Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ben Bradshaw Loses His Flag

Poor little Ben Bradshaw. Last night the Agriculture Minister pulled out of Derby Gate, near the House of Commons, in his environmentally friendly Toyota Prius and as he turned left into Whitehall by the Red Lion Pub one of the England flags adorning the car fell off. Cue hoots of derision from revellers at the pub which became famous for Charlie Whelan's indiscreet mobile phone conversation with the Prime Minister. Sadly Little Ben didn't notice what had happened and failed to stop to pick up his litter - or maybe he was just too embarrassed. I do hope Bradshaw's little mishap wasn't an omen for the match against Sweden tonight!


Paul Walter said...

We really get the big profound issues of the day aired on this diary, don't we?

Anonymous said...

As opposed to your very high brow, and i assume hugely well read, blog?

..."My first unashamed use of this enjoyable freedom is to highlight this utterly priceless photo of David Cameron. It is a classic!"

Paul Walter said...

...and don't forget

Welcome report on the effectiveness of therapy in treating depression

I recently noticed that a GP of my acquantaince was down to give a talk on depression to a local church group. When I saw her next I asked her if she was a specialist in depression. Her reply was telling:

"I am a GP. Every GP is a specialist in depression".

...i.e. the problem is one which GPs face with grim frequency. The figures bear this out. One person in six could be diagnosed at some time with chronic anxiety or depression. One million people are on incapacity benefit because of mental illness - more than the number unemployed.

That bears repeating. More than the number unemployed.

However, a report from a team led by Professor Richard Layard says that most GPs can only offer medication and perhaps a little counselling.

Perhaps that is why, as reported in the Observer in 2004, traces of Prozac have been found in our drinking water.

My GP acquaintance bore this out. Therapy is a treatment not readily available on the NHS. The Layard report recommends that the government massively increases the number of therapists. It demonstrates that this would be easily cost-effective when you consider the savings on drugs and days off work etc etc.

Depression is generally misunderstood. The Observer leader put it very well yesterday: There is a "widespread failure to distinguish between depression as a dangerous illness and the more commonplace use of the word to describe a sombre mood that is unpleasant, but not pathological." Depression can often mean that the patient physically can't move. They just cannot raise a leg to get out of bed. Compare that with examples of people often saying they are "depressed" because they have lost their car keys or whatever!

Therapy also has a bit of a bad name. It is often seen as something which involves deep searching questions about your childhood, sexual relations etc etc. As Professor Layard points out in the Observer, Cognitive behavioural therapy is very successful. To the patient, it is a gentle and healing process of going through what has happened and piecing together ways of moving forward. There are not normally questions such as "did your mother beat you?".

So, in summary, depression is a serious illness which is extremely prevalent. People can't just "snap out of it". The NHS is issuing so much Prozac that it's in the water supply. However, therapy is often the best, most cost-effective way of treating it, but the NHS is not providing that course of treatment to most of the people who need it. The Layard report confirms what many of us have known for a long time, but it is nonetheless very welcome.

Anonymous said...

So Ben chooses the environmentally friendly option of a hybrid, and then goes and ruins it with a 1litre/hour's worth of drag from a flag? Could he not find anywhere that sold window stickers?

Unless (gasp) he's only driving it to avoid the Congestion Charge...