I’M not alone in saying well done to Prince Harry for speaking out about the mental health problems he’s endured as a result of his mother’s death.
Anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety, depression, stress or the like knows how hard it is to cope with and how isolating it is.
Tell someone you’ve put your back out and they’ll wince in sympathy. We all know what physical pain feels like.
But tell someone who’s never experienced mental anguish that you’re depressed, and you’re quite likely to get an embarrassed smile and a ‘cheer up, then’ type response.
The more these issues are spoken about openly the better.
However, there is one annoying element to all this. Prince Harry can afford private, one-to-one counselling. Most of us can’t.
Until the health service treats mental health problems as equal to physical health problems, people will continue to suffer alone and in silence.
My how-to guide to the general election
SO the Great British Public is to have its say once more on who runs the country and who slams the door in the face of Europe.
I’m not altogether sure this is wise, given recent events. After all, Scotland voted to stay in the UK, the UK (sort of) voted to leave Europe and now Scotland wants to vote again on whether or not to remain part of the UK and I’m pretty sure a lot of people in the UK want another go at voting on our EU membership.
As if that’s not enough decision-making for the millennium, we’re having another chance to get all decisive thrown at us by choosing who gets to run the country.
Of course, without proportional representation, many of us won’t have any say at all, but those little voting slips will make us feel as if we’ve joined in.
Fifty days isn’t very long, though, if we’re going to establish policies, personalities, strategies, smears and scandal. Not to mention, the requisite amount of slagging off and back-stabbing. So here’s a Rough Guide to Elections for all you politicians out there.
1. Write your manifesto. Do this by listing all the things you’re definitely not going to do and insist you are going to do them. That way people will vote for you and enjoy rolling their eyes and cursing when you let them down.
2. Don’t bother canvassing door to door. None of us wants to speak to you — none of us believes what you’ve got to say anyway. We’d rather watch Coronation Street in peace.
3. Take part in a local or national hustings so we can have a good laugh at your expense, and professional comedians alongside YouTubers can garner some fresh material for their acts and spoof videos.
4. Leave babies and small children alone — kissing them, ruffling their hair, even smiling at them all counts as assault if you’re only doing it for your own political ends.
5. Remember to turn off your microphone if you want to call one of your potential supporters a bigot. We can get a bit touchy when grovelling, snivelling shiny-suited self-important policiticans insult us. We’re funny like that.
6. Don’t publish any glossy brochures. At a time when the NHS is on its knees and people are struggling with the brutal cuts to the benefits system, it’s not cool to flash the cash with your own deluxe publicity material. A plain sheet of A4 will do it. Let’s face it, we’re only going to chuck it in the recycling anyway.
7. Don’t slag off your opponents. It doesn’t lower our opinion of them (we don’t think much of them anyway) but it does make you look like a bit of a lowlife.
8. Don’t tell us the future’s going to be fine and dandy if we vote for you and your party. We know it’s not.
9. Remember this is essentially a job interview and we, the electorate, are Alan Sugar and you are the hopeful apprentice. Have some humility and treat us with respect or we’re quite likely to tell you you’re fired.
10. Don’t bother telling us how much you care about us and our issues. We know you’re in it for the power, the kudos and the salary, not just while you’re a politician but the one you can earn from after dinner speeches and other such nonsense once we’ve got wise to your ways and have voted you out.
I’m sorry if this all sounds rather cynical, and I do know there are some genuinely good politicians out there. But I think most of the people in this country have had enough of hot air and expense accounts, of mortgage flipping, mucking about with GCSEs and the whole EU debacle.
Britain will get to have its say on June 8 but it’s going to be a bit like choosing whether to chop off your left leg or your right.
There’s no point in being too grown up
“SMACK! Popple! Crack!” shouted my mother, sounding not unlike those wandering festival drug-pushers, advertising their wares with cries of “As ‘n’ Es, As ‘n; Es!”. Although I’m not sure what Popple is.
Of course, Mum hasn’t actually become a drug dealer — she was simply trying to reproduce the famous Kellog’s Rice Krispies slogan, Snap! Crackle! Pop!, during a game of Logo on Easter Sunday. Not an easy task when you’re 89 and two glasses of wine the worse for wear.
Although, having said my mother isn’t a drug dealer, she did confess to a little bit of pharmaceutical naughtiness during the bank holiday.
No, she hasn’t taken to smoking cannabis or ordering no-longer-legal highs over the internet.
But she has been treating herself to a certain over-the-counter medicated pain relief balm... which you’re not supposed to use if you have a heart condition. Which she does. And which many of her friends do — some of whom she’s recommended the balm too. All of whom are now being told off by the village GP for using something which could be potentially harmful to their health.
In the meantime, at the other end of the scale, my niece, who is in her 20s, is all about clean living, organic, free range food and spreading the love.
So is it a myth that wisdom comes with age?
Or is it more the case that by the time you’re heading for your 90s, you may as well bid farewell to common sense and simply enjoy yourself because, let’s face it, what have you got to lose?
They do call them the naughty 90s after all...