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Changing Attitudes?

Ed Miliband surprised me the other day with his welcome comment that Britain needs a better attitude toward mental health. While I'm no closer to being his greatest fan, any such comments, assuming they are well intentioned, are to be welcomed. Especially when they come at the expense of cretins like Jeremy Clarkson.

This is a man - a professional journalist (although that's being generous) - that believes people committing suicide on train tracks are selfish. He claims sympathy yet refers to them, bizarrely, as 'Johnny Suicides' which strikes me as especially flippant.

This is also a man that, live on the BBC in the wake of the public sector protests of a year ago, said of such people that they should be shot in front of their families. So Clarkson speaks of his concern of the traumatic effect of a suicide on train drivers but advocates that relatives should witness the brutal murder of their family members - while the BBC production crew laugh. Is there more odious a cunt? 

On a related note, this clip (ignoring the horrendous nasal twang of the DWP representative) features a most welcome comment from an MP I don't know (the Scottish lady in the wheelchair). In this discussion about sanctions she raised the point I've made before a few times that some people with mental health issues (this is not just confined to mental health of course) aren't ill enough to pass the WCA and claim ESA (skip to about 8 minutes in). This was in the context of such people struggling with the system falling foul of the regime. Could this be a ray of hope? After all, the Universal Credit system will be a disaster as it stands; we can see the representative struggling to comprehend the problems his department faces and the paradigm that creates them. But the fundamental question remains: how do you help people that get sanctioned? What then? All the government sees is "we're being reasonable, tough luck, what do you expect us to do...just give out free money?"

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