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This blog is currently on hiatus owing to work commitments. Whilst I still keep an eye on the goings on at RiAus, and contribute to the work of the good folks at eLife, little will be added to this blog for the foreseeable future. Simon Says remains open for business, albeit at a reduced capacity. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope the archive of content found here will prove to be of interest.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Simon Singh, #singhBCA and all that

AS promised, I will not be using this platform to delve too deeply into campaigns and causes. You can expect more like The Bastard Gumwood, my last post, which was fun to write. I plan to write more light hearted or straightforward articles as and when I get the chance, although right now I have no spare time whatsoever (I'm publishing a series on my travels in Australia over at my other blog at the moment, of which only one to date has actually been written since Christmas).

Nonetheless, last year I became quite involved in the Simon Singh vs. British Chiropractic Association court battle and subsequent libel reform campaign, and I thought I could provide a link or two for those still interested. Simon was in court on Tuesday appealing a decision on the definition of his wording, for which he is being sued for libel by the BCA. This isn't simply a case about the BCA suing instead of providing evidence for their claims, but a deeper concern about the stifling of honest criticism by those with the most money. According to Jack of Kent, things went well in court, although we won't hear for a good while.

I explained the premise of the Singh case to my colleague the other day - from the original Guardian article to the rally in the Penderel's Oak, where I joined a few hundred people, pint in hand, cheering the man on. I mentioned the libellous phrase and the claims to which it refers. I mentioned the backlash against practitioners of alternative medicine and the cynical and marginally hostile attitude exhibited by some sceptics since all this kicked off, and why I want to distance myself from the present 10:23 homeopathy campaign. As if to confirm that it is very much time for me to drop this and leave it to the professionals, Graham responded to my tale with seven carefully chosen words:

"You have cotton wool on your chin."

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