(Permission to Repost)
It has now been established beyond doubt that the person heading the PRiME Project, Vivienne Parry, is on the Board of the Science Media Centre.
For more information on the Science Media Centre see the following excerpt taken from "The Mental Health Movement: The Persecution of Patients?" By Professor Malcolm Hooper.
Infiltration of institutions by vested interest groups was the subject of an article by George Monbiot published on 9th December 2003 in the Guardian (Invasion of the Entryists), from which the following extracts are taken and to whom acknowledgement is made:
“One of the strangest aspects of modern politics is the dominance of former left-wingers who have swung to the right. The “neo-cons” pretty well run the White House and the Pentagon, the (UK) Labour party and key departments of the British government. But there is a group which has travelled even further to the extremities of the pro-corporate right. Its tactics (involve) entering organisations and taking them over. Research published for the first time today suggests that members of this group have colonised a crucial section of the British establishment. The organisation began in the late 1970s as a Trotskyist splinter; it immediately set out to destroy competing oppositional movements. In 1988 it set up a magazine called Living Marxism (known as) LM. By this time it had moved to the far right and was led by the academic Frank Furedi who started writing for the Centre for Policy Studies (founded by Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher) and who contacted the supermarket chains, offering, for £7,500, to educate their customers ‘about complex scientific issues’. In the late 1990s the group started infiltrating the media, with remarkable success. In 2000, LM was sued by ITN after falsely claiming that (its) news journalists had fabricated evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims. LM closed, and was resurrected as the web magazine Spiked.
“All this is already in the public domain. But now, thanks to the work of researcher Jonathan Matthews, what seems to be a new front in this group’s campaign has come to light. Its participants have taken on key roles in the formal infrastructure of public communication used by the science and medical establishment.
“Its participants (work) for the PR firm Regester Larkin, which defends companies such as the biotech giants Aventis, Bayer and Pfizer against consumer and environmental campaigners.
“(One of its participants) is Fiona Fox, who is the director of the Science Media Centre (which) is funded, amongst others, by the pharmaceutical companies Astra Zeneca, Dupont and Pfizer. Fox has used the Science Media Centre to promote the views of industry and to launch fierce attacks against those who question them.
“Are we looking at a group which wants power for its own sake, or one following a political design? The scientific establishment appears unwittingly to have permitted its interests to be represented to the public by the members of a bizarre and cultish political network. Far from rebuilding public trust in science and medicine, this group’s repugnant philosophy could finally destroy it”.
Of significance to the ME community is the fact that Spiked’s health writer is Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, well-known for presenting and promoting the views of Professor Simon Wessely and for his perverse and immoderate attacks on those with ME. One such article can be found at http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000002D3B6.htm (SPIKED: Health: 17th January 2002: “ME: the making of a new disease”). Referring to the then newly published Chief Medical Officer’s Working Group report on CFS/ME (see text), Fitzpatrick roundly derided the CMO, Professor Liam Donaldson: “The CFS/ME compromise reflects a surrender of medical authority to irrationality. The scale of this capitulation is apparent when Professor Donaldson claims that CFS/ME should be classified together with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease. The effectiveness of the ME lobby reflects its middle-class base.”
Also of significance is the fact that in its NOTES FOR EDITORS, Spiked states that Professor Simon Wessely is available for comment or interview and can be contacted through Sandy Starr at Spiked (0207-269-9234).
Of relevance to the ME community is that fact that Lord (David) Sainsbury (Science Minister –see text) is a keen supporter of the Science Media Centre. It is Lord Sainsbury’s Linbury Trust that since 1991 has financially supported studies of chronic fatigue by psychiatrists of the Wessely School.
Information on the GMWATCH website (www.gmwatch.org) is also important to the ME community. By 2003, Lord Sainsbury had donated over £11 million to the Labour Party. Mark Seddon, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, told the BBC “In any other country, I think a government minister donating such vast amounts of money and effectively buying a political party would be seen for what it is, a form of corruption of the political process”.
For some, the choice of an unelected biotech investor and food industrialist to be Science Minister is more than emblematic of the UK’s corporate-science culture.
In a recent Financial Times article, Lord Sainsbury cites the following statistics: British universities spun off 199 companies in 2000, up from an annual average of 67 in the previous five years. The UK’s ratio of companies to research spending is now more than six times higher than the US. “It’s a dazzling record”, Lord Sainsbury is quoted as saying.
Not everyone shares Sainsbury’s enthusiasm. Professor Stephen Rose of the Open University Biology Department is among those who have commented critically on this emerging corporate science culture: “The whole climate of what might be open and independent scientific research has disappeared”.
The ME community may wish to take these facts in board.
For more information about PRiME visit the Crowe Associates website
Stephen Ralph DCR(R) Retired
MEActionUK - it does exactly what it says on the tin
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