-Paul Simon, Slip Slidin' Away
This week sees a new furore over the appointment of a GlaxoSmithKline Senior Vice President (Paul Blackburn) to the board of the education watchdog Ofsted. Any last shred of credibility of the UK Labour government is gone. The implications of this despicable appointment are obvious to anyone who has followed the various ins and outs of misrepresented pharmaceutical science and government collusion with GSK. Much of this bad science involved children. It certainly involved deaths and much human suffering.
Perhaps Gordon Brown dreamed up this truly marvellous public relations plan for his friends while floating in the bath. What are they thinking.....? See discussion here, here, here, here, here.
I am not a leftist or a rightist. I would prefer to see small government, honest government and transparent government. Protecting the vested interests of any favored group or corporation (except to uphold democratically decided law) is not a legitimate role of government. I suppose that makes me a libertarian.
I have no time for those who try to create false ideological opponents by declaring themselves on the side of "the free market" and against "intrusive regulation" while failing to define the meaning of the words they use. This is a debate about corrupted markets and falsified science versus honesty, integrity, and transparency. It is I suppose about the children who died, and whether we care.
Is it "lefty" to suggest that corporations selling products under the banner of science should actually obey the most fundamental rules of science?
Is it "lefty" to propose that drug regulators should actually look at raw data before licensing drugs? Is it "lefty" to suggest that scientists, doctors who prescribe, (and patients who consume) should be allowed to see the honest science underlying prescribing decisions? Is it "lefty" to suggest that regulators are committing criminal acts when they collude with industry to hide the most fundamental facts about drugs under a cloud of corporate secrecy? Is it the role of government in a free market to shield corporate criminals from prosecution and scrutiny?
Unless the debate can rise above the false left/right dichotomy we are doomed. The victims of the current widespread fraud in this industry are not only patients. The victims are the credibility of UK science, medicine, and the honest and most innovative parts of the pharmaceutical industry itself.
The days of the UK Labour Government are numbered. They are likely to go down in history as a cynically corrupt government that has betrayed every aspect of their own supposed mission. I'll leave a detailed discussion of the entanglement between the labour government and pharmaceutical scientific fraud for another day.
So to Gordon Brown -- you are a dismal thoughtless pathetic failure. Sadly, the corruption of politics is such that your successor may not be any better.
Just don't let the door hit you on the way out.