Amis has never fought shy of an argument, whether it be with the critic Terry Eagleton (over Islamist extremism), his pal Christopher Hitchens (over Stalin) or fellow novelist Julian Barnes (over Amis leaving his agent – Barnes's wife).

But none of those opponents were as tough as his new target promises to be. Now 60, Amis has picked a fight with the grey power of Britain's ageing population, calling for euthanasia "booths" on street corners where they can terminate their lives with "a martini and a medal".

The author of Time's Arrow and London Fields said in an interview at the weekend that he believes Britain faces a "civil war" between young and old, as a "silver tsunami" of increasingly ageing people puts pressure on society.

"They'll be a population of demented very old people, like an invasion of terrible immigrants, stinking out the restaurants and cafes and shops," he said. "I can imagine a sort of civil war between the old and the young in 10 or 15 years' time.

"There should be a booth on every corner where you could get a martini and a medal," he added.

His comments were immediately condemned as "glib" and "offensive" by anti-euthanasia groups and those caring for the elderly and infirm. Supporters of assisted suicide, meanwhile, insisted that a dignified and compassionate end should be on offer to those who are dying. Full story.

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