Stephen Fry nails it over taking offence – Verity Lush

Paula Radcliffe made some calm and clear arguments recently about transgender athletes competing in sport.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 2:38 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 3:45 pm
Paula Radcliffe launches the 2015 Great South Run at HMS Victory, Portsmouth.
Paula Radcliffe launches the 2015 Great South Run at HMS Victory, Portsmouth.

She made no sweeping judgements or offensive comments but was leapt upon by some news outlets who reported Radcliffe as having ‘weighed into the row’.

Trying to rile up a crowd is no new thing but does bring to mind something Stephen Fry once said: ‘It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”. As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more than a whine. “I find that offensive”. It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I am offended by that.” Well, so ******* what?’

Talking is not enough – we need mental health funding  

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I keep reading and hearing about mental health everywhere. Whichever social media site you log on to, it’s there. Celebrities speak about theirs. 

A huge amount of TV programmes feature stories that centre around mental health, and various others deal with real-life examples.

The problem is that all this talking is going on, but where is the funding for the actual practical part of the ‘help’?

It’s all very well talking more about mental health and we are doing so. However, the talking and raising of awareness isn’t providing meaningful support backed up by further funding.

Talking is part of the help but it goes far beyond this. Friends can offer support, we can all reduce the stigma of mental health, but if you go to the GP and seek counselling, chances are that – as with everything health-related – it’s going to be quicker if you can pay for it yourself.

Teenagers go on waiting lists with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), some may have cognitive behavioural therapy, others join groups for different needs, and more extreme cases will have one-to-one help.

But, contrary to what we may think goes on, this is not on a several-sessions-a-week basis for as long as that child needs. Instead, it may be a handful of sessions as funding dictates.

The number of beds for children with poorly mental health in hospitals has been highlighted in the press many times, with parents often having to travel 100 miles or more to go and visit their child in hospital, paying for the expense of doing so, and not being able to see them as often as they or their child need.

So yes, we need to talk about mental health.

We are talking about it. But what we really need is money. Money that is then well spent in a meaningful way.

As with the police, education, and all else in the UK, we appear not to have anywhere near enough.

The amount of working hours being poured into meaningless Brexit (the Brexit that means some people will be having cancer treatment delayed) could certainly be well spent elsewhere.

It’s too late for Gove to bleat after the damage is done

I read about Michael Gove this week wittering on again about education. 

Given the mess he made of his doomed government role, you’d think he’d have the sense to shut up. Gove was bleating on about he’d like private schools to be the ‘eccentric’ choice for parents to send their kids to.

He had his chance to enable the state system to rival the results of the private schools, and look where that ended.

A ludicrous change to GCSE grading, a tedious RE syllabus lacking in ethical and moral debate, fewer teachers than ever with myriad leaving the profession, and half a million* dart boards with his image on them.

* Number of teachers currently in the UK.