The government today announced a new five in one vaccine for children, bringing together the one in four jab they get at present and the oral polio vaccine. Good news you’d think, but yet again they made a complete hash of it.

The problem is that politicians want to get three crack at any story — before they announce something (ministers are expected to…), when they announce it and then the aftermath. That’s why the announcement was trailed two days early in the Daily Telegraph. Which is all very well, but this meant that the Sundays had a free run at it with all the health crackpots and conspiracy theorists whipping up a hysterical reaction.

The Department of Health couldn’t really say much more about the reasoning behind the change otherwise they’d have nothing to announce, so that the above scare stories where all that we heard for the best part of 48 hours, and that’s an awful long time in media terms. As Churchill once said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

It never ceases to amaze me that some people actually believe that a government would knowingly inflict pain and suffering on children. Apart from anything else, there is the potential cost to the exchequer’s coffers in terms of compensation and health care that this would mean.

And yet I listened to a woman of Radio Five this morning saying that her grandchildren were not vaccinated and that all they needed to fight of diseases (polio, say) is a diet of organic vegetables and homeopathy.

It reminded me of what another woman said on an earlier phone-in when the MMR scare was running. She said that she wouldn’t vaccinate her children and that she was going to protect them from disease by — wait for it — keeping them isolated at the family home in rural Cumbria. She would teach them herself and they would never have to worry about catching anything nasty from their playmates.

What blinding logic, eh? I’ll protect my children by ensuring that they grow up with no social skills and virtually zilch immunity to anything. You can see she hadn’t really thought this through.

And you can tell I’m getting up a head of steam!

I was reading an article yesterday by Roland White about the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and conspiracy theories in general. Brown’s book may well be a good tale, I don’t know because I haven’t read it, but many of those who have seem to think it’s documentary, not fiction and are turning up at art galleries etc, book in hand, trying to crack the code.

As the author of the article says, this state of affairs was predicted about 100 years ago by the writer GK Chesterton, a devout Catholic. “When people stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing,” he said. “They’ll believe in anything.”

Our increasingly secular society has become deeply distrustful of authority to the point that they would rather believe a lone voice with a good theory than a host of official experts. Beggars belief really.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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