Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Mental Health and BoJo

Well all the press on the Ed Miliband speech yesterday has been about energy, land grabs etc. but for me the really interesting part was when he talked about mental health. This has not been widely reported but I suspect it’s the first time any party leader has used their Conference speech to highlight this issue. He used an example of a young girl who had written to say if only the signs of anxiety and depression had been recognised earlier she might have avoided the lengthy hospital stay she had endured. He said we will talk about other health issues but are reluctant to talk of mental health problems. He used this to highlight how the NHS needs to do more on prevention. This will have gone down well with my members in the health and social care sector. Indeed Ed had said that he was going to talk about mental health when he came to the ACEVO fringe meeting on Monday and Paul Farmer, CEO of MIND (and ACEVO member) was delighted. I got a chance to say thanks to Ed for that bit later that evening.

And there was another interesting speech yesterday. Boris Johnson got some good coverage in the papers for a City Hall speech in which he criticised a British "lust" for big houses and said the UK's wealthy should be philanthropic.

 Bojo declared that wealthy Britons prefer to buy “the biggest possible house they can with the most colossal grouse moor they can find” and that it was "ridiculous" more money was not given to charity. “Stop buying Home Counties Schlosses” he cried!.

Good one. He is right. The poor do give a higher proportion of their salary to charity and the rich (with some notable worthy exceptions) do less. Having advocates like the Mayor of London is greatly appreciated.

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