Our 'alternative' politicians are more establishment than they would like us to think

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Some politicians are desperate to portray themselves as being on the right side of populist movements rejecting the political establishment. Delivering the Charles Kennedy memorial speech, Nicola Sturgeon says she is concerned about the “disillusionment in politics” and speaking to Labour’s national policy forum, Jeremy Corbyn talks of how people “know the status quo is failing them”.

In both cases the subtext is they want to be viewed as the refreshing alternative. No easy sell as one blatantly seeks to undermine the UK in pursuit of a lifelong obsession, and the other tries to reimagine a lifetime of protest into a credible platform for government. For all their claims they appear as much a part of the tired old politics as any of those they like to deride.

Keith Howell West Linton

We need to address failures in psychiatric care 

In what has become an all-too-common whinge, psychiatrists are again expressing their upsets about the amount of spending on mental health. In their latest outburst, the Royal College has expressed its concern over the lack of investment to prevent mental illness occurring in childhood.

What many may not have realised is that psychiatry is one of the very few professions that have to continually advertise its failures in order to gain more money and investment. It’s rare to hear the profession reporting how well its doing, telling us how many young patients have been cured, and promoting how their research has resulted in fewer people being admitted to psychiatric facilities and held indefinitely. When it comes to mental health, we unfortunately hear the opposite.

When it comes to child and adolescent mental health, we hear about an ever-increasing number of young people who are prescribed various psychiatric drugs but who then go on to experience even more difficulties in life after taking the drugs, unable to function, and who then take their own lives. This is the real scandal.

While psychiatrists prefer to blame the person’s mental difficulties, the connection antidepressants and suicide is difficult to ignore. With so many tragedies occurring following psychiatric “treatment”, any other profession producing these kinds of results in their respective industries would have gone out of business.

It would be far better to invest in treatments that assist the person to recover, rather than psychiatric treatments that exacerbate whatever the person was experiencing in the first place.

There was also a recent review of trials for antidepressants which were taken by healthy adults, which concluded they were twice as likely to become suicidal and violent. If that’s the effect the drugs have on healthy adults, what effect are they going to have on those experiencing mental troubles, especially young people?

If the investment in child mental health is low, it begs the question what else the psychiatric industry would offer children and adolescents in need of help if it did have more money. Would it be more expensive “research” that produced more expensive drugs that mask the problem rather than finding the real cause?

Continually writing about the dangers of psychiatry and its so-called “treatments” can be extremely difficult, especially when reading about those who took their own lives, but it is vital if change is to occur.

Brian Daniels Address supplied

This Brexit shambles needs to stop

Politicians on all sides need to grasp reality and have the backbone to admit that the whole sorry referendum needs to be shredded. We need a proper plan that works for all, not a Brexit shambles.

If you run any business and have a half-baked idea and no credible plan whatsoever on how to implement that half-baked idea, the only sane option is start all over again before it is too late. You wouldn't even run a fish and chip shop like this, let alone one of the world's biggest economies and longest-established parliamentary democracy. And talking of long-established British institutions, I am told that British fish and chips was the innovative creation of a 19th-century Jewish immigrant fishmonger. Something else that Boris Johnson and the Brexit fundamentalists brigade may like to chew over at their next fish and chip supper when putting together the details for how to prevent the UK accessing the skilled, hard-working immigrant labour it needs to drive the innovation economy. More vinegar anyone?

J Gaskell  Bishop’s Stortford

Where is the ideological diversity on television?

Regarding discussions on the lack of women in panel discussion shows, BBC Question Time is also an example of the very narrow panellist selections, primarily politicians and political journalists with only infrequently a token business person.

Where are the representatives from our illustrious academic, science and engineering communities or our diverse religious and secularist thinkers?

Meirion Rees Atworth

Iran needs to switch sides in the Syrian conflict

I understand that for geo-political reasons, the Iranians aim to help the Assad and their Russian backers re-take Syria. But is it really in the Iranian interest to do so?

The full facts of all atrocities always come out in the future: indiscriminate bombing of hospitals being high on the list of war crimes. I would urge the Iranian, now much more open, government, to change sides. Don't back a regime which is already doomed by its peoples.

Stefan Wickham Oxted