Sunday, September 27, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: David Cameron is off gorgonzola and Rioja - ergo he is unfit for office

Well if you track back to the original story about Brown's health it seems to be based on a "long list of foods" which he is supposedly not meant to be served. Strangely, this "long list of foods" is so far, in the public domain, a short list of foods. In fact it is just two foods. "Cheese and chianti".

(The story also demands to know where Brown "runs daily" as if to suggest that such an assertion by his spokesperson is made up. Would suggesting that he runs in a private gym be terribly earth-shattering? A treadmill in the Number 11 flat? He doesn't need to go out in Hyde Park to actually run, stupid.)

I have a confession to make. I love cheese, but on two occasions in fifty years when I have gone over the top on the old fromage consumption I have had a headache the following day. On one of these occasions I had to lie down for an hour. So I have to be careful with my beloved cheese.

Once I had to avoid red wine for six months because I appeared to develop a temporary allergy to it. Happily, I can consume it freely these days.

At some stage in the past, if someone could be bothered to draw up a list of foods I should avoid, there might have been "cheese and red wine" on such a list.

When I was much younger (like 40 years ago) I used to throw tantrums when I was losing at "Risk" (a game involving the quest for world domination - it brought out the meglomaniac in me and when I was left owning just Australia I used to flip) and used to throw the board across the room. It was a running family joke for a long time.

I occasionally pick my nose. I do use my handkerchief though (mostly).

So this would put me in the Gordon Brown category it would seem, according to John Ward and Guido. I am one step away from the funny farm. Bring on the strait jacket.

This "cheese and chianti" "long list of foods" has been used to suggest that Brown may be on some very strong anti-depressants, except that "Dr John Crippen" (which is a nom de plume of an actual GP) says that such claims are nonsense.

So that rules out those strong anti-depressants. So what if Brown is on Prozac? As Stephen Tall points out in a comprehensive and typically sensible post, it's reckoned that 15% of the population will face a sever bout of depression at some point in their lives. Prozac is apparently so commonly used that it shows up as a trace element in the water supply.

We really shouldn't get so jumpy about mental health problems. People need to take care of their mental health. Making them jumpy about it will not help the situation.

Guido says Brown is clearly "on the edge" because he picked his nose once and was reported to have thrown a tantrum in the office etc etc. Well come on, he's Prime Minister. He's dealt reasonably well (in the sense of surviving) one of the greatest economic emergencies of our times. His poll ratings are in the toilet. He has every right to be "on the edge".

All this has made me feel: "Well, full marks to Brown for keeping going while all this manure is flying around".

As for Andrew Marr - should he have asked Brown about his health? Of course. It is a free country. But questions are not answers. As is the practice with some American office holders and potential office-holders, I do think that regular health reports for our leaders should be in the public domain. But often they are so edited that they ask more questions than they answer. On balance, I think we should know if our Prime Minister is on medication. However, it shouldn't be problem if he or she is on Prozac, that's for sure.

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