One thing always puzzled me about Tony Blair (well in fact, many things) was when he rather suddenly came out in defence of homeopathy. Out of the blue, he told the detractors of this weird superstition to back off:
I think that most people today have a rational view about science and my advice to the scientific community would be fight the battles you need to fight. I wouldn’t bother fighting a great battle over homeopathy – there are people who use it, people who don’t use it, it is not going to determine the future of the world, frankly.
What will determine the future of the world however, is the scientific community explaining for example the science of genetics and how it develops, or the issue to do with climate change and so on.
Now, the problem I have with this statement is that homeopaths undermine the public trust of science with their pseudo-scientific ramblings, their misrepresentaiton of data and their undermining of real medicine. The ability to use science to support policy is disrupted by a government that is willing to support NHS quackery.
Now a little quackery in the UK may not well determine “the future of the world”, but homeopaths claiming that they can cure AIDS in Africa might well help out in unfolding that dreadful tragedy. The Ethics Officers in our Homeopathic societies go out of their way to avoid condemning such dangerous practices.
Let’s pick on the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths for a change. They have members
, who think that treating meningitis in children with sugar pills is OK, that malaria can be prevented and treated with magic, and that vaccines for children are a very bad idea.
Tony Blair should have been picking up the phone to the Officers of the Homeopathic Societies and demanding to know what the hell they were doing rather than telling concerned people to lay off these ‘gentle’ people. At the time, the Ethics and Welfare Officer of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths was Lyndsey Booth, an expert in ‘treating’ autism with homeopathy. One more lunatic in charge of the asylum.
In fact, Tony may not even have needed to waste tax payers’ money on that phone call. He could have waited until the next family meal. Yes, as the eagle-eyed amongst you might have guessed, Lyndsey Booth is Tony Blair’s sister-in-law.
Tony and Cherie have been repeatedly criticised for their dabbling with dubious lifestyle gurus, in particular Carole Caplin and her conman ex-boyfriend Peter Foster. Caplin employed
Lyndsey as a homeopath for her health and fitness company, LifeSmart. As the Times reported,
Lyndsey Booth, 47, who gave up a successful career as a lawyer to retrain as a homeopath, helped organise a Downing Street meeting, held two years ago, that aired fears about possible links between the MMR vaccine and autism.
So much for ethical homeopaths not wanting to disrupt health advice regarding vaccination.
Lyndsay Booth has now defected from the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths to join that much more ethical organisation, the Society of Homeopaths
, whose ideas on transparency and honesty I have documented thoroughly.
None of this surprises me. Blair was a man who was prepared to take the minimal evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and fit it to his preconceived ideas. This sort of thinking is what makes homeopaths who they are. First decide what you want to believe and then find the evidence, no matter how flimsy, to support that.
But Blair has now gone. I doubt that more dour Scotsman in charge will be quite so accommodating to such delusions. Homeopaths have lost a secret friend in high places.