Tag Archives: ben goldacre

Michael Gove: The Case for the Defence. And also the Case for the Prosecution.

Michael GoveUnlike most Lib Dems, I am not a Gove-hater. But nor do I share the adulation those one on the Right bestow upon him. The man we must now call the former Education secretary was more complex than his critics allowed and more flawed than his fans admitted.

No-one should doubt Michael Gove’s passion for schools reform, nor his sincerity. For him it is much more than political: it is also personal. Two men have shaped much of the education agenda in the last 15 years: Gove and Labour’s Andrew Adonis, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

The Independent View: A chance for Liberal Democrat activists to speak up for free speech

There is a new threat to the Defamation Bill.

No sooner had the proposed law been liberated, after being taken hostage by Leveson negotiations, than Conservative MPs have begun messing with crucial free speech provisions.

Former libel lawyer Sir Edward Garnier MP has tabled an amendment seeking to remove a crucial clause from the Defamation Bill. The clause places some limits on corporations’ use of the libel laws. It does not bar them from suing entirely – just asks that they show financial loss before they do so. It’s an objective and measurable …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

The welfare debate and the age of the trollemic

I decided to invent a new word yesterday:

It’s the welfare debate that’s prompted it, but it could be any other topic on a given week.

daily mail philpott front pageYesterday saw the Daily Mail publish a typically sensationalist front page blaming the welfare state for the tragedy of six children being killed by their parents. On Monday the Mirror shouted ‘Shameful’, with a cartoon showing Thatcher, Cameron, Osorne and Clegg banging in the final nail of a coffin marked ‘RIP Welfare’.

Each is exaggerating to make their own point. Both are gross over-statements: trollemics.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 26 Comments

Opinion: AllTrials.net – a crucial campaign on data transparency that will save lives

Medicines save and improve lives, can also cause great harm if inappropriately deployed. To decide which drugs are safe, and which might work in which circumstances, regulators, doctors and scientists need access to all the results from all trials conducted on all drugs that are in use – but this data is all-too-often missing as a result of commercial practices that put millions of lives at risk. A new campaign seeks to bring this largely hidden scandal in medical science, revealed in Dr. Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Pharma, to an end – and with it the needless harm …

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Opinion: Why is the BBC so bad at putting links in science stories?

The BBC’s failure to link properly to the original sources of its stories, especially those relating to developments in science and healthcare, may be just be a personal bugbear, and you may well be blissfully unaware of or affected by it, but do indulge me as I think this matters!

For some time now the likes of medic and writer Ben Goldacre have expressed real concern at the underwhelming way the BBC uses hyperlinks on its website. Specifically, when the BBC website carries a story based on papers published in academic journals, clicking their ‘related internet links’ sends the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Bits of election fun you may have missed

The best leaflet correction so far; you’ve got to love the biro work.

Phil Willis shows his moves (but just skip over 1 min 48 sec, ok?).

Ben Goldacre edges close to saying “Vote Lib Dem” here and here.

Esther Rantzen takes to removing Liberal Democrat posters in Luton South.

Not heard the David Cameron song? Hear it here. (Hat tip: Jonathan Calder)

And the prize for the worst campaign interview goes to UKIP leader, Lord Pearson (clip via Left Foot Forward):

Posted in General Election | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

The Saturday Debate: what’s wrong with treatments that act like placebos?

Here’s your starter for ten as we continue our new Saturday slot posing a view for debate:

In the lively discussion about homeopathy and placebos following an earlier op-ed piece several people made comments about treatments which rely purely on the placebo effect such as: “If a placebo works and is safe and cheap, why on earth should we stop funding it?”

The more general issue of placebos was raised by Lynne Featherstone in an op-ed back in early 2008:

The placebo effect is seen when people are given treatment, such as pills, where the psychological impact of thinking that the

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 22 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 26th Sep - 9:33pm
    Perhaps I'm looking at it wrong, but from a quick scan through the recent OECD "Education at a Glance" report 2016 (available here: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance_19991487 )...
  • User AvatarBernard Aris 26th Sep - 8:58pm
    Just watch the BBC News this monday (26th of September, 18.00 hours GMT): The PLP Defence Spokesman at the Labour Party conference is reported to...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 26th Sep - 8:55pm
    On much less money.
  • User AvatarNick Collins 26th Sep - 8:49pm
    @ David Beckett. By "we" I assume that you mean the liberal Democrats. I am not part of that "we". I left the party in...
  • User AvatarRebecca Hanson 26th Sep - 7:39pm
    The OECD's recent ‘Education at Glance’ report is particularly useful on this.
  • User AvatarRebecca Hanson 26th Sep - 7:30pm
    The evidence and the research does not show that reintroducing grammar schools will improve the situation you have observed David.