SOME of you will have seen ITV’s Good Morning Britain descend into chaos last week when commentator Iain Dale stormed off the set during a debate about Jonty Bravery, the autistic teenager who pushed a six-year-old boy from a viewing balcony at the Tate Modern art gallery last year, causing the child terrible injuries. Bravery, now 18, admitted attempted murder in December and is awaiting sentence.
Another guest, Grace Blakeley, a 26-year-old writer on the Left-wing publication Tribune, opened the discussion by blaming the horrific attack on lack of funding in the care system. Dale disagreed with this interpretation but he was constantly interrupted until enough was enough and he walked off.
Later on Twitter he highlighted a Daily Mail report that made his point.
According to the report, taxpayers have been forking out £150,000 a year to look after Bravery. The fact that the same sort of sums have been spent in the care of untold others raises questions about the huge cost – monetarily and in terms of public safety – of the policy of closing down mental hospitals. In 1986, when the first was closed, they housed some 100,000 people.
In light of cases such as that of Jonty Bravery, has the huge cost of ‘care in the community’, possibly involving 24-hour attendance, turned out to be the right policy, for the patients or the public? Discuss!