Carol Malone, Benefits Street, and mental health

Journalist at the Mirror and general scumbag, Carol Malone, has attacked an individual on Channel 4's 'Benefits Street - calling her a lazy, feckless, thief, and denouncing her mental health problems as a 'sob story'... This is my brief response.

Submitted by working class … on February 9, 2014

Earlier today I had an unpleasant experience. I was forced to remember that Carol Malone, her yachting blazers, and bouffant wig, still existed.

Ordinarily, an individual, who in the name of journalism – claimed that illegal immigrant receive free cars, and that the Philpott deaths were an accident waiting to happen because they claimed benefits – would live long in the memory.

However, a failed broadcasting career, coupled with her usurpation by a younger generation of more poisonous and hate filled bigots, such as Katie Hopkins has left Carol Malone, and fellow traveller, Edwina Curry, on the side-lines - looking for scraps.

It seems that Malone has a problem with the media attention afforded to some the individuals on the Channel 4 programme - ‘Benefits Street’.

Particular vitriol was reserved for White Dee, of whom she said –

“What kind of society have we become when a feckless, lazy thief becomes a celebrity?”

Perhaps she missed the lazy feckless thieves that ran the banking industry and bankrupted the country. Perhaps she has missed the lazy feckless thieves that sit in Parliament?

I am sure she didn’t fail to notice them. What a difference it can make if you are smartly dressed, articulate, and rich. This is just the type of anti-working class bile that the likes of Malone et al have based their entire careers on.

White Dee came in for further attacks from Malone in her column in today’s Mirror. Malone claims that Dee’s diagnosis of Bipolar disorder is just a ‘sob-story’, used as an excuse not to work. She then cites the example of Stephen Fry and Kerry Katona - both of whom have Bipolar and are able to continue working.

The suggestion that every individual’s experience of a health condition – whatever it may be – is the same is ignorant in the extreme. The nature and degree of any illness can vary widely – as anyone with a brain would likely understand.

Many people’s lives are ruined by bipolar disorder, hence why someone with that diagnosis is over twenty times more likely to take their own life than the general population… Or is that just a sob story?

A key difference between Stephen Fry and White Dee that Malone misses is that of, skills, status, and wealth. Stephen Fry – I assume – is a relatively wealthy man, whose work is not tied to a single employer, and can be undertaken whenever he feels like it (to a point). If he is feeling unwell he can put off writing or acting until such a time he feels more able to do so. Could the same circumstances be transposed onto White Dee, who may get a job working 9-5 in a shop, of shifts in a factory? If you don’t turn up you get sacked!

I remember Stephen Fry disappearing for a several days in 1995 when he was really unwell. What boss would keep Dee on, if she – like Stephen - became so unwell, that she just walked off the job for two weeks, went abroad, and made no contact with her employer?

The general public view of mental health issues has come a long way in the last twenty years. Unfortunately, the Sun front page from last year, the Tesco Halloween costumes, and comments such as those from Malone, do nothing - other than feed into the government’s demonization of people with mental health problems, and soften up public opinion in advance of stripping away disability living allowance.

As a former carer for a parent with a serious depressive illness who took his own life (another sob story), a mental health professional with over twelve years’ experience in clinical practice, and latterly a teacher of health professionals, I would suggest, Carol, that perhaps in future you raise your analysis of mental health, people, and situations, above that of a plate of fish and chips.


Fragile Jem

10 years 5 months ago

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Submitted by Fragile Jem on February 9, 2014

Enjoyed that. Nice one.


10 years 5 months ago

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Submitted by Steven. on February 10, 2014

Yeah, great blog!