Friday, September 09, 2005


Listen, I think I'm on to something. Correction. I know I'm on to something. Something big. Something very big. Something so big, in fact, that they'd do anything to stop it getting out. Anything. So I've got to be careful. Very careful. When the truth is known it'll blow the whole . . . shh . . . I think someone's coming.

Sometime after yesterday's morning medication, they transferred me from Princess Royal, saying I was a cynical and disruptive influence on the tramps and would benefit from the more intensive and specialised therapy available on the Glamis Special Unit, a locked ward deep in the basement beneath the Bowes-Lyon Unit. At least that's what I've been told; really I could be anywhere.

I was roused rudely this morning by an enormous, muscular nurse with tattoos and a shaven head. She thrust a handful of assorted pills and a glass of water at me and told me that things were different here, that there was no namby-pamby group therapy or, she sneered with contempt, 'counselling'. She said the treatment here consisted of two strands. Firstly, chemicals and lots of them. She reeled off a list: chlorpromazine, clozapine, fluphenazine, loxapine, methotrimeprazine, mesoridazine, perphenazine, prochlorperazine and so on until my head began to spin. Secondly - and here she put a forefinger to each temple and made a strange noise - dzzzzzzzzz - accompanied by a slack-jawed, tongue-hanging, eye-rolling pantomime. Then she beamed with delight and left.

I felt the sweat rising all over my head and trickling down the back of my neck, and before swallowing them gratefully in the hope of at least some temporary release from these hellish prospects, I glanced at the pills in my hand. They were of many shapes, sizes and colours, but each bore the legend 'P-Z'. I washed them down and laid back on the bed and after a while I felt myself drifting pleasantly away.

Later, I was visited by a seemingly very cheerful and friendly doctor who introduced himself as "Chandrashekhar Anjekhar, psychiatric registrar". After our consultation, I overheard him talking in the corridor with none other than the eminent professor, Chittaswarap Chatterjee, who not only chairs the National Symposium on the Management of Mental Illness Steering Committee, but also is a close personal friend of the Prime Minister and acts as a special consultant to the Swiss pharmaceutical corporation, Pharma-Zweiff, which, as you know, is the world's largest producer of anti-psychotic medication. They were discussing the government’s latest policy for the future of mental healthcare in England and I heard every word.

Apparently, as advances in chemical psychiatry continue to accelerate exponentially and new forms of psychotic disorders are being discovered and categorised on a daily basis, it is hoped that by the year 2020 at least ninety-seven percent of the population will have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness and will be receiving drug-based treatment.

As I listened, hardly daring to breathe, I learned that in certain isolated regions government targets have been reached already through the employment of a secret long-term experimental programme of inbreeding and substance abuse, most notably in Norfolk, where plans to abolish education completely are beginning to reach fruition. Also, large swathes of Lincolnshire have actually managed to exceed the ninety-seven percent figure without government assistance, and in many of the coastal settlements between Skegness and Cleethorpes this magnificent achievement is not only already plainly evident but is spreading rapidly inland and north towards Humberside.

For reasons I dare not contemplate, and it can’t have been by accident, I appear to have been allowed to stumble upon a huge conspiracy between the government, the health service and the drug manufacturers to subdue and control the whole nation from cradle to grave with a diet of anti-psychotic medication and unless . . . oh my God, there's someone at the door . . .