Peter Rhodes on tanks, victim blaming and living in an age of syndromes

Britain, France, Germany and the States are preparing to send tanks to the Ukrainian army. This may seem odd, given that tanks have been zapped in their hundreds by the new masters of the battlefield, the drones.

Tanks – had their day?
Tanks – had their day?

But those who have served in tank regiments have boundless faith in them . As one veteran told the media a few days ago: “Tanks are like dinner jackets; you don’t need them very often, but when you do, nothing else will do.” Possibly true – but you could say exactly the same about straitjackets.

There's no shortage of people to blame for the crisis in the NHS. Blame it on successive governments. Blame it on the present Government. Blame it on those convenient, anonymous and decidedly overpaid NHS managers. But whoever you blame, don't blame the patients.

No, don't you dare ask how many of those people hospitalised with Covid-19 or flu had decided, for whatever reason, not to have the Covid or flu jabs. It's called victim blaming and it simply isn't cricket. I hereby apologise for even raising the subject.

But I will pass on the tale of a friend who, having had the flu jab religiously for the past 20 years, skipped it this year and has been pole-axed with a particularly vile dose. And I should mention that my dose of Covid, as for so many people, was no more than a mild sore throat which suggests to me that, despite all the conspiracy theories, the vaccines work.

At 52, the comedian and actor Johnny Vegas was recently advised to see a specialist who diagnosed him as having ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Vegas says this “answers a lot of questions” about his behaviour in the past. The real surprise would have been if Vegas, or any of us, visited a specialist and did not come away with some sort of diagnosis.

We live in an age of shrinks (The UK has about 50,000 therapists) and there are more than enough syndromes, symptoms and personality disorders for us all to have at least one. The courts are full of defendants with fancy titles such as borderline personality disorder or unresolved machete issues.

PS: If it wasn't for my narcissistic personality disorder, I'd be really depressed about my always-being-right syndrome.

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