Ragged Edge Online Home

Did Councilor Suggest Some Children Should Have Their Heads Chopped Off?

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express

SWINDON, ENGLAND--"I would guillotine them."

That quote came from The Mirror, and is attributed to Owen Lister, 79, a Swindon city councilor and deputy mayor during a meeting of a city Children's Overview Task Group. Lister's statement came as the group was considering moving several children with disabilities to a specialized home at a weekly cost of 3,000 ($5,290 US) per child.

Others in the room took the statement to mean that he would rather have the children's heads lopped off than spend that kind of money.

Lister later told the Mirror: "The only difference between a terminally ill patient and a severely handicapped child is time. It shows how peculiar we are as a society on this matter that we spend this vast amount of money caring for disabled youngsters to very little purpose at all."

Lister explained to The Sun: "I indicated at that point that really perhaps the guillotine might be better. These are children you cannot educate. Itퟖs merely a matter of caring for them until they die."

He resigned his post when he realized his statement was unpopular.

By the weekend, however, Lister said words had been taken out of context.

He told the BBC: "We were discussing the movement or the placing of disabled children, outside the borough at a home in Cornwall and it seemed to me that this was really a terrible state of affairs."

"We were packing these children off, probably whose only bond was with their mothers, and cutting them off from that for the remainder of their lives. I was horrified by this and clearly it is being done for financial convenience, it doesn't make it any less desirable."

"The words that were going through my mind were that they were being cut off from their parents. I wanted to stress that fact so instead of being cut off I used the term 'guillotine' and I think that is what has caused all the trouble because it has been suggested that I was guillotining the children, but what I was suggesting was being guillotined was the relationship between children and parents."

Related:
"Tory Deputy Mayor: 'The best thing for disabled children is the guillotine'" (The Mirror)

"Doc's outrage on disabled" (The Sun)

"Guillotine word 'out of context'" (BBC News)

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2
Email this page to:


Your email address:


Message (optional):