My post yesterday about why we need to fight to defund Public Health seems to have generated quite some discussion. I have seen several exchanges about it on Twitter (which I was not involved with), and also had some feedback directly to me. What has surprised me was to find that some people in Public Health have apparently read what I wrote.
A theme that seems common is the claim that I do not understand what Public Health and what public health does. This is a misnoma. I understand perfectly well what Public Health is SUPPOSED to be and it bears no resemblance whatsoever with Public Health actually is.
I am not alone in this. If Public Health actually spoke to the people (that would be the ‘PUBLIC’ in their title), then they would soon realise that they are viewed very differently by the public than how Public Health actually view themselves. This is because Public Health exist in their own closed ‘bubbles’. Anyone from outside that bubble who dares to question the veracity of Public Health is instantly excluded. Shut-down, blocked (on Twitter or Farcebook), ignored or simply excluded (e.g. the public cannot comment on articles that Public Health publish in their various journals, or even read those articles as more often than not they are behind paywalls).
Try challenging a Public Health viewpoint (as I have done) and you are instantly blocked. You do not even get the courtesy of a response or explanation. You are simply blocked because you are not ‘inside their bubble’ and therefore you are not considered worthy of conversing with – regardless of whether or not you have raised a valid point.
Therein lies the problem. Public Health appear on our screens on a very regular schedule. Most weeks you will have one Public Health ‘grandee’ or another being given prime-time air-time on TV or Radio, or prime space in a newspaper to spout off on whatever it is they want taxed (or banned), but extremely rarely will you ever see a dissenting voice allowed, unless that dissenting voice comes from within their own Public Health bubble (and that is rarer than Dodo eggs)..
Public Health’s real image problem (and the reason that so few people take anything they say seriously), is that they use these regular appearances to cry ‘wolf’ far too often. We have all seen the headlines. ‘Red meat causes Cancer’, ‘too much sugar causes obesity’, ‘too much salt causes diseases’ etc. The list goes on and on. FFS, if all these were true then how on earth has the human race not gone extinct ?
Man has eaten red-meat since the stone-age. Sugar is a naturally occurring substance to be found in most fruit and veg (which we have also ate since the first hunter-gatherers), our bodies are made up of a huge proportion of salt and, before fridges and freezers, was the only way to preserve food. It never did us any harm before, so why would it now ?
Also, let’s not forget that it was public health that first pushed to have lead removed from petrol – which instantly reduced the power of the combustible engine. Then they found that this lead-free petrol produced massive amounts of carbons into the atmosphere because the underpowered vehicles had to work the unleaded petrol harder to achieve the desired performance, so we were pushed towards diesel. Now diesel has been found to be causing a problem with particulates in the air and we are being pushed towards electric vehicles. The problem is that the amount of electric required if we all converted to electric cars cannot be resolved by ‘clean energy’ because not enough is produced that way. So we will likely end up with larger electricity plants burning different forms of fossil fuels just so that all our cars can run on electric. Thus, they move the carbon problem from one area to another – and create a whole new industry around themselves securing a new source of funding.
This is the way that Public Health works in that they are continually chasing their own tails and giving out advice that contradicts previous advise they have given out.
Further examples (as if more were needed) are the ones around tobacco and alcohol. For years, we have had Public Health telling us that cutting down on cigarettes gives noticeable improvements in your health. Then recently, they changed that to say that only quitting cigarettes improves your health and that cutting down makes no difference. The next thing is that they are promoting ‘nicotine-free’ cigarettes as the way forward. So we have gone full circle from cutting-down, to quit completely, all the way to using nicotine-free cigarettes. The obvious irony being that all the harm from cigarettes comes from the chemicals created by combustion, not from nicotine.
The guidelines for drinking alcohol change on a regular basis (usually downward). We had Silly-Sally recently claiming that men should consume no more than 14 units per week. Meanwhile we have an ageing population that has traditionally drunk far more than 14 units a week proving that completely wrong (even Public Health recently admitted that the older population are the biggest drinkers). Furthermore, Silly-Sally even tried to tell us that it was best to quit alcohol altogether, despite numerous scientific studies and evidence pointing to the fact that moderate drinkers are actually healthier than non-drinkers.
The major problem that Public Health has is that it has lost the confidence of the very public they are supposed to be serving. They have lost that confidence because they have lost sight of what they are supposed to be doing. The public do not want Public Health constantly interfering in their everyday lives, or interfering in the choices made in those lives. The public want a public health that is answerable to the public they are meant to serve. Hiding away in ivory towers and refusing to engage in debate does not inspire trust or belief in Public Health. It does the complete opposite. Show us the evidence !!
In our modern society, it is not enough for Public Health to simply make pronouncements on whatever the latest fad they have in their heads to ensure a compliant public. The public are not as stupid as they think. With the advent of the information age, the public are perfectly capable of looking up the evidence for themselves. It is not difficult to find medical papers, studies and reports online. A simple Google search reveals many of them. The public is better informed that at any time in human history and is perfectly able to challenge ‘dodgy’ Public Health announcements (and we do). The public is perfectly capable of seeing through the scams coming out of Public Health, and we are ALL aware of who the charlatans are in your ranks.
The days of blinding us with science are long gone. If Public Health wants to gain the trust of the public, then I would suggest they start conversing with that public. Public Health need to get out of their ivory towers and reconnect with the real world. Yes, I know it will be hard for them. But it is something they have to do. They need to see for themselves how the world ACTUALLY works, not how they would like it to work. They need to understand how Businesses work, not sit reading theoretical business papers that bear no relation to the real world. Most of all, they need to talk to the public. The public do not trust secretive organisations that hide away behind paywalls, or hold conferences in dictator-run countries with local thugs employed to keep the ‘undesirables’ out.
If Public Health want our trust, then they have to learn to EARN it. Otherwise, the public will continue to view Public Health as an out-of-touch elite, rolling in Government funding, wasting public resources, and creating more and more ‘Jobs-for-the-boys’.
Basically, evolve or become irrelevant. The choice is yours Public Health.