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Suicidal logic

Theresa May said the appointment of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price to the new role [Minister for Suicide Prevention] will help tackle the stigma surrounding suicide. While suicide rates are falling, 4500 people commit suicide every year. (BBC Text News this morning)

Creating a new role to solve a problem that is diminishing anyway may seem like a clever move to a politician, but I’m not so sure. If Minister Jackie Doyle-Price removes enough of the ‘stigma’ surrounding suicide, might the rate start rising again?

Of course, that might not be so much of a problem, politically. Back in the 70s Labour appointed a Minister for Drought after a long spell of dry weather. The heavens then opened – and he was reappointed Minister for Floods. When Jackie Doyle-Price has removed enough of the stigma surrounding suicide that you can get euthanasia on the NHS, perhaps she’ll be reappointed the Minister for Assisted Suicide.

Meanwhile, what does one make of Theresa May saying that there are too many suicides so we must remove the ‘stigma’ surrounding it. Should I assume that in the past, when I thought she was “thick as a brick”, I really hadn’t grasped how stupid she was. Or should I, more charitably, assume the PM reads (and signs?) whatever her civil servants put in front of her without thinking about it, while worrying every day “How long have I yet to live?” (politically).

19 comments to Suicidal logic

  • Dalben

    Maybe they mean the stigma around suicide attempts, which could theoretically prevent people from seeking treatment or make things difficult for them due to prejudice afterwards.

    But yeah the way it’s phrased sounds really stupid. And even if it means helping people with failed suicides and suicidal thoughts I’m not sure why you have a minister specifically for that.

  • john in cheshire

    Wouldn’t they be better appointing someone as minister for killing stupid ideas? Or a minister for cancelling useless government projects?

  • Mr Ecks

    Perhaps it is May’s cry-for-help so to speak?

    Not to mention she is trying to organise the UK’s–assisted– suicide-by-submission-to-evil-global-elite.

  • James Strong

    ‘prejudice afterwards’?

  • terence patrick hewett

    The trouble is that today’s students are woefully unprepared for university life. Most universities engaged in engineering and the hard sciences now run a remedial maths course in the first year so that students can cope with the rest.

    Many students come from communities which do not value academic success. – and consequently do not get familial and peer support.

    No-one tells them that the first year is there to sort out the men from the boys – and the women from the girls: and in the second year the level of difficulty is ramped up 40% – the sciences and engineering courses are designed to stretch the brain as far as it will go so that graduates can enter the debate.

    No-one in the schools tells them that they will be expected to stand on their own intellectual feet and that disciplines like engineering, sciences, law and classics do not give their degrees away with lucky packets – and many students buckle under the strain.

    Students before they enter academic life need to be sat down and told a few realities.

    The debauching of pre-university entry-level examinations gives students a spurious level of academic excellence – and university comes as a profound shock.

  • John B

    ‘… will help tackle the stigma surrounding suicide. ‘

    That means it will make committing suicide more acceptable. And does it therefore mean it will now be OK to help? I wonder do these folk actually understand the English language.

    I blame the schools.

  • I have a theory that there is a secret office in Whitehall called The Department Of Bright Ideas. Inevitably, they lead to all sorts of blunders, idiocies, failures and the occasional catastrophe.

  • Sam Duncan

    And there goes another ministerial salary. Hop on the gravy train, folks! Choo-choo!

    Sheesh. If you weren’t already considering suicide…

  • bobby b

    “Wouldn’t they be better appointing someone as minister for killing stupid ideas?”

    A government office devoted to the quashing of stupid ideas would be very much like touching matter to antimatter, with the resulting theoretical annihilation of everything nearby.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    If the ‘stigma surrounding suicide’ goes away, does that mean that more people will be attracted to it?
    Years ago, I read a story by Dennis Wheatley, in which one of the characters claimed that the souls of suicides, on the other side, relive their moment of suicide repeatedly. And some NDE returnees tell the same story. So the best way to beat suicide might be to tell people what seems to happen if you kill yourself- do you want to take the risk?

  • Rudolph Hucker

    Maybe Jackie Doyle-Price was chosen because of her track record? Or someone has a dark sense of humour?

    From the archives (4 Sep 2014)

    MP Jackie Doyle-Price insisted this week she would “rather jump off Beachy Head” than defect to Ukip.


    Did she jump, or was she pushed into this new role?

  • staghounds

    1. Seriously, about suicide, watch The Bridge. All the way to the end.

    2. Whenever a politician or campaigner says there are “too many” or “not enough” of a thing, someone should interrupt and ask “Yo, hold up. What is the right number and how do you know?”

  • Pat

    That’s at least one addition to the payroll vote.

  • Albion’s Blue Front Door

    If you see a large part of ‘government action’ as protecting the NHS (or more accurately, protecting the funding) then this makes some sense if only because attempted suicides aren’t clogging up the system.

    Actual suicides are, like betting on the end of the world and collecting if it happens, out of reach.

  • Rob

    A person who thinks appointing a Government Minister will stop people committing suicide is pretty much a definition of someone who isn’t a conservative.

  • Runcie Balspune

    This initiative may be worth watching for two reasons; (a) the main victims of this are not exactly in a protected ethnic group or the appreciated gender of the moment, and (b) the major cause is probably what you could consider the other aspect of “toxic masculinity”, how this grinds with #MeToo is going to be very interesting as sympathy is not one of that movement’s strong attributes. I’m expecting an early death for this, but deckchairs and popcorn at the ready …

  • Tedd

    What staghounds said:

    What is the right number and how do you know?

    This is also the correct response when someone applies the Gini coefficient to income distribution.

  • Tedd

    Creating a new role to solve a problem that is diminishing anyway may seem like a clever move to a politician…

    Perhaps this explains why government regulations so often kick in after civil society has already started solving the problem they’re meant to address. Is this a case where it’s better to assume malice than incompetence?

  • Paul Marks

    Good post Niall.

    As for the lack of any clear thinking from Theresa May – well, like John Major before her, Mrs May was the “zero point” between various factions, someone who concentrated (on her way up) in pleasing other people and making them think she was on their side. I doubt that the lady has ever actually seriously thought about policy in her entire life. Agree with whatever the establishment put in front of her? Of course – why not?

    Not lack of intelligence as such – it is just that the principles of policy do not interest Mrs May, what interests Mrs May is putting on a show of concern (for whatever the “issue” happens to be), and winning support for HERSELF by putting on such a show. As I have already pointed out – Mrs May is another John Major, and unless the Conservative Party replaces her, we will suffer the fate we did in 1997.