Friday Photo: The Wookey Hole Witch Hunt

Jobseekers audition for the role of a resident witch at Wookey Hole Caves on July 28 2009 in Wells, England. The Somerset tourist attraction is looking for a new witch to teach visitors about witchcraft and magic after its previous employee retired and it will come with a salary of 50,000 GBP pro rata. The job advert, which was advertised earlier this month states that the successful applicant 'must be able to cackle' and 'must not be allergic to cats'. and has recieved 2,319 applications as well as 23 letters of complaint from church or religious groups. Legend has it that the caves were home to the Wookey Witch who was turned to stone by Father Bernard who had been appointed by the Abbott of Glastonbury to rid villagers of her curse.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images 


More on class and suicide in Britain

In Britain, the battle over assisted suicide and right-to-die laws has been heating up over the past few weeks.

The country has no intention of making assisted suicide legal. But, in the past decade, hundreds of Britons have traveled to Switzerland, where clinics offer doctor-assisted suicides for the terminally ill. And thus far, the country has been reticent to prosecute and punish their family members for going with them or aiding them in the process, although assisting a suicide is a felony in Britain.

The gray area led to numerous calls -- from doctors, citizens, and members of Parliament -- for a clarification of the law. This month, a famous couple chose to end their lives in Switzerland, and a woman with multiple sclerosis appealed to Parliament as well.

And today, the House of Lords instructed the director of public prosecutions to do just that.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post arguing for the clarification of the law on class grounds. (See a rebuttal to my point from Felix Salmon here. Though I disagree with Felix -- the terminally ill are probably not capable of getting loans worth thousands of dollars and the process is expensive.) Assisted suicide in a foreign country is an expensive thing for Britons -- today, one doctor said he gave a third of the cost, 1500 pounds, to a terminally ill man who could not afford the trip to Switzerland without it.

And, today, the general practitioner called on Britain to prosecute him for doing so. The Guardian reported:

A former GP said today he hoped to be prosecuted for helping a terminally ill man to have an assisted suicide. Dr Michael Irwin, 78, said he wanted to highlight the "hypocrisy" of a system where the wealthy could pay to travel to Switzerland's Dignitas clinic for euthanasia but the poor could not. He will be questioned by police today after writing a cheque...

I don't want to make a point about whether assisted suicide itself should be legal. But this Irwin's case does make me realize I was imagining families -- not sponsors -- when I thought of those who might benefit from a clarification of the laws.