How many MPs will sign up to the Geek Manifesto?
I did not name David Tredinnick in my recent book 'How to be an MP' but he is the inspiration for one of the career choices for a backbencher.
Providing wildly alternative medical advice is a courageous or foolhardy role for those insensitive to gasps of incredulity and eyes rolled towards the ceiling. One MP has offered a litany of weird remedies. They include homeopathic borax to protect animals from foot and mouth and the ‘laying on of hands’ to cure cancer. He is also an impassioned advocate of dowsing, kinesiology and crystal therapy – on the fragile scientific basis that ‘crystals create a radio signal ... so they are likely to contribute to health and well- being’. His latest enthusiasm is iridology. He explains that this is a ‘newer science involving looking into eyes to discover medical problems’. In the past he has advocated the use of flowers to cure fatal illnesses. The same Member repaid £755 that he had spent on astrology software, even though IPSA remarkably told him he did not have to. But they did decline to pay a £125 bill for a seminar on honouring ‘the male and female essence’. He adds to the rich variety of parliamentary eccentricity.
My political opponent at the last General Election worked for David Tredinnick. He claimed expertise in health problems. I never mentioned David's support for the wildest extremes of mad medicine. There was no need. No medicine could have won Newport West for the Tories.
Mark Henderson has collected a string of examples of parliament behaving badly. The punishment of Doctor Nutt for the offence of being caught in possession of an intelligent idea was a hideous low. Drugs prohibition policy since 1971 has done great harm. I have had 25 years pushing for rational policies against the united stupidity of all major parties. One day sense will prevail over pressure and prejudice.
Mark quotes the cool authoritative logic of the Cochrane Collaboration. Shame he missed out of their exposure of the confidence trick on the H!N1 Pandemic-that-never -was. The Cochrane Collaboration was a great help to me in preparing a Council of Europe report that revealed the triumph of bad science and the waste of £billions on medicines that were never necessary or used.
Henderson is accurate is denouncing the processes that undermine belief in GM and nuclear power. He misses the Government's chicanery in dodging the vital objection to nuclear power which is cost. Still no assessment of the unaffordable price of new nuclear even though old nuclear nerve delivered on time or on budget.
The litany of the names of intelligent MPs who back homeopathy is breathtaking and daunting. They must be lacking in any mature concept of scientific principles. Shamelessly they sign EDMs backing fantasy cures. I must have a word with one or two of them. Or better still persuade them to read the Geek manifesto.