Putting ideology before science

Darren Johnson on the Green party’s refusal to heed the Cass Report:

Labour’s Wes Streeting admitted that he had got things wrong in the past and called the review a “watershed moment” for the NHS. Even in Scotland, the previously gung-ho SNP belatedly welcomed the findings and it is hoped that changes will be made to provision there. 

But sadly, that wake-up call does not appear to have been heard by the Greens. In the Scottish Parliament Green MSPs now stand completely isolated on the Cass findings. Their co-leader, Patrick Harvie, was reluctant to even accept the report as a valid scientific document. 

In London, Zoë Garbett, the Green mayoral candidate last month (who now sits as a London Assembly Member after her predecessor resigned her seat just days after getting elected) joined Harvie in attempting to undermine the findings.

Which, as Johnson goes on to emphasize, is quite a reckless thing to do when the issue is the future health of children and Zoë Garbett probably knows less about it than Dr Cass.

This casual dismissal of such a landmark report was absolutely gut-wrenching for me. I had twice stood as the Green Party’s candidate for mayor of London and spent 16 years representing the Greens as a London assembly member. Throughout that time, children’s health featured high on my list of priorities, whether it was pushing for tough measures on air pollution or fighting for better homes for families living in overcrowded conditions. How dare leading Greens be so dismissive of a well-researched, scientific review tackling a shameful medical scandal. 

My guess is that they dare because they don’t think of it as a medical issue but as a justicey one. They see it as not technical but political, and thus wide open to attack and dismissal on political as opposed to medical grounds.

I reacted with fury. “Vote Green if you want to completely ignore medical evidence and see more children pumped full of harmful drugs.” I wrote on X (formerly Twitter) in response to that awful, glib video from Garbett. 

He knew it was risky, and he took the risk.

I am beyond despair that the political party I’ve been a member of for decades, that has always said “trust the science” when it comes to climate change or air and river pollution, is apparently putting ideology before science when it comes to pushing untested medical treatments for children. 

Trust the science; no not like that.

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