Osborne’s ‘lost marbles’ taunt is ignorant about mental health stigma – as Labour knows too well

Osborne: Ignorant and harmful [Image: PA].

Osborne really is a buffoon of the lowest order.

Almost exactly two months since Labour was divided over a comment Ken Livingstone made about the mental health of a colleague, Osborne has voiced a similar jibe about the shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

The anger over Livingstone’s claim that Kevan Jones “might need some psychiatric help” faded after it was discovered that Mr Jones, who had been angered because he has been treated for mental illness in the past, had voiced a similar comment in the House of Commons after receiving that treatment.

The consensus opinion was that any comment that belittles the condition of people with real mental health problems is ignorant and harmful, and anyone who gives voice to it is to be reprimanded.

Labour has learnt its lesson the hard way.

Luciana Berger is absolutely right to teach it to Osborne. It’s just a shame he is a poor student.

George Osborne should apologise for “flippant remarks” he made in parliament about mental health, Labour’s shadow mental health minister has said.

Speaking to MPs on Tuesday, the chancellor joked that the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and the former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, had both “lost their marbles” – referring to the Elgin Marbles and to Labour’s plans to hold a series of open seminars about economics.

In an open letter to the chancellor, Labour’s shadow minister for mental health, Luciana Berger – who sits in the shadow cabinet – expressed her “deep disappointment” at the comments.

“Mental health affects one in four of us at any time, yet people with mental health problems still face stigma, prejudice and discrimination,” she wrote. “Flippant remarks such as those you chose to use today only serve to reinforce the gap in understanding.

“Colleagues on all sides of the House have made great strides in recent years to help challenge the misconceptions and dispel the myths that still surround mental health. Your comments do a great disservice to those efforts.”

Source: Osborne’s ‘lost marbles’ taunt reinforces mental health stigma, says Labour | Society | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


7 thoughts on “Osborne’s ‘lost marbles’ taunt is ignorant about mental health stigma – as Labour knows too well

  1. John

    It is pleasing to see John McDonnell not rising to the bait and responding accordingly, but instead ignoring Gideons’ insulting remark and continuing with his questions. I have to say that technically since Camoron refused to apologise for HIS ‘terrorist sympathiser’ comment, why should Gideon apologize for his ‘marbles’ comment?

  2. casalealex

    Rt Hon Cameron, Rt Hon Osborne, and Rt Hon Duncan Smith are the most insipid and insidious bunch of idiots in the ‘government’. Cameron is arrogant and opinionated, Osborne is inanimately drugged up, and Smith is a disingenuous and rabid delusionist. How any one of them can have the audacity to make derogatory and dishonourable remarks about people who are unwell is beyond the pale.

    1. John

      Personally, at the very minimum, I’d like to see IDS put behind bars for murder, however sadly, given that he’s in his 60s now I believe, I’ve got this gut feeling that he will likely be dead before the legal system catches up with him, so he’ll have effectively got away with it.

  3. Terry Davies

    dismissal of Cameron and Osborne is long overdue. After the EU referendum Cameron will stand down and be blamed for the NHS privatistions. A more modrrste approach will then be adopted and Osborne will do likewise. remember a leopard does not change its spots.
    All tories moderate or not have voted for inhumane policies and / or abstained. Cameron has depended on abstentions from both opposition and his own party to get the policies through.
    Dismissal of the tory party forever is long overdue. get rid of the party system for the political system to benefit a majority will never be created whilst it exists.

Comments are closed.