Homeopathy-Supporting Hunt as Health Secretary: Cabinet Reshuffle Shows Cameron’s Choices As Bad As Ever

September 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Alternative Medicine, Evidence, government, Homeopathy, Politics) (, , , , , , , )

In 2010, I wrote of my surprise on discovering that Nadine Dorries and David Tredinnick had been appointed to the Select Committee on Health. Cameron seems to have gone one better with his cabinet reshuffle, appointing Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeopathy and the NHS

July 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm (Alternative Medicine, government, Homeopathy) (, , , )

A letter to my MP regarding the government response to the Select Committee’s evidence check on homeopathy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Health Select Committee – Dorries And Tredinnick

June 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm (Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine, Evidence, government, Homeopathy, Politics) (, )

I was surprised to see that Nadine Dorries and David Tredinnick were members of the newly-formed Select Committee on Health. So surprised, I half-wondered at first if the announcement was some kind of spoof. Sadly, it appears that Dorries and Tredinnick really are on the Health Select Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

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Evidence: Government Policy and Homeopathy

February 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm (government, Homeopathic Remedies, Homeopathy, Politics) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Science and Technology Select Committee’s report [PDF] on homeopathy and the accompanying press release are rather critical of some of the individuals and groups referred to in the report. Here is just a sample of the targets for criticism: Read the rest of this entry »

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Politicians and the Skeptical Voter

November 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm (government, Politics) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Some politicians have rather peculiar views. Often, these views are not informed by evidence. While people will probably remember Tony Blair’s stance on faith schools, they may not recall Peter Hain on Alt Med or Ken Livingstone on MMR. There’s also Nadine Dorries and David Tredinnick. Recently, there was also the case of Alan Johnson and Professor Nutt. Elected politicians are vulnerable, as they can be voted out. This may make it worth lobbying MPs who promote pseudoscience and counterknowledge. It may also be worth looking at how MPs approach evidence in the run-up to the next election.# Read the rest of this entry »

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Shoot The Messenger: When Evidence And Policy Clash

October 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm (government, Media, Politics, Recreational Drugs) (, , )

The BBC is reporting that home secretary Alan Johnson has sacked Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Read the rest of this entry »

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More on Libel Legislation

May 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm (government, Law) (, )

OK, first up we have a response to the email I sent to my MP. Read the rest of this entry »

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Writing to my MP About the UK Libel Laws

May 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm (government, Law) (, , )

The libel laws in England? They’re broken. They’re not fit for purpose. Only the rich can afford to sue. Only the rich can afford to defend themselves against libel law suits. The burden of proof is skewed in favour of the plaintiff in this country to the extent that we have libel tourism. As George Monbiot wrote, “England’s mediaeval libel laws are becoming a global menace to free speech”. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Promotion of Counterknowledge

March 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm (Alternative Medicine, Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science, Bloggers, Briffa, Conspiracy, Dangerously Wrong, government, Media, Nutritionism, Patrick Holford, Religion, Supplements, Woo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

[BPSDB] Those promoting Counterknowledge are winning. Possibly because the public actually don’t really care that much*. (Damien Thompson’s book Counterknowledge is available from local libraries in my area, yet I am the first person in the 14 months since it has been in the library catalogue to borrow it.) It is also possible that Counterknowledge is spreading at least partly because people with a measure of influence in society are among those who promote it. Members of the British royal family, politicians, the mainstream media, celebrities, Alternative Medicine practitioners posing as authority figures, members of churches, and even universities have helped to promote Counterknowledge. Not to mention maverick scientists such as Andrew Wakefield. Those with less authority are playing an important part too, though. For example, full-time conspiracy theorists such as the owner of the whale.to website are disseminating bullshit that is reproduced on forums such as What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or JABS. Read the rest of this entry »

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MMR, LBC, EDM: Initial Thoughts

February 20, 2009 at 9:55 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Bad Science, government, Media) (, , , , , , , , )

There is an Early Day Motion that refers to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and also to LBC radio (London’s Biggest Conversation). Ben Goldacre discusses it here. You can find the EDM here. You can view the list of MPs in alphabetical order and check to see whether yours has signed the EDM. If they haven’t, then you can write to them using this website: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/.

It’s also possible to group the EDM signatures by party – this shows 11 Liberal Democrats, 15 Labour MPs, and 2 Conservatives. Given that the parties have, respectively, 63 MPs, 350 Members of Parliament, and 193 Members, this means that 17 per cent of Liberal Democrat MPs have signed, with 4% of Labour MPs attaching their names to the list and only 1% of Conservatives putting their John Hancock on the EDM.

I wrote to my MP and I suggest you do the same if you haven’t already. Here’s an example of the kind of correspondence you get between MP and Whiny Sceptic Constituent: Read the rest of this entry »

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