Peter Hitchens is nuts. Not eccentric, provocative or playing the devil’s advocate, just plain bonkers. He’s always been a bit mad, but every now and again he would write something half-decent, as if a tiny piece of sanity was fighting back from the depths of a complete mental breakdown. Not any more, now it is column-after-column of increasingly ludicrous ramblings – each of them more self-assured than the last. We had a treatise on why single mothers should receive no benefits whatsoever, although ‘Existing victims of one of the stupidest policies in human history should continue to get their handouts and subsidised homes until their children are grown’. You can read more about that column from the excellent No sleep ’til Brooklands.
Then he moved onto the terrible state of higher education where he claimed that entering further education was a ‘corrupting, demoralising experience’ enjoyed by ‘parasites’ who sit courses ‘crammed with anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-traditional material’. You can read more about that here. Today he moves back to the welfare state and argues that no cuts have actually taken place because by 2014-15 we’ll be spending more than we are currently. ‘What cuts?’ is the opening question he asks, before moving on to attack housing benefit as ‘probably the single most fraudulent and wasteful state handout ever invented.’ Peter Hitchens is so utterly faeces-up-the-wall mad that he then starts getting to the root of our problems by arguing that Britain is run by a ‘more-or-less communist state machine’.
Councils employ lots of people in fake jobs with huge salaries whilst new hospitals ‘can be hosting MRSA within months of opening’, largely, suspects Peter, because:
Its nurses – now armed with costly and useless so-called degrees, but often lacking the dutiful discipline of their forebears – can still leave the old to die of dehydration or to fester in their own filth.
He ends with a wonderfully uplifting vision of the future:
This cannot continue for ever. My own guess is that it will be swept away some time soon by a wave of terrible inflation, which will destroy the provident and the prudent as well as the parasites, and which finally will reduce this country to the Third World status it seems so anxious to attain.
He does find time to mention a few other of his favourite things, he has another short piece on the untold misery of millions of children who are victims of a one-parent family and he returns to a favourite idea of his:
Yet more reason for a full, deep inquiry into so-called ‘anti-depressants’. How many suicides have been prescribed these ill-researched and unpredictable pills, also possibly linked with rampage killings? Both Yvonne Brown and her son Ben, who threw themselves to dreadful deaths from the Humber Bridge within weeks of each other, had been prescribed with ‘anti-depressants’.
Firstly, anyone even without any scientific understanding of the impact of anti-depressant drugs could make a few arguments as to why people on anti-depressants commit suicide. For instance, the argument could be made that anyone taking such drugs is depressed and may already be contemplating suicide, the drugs can therefore be seen as a result of their depression and suicidal thoughts rather than a cause of them. Secondly, when you look at the scientific evidence a key study has:
found an overall trend for any antidepressant treatment to reduce the risk of suicidality in people aged 25 years or above.
In the under 25s, however, there was a non-significant increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviour (preparatory actions for suicide or attempted or completed suicide) with antidepressant treatment. When limited to suicidal behaviour alone this increased risk became significant.
So, in specific circumstances there is cause for concern and further investigation. However, Hitchens general link has no evidence, and as for his suggestion that anti-depressants have been ‘possibly linked with rampage killings’, well yes, they have, by various media outlets as a quick Google search shows, but I have yet to see any scientific arguments for this. I can’t help but feel that the terrible state of tabloid journalism is never going to improve whilst people like Peter Hitchens are given a paid platform. If only we could start some kind of campaign to ban this sick filth without sounding like the Daily Mail…