The bloody Brits have been overcome by a curious urge to admit to being a tad ga-ga, and their MPs are lifting the lid on how they have suffered from debilitating mental illnesses.
They have been speaking out about various conditions with fancy names such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-natal depression, although Alf tends to stick with words like potty, cranky or whatever.
A Labour MP, Kevan Jones, is reported (here) to have delivered a speech in the House of Commons during which he revealed he suffered from deep depression.
Alf gets that way, too, it must be said, but only when listening to Opposition MPs deliver their tedious speeches, which is much too often.
Anyway, Jones proceeded to argue that mental illness should not be seen as a weakness in politics.
He’s a leftie, however, and Alf imagines one is much more likely to become somewhat unhinged if one is exposed to the nonsense that (he imagines) is uttered at their party conferences, caucus meetings and so on.
Mind you, the Daily Mail report which triggered this post has mentioned a few Tories, too.
Dr Sarah Wollaston, a Tory MP and former GP, said she had felt suicidal after the birth of her child.
And Tory backbencher Charles Walker revealed he had had OCD for the last 31 years, requiring him to do everything four times.
That’s what he claims.
Walker says his OCD condition means he has to do everything in sets of four, whether it be turning off light switches or washing his hands.
The illness had taken him to some ‘quite dark places’, he said.
‘Woe betide me if I switch off a light five times – then I must do it another three times,’ he said. ‘Counting becomes very, very important.
But EVERYTHING must be done four times???
He’s got to be stretching things, surely.
Alf has no experience of this condition, but suspects if he had to pee four times, he would be running dry after the first go.
And when it comes to a bit of howz-yer-father with the missus well, let’s not go there.
Whatever Walker does or does not do four times, the Daily Mail reckons this is the first time that MPs have been so frank about mental illness.
In modern times, only Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell in the political sphere has spoken out about depression.
The Brits happen to have a Minister of State for Care Services, whose responsibilities include–
Long-Term Care Reform; Adult Social Care; Carers; Personal Health Budgets; Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults; End of Life Care; Long-Term Conditions, including cancer and diabetes; Dementia; Mental Health; Physical Disabilities; Autism and Learning Disabilities.
The job is held by a Liberal, Paul Burstow, who has pointed out that Winston Churchill suffered from the ‘black dog’ of depression.
But Burstow seems to be a namby-pamby sort of chap, and he is on a mission, vowing to scrap a British law which bars individuals from standing for Parliament if they have been sectioned for six months.
To be “sectioned” in Britain is to be compulsorily admitted to a hospital under The Mental Health Act (1983), typically under Section 2 for assessment and Section 3 for treatment.
A law which bars individuals from standing for Parliament if they have been sectioned for six months seems eminently sensible, because it obviously sifts out some of the more extreme loonies who might otherwise be elected.
Come to think of it, the electoral laws probably need changing to bar such people from voting, too, because lefties and greenies are unlikely to get much support from people with all their wits about them.
It should be noted that anyone with an intellectual disability (as defined in law) can not sit on a jury in this country.
Mind you, nor can members of Parliament.
Anyway, this Burstow bloke is calling on Britain’s Speaker John Bercow to devote more resources to Parliament’s in-house team dedicated to helping MPs with mental health issues.
Many still did not understand the pressures of being an MP, he told the Commons, adding: ‘I think in politics we are designed to think that somehow if you admit fault or frailty you are going to be looked on in a disparaging way both by the electorate, but also by your peers as well.
‘We have got to talk about mental health in this House.’
Dunno how Lockwood Smith would react, if someone told him to devote more resources to Parliament’s in-house team dedicated to helping MPs with mental health issues.
Come to think of it, do we have such a team?
If we do have one, it is bound to get bugger all business from we Nats.