I like to hear both sides of a story and I never prejudge people. Obviously as a practising Irish chiropractor I disagreed with most of what was in Simon Singhs article in the Guardian and commented in my blog on the article. I also brought the book Trick or Treatment and thought the chapter on chiropractic presented a very narrow view of chiropractic. However it never crossed my mind that Simon Singh should have been prevented from expressing his views.
It is only in totalitarian states where they dont allow people to express their views. Imagine what it was like for Gorden Brown when a predominantly Tory press vilified him, for the last 6 months. Then imagine what it would be like living somewhere you could not criticise your leaders.
Thats how the BCA have always operated, an old boys club surrounding themselves with sycophants jobs worth’s who like to feel important. Not satisfied with the GCCs disciplinary process the BCA have their own, which keeps dissidents quiet. The BCA disciplinary process is not in public and does not abide by the human rights act. It was senior BCA people who set up the GCC and have used it to promote personal agendas and they put GCC Chief Executive Margaret Coats and her disgraced deputy Gregory Price in place to do their bidding, only realising after it was too late Margaret Coats does her own bidding. Nevertheless they still bend over backwards for the crumbs she throws the BCAs way. Apathy is the BCAs best friend, probably why the GCC have instructed solicitors to take action against me twice and the BCA have threatened to once, These were some of the factors which led me to seek out Simon Sing and get his version of events and satisfy my curiosity. We met a few times and he has visited my practice.
As people we are very probably very different however I found him to be pleasant and was happy to fill him in on the way the BCA do business. While I could understand his view of homeopathy, our views on chiropractic were very different and we agreed to disagree. Simon did not start frothing at the mouth when I suggested he should consider chiropractic if his new born son developed colic, he declined the offer politely.
His version of the issues between himself and the BCA were different from what the BCA has been telling the profession and I am delighted Simon has decided to speak publicly about the the aftermath of this case and hopefully chiropractors who have criticised me for supporting Simons right to his opinion will understand the broader issues that were at stake. If this case finally exposes the duplicitous way the BCA operate to its members it will have been worth it and hopefully the phoenix can rise from the ashes of the GCC scorched earth policy. Simon Published the article (part below) on the Jack of Kent’s blog yesterday
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
I am delighted to publish a guest blogpost by Simon Singh.
Last week the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) hosted one of the world’s biggest gatherings of spinal manipulators, namely the European Chiropractors’ Union Convention in London.
During the coffee breaks, there was probably lots of discussion about the BCA’s decision to sue me for libel over an article I published in the Guardian back in April 2008.
The contentious part of the article questioned whether chiropractors should be treating childhood conditions such as ear infections, asthma and colic.
Last month, after two years of legal wrangling, the BCA backed down and withdrew its libel action. It now has to foot its own legal bill and my legal costs, which I estimate will come to £300,000 in total.
I am sure that the members of the BCA are annoyed that their subscriptions have been wasted on a horrendously expensive libel suit, but at least they can be reassured by some of the comments made in a press statement issued by the BCA last month.
The BCA pointed out that the motivation for its legal action was that it believed that my article alleged that the BCA was a dishonest organisation.
Hence, the BCA attempted to justify its decision to sue me by stating:
“Simon Singh has said publicly that he had never intended to suggest that the BCA had been dishonest. The BCA accepts this statement, which goes some way to vindicating its position”.
This baffles me.
Of course, I publicly stated that I never intended to call the BCA dishonest, because it is completely obvious that the article makes no such allegation. Moreover, and this is the really crucial point, it appears to me that the BCA failed to see any accusation of dishonesty in my article, or at least its solicitor failed to raise the issue when we first exchanged letters.
I must stress at this point that I am not saying that the BCA fabricated the dishonesty allegation at a later stage, but I am saying that the BCA have a very unclear way of communicating their concerns.
This began with its very first letter to me, which was sent on 28 May, 2008 via its solicitor.
The letter does not mention the word “dishonesty” or raise concerns over an allegation of dishonesty, but instead the letter states:
“It is untrue and grossly libellous for you to allege that the claims made by our client happily promotes bogus treatments for which there is not a jot of evidence. There is, as you are or should be well aware, a substantial body of evidence to support these claims”.
In my opinion, the initial letter threatening legal action raises concerns over allegations of a lack of evidence, not dishonesty.
Essentially, the dispute seems to be that the BCA says there is “a substantial body of evidence”, while I maintain that “there is not a jot of evidence”.
This is itself a defamatory interpretation, but one that I would have been delighted to defend at trial; I have examined the evidence and there is indeed “not a jot of evidence”.
By the way, when I use the word “evidence”, I mean reliable/worthwhile/reasonable/good evidence, as opposed to unreliable, unworthy, unreasonable/bad evidence.