By Vanessa Allen
Author Martin Amis calls for euthanasia booths in UK’s street corners to prevent a ‘silver tsunami’
Euthanasia ‘booths’ should be established on street corners for pensioners to end their lives with ‘a martini and a medal’, novelist Martin Amis said yesterday.
Britain is facing a demographic timebomb as its ageing population places an impossible burden on society, the controversial writer claimed.
Anti-euthanasia campaigners reacted with horror to the suggestion of euthanasia booths for pensioners and called Amis’s idea ‘repugnant and offensive’.
The 60-year-old novelist predicted Britain could be engulfed by a ‘civil war’ between the old and young if it did not tackle its ageing population.
‘How is society going to support this silver tsunami?’ he asked in an interview with the Sunday Times.
‘There’ll be a population of demented very old people, like an invasion of terrible immigrants, stinking out the restaurants and cafes and shops.
‘I can imagine a sort of civil war between the old and the young in ten or 15 years’ time.’
Amis, a grandfather, added: ‘There should be a booth on every corner where you could get a martini and a medal.’
Amis said medical science had ‘ overvaulted itself’ in extending human life, adding: ‘There’s a certain point where your life slips into the negative.’
He told how his support for euthanasia had deepened since the death of his stepfather, Lord Kilmarnock, last year.
The writer said he had also been influenced by the death of writer Dame Iris Murdoch in 1999, two years after her husband revealed she had Alzheimer’s.
He said: ‘There should be a way out for rational people who’ve decided they’re in the negative.
‘That should be available, and it should be quite easy. I can’t think it would be too hard to establish some sort of test that shows you understand.’
Alistair Thompson, of anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing, said the idea of euthanasia booths was ‘offensive’.
He added: ‘We would resist any attempt to put these death booths on the streets of this country.
‘How on earth can people describe themselves as civilised when they’re advocating this style of euthanasia for the elderly and disabled? It’s completely repugnant.’
‘There is a very nasty smell that someone as high-profile as Martin Amis could actually make such a ludicrous proposal.’
Dr Richard Lamerton, of the pressure group Alert, which campaigns against legalised euthanasia, said he was horrified by Amis’s comments.
‘But to give elderly people the message that it would only be decent to get out of the way would be to deny the wonderful contribution of grandfathers and grandmothers to the lives of young people.