A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Long may She reign over us.....

The Queen has two abiding qualities that have made her so personally respected. One is her unquestioned commitment to duty (a lot of self-centred and self-indulgent media pundits could learn much from her in this regard). The second is the fact that she has resolutely kept her opinions, both political and otherwise, largely to herself and to her private councils with ministers, where she constitutionally advises and warns. She can thus, rightly, be a Monarch for all. Indeed, I myself remain a reluctant Monarchist precisely because she has always acted with such discretion.

By contrast, the thought of the Prince of Wales ever ascending the throne sends shivers down my spine. My own support for continuing with the Monarchy would falter at once and I would immediately be forced to join the ranks of those calling for a Republic. And today, yet again, we have one more instance of precisely why this particular Charlie should never be allowed to become King: 'Cancer surgeon rebukes Prince over alternative therapy support' (The Daily Telegraph, July 9):

"A leading breast cancer surgeon has issued a strong rebuke to the Prince of Wales over his support for alternative therapy for cancer patients.

Michael Baum, emeritus professor of surgery at University College London, told Prince Charles: 'With respect, Your Highness, you have got it wrong.'

Prof Baum says..... in the British Medical Journal that the Prince's reported support for Gerson therapy and more recently for coffee enemas and carrot juice cures are ill-advised.

In an open letter to Prince Charles he says: 'Over the past 20 years I have treated thousands of patients with cancer and lost some dear friends and relatives to this dreaded disease.

The power of my authority comes with knowledge built on 40 years of study and 25 years of active involvement in cancer research. Your power and authority rest on an accident of birth. I don't begrudge you that authority but I do beg you to exercise your power with extreme caution when advising patients with life-threatening diseases to embrace unproven therapies.

It is in the nature of your world to be surrounded by sycophants who reinforce what they assume are your prejudices. Sir, they patronise you. Allow me this chastisement.'

Prof Baum says that he has 'much time' for complementary therapies in the treatment of cancer when they offer improvements in quality of life and spiritual solace, providing that they are properly integrated with modern medicine.

'But I have no time at all for alternative therapy that finds itself above the evidence and practises in a metaphysical domain that harks back to the dark day of Galen,' he writes....." (read on).

Professor Baum's letter to the British Medical Journal is exemplary and is well-reported by the DT. There is no need to say anything beyond Professor Baum's devastating and magisterial indictment: "I do beg you to exercise your power with extreme caution when advising patients with life-threatening diseases to embrace unproven therapies."

Philip, long indeed, Ma'am, may you reign over us!

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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