Charles Windsor is really extraordinary. He confuses an arbitrary pseudo-magical accident of birth with real quality – he must do, or he wouldn’t keep thinking he has a right and duty to interfere with government medical policies when he has no scientific training whatever.
Prince Charles was last night urged to stay out of the debate over homeopathy on the NHS, amid claims that he had lobbied the Health Secretary in favour of the controversial alternative treatment.
Labour MPs reacted with fury at the revelation that the heir to the throne had met Jeremy Hunt last week, with NHS support for homeopathy believed to be on the agenda. The disclosure of the Prince’s latest communications with senior politicians came days after judges ruled that the public has no right to know the contents of 27 letters he had written to ministers over several years, in an attempt to influence policy decisions.
He shouldn’t be doing that. It’s immoral. He has no relevant training, while the vast majority of people who do have relevant training consider homeopathy to be a complete fraud. It’s a grotesque abuse of Windsor’s anachronistic status to try to foist a quack remedy on a tax-funded health service.
Prince Charles is a long-term advocate of homeopathy, which involves treating patients with highly diluted substances “with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing”. Mr Hunt once told a constituent that “it ought to be available [on the NHS] where a doctor and patient believe that a homeopathic treatment may be of benefit”.
Earlier this year the Government’s new chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, dismissed homeopathy as “nonsense”, but critics have complained that the NHS is still spending millions of pounds a year on a therapy they claim has no effect on patients.
The Independent should be more forthcoming than that. It should be more explicit about why homeopathy is bullshit. It does get there in the end, by quoting David Colquhoun, but that’s at the very end of the piece and most people read only the first few paragraphs.
Homeopathy is bullshit because it’s so “highly diluted” that nothing is left of the original active ingredient. Homeopaths claim that the water has a “memory” of the active ingredient. That’s why homeopathy is bullshit.
The Tory MP David Tredinnick, a supporter of homeopathy who also sits on the Health Select Committee, said he was not concerned about Prince Charles’s intervention, as “he is probably as well placed as anybody in the country to comment on this”. Speaking on the BBC, Mr Tredinnick said: “We should do what they do in the rest of the world, which is to take [homeopathy] seriously.”
As well placed?? In what sense? In the sense that he can, then yes, obviously, and unfortunately. In the sense that he’s qualified? Emphatically not! Qualified is exactly what he is not. He read history at university, not medicine or biology or chemistry.
But David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London, said homeopathy was “utter nonsense”. “Homeopathic remedies contain nothing whatsoever. The Americans have spent $2bn investigating these things … they haven’t found a single one that works,” he said.
There. But that’s the penultimate paragraph, and it should have been said in the second.