Today’s Guardian is as ever full of fascinations, but this, from a TV review by Mark Lawson struck me as gloriously, perplexingly weird:
The notable balance of the film is shown by the fact that both liberals and conservatives are offered a harrumph-moment: the former when we note that the Guildford Four were locked up for these bombings rather than the people who actually did it, the latter when we learn that those who actually did it were freed from jail as part of the Good Friday Agreement.
It beats me why conservatives should not care about false convictions, nor liberals about murderers being released as part of a dodgy political deal. But then, I do not see liberalism and conservatism as irreconcilable opposites, which is probably why I still have trouble predicting what the PC attitude among media folk will be, even after 20 years of working on the fringe of the media.
Elsewhere in the same issue, the reliably barking John Sutherland takes a story about a US alternative medicine quack, and manages to find it is proof, not of human wickedness and human credulousness, but of the evils of capitalism:
But the runaway success of Natural Cures also bears witness to genuinely troubling aspects of the American healthcare system. It has been estimated that some 50 million citizens have no health insurance. For these desperate people, who fall sick like everybody else, “natural cures” are all they can afford. “Socialised medicine”, as the Clintons learned the hardway, has no place in America. Capitalistic medicine does. What John le Carré calls “Big Pharma” has made America the most drugged nation in history.
Which “explanation”, unfortunately fails to account for some important facts: (1) the purportedly natural non-cures offered by quacks are not generally cheaper than the products of Big Pharma, even at US prices; (2) the most drugged nation in history, is on average (i.e., including all those without health insurance) rather healthier than Britain if you look at survival/recovery patterns for pretty much any disease; (3) The European quack industry is also fabulously successful, and expensive, despite the subsidised competition from socialised medicine.
What is particularly enjoyable about this lunacy is it appears in the same issue of the paper as a nice clear feature by the impeccably rational Dr Ben Goldacre explaining why alternative medicine offers comforts not available from a scientific physician.