We need to talk about Kevan

Misleading title.  We need to talk about Ken and what he said about Kevan.

Yesterday Ken Livingstone made a comment about Kevan Jones.  Kevan you may remember has spoken publicly about his depression and its effect on him.  Ken Livingstone said ” I think [Jones] might need some psychiatric help. He’s obviously very depressed and disturbed. He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments”. 

Sue Baker, director of Time to Change (the mental health anti-stigma campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness), said it better than I ever could: “It’s as unacceptable to trade insults on the basis of someone’s mental health experiences as it would be on the basis of their race, gender or sexuality“.

Depressingly, even after Ken Livingstone belatedly apologised, he still insisted Kevan Jones started it, and tried to justify the way he lashed out.  Kevan Jones talked about Ken’s use of language last night on Channel 4, followed by one of the most unedifying interviews I’ve ever seen with Ken Livingstone himself.

So here we are in 2015, where some people still think it’s okay to use mental health experience as an insult.  It is heartening though that Ken Livingstone was called out on it repeatedly, and the more he tried to justify himself, the more criticism he received, and the more isolated he looked.

 

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