I’m a nutter and I’m not bothered by Poundland’s Nutters sweets

Nutters sweets sold in Poundland. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Nutters sweets sold in Poundland. Photo: Geraldine Scott - Credit: Geraldine Scott

This week, I received what I'm going to call a back-handed compliment. I was called an 'infuriating' columnist.

A friend said it was because I'm impossible to second-guess with my opinions.

He said: 'One week you're a complete lovely liberal, the next you're Katie Hopkins.'

READ MORE: Poundland sweets Nutters branded offensive to those with mental ill health by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb

I'm prepared to forgive the last bit, in the hope that it was hyperbole. If not, I'll push over his wheelie bins and empty the contents down his chimney.

In reality, I'm pretty happy if I can't be pinned down: I can't see the point of being predictable.

If there is a point, then it's to reinforce the views of readers and make them feel reassured. How boring.

I guess I'll never be reassuring. In consecutive weeks, I've been accused of being ultra-Conservative and a Corbynista.

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My politics are private, my views are not boxed in by doctrine or rounded up by a party whip.

It gives me the chance to pose a question – what do you think I think about a recent news story?

I'm talking about the Poundland sweets called Nutters – a cheap version of M&Ms, featuring cartoon characters with crossed eyes.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and mental health charities are not impressed and want Poundland to withdraw them from the shelves.

So, with my history of mental health issues, am I offended by the use of a word and images that could belittle others like me?

Or do I think people should just get over it because it's a harmless bit of fun?

I'm strongly of the latter view.

These sweets are not offensive in any way – except in the way that they combine nuts and chocolate. Obscene, like cheese containing fruit.

Like so many things, Nutters only offend those who choose to be offended.

It's a 21st-century trend to find things that disturb our sensibilities, then to demand some sort of penance.

With the controversial sweets, as with all things, it's about context. If a newspaper headlined a report on mental hospitals with the word 'Nutters' I'd be a bit riled. On sweets that contain nuts, there really isn't a problem.

Maybe it's in part because of how I refer to myself.

I don't mind telling anyone that I'm a nutter, a loony, crazy, a fruitcake, hatstand and – with thanks to Alan Partridge – a mentalist.

It feels quite empowering to take those words and make them light-hearted, while stealing their power to hurt me.

I'm not saying that others will necessarily be able to respond in the same way to such words.

But I would say that I'd rather get angry about poor mental health services than a bag of cheap sweets.