Depression and Politics

I’m convinced that my depression – of which I’m deeply ashamed, as my generation was expected to be: ‘pull yourself together, man!’ – is mainly due to some chemical imbalance in my brain, for which I’m taking tablets. (‘Fluoxetin’. I’m not sure that they work – I still feel chronically ‘down’ – but how do I know I’ll not feel worse without them?) 

Whatever lies at the root of it, however, my worst moods are certainly triggered by politics, both at home and abroad. Currently they’re triggered – every morning when I wake up – by recalling the appalling political situation we have now in Britain: with a pretty extreme right-wing government hoisted into power by means of trickery and lies; a Labour ‘Opposition’ – the inverted commas are necessary – devoted to cleansing itself of all traces of the Social Democracy that defined Labour’s identity in its greatest and most effective years in government, including by expelling any member who dares to criticise Israel, even anti-Zionist Jews, and of course Jeremy Corbyn, who however ‘unelectable’ he might have seemed in 2019 offered easily the best solution to the Brexit ‘problem’, and was at least able to stimulate some enthusiasm  – not a terribly common ingredient in modern British politics – amongst the young, who are going to inherit this world we oldies are fucking up for them; and, lastly – amongst these ‘triggers’ of my depression – an electoral system that makes it difficult to see how any of this can be mended, at least before the next General Election, due in May 2024, and maybe not even then. 

I explore some of the deeper causes of this situation in the final chapters of my Patriot’s Guide to British History (about which, incidentally, I still haven’t heard from my publisher). One of these causes is undoubtedly the cleverness of those who conspired to bring about Brexit, for reasons of their own – mainly to ‘complete the Thatcher revolution’, as a few of them openly admitted – with quite remarkable success: playing on the grievances of ordinary people, with the help of rich backers and a highly partisan popular press, untruths on the sides of buses (or was it only the one?), and in the knowledge of the devious ways in which Britain’s ‘democracy’ could be manipulated both to achieve their immediate ends, and – probably – to sustain those ends in perpetuity. I don’t want to make too much of this, for fear of being labelled a ‘conspiracy theorist’; just as I’m unwilling to place too much emphasis on the part played by the British Board of Deputies in the smearing of Corbyn, which certainly had some effect in 2019. But there can be little doubt that the deeply flawed nature of Britain’s electoral system – not just ‘FPTP’ but also the character of her public discourse – made it a good pitch for ‘conspirators’ to bowl on; shattering the wickets of what used to be known as the ‘Gentlemen’. (As against the ‘Players’, or professionals. For Americans, that’s a reference to cricket.) 

Isn’t this enough to make one depressed? Even without the chemistry?

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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2 Responses to Depression and Politics

  1. Very sorry to read of your depression, Bernard. Living in virtual exile is also perhaps another ‘trigger’, no matter how convivial Sweden is in comparison with contemporary Britain.

    The whole neo-liberal agenda has been imposed step by step over decades and required legislation together with a raft of other measures. The fact that leading capitalists would act in a more-or-less coordinated way to undo gains made by the labour movement and create a social environment that was radically conducive to capital is not to imply a conspiracy theory. It is merely a case of powerful people and organisations using their leverage to pursue their own interests. It has all been done with pride and in plain sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Evans says:

    Yes, indeed – you might try Martazapine….works well to help with sleep, and does not seem to fuzz up the brain in the early morning.
    It is quite legitimate for your depression to be fuelled by the fact that one is very angry, and the time limit of that anger is unknown. Just how angry can we feel for how long, about the illegal, unjust, lying, cheating and conning Government that we have in the UK. Everything rests on Brexit – and millions of us will be angry till we die – which is enough to trigger even the iron bound depression preventives…..You can tell that some chickens are beginning to roost on the fence, as the CBI is all but calling out the Govt on all the trade /health-related issues – but doesn’t dare break full cover……but we get the sub-text and the meaning. When will this anger go away….how long a lifetime will we wait before we see the lights go on again – ?

    Liked by 1 person

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