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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Archive for the ‘The Media’ Category

Dr Who and Rosa Parks

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I am that small child who hid behind the sofa from the Daleks.  I remember it vividly. I associate it with being allowed to stay up late and having red sauce sandwiches for supper.

But since William Hartnell, no Doctor has ever charmed me.  I’ve appreciated the effort and attempted humour in all of them. Some have become iconic, like Tom Baker with his long scarf but none of them ever made the show compulsive viewing for me.  In fact as time went on it bored me.

Jodie Whittaker, the first female doctor, is a revelation. It was only on in the background but the writing and her perfomance are spellbinding and it captured me.  That elusive humour is achieved, the wit is right on point.  It is delightful.

And never has Dr Who moved me so deeply. With an elegant and perfectly judged time travel satire on the Rosa Parks story.  The dramatisation that inspired tears to roll down my cheeks with a science fiction wonder, belief suspended, all my entertainment receptors tingling. It was simply the very best of television.  Dont miss it, catch up here.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

October 28, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Posted in Biography, television, The Media

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Cannabis Advocates Really Need To Stop Accusing Doctors of Being Bribed By Pharmaceutical Companies.

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There may well be some doctors who are corrupt and there are still, despite much improvement, serious questions over the relationship between pharma companies and doctors but the idea that every member of the Faculty of Pain Medicine who signed that letter to the Times is taking bribes is ridiculous.

The real reason is ignorance and that’s not an attack on doctors, it’s a reason.  They have been subject to the same relentless torrent of reefer madness propaganda from government and media as the rest of society.  They have been prevented even from learning about the endocannabinoid system by the authoritarian policy of prohibition and any doctor in the UK who has any experience of cannabis as medicine will have been in breach of professional ethics as well as the law.

CLEAR has been working with some of the very few enlightened doctors since way before the cause of cannabis as medicine became fashionable.  Working with members, their MPs and doctors, we have organised lobbying of ministers and MPs over more than the past 10 years. In several instances we had doctors, both GPs and consultants, contact the Home Office to enquire about obtaining a licence for a specific patient.  In at least three instances these doctors were then contacted by Home Office officials who warned them off using threats and intimidation.  Shocking but completely true.

It is and it always has been government – stupid, prejudiced, bigoted and self-opinionated politicians – who have prevented access to cannabis, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.  This means that there has been no education at all and doctors are as poorly informed as everyone else. They’re also, and understandably, worried, even scared.  They don’t understand cannabis, many will not even have heard of the endocannabinoid system and they are concerned about being sued, professionally disgraced, losing their job and now of being swamped by patients demanding cannabis about which they know nothing.

Of course, it was thoroughly stupid to assert in the letter that “the evidence suggests that the prescribing of cannabis (containing the psychoactive and addictive tetrahydrocannabinol component) will provide little or no long-term benefit in improving pain and may be associated with significant long-term adverse cognitive and mental-health detriment.”

There is no reasonable interpretation of the evidence that supports this. THC can be addictive in a very modest sense but the withdrawal symptoms and negative effects are trivial compared to those from opioids which doctors prescribe readily and frequently.  There is excellent evidence from many sources that cannabis containing THC and CBD benefits pain and while there may be some cognitive and mental health effects, to suggest they are significant or even come remotely close to those from opioids is false and in opposition to the evidence.

I repeat, doctors aren’t saying this because they are bribed by pharmaceutical companies, it’s because they have no idea what they are talking about.

The urgent requirement now is medical education.  It is amazing how radical the new regulations are and many people still don’t seem to realise how far the government has gone.  They go much further than we at CLEAR had even dared to dream and the definition of cannabis-derived medicinal product (CDMP) is very broad.  When we were consulted on it by the Department of Health and MHRA we never thought they would accept all our recommendations.  They enable the prescription of every form of cannabis, including flower, oil and concentrate, provided they meet quality standards.

So the problem with the law is gone. Literally, it is all over. It is absolute and total victory. Now two big problems remain. Education is the first but this is being addressed.  NICE has acted commendably fast to start recruiting a panel to advise on prescribing guidelines and Professor Mike Barnes, CLEAR’s scientific and medical advisor has already developed a series of introductory online training modules. Early in November his Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society launches and this will be an important forum for the future.

The second big problem is supply.  Where are the CDMPs to come from?  Sativex falls into the definition and this was GW Pharma’s big opportunity to act responsibly and imaginatively.  The possibility still exists that it will substantially reduce the absurd, rip-off price that it has been charging for Sativex since 2010.  If it had the imagination it could very easily turn over some of its production to unlicensed CDMPs for which there is now a ready market. I fear that it is wedded to licensed products only, hugely expensive and, in my judgement, unnecessary clinical trials and very high prices for its end products.  If so, then I will be selling my shares.  I admire the company for its courage, innovation and high standards but if it does not seize this opportunity then I believe it is failing in its duty to shareholders and also to Britain, which let’s remember has gifted it a privileged and unique opportunity in the world.  Fail now to provide for the needs of UK patients and that amounts to betrayal.

So for now the only possible sources of supply that meet the definition will be Bedrocan in the Netherlands and some of the Canadian licensed producers. US companies cannot export.  Neither can the Israeli companies and they would also face a thoroughly deserved boycott of their products even if Netanyahu was to issue export licences.  Bedrocan can barely meet demand from its existing customers and there is talk of it having difficulties with a ceiling on its export licenses. Only some Canadian producers meet the required GMP quality standards and they too are facing shortages as they also supply the recently legalised recreational market which is seriously short of product.

So the Home Office has to act and start issuing domestic production licences and it has to do so immediately.  Whether it will, remains to be seen.  Its drugs licensing department is a shambles, staffed by officials who do not even understand the law they are supposed to administrate, who regularly give different, contradictory answers on different days and exceed their lawful authority as a matter of course.  If there is a ‘hostile environment’ for immigration in the Home Office, for drugs licensing and cannabis production it has been hostile but also aggressive, paranoid and stupid ever since the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The urgent need is for prospective British cannabis producers to mobilise their MPs and for immediate pressure to be brought on the Home Office at the highest level.  Sajid Javid has shown he can act decisively.  Expanding domestic cannabis production is the inevitable next step in what he has already achieved.  He must act now.

So the future in the UK for those who need cannabis as medicine is brighter than could ever have been imagined.  The next steps are challenging but nowhere near as difficult as the campaign to reform the law that CLEAR has fought for nearly 20 years.  Don’t blame doctors, continue to blame the government and hold their feet to the fire until they act on medical education and cannabis production as they must.

The Victoria Derbyshire Show’s Next Interviewees Arrive At New Broadcasting House.

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Future BBC policy will be to enable all interviewees to cover their face if they wish. Politicians and civil servants have expressed their gratitude.

In particular, several cabinet minsters have called for an immediate increase in the licence fee and for all BBC presenters to be elevated to the House of Lords.  Victoria Derbyshire has been awarded a damehood for her courage in pioneering this new policy. ITV and Sky are expected to introduce similar provisions within the next few days.

Channel 4 is introducing an immediate ban on any interviewee who refuses to cover ther face.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 9, 2018 at 10:08 am

The BBC’s Treatment Of Sir Cliff Richard Must Have Severe Consequences For The Individuals Responsible.

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Fran Unsworth, BBC Director of News and Current Affairs

Dan Johnson, BBC Reporter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There simply is no other option, Fran Unsworth and Dan Johnson must be sacked.

I could have been persuaded to let them resign but not since they have both supported the idea of an appeal, compounding the abuse of Sir Cliff.

This has been in inexcusable episode which has brought shame on the BBC.  It would have disgraced the News of the World if it was still with us but for this editorial decision to have been forced, repeatedly, and defended by the BBC at huge cost, really is a national scandal.

Sack them both now and apologise unreservedly. Anything less and the BBC will forever be diminished beyond any possibility of redemption – and think what that means to all the sincere, honourable, decent people who have worked there.

The brazen attempts to justify this abuse have damaged the BBC even further.  The public is sick of media abuse and of weak governments that repeatedly fail to stand up to powerful organisations.  The second part of the Leveson Inquiry was supposed to investigate collusion between the media and the police.  Only a few weeks ago, the then Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, cancelled it. There can be no doubt that this was designed only to appease the press barons in the interests of the Conservative Party.  Just days later, Murdoch’s takeover of Sky was approved as well. As in so many other instances, this government and its ministers are demonstrated to be corrupt and shameless with it.

If the BBC wants to be regarded in the same category as Murdoch, Dacre and the Barclay Brothers, by all means keep Unswortth and Johnson on staff.  The British public will never forgive you.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

MasterChef 2018

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Another immensely enjoyable series. Nothing on television absorbs me more and enables me to turn off and relax so effectively. Again this year, the contestants have achieved an extraordinary, almost unbelievable standard. It gets higher every year.

I will, as usual, nail my colours to the mast and predict the winner – Nawamin, the Thai doctor, champion of champions.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Posted in food, television, The Media

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What Is This Alleged Anti-Semitism In The Labour Party? Is It A Secret? Does It Even Exist?

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London, UK. Friday 5th September 2012. ‘Freedom for Humanity’ a street art graffiti work by artist Mear One aka Kalen Ockerman on Hanbury Street near Brick Lane. Tower Hamlets has ordered that the mural be removed as the characters depicted as bankers have faces that look Jewish, and is therefore antisemitic.

My regular readers will know that I am no supporter of the Labour Party but I am bemused by the wall-to-wall coverage about what you would think is an extremely serious issue.

We have been given absolutely no explanation at all of what this is all about.

The only substance seems to be that in 2012, Corbyn commented on a Facebook post of a mural in East London which was about to be whitewashed over.  Apparently he agreed that as a piece of art it should be left alone.  Perhaps he didn’t look at it closely enough?  I don’t know and I really don’t care. Ferreting around in people’s old social media posts used to be the preserve of obsessive nutters, trolls and sad young wannabe journalists with nothing better to do.  Now it seems to be one of the BBC’s main ‘news’ sources.

If this mural is the sole reason for all this hyperbolic coverage, what exactly is the matter with the mural?  It lampoons some caricatures of Jews but it wasn’t long ago that we were encouraged to permit lampooning of images of Mohammed as free speech.  This is clear bias, a ridiculous amount of coverage and yet more proof that the BBC is increasingly focused by lobby groups for minorities to the detriment of the majority.

As for the Labour MPs sabotaging their party in puerile demonstrations outside Parliament, what is it all about? I asked on Twitter, “where and what is this anti-semitism” and I received just a couple of replies both referring me to the Twitter feed of a Jack Mendel who describes himself as the Web Editor of Jewish News UK.  The pinned tweet which is supposed to justify this hysteria can be seen here.

There is nothing to see. It’s a conspiracy theory more suited to a spotty, adolescent 14-year old locked in his bedroom stinking of smelly socks than anything remotely serious.

‘Witch hunt’, ‘McCarthyism’, call it what you will. These allegations of significant antisemitism are a smear campaign by an irresponsible BBC and the right wing press.
 
Anyone who denies the Holocaust is simply a fool and anyone who discriminates against those of the Jewish faith is just a sad idiot – but it’s not racism, religion is a choice.

On the evidence, and remember I am no supporter of Corbyn, the far more likely explanation is that this is a smear campaign which is really about the righteous opposition to the war criminal state of Israel and its apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people.

Darkest Hour.

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This film is brilliant. The first movie I have watched in years where it felt too short rather than too long. Instead of self indulgence from a director with far too high an opinion of his work, this is beautifully crafted, paced and at the end I was thinking “no, surely it can’t be over now?”

The final minute delivers the most massive emotional punch which had me reeling and as the credits began to roll the tears followed them down my face.

Just magnificent.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 22, 2018 at 9:20 am