A history of false dawns

Towards the end of the Major government, various health ministers connived with civil servants to “ration” drugs being prescribed on the NHS. The vast majority of general practitioners went along with this – as did the clinical excellence watchdog ‘NICE’. The result was a spike in chronic illness. Today’s bureaucrats and Special Advisers display little in the way of learnings from that time.

Chris Whitty – a driving force behind the risibly named ‘SAGE’ – does appear to my not entirely untutored eye to be suffering from delusions of grandeur. Overruled by Downing Street earlier this week because he wanted another unaffordable, economy-smashing Lockdown to control Covid19, Whitty immediately responded by leaking like a sieve in an oceanic swell and issuing press releases to all and sundry saying he had ‘grave doubts’ about the Government’s decision.

We should not forget that – like so many of the “advisers” to the Cabinet – Christopher Robin has had a long and thoroughly unhealthy relationship with the global Pharmafia. He represents yet another symptom of Unelected Corporatocracy, in that he sees himself as Agent 007 licensed to kill Prime Ministers who disagree with him. (Sir Mark Sedwill suffers from the same self-image).

Having allowed itself to become swayed by the money and power allied bureaucrats and corporate suits have, the Political Class will get no sympathy in these columns. But that said, if we want to begin the process of winning back the sovereignty of elected officials, then we can’t have the Whittys of this world scuttling up and down Fleet Street with a hypocritical sleight of hand applied to a slight against their pomposity.

Chris Whitty, your advice was not accepted. You don’t like it? Then resign.

Whitty, Vallance and a host of others are pushing an agenda which has (a) at the very least, been queried by the experience of the Germans and Swedes (b) split the World Health Organisation down the middle (c) refused to accept that deaths do not go up in proportion to new cases (d) ignored the social, fiscal and eventual health infrastucture damage to nation States (e) hung sufferers from far more serious health threats out to dry, and (f) held out the carrot of a vaccination cure that every experienced frontline practitioner knows is a pulp-fiction Shangri La.

But this is not a new development among the morally challenged and fame-to-funds cadres of those medical academics and Big Pharma marketeers who want their will to prevail.

The evidence surrounding ‘passive smoking induced cancer’ is a case in point. I am opposed to the idea of allowing cigarettes to be advertised, but the passive smoking damage school is and always has been driven by fashion rather than science.

In 2013, a large prospective cohort study of more than 76,000 patients confirmed a strong association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer…..but found no link between the disease and secondhand smoke.

“The fact that passive smoking may not be strongly associated with lung cancer points to a need to find other risk factors for the disease [in nonsmokers],” said Ange Wang, the Stanford University medical student who presented the study at the June 2013 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Wang’s study echoed dozens of other earlier field research findings. Yet the political fashion of the time (led by Action on Smoking And Health [ASH]) dictated the rules we have today about smoking in public places and offices.

Whitty made a similar appeal over the heads of science yesterday when he cynically observed, “a substantial majority of the public support Lockdown”. One minute he wants respect as the voice of specialism, the next he wants to claim that populism is on his side. These are the actions of a man fashioned from ethical straw: the average Joe on the Clapham laptop has been conned by Pharma-influenced media into supporting Lockdown. In reality, the science does not support any such thing.

Past beliefs related to medical “research” almost make one’s teeth rattle on discovering them. My first grandma-in-law was told by her GP in 1950 to take up cigarette smoking because she was overweight.

Thoughout the 1970s, medical establishments insisted that margarine was healthier than butter, eggs were bad – they raised cholesterol levels – and we should brush our teeth vigorously, especially after fizzy drinks. Now those same “experts” say margarine is full of hydrogenated fats, the cholesterol in eggs has negligible impact on serum cholesterol levels and brushing your teeth vigorously, especially after acidic drinks, erodes tooth enamel, and your gums.

Ten years ago, it was “settled science” that salt causes the body to retain water, which increases blood pressure and leads to heart disease. But then in 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association – quoting a study led by Dr Jan Staessen of the University of Leuven in Belgium – followed the health over 3,500 Europeans. The researchers found participants with the lowest salt intake had the highest rate of death from heart disease.

When I first presented with raised blood pressure, the medical opinion was that any water suffused with magnesium added to the risk of dementia by causing a series of small strokes over time. Having been spawn of the Devil back then, magnesium is now feted as the best way (along with zinc and niacin) to keep bp under control and strengthen the immune system in general…particularly in the case of Covid19.

The fact is that medical science is hugely complicated by the number of algebraic unknowns involved – the ego of the researcher looking for career-enhancing credits in the specialist media, the DNA and connected genes of the patient, the difficulty of often having to rely on what the patients say they’re doing, the overall lifestyle they have and so on. In that context, spurious findings are almost a given.

The thrust of marketing behind any drug in turn faces the moral hazard of huge research investment that must be turned into profit via booming sales. A classic example of this was the launch of Prozac – promoted at the time as the end of any need for anyone to be depressed.

It was anything but. I know from personal experience that early Prozac drugs made a substantial minority of patients acutely anxious. It was not until non-habit forming anxiolytics were developed that depressives were able to benefit from the cocktail that became better known as Venlafaxine.

The history of 20th and 21st century pharmaceutical development hs been one of carelessness and a series of false dawns. Cocaine, penicillin, thalidomide, valium, Phen-Fen, Baycol, Vioxx, Bextra, Rezulin, Seldane…..the list goes on and on. Antibiotics would conquer every disease we were told – but all that happened was the micro-organisms mutated, became stronger and left us with diluted natural immunity. Valium was prescribed like candy in the early 1960s as the ultimate deterrent to stress: in fact, it left millions of users hopelessly addicted to it.

Now we are being told – casually, as if it might be a matter of factual certainty – that a vaccine will come long to “cure” Covid19.

It will not. Covid19 is a fourth-rate killer of very old people whose resistance is weakened by other pathogens often largely to do with their own lifestyles. It will join the flu and the common cold as things that follow Homo sapiens around – killing the few and slightly inconveniencing the many. The Pharmafia tell us that we do have a vaccine against flu.

We don’t. They peddle the jab knowing full well that it is only effective against last year’s strain. Viruses mutate all the time: in truth, there is evidence that being vaccinated against the Old only makes you more prone to the New.

I look on slack-jawed at the knowledge that Top Secret “vaccines” are ready for experiments on humans….but not to be approved by rigorous trials. Where is the dire human emergency that excuses such irresponsibility? Well, the answer is the people involved in such decisions have immunity from accountability. I never cease to be horrified by the goggle-eyed disinterest when I explain this to people.

“It’s all being done for the best of reasons,” they say – like a gaggle of Stepford Wives.

Clearly, there is something about putting the monniker ‘Dr’ in front of someone’s name that gives it an aura of indisputable respectability. In a way, this is how it should be. But the names Crippen and Shipman suggest otherwise….as indeed, do Fauci, Ferguson and Horby.