Reading papers is such fun (especially for psychiatrists)

Themes of emotional instability recur in my prose, usually in the context of a world gone mad or else particular personages acting in ways that make one doubt their mental health.

I’m man enough to admit that this is a copout, a feeble substitute for deep and detailed analysis. So every day I decide to avoid any more references to psychiatric disorders. Then I scan the papers and my good intentions go the way of all flesh. But look at today’s press and judge for yourself.

Professional Tories like Ken Clarke and Tim Montgomerie respond to our loss of the AAA rating by suggesting that this development proves the government in general and George in particular are on the right track. To emphasise this indisputable point, the rating agency Moody’s now regards Britain as a greater credit risk.

As the pound heads for parity with the pre-euro French franc, one wonders where the country would end up if it weren’t on the right track. In a soup-kitchen queue? On the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean? Actually, any speculation along these lines is unnecessary. We’ll soon find out the answer empirically.

If any residual belief in Dave’s sanity had persisted, Lord Ashcroft’s announcement that he’ll stop financing the Tory party should dispel it once and for all. The party’s biggest donor has introduced a note of sanity by refusing to throw good money after bad because the Tories aren’t Tories any longer.

Specifically he cites Dave’s madcap obsession with marginal issues such as homomarriage, at the expense of what really matters. Such as the economy which, according to our professional Tories, has received a ringing vote of confidence from Moody’s and the currency markets.

This insanity, claims the dejected Croesus, curries favour with the metropolitan elite and no one else. How is this possible? Lord Ashcroft is sane, which explains his consternation. His world and Dave’s virtual reality exist on different and never intersecting planes, which is why they can never understand each other.

Lord Ashcroft wants to have a real Tory government because he knows the country would be much better off under one. By contrast, our self-proclaimed ‘heir to Blair’ wants to emulate his idol not only in but also out of office, the territory he’ll inhabit in a couple of years.

Tony, the great champion of the downtrodden working classes, is raking in millions on the lecture circuit. Have you ever attended one of his paying engagements? Neither have I. Tony’s present, and Dave’s future, audiences come from precisely ‘the metropolitan elite’ Lord Ashcroft holds in contempt. Dave may be mad, but there is method in his madness. One fails, however, to discern any method in a party that would have him as its leader or in a country that would have him as its prime minister.

Then there is Nick, getting caught in the good old-fashioned cover-up of Lord Rennard’s robust sexuality. Here I must defend Nick against those who accuse him of lying. The notion of lying presupposes that the perpetrator knows the difference between a truth and a lie. To chaps like Nick such real-world categories simply don’t exist. In the virtual world Nick shares with Dave, whatever is expedient at the moment is true. Explaining to them that truth has an independent significance is like trying to persuade a madman that he’s not really Napoleon.

Considering the problems plaguing the Coalition parties, one would expect Labour to run away with the Eastleigh by-election. In fact, the party is on course to finish a distant fourth (also behind UKIP), outside the medals. Could it be because the Hampshire voters doubt the sanity of a party where Ed Balls is in charge of economic policy?

Having been a key figure in the government that reduced the British economy to a loony bin, Ed has taken stock of the list of tricks he employed to achieve that task. High taxation? Tick. Incontinent spending? Tick. Borrowing 60 percent more than we earn? Tick. Uncontrolled import of welfare recipients? Tick. Giving even more powers to the EU to impose growth-stifling practices? Tick. 

This game of tick-tack-toe completed, Ed saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. More of the same, and the Labour economic policy is chiselled in stone. Apparently, the Hampshire worthies don’t quite see it the same way, but the country at large still may. That sort of thing makes sense in our virtual world.

Turn another page, and here are reports of our dear NHS, so envied by all other countries that they refuse to have anything like it. Apparently, this shining example for the world not to follow has decided to emulate Nazi medicine with its propensity for killing people.

And why not? The NHS has already adopted the same hectoring practices, lecturing us on our diets, smoking, drinking, preventive medicine and in general putting its foot down. For example, doctors routinely refuse to treat smoking-induced diseases because they are caused by people’s own behaviour. ‘How about AIDS?’ asks a sane individual. Off to the madhouse with him, that’s where sane people belong in an insane world.

Crushed underfoot are those poor patients who relied on the NHS sticking to its core business: ministering to the sick. They should have known that state enterprises exist for the benefit of state employees, and the NHS is a prime example. Not only is this abomination allowed to survive, but its chief is hanging on to his job. Let patients die so the NHS may live.

Doesn’t all this make perfect sense? In our mad world, it does. 






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