It’s not every day that a Leader in a Very Important Newspaper can make you laugh out loud. In fact, all things considered, it’s probably preferable that it should not. But this one, from the UK Telegraph, is hilarious, and worth posting in full.
It is a sound principle not to criticise a newspaper article by a very famous person: you never know who might have written it. But Prince Charles’s demand for NHS funding for “alternative health care” in yesterday’s Guardian was so fatuous that an exception must be made.
The Prince of Wales employed the technique most beloved of champions of alternative medicine: to exploit a health scare in order to make extravagant claims for the latest brand of snake oil. It is true that allergies – the focus of his article – are on the increase, and that parents, in particular, are worried by this.
But the Prince’s repeated use of the word “epidemic” implied, irresponsibly, that these conditions are virulently contagious. There are many effective allergy treatments, but there is no respectable evidence to suggest – as Prince Charles did – that acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal medicine are among them.
It is hard to take seriously an article which, among other things, blames “the increase in soft furnishings” for society’s ills. One wonders what bad experiences the sensitive prince has had with unsympathetic sofas or aggressive pouffes. But his latest intervention merely confirms our view that alternative medicine should remain the luxury of the well-to-do hypochondriac.