Today it’s very easy to be me, because the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, has taken the two subjects that I can talk about on autopilot and combined them into one family-sized bundle of spectacular good sense. If I could find a way of crowbarring Nate Silver and gay marriage in, you’d be able to play Tom Chivers Bingo with this post.
Point one: Prof Davies described homeopathy as “rubbish”, adding “I’m very concerned when homeopathic practitioners try to peddle this way of life to prevent malaria or other infectious disease” and “I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.” Bravo all round! This of course comes after it was reported that Ainsworth’s, purveyor of sugar pills to the Royal family, was selling some of those sugar pills as “vaccines” designed to protect people against real diseases, including hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, and whooping cough. Needless to say, it is completely impossible that any of these “vaccines” will have any effect in protecting people from these dangerous and in some cases fatal diseases, because the “vaccines” contain precisely no active ingredient. It should probably be noted, without further comment, that Britain is currently in the grip of the worst whooping cough outbreak for decades, with 13 children dying of the disease last year. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, is on record supporting the provision of homeopathy on the NHS.
Point two: Prof Davies made the almost equally unarguable suggestion that treating drug addicts as criminals is counterproductive. As she says, and as I write with the relentless monotony for which I am so rightly famous, there is “quite a lot of evidence from other countries” that the best way to treat drug addiction is “as a health problem”. If the Coalition decides to decriminalise drug use, she says, her organisation will “be ready with quite a lot of advice”.
What’s interesting here is that “medical adviser states medical fact” is sufficiently noteworthy to be a national story. Homeopathy is, of course, rubbish, even if idiot vets think it works on horses or idiot princes think it works on princes. Treating drug users as criminals is, of course, a bizarre idea, creating a vast black market filled with unsafe products.
On that subject, the Home Office has issued its biweekly statement that “drugs are illegal because they are harmful”. With tragically good timing, as many as five people have died in the last few days after taking a pill from an apparently contaminated batch of Ecstacy in Wigan and Liverpool. I wonder, as did Ben Goldacre earlier this week, if the Home Office will accept that those drugs, at least, were harmful because they were illegal.
Anyway. Probably next week we’ll have the Poet Laureate saying that TS Eliot was quite good at writing poems, or the head of the RAC telling us that cars are vehicles intended to carry small groups of people from one place to another. And perhaps then the Government will release a response to each one, saying that no, they prefer Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings, or that according to the Department of Transport a “car” is a kind of medieval siege weapon. Because that’s basically what’s happened here.