Normally, I am fairly thick-skinned when it comes to people making comedic comments surrounding mental illness. For example, I will occasionally make jokes about my own problems – perhaps it’s the Scottish trait of self-deprecation, or merely another copying strategy. In any event, I usually take humour surrounding mental health issues in good spirit. Where I draw the line however is when definitions of mental illness are used as an insult: it is a bad habit to get into and perpetuates the assumption that those with mental health problems are somehow of diminished worth compared to the general population.
That leads us to the subject for this blog entry, viz. the article that appeared in the London Evening Standard on Tuesday 6th December concerning Daniel Moylan’s opinion of Ken Livingstone’s transport proposals. In the article, Daniel Moylan is quoted as having said,
“He [Mr Livingstone] is schizophrenic. I’m not calling him a liar but he is misleading the public and he is kind of misleading himself.”
Using the term for a serious psychiatric condition as an insult is in my view pretty bad form, so I wrote Mr Moylans a letter and copied in auld Boris too for good measure. You can download it here if you want to read it (pdf).