Rosena Allin-Khan has gone on an offensive about mental health this weekend. As Labour's Shadow Minister for Mental Health it is her remit, but the timing leaves the party open to yet more accusations of hypocrisy. For how can Labour bemoan the poor mental health of the nation at the same time as demanding another full national lockdown? By her own admission, Allin-Khan says that the pandemic has dramatically impacted mental health, so how on earth can she simultaneously support calls to lock people up in their homes - again?
While the Office for National Statistics manages to get Covid-related figures released almost instantaneously, the data for suicides is much harder to obtain and we may have to wait until next year to see the full impact of the pandemic - in particular the debilitating effect of lockdowns on loneliness, depression and suicide rates. Sky's Sophy Ridge touched on the issue when she interviewed Allin-Khan on Sunday morning, but the frontbencher defended Labour's call for a so-called 'circuit-breaker' suggesting that this proposed 2-3 week lockdown would magically resolve everything. Now that this drastic action is currently taking place in Wales we will soon be able to find out whether it would have any significant impact on the virus, while the experiment lays waste to the high street, hospitality industry and people's mental health.
The truth is that Labour don't care about mental health, local businesses or people's jobs. All they are interested in at the moment is making political capital out of a bad situation, something which several party figures have publicly admitted during momentary lapses of concentration. Labour's support for perpetual lockdowns (the Welsh government has already threatened another after Christmas) will backfire on them. People have had enough.