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United Kingdom Government Medicine Science

UK Labour Party's Support For Homeopathy Grows 414

An anonymous reader writes: The UK's Labour Party is currently led by Jeremy Corbyn, who has shown support for homeopathy in the past. So has Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. (So-called 'shadow' posts in the UK government essentially comprise an alternative Cabinet with positions held by party members in opposition to the party in power.) Now, homeopathy seems to have additional support from the newly-appointed shadow health minister, Heidi Alexander. "I know lots of people who know about benefits of homeopathy. Whether it's the right use of public money is another thing altogether. I'm open to hearing the argument as to why people may think it appropriate."
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UK Labour Party's Support For Homeopathy Grows

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  • by universe520 ( 4258335 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:30AM (#50523765)
    This is an interesting development. Senior Conservatives (in government) have expressed similar views, including Jeremy Hunt I think. Corbyn's not necessary anti science - here was his pitch on science to scientists who support Labour http://www.scientistsforlabour... [scientists...our.org.uk] homeopathy is still a controversial issue in the UK, with many politicians keen to show support for it because their constituents probably come to them with compelling stories of its success in their cases...
  • The papers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:31AM (#50523775)

    I was reading the Metro (a 'free' paper that's given away at a lot of UK train stations), and it was filled with wall-to-wall criticisms of Corbyn's shadow cabinet choices. In the run up to the leadership campaign, there was nothing but smoke blown in Jeremy's direction. And now this post on Slashdot of all places.

    Makes you wonder what the establishment is afraid of.

  • Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silviuc ( 676999 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:38AM (#50523793) Homepage
    Is that the official position of the party or of individual members? What the "anonymous reader" forgets to point out is that the letter signed by members of the labour party was also signed by conservative party members as well as liberal democrats and a bunch of others.
    As for Heidi Alexander, here's a quote from the linked buzfeed article
    “I must admit I’m not totally convinced at the moment but I’ll have to look at it. I know my own parents are great believers in homeopathy. It’s not something that I would immediately support but I’m going to have to look at a whole range of issues. It’s not something that I have given hours of consideration to.”
    Oh yeah, definitely a *huge* backer.
    How nice of slashdot to become a place for anonymous political shills. In this case I guess it's a Tory sympathizer.
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      @leftoutside I believe that homeo-meds works for some ppl and that it compliments ‘convential’ meds. they both come from organic matter

      — Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) March 5, 2010

      • Of course. All conventional medication says to use homeopathic fluids to assist taking orally.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Link [parliament.uk]

      Early day motion 1240


      Session: 2006-07
      Date tabled: 28.03.2007
      Primary sponsor: Vis, Rudi
      Campbell, Ronnie
      Conway, Derek
      Meale, Alan

    • by Calydor ( 739835 )

      Her invitation for arguments almost reads like, "Go on, I need a good laugh."

  • Tedious Smear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FalconZero ( 607567 ) <FalconZero.Gmail@com> on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:39AM (#50523797)

    This smacks a lot of the continuing media smear against the new labour leadership - which is getting tiresome for pretty much everyone (whatever their political views).

    From the second paragraph of TFA :
    She added: “I must admit I’m not totally convinced at the moment but I’ll have to look at it. ... It’s not something that I have given hours of consideration to.”

    • by roca ( 43122 )

      Corbyn and McDonnell are on this list:
      http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2... [parliament.uk]

      • by silviuc ( 676999 )
        So are 204 others including Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Your point?
        • Are any of these other people leaders of their respective political parties?
          • by silviuc ( 676999 )
            Opinions of leaders are not always the opinions expressed by the parties themselves.
            • It was a Yes/No question. I'll ask again: Are any of these other people leaders of their respective political parties? Are any of the other major political parties currently lead by people who have publicly announced support for homeopathy?
  • Just to show you, your political leaning has nothing to do with your understanding, or acceptance in science.
    Homeopathy is medicine based on rumors and gut feelings, not by actual full science. Sure sometimes you may randomly get something that hasn't been studied yet that has a positive effect. But for the most part it is just snake oil, and sometimes it will be more hazardous then actually getting a pill, that had found the healthy elements, took out much of the bad ones, and dosed at the optimal level.

    • Few medical treatments are as effective as placebos, and homeopathy seems to be a particularly powerful form of placebo for some people.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Most of the benefits seen are actually attributed to medical staff taking the time to listen to the patient for an hour or more at a time. It's not even placebo, it's just psychological therapy.

    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      Homeopathy is medicine based on rumors and gut feelings, not by actual full science.

      Or just "science", as it's more properly known.

    • Science is a process, and it will not always fit nicely into peoples political views. Sometimes ideas you hold most dearly are wrong.

      “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” - Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angell

      If we're gonna accept witchdoctor medicine (with iffy at best science behind it), might as well let in the homeopaths,

      • by meza ( 414214 )

        No, you draw the wrong conclusion. What we do when we find out that work that should be scientific did not follow sound scientific methods (here for instance by being heavily influenced by economic incentive) is not to LOOSEN the requirements and say "whatever, if some scientific studies were bogus, let's just give up and believe what ever the next guy is trying to sell", instead, what we do, and what I assume Dr Angell was aiming for, is to rat out the phony work and require a HIGHER standard for what we c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:43AM (#50523805)

    I for one am a strong supporter of an alternative to alternative medicine: sociopathy. The practitioner of this method, called a sociopath, can treat sufferers more effectively than homeopathy ever could, and would suggest that people who believe in homeopathy should try seeing a sociopath too for increased effectiveness. Although unaware, when they go to a homeopath they might be seeing a sociopath too, at the same time, and think it's really homeopathy that helped them.

    • I was thinking that we should put this newly discovered set of rocks near Stonehenge to use. Maybe a few human sacrifices there would appease the Gods, and improve the health of the folks in the UK . . . ?

  • Sad for Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:57AM (#50523867)

    So now even Slashdot lazily swallows and unquestioningly regurgitates a smear against Labour? Whoever you are, Samzenpus, you've just lost Slashdot a reader.

    • Re:Sad for Slashdot (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @07:02AM (#50524061)

      So now even Slashdot lazily swallows and unquestioningly regurgitates a smear against Labour?

      True, What we have is a "noncommittal answer" ... not a surprising thing in a day old cabinet when policies have not been determined. And its not as if any other party has announced a policy that homeopathy is unscientific and won't be funded. As others have pointed out it may not even make sense to do so, as homeopathy is a cheap placebo ... and if that avoids more expensive treatments for some people then that has to be good.

  • Selective news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coisiche ( 2000870 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @06:24AM (#50523967)

    The ridiculousness is not limited to the Labour party; the Conservatives actually put a deluded believer [telegraph.co.uk] into an *actual*, not shadow, ministerial position and to top it all it was minister for health.

    The UK press has been full of negative comments about Corbyn, more so since he became leader this weekend, so why is Slashdot joining in? Why don't you run articles on the front pages of the Daily Mail, The Sun, etc. for today and yesterday? During the leadership campaign it wasn't just the right-wing press either since many Labourites didn't want him since they think that they can only regain government by being more like the Conservatives to the point that they are now frequently referred to as the "Red Tories".

    Personally, I didn't care about the Labour leadership election because I think that the sooner Scotland can get away from the rest of the UK the better.

    • I think that the sooner Scotland can get away from the rest of the UK the better.

      Well, thing is though, Scotland voted to stay.

  • by dominux ( 731134 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @06:36AM (#50524005) Homepage

    Someone asked her about homeopathy, she ducked the question. She was far from enthusiastic about it, but said she would be open to hearing arguments about it - which is what politicians say when they have no clue what their policy is and don't want to answer the question. She should have been decisive and said that the NHS should not ever fund anything that does not outperform a placebo and has no plausible theory of action, but she didn't, yet. This failure to respond to the question is now being spun, and slashdot is getting in on the action too. Maybe if she ever actually takes a position on homeopathy then there will be a story to report, but right now, @heidi_mp has not really done anything other than duck a question.

  • Why would the UK want anything to do with that?
  • I don't give a damn about homoeopathy. I care rather more about his attitude towards Britain' nuclear weapons programme. His threat to not renew the UK's SLBM system is a significant threat to European defence.
  • What utter bullcrap.

    Did you hear about the guy who forgot to take his homeopathic medicine? He died of an overdose.

  • As long as all treatments must pass the same double blind studies as all other drug treatment plans before they can be claimed to be effective and safe.
    And that no treatments can be offered until they have passed the studies that prove they are both safe and effective.

    All drugs/treatments should be treated equally.

  • I am curious as to how this became a particularly British national science delusion.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:19AM (#50524585)
    Banning woo from the NHS is an incredibly easy way to save money. Don't sit on the fence, don't endorse it, just get rid of it. If people are dumb enough to believe that nonsense then they can pay for it from their own pockets.
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:30AM (#50524623)

    I don't like the idea of tax money being spent on something that is scientifically verfiable as completely wrong. And I also don't want people with serious illnesses not getting proper medical treatment.

    However, people have the freedom to do stupid things, and homeopathy is relatively harmless. I mean, it's just expensive tap water. Also, it's a placebo, and placebos have been shown to have some limited effectiveness.

    Remember diamond water? I should start selling silicon water. It's special water that's been infused with computer antivirus software by having had it in a water-cooled rig. The imprint of the antivirus software on the water has great antiviral effects in humans. :)

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