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Rethink should rethink.

This statue is outrageous. It is not a tribute to Churchill, it is clearly just using him for the puerile purpose of making (yet another) statement in favour of identity politics.

It would appear that the foul Alison Lapper statue has set off a troubling new trend.

I find it very hard to imagine that Winston Churchill would be happy to be remembered in this way. It is extremely disrespectful and reflects very poorly upon on Rethink.

I agree wholeheartedly with all the above!


I think for a mental health charity to commission a statue of anybody in a straitjacket shows remarkably poor judgement.

I imagine it was just the latest in a series of individuals or organisations seeking attention through controversy, and it would appear to have worked.

Nothing more to add to the comments already made...disgusting

I'll stick my neck out and defend the statue. The problem facing many mental health campaigners is that there is a huge stigma attached to mental health disorders which have plagued us since Victorian times. The use of the straitjacket is pertinent since to many people mental health problems have connotations of the loony asylum.

Picturing someone of the stature of Churchill in a straitjacket isn't designed to denigrate him. It is intended to demonstrate that everyone can suffer from mental illness and that it should not be considered something unmentionable, embarrassing or shameful. No one would express anything other than sympathy for people suffering from a physical illness, yet psychiatric illnesses are taboo.

I can see the issue from both sides. I think the charity are desperate to fight their corner and make a statement about mental illness which many people are ignorant of. I think though, they overstepped the mark with this statue. An advert with famous high achievers who suffered with mental illness in an attempt to inspire sufferers might have been better.

"Picturing someone of the stature of Churchill in a straitjacket isn't designed to denigrate him. It is intended to demonstrate that everyone can suffer from mental illness and that it should not be considered something unmentionable, embarrassing or shameful. No one would express anything other than sympathy for people suffering from a physical illness, yet psychiatric illnesses are taboo."

I can appreciate why they chose Winston Churchill for the statue, but the use of the straitjacket is an affront to the dignity of not only Churchill, but anybody that has suffered mental health issues.

Was Churchill treated medically for his depression?

I am concerned that his descendants are upset about this, it wouldn't have hurt the charity to seek their permission before commissioning the statue.

It is particularly insensitive when one considers the FACT that Nicholas Soames has made it his life's work to be as inoffensive as possible towards all and sundry, at any and all cost.

One can see the purpose behind this - to create controversy to lead to publicity, and the fact that we're discussing it shows that it has worked. Causing offence is the price they have paid, and I guess that they aren't bothered about it.

Now if they had really wanted trouble they could have shown a statue of Mohammed in a straight jacket!

"oh its such a discrace" - pathetic, grow up. Soames has every right to feel insulted on a personal, family, basis - but Churchill is a public domain figure and we should be allowed to express our opinions about him in whatever manner we choose; its for history to judge which become accepted and which do not. This statue is clearly not a comment on anything more that on particular issue concerning Churchill, and is not an attack on him directly. As a representation of this on aspect of his personality, its perfectly valid. I dont think Churchill would have objected, not that thats the issue at stake. I'm fed up listening to Soames thinking he is the sole authority on Churchill because of the family ties.

I don't think it helps Rethink - large donors likely to give elsewhere, other donors put off. Charities often think that shock & controversy bring them benefit, I'm not to sure. I've been offended in past by NSPCC adverts and now tend to give to other childrens charities.

Rethink message about people rising above their illness has been lost in controversy over a statue - money could have been much better spent helping people wasted on a bit of metal and ineffective campaigning.

I agree with all of the foregoing. This statue is disgraceful and an affront to the Great Man and his memory. It should be pulled down.

I rather think that there has been a confusion between the sort of depression that accompanies genius and greatness (Milligan, Best, Picasso etc etc) and the sort of depression that leads to the sort of self harm and criminal activity that is so often associated with it.

God knows if Rethink (whoever they are) can't figure that one out, what hope is there.

I'd love to hear what Liam Fox thinks about it. He is generally our most authoritative voice on this issue.

Was Churchill ever actually placed in a straitjacket? Are we being asked to observe fact or fiction?

The statue is an excellent idea, emphasising how those who suffer from mental illness should not be cast aside but have a major role to play in society. The whole purpose of group's like Rethink is to remove the stigma around mental illness, not least because its the stigma that often causes sufferers to not seek help, which results in great suffering for them and their families, and in the worst cases, suicide.

In an age, where rightly, the Conservative party is seeking to attack prejudice, it should be supportive of measures that seek to alleviate one of the great prejudices of the modern era, that people who suffer with mental illness are somehow lesser members of society.

The problem with such charities is that they are too confrontational. I remember seeing an advert about disabled people on the side of a bus shelter and rather than informing the observer of the facts, it presented an angry message which didn't make me remotely sympathetic.

No matter what the merits of this idea are, the media will spin it negatively. I doubt the extra attention they get will raise funds significantly. It may even lead to a boycott.

Who are Rethink?An obscure little charity who are trying to make a name for themselves.Unfortunately they have suceeded but they will certainly not be receiving any money from me!

Anyone who gives money to this deranged charity should 'rethink' This is a problem with so many charities from the RSPCA and Red Cross downwards - they think their charitable status allows them to by-pass conventional standards of taste and sensitivity.

On the specifics of the statue I'd say it's not disrespectful, rather it's emphasising that he achieved greatness despite having a serious recurring illness.
By coincidence I'd just finished a little piece of my own on how overly censorious attitude have harmed the image of the Conservatives,
Could I Vote Tory? which I'd be interested to hear Tory views on, when I came to this!

Rethink's agenda here is presumably to argue that 1 in 3 of the population has mental health problems because so many of us have, occasionally, felt a bit down in the dumps for a time. Feeling blue or "depressed" is wholly different to serious mental illness (schizophrenia and the like). The charity would do far better focussing on genuinely ill people rather than seeking, and getting, cheap publicity.

"Could I Vote Tory? which I'd be interested to hear Tory views on, when I came to this!"

while there is no doubting that Britain is more socially liberal than it once was, it isn't as liberal as some would like to believe. Your argument is undermined when you dismiss opinion polls simply because they don't agree with what you say.

Oh, and opposition to European regulations goes beyond the Conservative Party. It is a matter of democracy, not party politics.

"Could I Vote Tory? which I'd be interested to hear Tory views on, when I came to this!"

What you don't seem to even understand is that social conservatives have a rational case for their point of view. You seem to *assume* that all social conservatives are motivated by prejudice and bigotry; in glibly making this assumption, however, you reveal that it is actually yourself who is motivated by prejudice and bigotry.

But then "tolerance and understanding" isn't often practiced by those who preach it.

A very unfair response to this statue from many quarters, I feel. This kind of thing inevitably polarises opinion, just like a sitcom about an old bigot some viewers find racist and disgusting (or racist and absolutely right, to many people) whilst others see satire and social commentary. That's just as true here, where you will either see an image that offends you or you will look deeper and understand the more fundamental message.

However, I don't seek to defend the statue too strongly either. I don't think it succeeds at all in getting a very important message across, and a matter which is at heart very poignant - the fact that Churchill, along with great leaders in all fields of human endeavour, suffered mental health problems which, if they were other people, might have left them holed up in a cell, locked in a straitjacket - should be treated in a much more subtle, respectful and dignified way than this.

I guess that Rethink wanted a visual image of mental health problems, and that a straitjacket was the most obvious.

Personally I think that mental health problems are one of the last big taboos in society, and anything that gets people talking about the problems and how we address them is a good thing.

Here is a bigger issue. When NHS trust over-spend their budgets they are much more likely to cut back on mental health services and physical health services. Many mental health problems if not treated early (and by treatment I'm not talking just about medical intervention, I'm also talking about 'talking therapies') will lead to physical health problems.

While I'm on my soap box I'll throw down the guantlet to Mr Cameron to get mental health further up the agenda!

RobC: I completely agree. Men (particularly young men) are 3 times as likely as women to commit suicide. Did David Cameron mention this in his speech to the Equal Opportunities Commission ? Has he considered this gender inequality, its causes and possible remedies ? Equal Opportunities works both ways.

JohnC: The interest suicide statistic I learnt at uni was that more women than men attempt suicide, but more men than women commit suicide.


The statue has been removed.

Story here, thanks Margaret.
A controversial statue of Sir Winston Churchill in a straitjacket which has provoked widespread public outrage has been removed from display at The Forum in Norwich.

The decision was made after it was revealed that the identity of the person depicted in the statue was kept secret from managers at The Forum until it was unveiled on Friday.

Although the charity Rethink worked closely with the venue to plan the launch of its campaign to rid mental illness of prejudice and stigma, it did not inform staff about the inflammatory nature of the 9ft statue.

It was also revealed the charity did not tell Sir Winston's family that it was planning to use the statue again, despite knowing they had blocked efforts to have it erected in the past.

One more time - was Churchill ever placed in a straitjacket?

Let alone Soames is offended. Is the truth offended?

To me that's the only issue. Is it true or a lie?

As someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, I see this sculpture in a very different way than the majority of those who have posted here. I am very intelligent, and was not diagnosed with this very difficult illness until four years ago. To me the statue is more metaphorical in some way.

Those that suffer from bipolar illness are challenged daily to function normally in the world despite an illness that can grip them without warning and send them spiraling upward or downward into places and states of mind healthy people would dare not tread. It is a horrible illness, which is always with you, waiting to deceive you, and always just lurking around the corner.

At times, despite my many accomplishments and victories, I have felt like I have already been placed in a straight jacket; but the straight jacket I am talking about is not a real one, but a metaphorical straight jacket that controls my life, frequently holding me back from living joyously or productively. I think this statue may have more to do with this idea than anything else.

I am in awe of Churchill's ability to live with his illness at a time when treatment was abysmal for it. It has been said that Churchill, who was terribly saddled with this tumultuous illness, needed the Great War as a way of working through his illness effectively.....he needed the enemies of the Nazi party and Hitler as a principal focus, and look at how brilliantly he performed.

Those of us with bipolar in our times need such focal points in our lives in order to function, because down deep, we all feel we are straight-jacketed with this horrendous illness we have no real control over.

If you British lunatics had put your crazy warmongering leader into one of these jackets a lot earlier, millions of people would have been saved.

Yes i know, the British and Americans are good and the Germans are bad. lol Yes i have seen all these silly British Hollywood-style movies too. If the Germans are so bad, i wonder why the British Empire murdered 10 times as many innocents in their colonies than Hitler kiled Jews. And also i wonder why not those bad bad Germans, but the "innocent" British are killing children in Iraq today with their disgusting American friends?

Germany had made more than 20 peace offers to Churchill - and that was long time before YOUR leader turned this european war into a world war, by dragging the USA into it. (Frankly, i think your fat ugly Yankee friends have no business in Europe. But you Brits and your ugly Yankee friends believe you have the right to create a mess anywhere in the world, dont you? Just look at what you aer doing with your aggressive wars in Iraq right now.)

One of the German peace offers were brought to Churchill by the Pope, one by the Swedish Elite (neutral country) , and one even by the King of Spain (neutral country).

The world war raged on and became world fire, just because one man wanted it: Winston Churchill, who refused peace.

You British people are even dumber than the Americans, worshipping this crazy mad genocidal killer. The truth has leaked out , and even the British can't run away from it - lie about it all you want.

Shall we ask Sir Phil Green about Nicholas Soames sensitivity to his fellow man?.
The numb skulls who damn the charity for having the gull to make a strikingly bold artistic statement should wake up smell the coffee then re collect their thoughts to the fact that Churchill lead a unyielding fight against the type of oppressive glorify hero worship that the cult of Hitler subjected on it's people and tried to on the rest of the world. Our Grandfathers under Mr Churchills command fought for the freedom of the individual and that involved freedom of speech.
I think Mr Churchill would have not given a toss about the statue and would have got its message, after all if Churchill wanted to be remembered as a pristine Relic of British History he would have curbed some of his eccentric behaviours the fact that he did not shows that the man had great personal courage and did not give a damn what people who thought of him.

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