A general record of my ongoing battle with all forms of nonsense.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
A letter expressing no confidence in the General Chiropractic Council’s process, interpretation and proportionality in its regulation of the chiropractic profession has been written to the GCC. Its signatories are the chair of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association and the Presidents of the British Chiropractic Association, Scottish Chiropractic Association and United Chiropractic Association.
It’s a long document, with 89 points of complaint to made against the GCC. The most interesting points from my first read were 35 to 38. The trade organisations are accusing the GCC (rightly in my opinion) of doing exactly what they are now accusing their members of.
They correctly point out that the GCC’s patient information leaflet was making similar claims to those Alan Henness and myself complained about. The GCC withdrew this leaflet after I reported them to the ASA in September last year.
They also point out that the GCC was well aware that these claims were being made for some time, from their 2004 survey of the profession, with over 57% of the profession claiming to treat asthma with a back rub, yet the GCC issued no guidance to the profession.
But these are problems that are only to be expected of the GCC. The GCC was set up by chiropractors in order to protect their profession, rather than by members of the public seeking protection from them.
The GCC only acted when they were cornered: their code of conduct states that claims must follow ASA guidelines, and the ASA clearly informed the GCC that these claims did not. They had no choice.
There’s a lesson here for other quacks seeking to regulate their own quackery. You can use people from your own profession to regulate, and they’ll prove themselves incompetent. Or you can use people to regulate your industry properly - and they’ll destroy it.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
This week is the first anniversary of the report Free Speech is Not for Sale, which highlighted the oppressive nature of English libel law. In short, the law is extremely hostile to writers, while being unreasonably friendly towards powerful corporations and individuals who want to silence critics.
The English libel law is particularly dangerous for bloggers, who are generally not backed by publishers, and who can end up being sued in London regardless of where the blog was posted. The internet allows bloggers to reach a global audience, but it also allows the High Court in London to have a global reach.
You can read more about the peculiar and grossly unfair nature of English libel law at the website of the Libel Reform Campaign. You will see that the campaign is not calling for the removal of libel law, but for a libel law that is fair and which would allow writers a reasonable opportunity to express their opinion and then defend it.
The good news is that the British Government has made a commitment to draft a bill that will reform libel, but it is essential that bloggers and their readers send a strong signal to politicians so that they follow through on this promise. You can do this by joining me and over 50,000 others who have signed the libel reform petition at
Remember, you can sign the petition whatever your nationality and wherever you live. Indeed, signatories from overseas remind British politicians that the English libel law is out of step with the rest of the free world.
If you have already signed the petition, then please encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up. Moreover, if you have your own blog, you can join hundreds of other bloggers by posting this blog on your own site. There is a real chance that bloggers could help change the most censorious libel law in the democratic world.
We must speak out to defend free speech. Please sign the petition for libel reform at