John Prescott has suffered from bulimia. Good grief.
I'm impressed that he's talking about it. In his position, I certainly wouldn't. "John Prescott is fat" jokes have long been a staple of British political humour (example: "He can't wear a tie and a belt at the same time, or he'll turn into sausages"), and I'll be keeping a close watch on next week's edition of Have I Got News For You to count the bulimia jokes. Because bulimia is funny. It's a fat joke and a vomit joke, all in one handy little package.
He says it was brought on by stress:
"The only break I ever took was to eat. That’s all I did. Work, and then quickly eat something. It became my main pleasure, having access to my comfort food. So what I did was stuff my face with anything around, any old rubbish, burgers, chocolate, crisps, fish and chips, loads of it, till I felt sick - but at least I’d had the pleasure of stuffing my face and feeling really full. Then there would be a weird kind of pleasure in vomiting and feeling relieved."
I had terrible trouble with comfort eating as a teenager. I never threw up, but I was a binger for years. I still find a sick sort of comfort in a giant bar of chocolate. With that fully disclosed, I bring you the comments left on the article, horrible spelling and grammar left intact.
"Ah poor Prescott... not. He ought to be grateful that he could pay the bills unlike the 5 million poor people [blah blah blah fishcakes]."
"All that taxpayers' money down the drain, literally, as you can be sure that the food bills would have been paid out of expenses." Seriously, what does that have to do with it? Why are they harping upon about taxpayers? Gah.
"Even as a bulemic [sic] he is a failure." GAH.
"What a cheek to try and gain public sympathy by blaming the stress of office for his greed and his Neanderthal lavatory etiquette. It seems from some of the earlier posts that a few gullible souls have already been taken in." GAAAHHHH.
"...talk about a Big Girls Blouse." (I feel ever so slightly comforted that none of these idiots can spell or punctuate. Don't ask me why. It's Big Girl's Blouse, ass.)
"Bulimia - what a laugh - who has ever seen such a gross overweight, over eating man like Prescott suffering from Bullimia - what a load of rubbish." Oh, fuck off. Fuck. Off. Take your horrible sentence formation and your nasty views and fuck off.
I'll stop there. I'll ignore the tremendously amusing man who compares bulimia to throwing up a kebab when you're pissed and all the other posts talking about "greed". This really frightens me. He's too fat to be bulimic? Huh? Most of the time I love this country. I love the people, I love our collective attitude towards life. I love that no politician is too high or too important to take the piss out of. The one thing I truly hate about the British is our refusal to have personal sympathy with someone whose professional decisions we don't agree with. It disgusts me that people are proudly claiming they'll never feel sorry for him because taxes are going up (bear in mind the man is now retired and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Auditor's new tax plans), or because he's got more money than them, or because he's got a memoir coming out. "Ooh, what a coincidence," says someone sarcastically, having not bothered to read the article. This is IN the memoirs. That's where the story came from. The memoirs are about to be serialised by this newspaper. Dipshit. I hate these people.
Look, I'm no John Prescott fan. I thought he was incompetent as a politician, terrible as a public speaker - like the wonderful Linda Smith, I suspect language isn't his first language - and awful PR for Labour both as a party and a government. If you're an MP, you don't punch protesters. Even if they have thrown an egg at you (ooh, egg! That's food! Look out for a "Why Prescott Really Threw That Punch" bulimia joke coming soon to a comedian near you!). I thought he was completely useless. I still think that, as a professional politician, he was completely useless. However, it doesn't follow that he deserved to get an eating disorder because he was so useless. His uselessness doesn't preclude my now admiring his courage to be honest about it. He's a 69-year-old gruff Northern man with a big stomach. Eating disorders, in the public imagination, are the province of skinny, whiny suburban teenage girls. A man who gets an eating disorder is pathetic. A fat man with an eating disorder is just asking for it. I intend to make a John Prescott Bulimia Bingo card for my personal use when watching TV for the next couple of weeks.
To John Prescott, I say: Well done, that man. Well done. And I apologise for the utterly shitty quality of this post.