Filed: Health

The Precautionary Principle

The front page headline of my local paper today reads “Danger Foods Still on Sale.” Some poor hack had been given the job of traipsing round 27 shops to find that 15 were still selling stuff containing Sudan I. Maybe I’m missing something, but so what?

From what I’ve read, you’d need to eat a bucketful a day for ages to do you any harm. In theory. And judging by the types of products containing this stuff, you would have died from a heart attack or a stroke long before the cancer kicked in. Read more ›››

Welfare State

In the Welfare State We’re In, James Bartholomew argues that there wasn’t a need for the NHS to begin with. His basic premise is that the pre-NHS health system work perfectly well and we shouldn’t have changed it.

Healthcare in Britain was very substantial and impressive prior to 1948. Even the Labour Party pamphlet, which recommended a “National Service for Health” in 1943, could find little to criticise. There is mention of only one waiting list, for “rheumatic diseases”. That implies that there were no waiting lists for all the other specialties and no waiting lists to see consultants. There was no mention of any shortage of doctors (which is so chronic now) or, indeed, of nurses. There was no complaint either, about the quality of care. Read more ›››

Tied to the Mast

That perennial media health scare story has raised its head again — mobile phone masts near schools and other places children might gather. Apparently one in ten schools in the UK has a mast close by (2,350 according to the report) and ALL schools in London have a mast sited within 200 metres.

The fact that the WHO have found that electromagnetic fields have no known adverse effects on health, nor the BMA,nor the Department of Health, nor umpteen other studies at home and abroad, that doesn’t stop people like Mast Sanity getting hot under the collar about them. Read more ›››


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. Read more ›››

Truth Hurts

Our health secretary John Reid has got himself in trouble for suggesting that, for single mums on council sink estates, smoking might be their only pleasure. Not the wisest thing for him to say, but only because it brings out the worst in our national trait that says ‘the poor must change because it’s good for them’ which liberal attitude has failed for more than a century. Read more ›››

Quality Street

The demand for city-centre living doesn’t show any sign of diminishing, at least not in Manchester, as developers like Urban Splash continue to convert old buildings or throw up new ones to provide the wealthy with expensive penthouses and flats. The last figures I saw said that the population in the city centre has risen from 1,000 to going on 7,000 since 1991, and it continues to rise. Read more ›››

Reap as You Sow

The UK government today approved the growing of our first genetically modified crops. Or ‘Frankenstein Foods’ as Daily Mail readers would know it. (Interesting image that conjures up – giant sticks of rhubarb, or whatever, clumping round the countryside, terrorising torch-waving peasants and befriending sweet little crippled girls. Gives a whole new meaning to the road sign ‘Heavy Plant Crossing.’ And while we’re on the subject, just why did Frankenstein give his monster great big metal boots? Did he have a career in deep-sea diving in mind for his creation?) Read more ›››

Bad Science

So, the research that supposedly linked the MMR jab to autism has finally been discredited. About time too. The distress caused to parents has been immense and children have been exposed to the far greater risk of measles by not having the vaccine.

I don’t particularly blame Dr Andrew Wakefield who made the original claim. He clearly believes in what he says. Probably the worst you could say about him is that he’s not a very good scientist who isn’t prepared to listen to his peers. Read more ›››