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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Broadcaster Gosling’s sad, sad secret – and the do-gooders who want to prosecute him

It’s hard to pin an emotion to what I heard on the midnight news on BBC Radio 4 last night. On the one hand, you want to applaud the protagonist in what was a distressing and heart-rending story. On the other, you feel profoundly sad that the situation came about in the first place.

I refer to Ray Gosling (pictured), the 70-year-old broadcaster and gay-rights activist, who has made hundreds of documentaries over decades for the BBC, who admitted on British television last night, “Maybe this is the time to share a secret that I’ve kept for a long time. I killed someone once. He was a young chap. He had been my lover, and he had AIDS.”

In the regional BBC1 television programme Inside Out, which went out only in the East Midlands, Gosling continued, “Doctors said, ‘There’s nothing we can do.’ And he was in terrible, terrible pain, and I said to the doctor, “Leave me, just for a bit,” and he went away, and I picked up the pillow and I smothered him until he was dead.

“The doctor came back and I said, ‘He’s gone.’ Nothing more was ever said.

“When you love someone, it’s difficult to see them suffer. My feelings on euthanasia are like jelly – they wobble about.

“We’d got a pact. If it got worse, the pain, and nobody could do anything, yes, I said I’d do it. It’s a terrible, terrible thing to know what to do.

“This is the time to share a secret I have kept for quite a long time.”

The BBC news website spoke to Dr Peter Saunders, of a pressure group called Care Not Killing, who has called for police to investigate.

Saunders said, “We have a case, by Ray’s account, not of assisted suicide but of intentional killing or murder.”

Well, I think Ray Gosling would have a better idea than you of whether his lover needed a speedy dispatch rather than a prolonged and painful death, thank you very much, Dr Saunders. Whether you are religious or not, you certainly belong up there with the Deluded Herd. Sure, there can be abuses, but that applies to anything, and safeguards need to be built into any law that would permit assisted suicide and/or euthanasia.

If we had a system whereby people could go into a hospital and choose to have a painless death administerd to them, we’d be a much more caring and civilised society. Where is your sense of compassion?

Anyway, back to last night’s programme, in which Gosling was asked by Inside Out presenter Marie Ashby if he had regrets. “Absolutely none,” he said. “He was in terrible pain – I was there and I saw it. It breaks you into pieces.”

Over the years, Gosling has made hundreds of documentary films, and I was lucky enough to catch the repeats last year of a captivating series of films about his decision to move into sheltered accommodation, which won Jonathan Gili Most Entertaining Documentary award. It was repeated on British television last year.

He’s an idiosyncratic broadcaster with a quirky style, and is a delight to watch and hear. If you get the chance to see one of Gosling’s films, do so.

See also the website he and fellow campaigner Allan Horsfall – a founder of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in the UK – run called Gay Monitor, which keeps tabs on court cases concerning older gay men who may have been wrongly accused.

The pair say on the website:

We’ve watched, supported and sometimes advised men caught up in appalling prosecutions during recent and ongoing current times in Lancashire – but we’re certain similar is going on all over the country and this website hopes to show the bigger picture.

It’s worth looking at, and supporting.


George Broadhead said...

I wonder if readers of this blog are aware that Ray Gosling (see present hitting the headlines(his case was the lead item on Sky News just now) was a keynote speaker at GALHA's 30th anniversary celebration held at the Bishopsgate Institute in July 2009. I was there and heard him.

His case has caused a storm of controversy on the gay news websites (see which I have taken part.

Stuart Hartill said...

In my 'day job' I am aware of a request to Special Branch and the Charities Commission by the FBI a few years ago that they help investigate apparent subsidy of US anti-abortion 'militias' from abroad. The investigation began during the late Clinton era but was ended by Bush. I learnt about it from a real life 'Agent Scully' at a conference on money-laundering.
If Saunders is so keen on catching 'criminals' perhaps he could start by giving a categorical denial that any group in his grubby alliance has ever given money to US groups which might have bought bullets or bombs used against medical workers at perfectly legal abortion clinics. If he can, he'll be the first pro-lifer in the UK who feels confident enough to do so, and I've challenged a number of them to do it for the last decade.

tina FCD said...

What a sad story, but a very courageous man.
Thank you for posting this.