Only The Lonely

There isn’t any point in denying that the outburst of sympathy and support that followed my confession to an attempt at self-slaughter last year (Richard Herring podcast) has touched me very deeply.

Some people, as some people always will, cannot understand that depression (or in my case cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder) is an illness and they are themselves perhaps the sufferers of a malady that one might call either an obsession with money, or a woeful lack of imagination.


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Supporting Pussy Riot

Dear Maria, Nadezhda and Ekaterina,

I can’t imagine how you are feeling at the moment as you begin the astoundingly unfair and disproportionate prison sentence that has been handed out to you.

It might cheer you to know that so many people around the world are thinking of you and doing what they can, through Amnesty International and other bodies, to see if your sentence can’t be reduced, commuted or suspended.


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Making an Arse of Myself in Wellington

Power, responsibility and all that…

Every now and again, what with me being what I am (a human), I find myself hurled into the teeth of some sort of twitterstorm. Either I get a bit cross with someone ( or “throw my toys out of the pram” and “have a hissy fit” as some would prefer to put it) or I tweet an opinion or experience that for some reason turns into a “story” with all the distortions, Chinese whispers, misunderstandings and embarrassments that “stories” generate.


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A Modest Proposal

Greece is the Word

I have a modest proposal that might simultaneously celebrate the life of Christopher Hitchens, strengthen Britain’s low stock in Europe and allow us to help a dear friend in terrible trouble.

Perhaps the most beautiful and famous monument in the world is the Doric masterpiece atop the citadel, or Acropolis, of Athens. It is called the Parthenon, the Virgin Temple dedicated to Pallas Athene, the goddess of wisdom who gave the Greek capital its name.


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Mind Out

Don’t Bragg

It was a great surprise to receive a letter some months ago from Lord Bragg (he of unimpeachable Melvynous South Banksy fame) asking if I might consider taking over from him as President of the charity MIND. Only a few years ago MIND had paid me the great compliment of appointing me their 2007 mental health “Champion” so I was fully aware of the organisation and the fine work they did.

MIND, as you may or may not know is, in its (I should now say “our”) own words: “the leading mental health charity in England and Wales.” This is not to take away from SANE and the indefatigable Marjorie Wallace, or the work done by dozens, indeed hundreds, of smaller more locally based mental health charities up and down the country. I cannot bear it when charities, of all institutions, regard each other as rivals or even enemies. The superb Time to Change for example, is a result of cooperation across the sector. It also gave me great pleasure when this coalition government, for all that it is not my idea of the political dream team of the century (but which government ever was?) made good strides towards placing the issue of stigma front and centre with their initiative Shift.


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