A view from the Bridge

Who could have failed to have been moved by the harrowing sight of Tony Nicklinson, who is paralysed from the neck down, sobbing uncontrollably after being told he had lost his High Court right-to-die case.

Mr Nicklinson, 58, suffered a catastrophic stoke in 2005 while abroad on a business trip, which left him only able to communicate by blinking, and describing his life as a “living nightmare”.

The father-of-two is unable to do anything for himself and his daily routine is one of desperate indignity spent in a wheelchair, leaving him with a single wish - for it all to end.

Your heart really goes out to the man who is battling to persuade the courts to let a doctor be able to give him a lethal injection which, he says, would allow him to die with dignity.

It is a tragic case and the immediate reaction is that it is cruel in the extreme to deny him his desperate request.

But these matters are never straightforward and the legal and ethical issues his care raises are both complex and difficult,

No one can blame Mr Nicklinson for taking the legal route, but at the same time it is equally hard to point the finger at the judges.

Critics maintain it effectively requires a change to the law on murder and would mean introducing euthanasia​ to the UK virtually overnight.

You also have to consider the arguments against assisted suicide. In other words the protection of vulnerable, confused patients who may be at the mercy of relatives who may not have their best interests at heart.

And then there are the doctors who are trained to make life better, not cut it short. Just how many would be prepared to deliberately end someone’s life, even in the face of pleading?

The challenge to Parliament is to come up with a way to allow merciful, medically-assisted death at home, while protecting other sick or elderly people who may feel under pressure to agree to such a death.

ANOTHER talking point has been the Government’s decision to award the West Coast Main Line contract to Aberdeen-based FirstGroup.

Campaigners and union leaders have been swift to condemn the move, claiming the switch from Virgin Rail will herald higher fares, worse services and massive job cuts.

Remember the days when the slogan was “let the train take the strain”! Not any more. It seems to be the poor old passenger bearing the load.

Privatisation has been a shot in the arm for shareholders and fatcat bosses, but a nightmare for the travelling public and taxpayers alike.

FirstGroup’s successful bid for the contract was a staggering £5.5billion, which Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson branded “insanity”. Time will tell if this deal is destined for the buffers, or will signal a new era on the tracks. ​