Questioning Tredinnick

Recently (10th June) in Parliament, during an Oral Answers to Questions — Health session, the bumbling humbugger, considering discussion of Accident and Emergency Units prime opportunity to interject some pseudoscience into Parliamentary proceedings, rose to his pes planus and asked the Health Secretary:

‘Does my right hon. Friend agree that a critical problem that A and E units will face in the future is antibiotic resistance? Is he aware that the Science and Technology Committee, of which I am a member, has been looking at this issue, and it also interests the Health Committee, of which I am also a member? Can he assure me that he is talking to the Prime Minister about how to stimulate new antibiotic research, and will he also remember that nature has its own remedies, such as tea tree oil?’

Removal from context is often unfairly misrepresentative, but it is worth here considering Tredinnick’s three asinine sentences in isolation.

‘Does my right hon. Friend agree that a critical problem that A and E units will face in the future is antibiotic resistance?’

Of course he agrees! Antibiotic resistance is not just a future problem; it’s a current one. Regardless, quite how this particular public health concern is directly relevant to A&E, I’m not quite sure. Certainly trauma injury might necessitate (prophylactic) antibiotics, but whether or not they are administered in A&E units is by the by; rather, is this not another example of Tredinnick’s ongoing quest to promote his own agendum, taking any opportunity to engineer pseudoscience and quackery into discussion/debate on whatever subject he views as relevant, however remotely? Antibiotic resistance is currently receiving attention in Parliament, so quite why Tredinnick needs to ask the Health Secretary:

‘Is he aware that the Science and Technology Committee, of which I am a member, has been looking at this issue, and it also interests the Health Committee, of which I am also a member?’

is beyond me. But what is surely apparent, in reminding the House of his contaminating membership of two important committees, is his reaching self-promotion. Totally irrelevant here; or his way of impressing the House that he knows his onions? Well, in case you’re hitherto unfamiliar with Tredinnick’s CAM-leanings, he concludes with an exampled flourish:

‘Can he assure me that he is talking to the Prime Minister about how to stimulate new antibiotic research, and will he also remember that nature has its own remedies, such as tea tree oil?’

‘assure me? Not The House? Perhaps then, being a member of the Health Committee – the role of which is to oversee the Department of Health (thus, by extension the Health Secretary) – he deems himself so important that the Health Secretary should answer directly to him. And why would the Health Secretary talk to the Prime Minister about ‘how to stimulate new antibiotic research’? (Though according to his response, he has ‘discussed it closely’.)

Yet again, like those of his CAM cult brethren, Tredinnick employs logical fallacy – the appeal to nature/the natural – in Parliament. No matter how many times he is enlightened, he continues to conflate ‘natural’ with ‘safe’ whilst disregarding the natural origin of many antibiotics. And, for some unfathomable reason, name-drops one of his chosen favourite suggestions – tea tree oil. (Feel free to conduct your own evidence checking of this.) Maybe he found this less prime for ridicule than his usual profferings, such as acupuncture, or homeopathy, or TCM vagueness, or herbal what-nots.

Thankfully, the response to his entreating votes for election as Chair of the Health Committee has suggested general disdain (among Conservative MPs): a paltry nine votes ensured elimination at the first stage. (But which does beg the question as to quite why he was elected on to the Committee in the first place?) The new Chair is Sarah Wollaston, which is encouraging, as the role needs someone with real clinical nous to get under the Health Secretary’s skin and concentrate the Department of Health’s and Government’s attention to worthwhile matters and solutions, rather than indulging the pettifogging of a quackery promulgating, CAM cult devotee.

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