... right-wing bloggers kept questioning Gordon Brown’s sanity and calling him ‘bonkers’, demented and other names for partisan reasons. They justified this on the basis that some others within the Labour party had apparently also started these rumours. But no evidence is offered.Damn right-wing bloggers, eh ?
Then some national journalists referenced ‘internet rumours’ to repeat that smear, which was then used by the same bloggers to declare that they were justifed in their smears because it had reached national press and so it must be true. And so the BBC’s Andrew Marr bought into that feedback loop and asked a classic variation of: ’so when did you stop beating your wife’.
.... this incident illustrates that most right-wing bloggers come from the same stock. The ‘bonkers’ meme has been viciously repeated by right-wingers to undermine the PM. There is no evidence to it. The PM could be attacked in other ways – through his policies for example – but these people are only interested in character assassination. And yet only a few months ago they screamed hysterically about how the left was beholden to vicious rumours and chartacter assassination. Now they’re saying nothing other than cheering Marr on.
I think they must have got the idea from that vicious right-wing Liberal Conspiracy site, 10th September 2009 ?
We have no way of substantiating this rumor, but let’s for a moment run with the assumption that Brown is taking anti-depressants.
My response? Good. Great. If the Prime Minister of Britain is suffering from depression or some other mental health condition, which given the stresses of his current position seems highly likely, then I’m glad he’s getting treatment for it. I’m glad he’s man enough to admit that he might need help.
Anti-depressants are used by millions of people in this country, although the stigma attached means that many of us don’t talk about it... It takes courage to go to the doctor and say that you have a problem...
I only wish more politicians would follow his example – after all, it’s not as if mental health difficulties in government are unheard of. Some of the greatest leaders the Western world has ever seen had serious mental health difficulties ... Winston Churchill ... Lincoln was also chronically depressed and anxious...So is the ‘Prime Mentalist’, as he has become known, a person who has mental health problems? It certainly seems likely . Would that fact, by definition, make him unfit to lead the country? Absolutely not.
Not only have plenty of great statesmen and women had mental health problems, the experience of overcoming those problems and playing to one’s strengths may even be an advantage in politics – as it is for many people who, like myself, battle mental ill health.
I said at the time that this "isn't it great that the Prime Minister is mentally ill ?" approach romped home in the With Friends Like These Stakes.