A walk through psychiatric wards in England and elsewhere

The theme of madness keeps recurring in this space, and it’ll continue to do so.

Madness is of course a clinically imprecise term, what with mental disorders coming in all shapes and sizes.

However, common to many patients, such as those suffering from schizophrenic and paranoid delusions, is losing touch with reality.

As with any other illness, the symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and psychiatric patients must be grouped together accordingly.

So let’s accept that today’s news is actually a series of dispatches from a mental hospital, and let’s further imagine that we’re walking through it ward by ward. In that spirit:

WARD 1 (MILD TO MODERATE): The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, the second most important Anglican prelate, insists the C of E should break the confidentiality of confession when the parishioner confesses paedophilia.

What about mass murder? High treason? Group rape resulting in life-threatening injuries? His Grace obviously believes paedophilia, a vile crime as it is, trumps them all, which means reality makes no inroads on his mind.

If further proof is needed to nail the diagnosis down, Dr Sentamu has manifestly blocked out of his consciousness some fundamental Christian doctrines, such as the sanctity of confession.

The confessor isn’t a police informer, Your Grace. He’s the intermediary between the confessing Christian and God. And God has his own ways of punishing sinners, which punitive measures don’t include summary arrest and speedy trial by jury.

Only in places where the Church forfeits its mission and acts as an adjunct to the state do confessing priests act as snitches. Russia, for example, developed this arrangement under the tsars and perfected it under the Bolsheviks.

If this is the model the good Archbishop sees in his mind’s eye, his mind urgently requires medical attention.

WARD 2 (MODERATE TO SEVERE): The Times ‘Friends’ cartoon, subtitled ‘Unholy Alliances’, is symptomatic of worrying paranoid delusions.

The cartoon depicts six great villains: Hitler, Mao, Kim, Putin, Assad and… well, who do you think belongs in this company? Lenin? Stalin? Amin? Attila the Hun?

No, Nigel Farage. One infers that Nigel must advocate democide, aggression against foreign countries, the cult of his own personality, no free press, artificial famines, genocide, concentration camps, political assassination…

You don’t think so? That’s because you’re sane. The editorial staff of The Times, on the other hand, are suffering from malignant anxiety and paranoia.

They are so scared of Ukip consigning the Tories to a third position in the polls that they’ve developed the kind of delusions against which psychotropic drugs are helpless. Frontal lobotomy seems to be the only solution, but then by the looks of it these chaps have undergone it already.

WARD 3 (SEVERE): Our own dear parliament often debates, and occasionally passes, crazy bills. But the symptoms hardly ever go beyond the moderate category.

Russia’s parliament, the Duma, goes us one better. Thus Dr (jurisprudence) Yelena Mizulina, head of the Duma Commission on Women’s Affairs, justifies the most extreme of diagnoses with room to spare.

Russia is currently experiencing both quantitative and qualitative problems with childbirth. The country’s population is going down at an alarming rate, and much of the new brood is genetically compromised by the parents’ affection for liquid refreshments.

Dr Mizulina proposes to solve both demographic problems in one fell swoop by the expedient of every young Russian woman conceiving Putin’s children.

Now even though Russia’s population is declining, she still boasts millions of women of childbearing age. Hence, without casting aspersion on Vlad’s well-publicised virility or doubting that his offspring would indeed represent a breeding triumph, his busy schedule probably would prevent him from doing the honours across the board.

Not to worry: Dr Mizulina keeps abreast of modern scientific advances: “My proposal is essentially simple,” she says. “Every female citizen will receive Putin’s genetic material by post, get pregnant by him and give birth. Such mothers will receive special benefits from the state.”

In due course Putin’s children will be brought up in military schools to be imbued with the spirit of devotion to the motherland in general and the president in particular.

“The children born to Russia’s president,” says Dr Mizulina, “will in future form the military and political elite of the state.”

Considering the length of the proposed breeding cycle, I’m unlikely to see it to its conclusion. That is a pity, for I (along, no doubt, with Peter Hitchens and Christopher Booker) would love to see such a state in action.

However, I must compliment Dr Mizulina on having removed the last remaining doubts on the historical genesis of Putin’s Russia.

Not that I expect everyone to see the light immediately. After all, some still deny, for example, that Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were ideological twins.

For the benefit of those doubting Thomases, here’s a link to a graphic comparison of Soviet and Nazi posters: http://fototelegraf.ru/?p=173168 Not only are they practically identical in pictorial subjects and captions, but, a more reliable telltale sign, they obviously proceed from the same aesthetic and hence philosophical premise.

Dr Mizulina may suffer from many mental disorders, but monomania isn’t one of them. A true Renaissance woman, this academic parliamentarian applies herself to a multitude of issues.

For example, she has proposed a bill to expel all Jews from Russia on the grounds that “we have enough of our own problems.” (I’ll spare you the historical parallels.)

Dr Mizulina also believes that childless women should be barred from access to higher education. The underlying notion of a woman’s role in society could be described in English, but this wouldn’t have the alliterative ring of the German Kinder, Küche, Kirche. (No historical parallels, I stand by my promise.)

All these proposals have reached the level of Duma debate, strongly suggesting that Dr Mizulina isn’t the only MP in need of psychiatric help.

Rejected so far is her draft bill on Banning sexual intercourse on the territory of the Crimean Republic and Sebastopol, which Dr Mizulina justifies by stating that “it’s not what we annexed the Crimea for”.

No, of course not. The purpose of said annexation must have been to depopulate the peninsula by both short-term and long-term measures. The immediate objective was achieved by the mass exodus resulting from Putin’s conquest, and trust Dr Mizulina to think many moves ahead.

This concludes our today’s tour of the madhouse of modernity. There will be many more, I promise.



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