MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

It has been reported in most newspapers that Prince Charles has proposed a solution to the problem of antibiotic over-use in animals and humans. He told an international gathering of scientists and government officials in London that he treats his own cows and sheep with homeopathy. Many people reacted with dismay. I, however, plead for more understanding of this thoroughly good-willed man.

In fact, I intend to go one step further.

We have often heard that he is a considerate and caring man. We ought to give him the benefit of the doubt. I have tried therefore to empathise with his situation, put myself into his shoes and repeat the considerations that made him say what he said. My empathy went so far that I tried to re-live and formulate his thoughts in the first person singular (or should I have used the ‘Royal We’?). The result is the following little monologue where I categorised the considerations under 7 headings.

THE OCCASION

I wonder why they invited me to give a speech. True, I am a farmer at heart and I know all about husbandry, but I have no real expertise in the field of antibiotics.

Perhaps it is an occasion to tell them a bit about homeopathy. Yes, that subject would surely fascinate the audience!

THE INTELLECTUAL ENVIRONMENT

They tell me that the conference will be packed with very bright people. That sort of thing always makes me a bit self-conscious. Perhaps I should decline the invitation after all? Sometimes, I have the impression that people make fun at me.

No, I must not think like that – after all, I have had a very expensive education too, and I know my stuff.

THE ISSUE

Homeopathy is such a wonderful subject. I must try to win them over and make them appreciate its beauty. These experts should realize that homeopathy is the future.

I have heard rumours that some blinkered scientists doubt that homeopathy works. But my advisors tell me that it is best to ignore this sort of thing. And my advisors know their stuff even better than I.

POTENTIAL IMPACT

This conference is going to have a very high impact. The press will be there. It will be reported across the world. And government’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies (why can we not have more holistic doctors in position like these; I must remember to discuss this with Michael Dixon asap); she once called homeopathy ‘rubbish’ – enough to throw her in the Tower!

Mustn’t think like that! On the contrary, I will make sure they all get the message. I will bowl them over! The press will surely be on my side. This will be a victory for homeopathy.

THE RISKS

Mother might be upset; she does not like me to stick my neck out like that…goes on about constitutional role and such trivia…she thinks we should not put our nose into things that are none of our business. And the Royal PR team will not like it either. They do what they can to distract from the image of ‘THE MEDDLING PRINCE’ might think that my speech is a hindrance to their efforts. I better don’t tell anyone in advance about this, they might try to stop me.

But now I feel quite unstoppable.

THE SPEECH

This is what I will tell them about homeopathy: “It was one of the reasons I converted my farming operation to an organic – or agro-ecological – system over 30 years ago and why we have been successfully using homeopathic – yes, homeopathic – treatments for my cattle and sheep as part of a programme to reduce the use of antibiotics.” I think this will convince everyone. Who needs science when there is powerful rhetoric like this?

LAST DOUBTS

What if it does not go well? They will not dare to contradict me, I am the future King, for heaven’s sake! Even if they disagree, they will not show it. They just don’t have the guts. And anyway, I will not take questions, I never do enter into any debate on homeopathy. It is simply too tedious to argue with people who do not understand the issues involved.

It is decided – I’ll do it. I’ll do it for homeopathy and for the good of mankind. If they then chose to misunderstand me, that’s their problem, and my people will issue a statement for the press saying “Homeopathy is used on a case-by-case basis at Home Farm, in combination with more conventional medicine, to minimise dependence on antibiotics.”

 

*In case you are a lawyer hired by HRH to check out this post: it is pure satire through and through, there is not a factual sentence here; if you want to sue me, please find another reason.

7 Responses to Charles, our considerate prince*

  • Homeopathy is used on a case-by-case basis at Home Farm, in combination with more conventional medicine, to minimise dependence on antibiotics.”

    People closer to farming than I have been for a long time have said to me that this ‘case by case’ use involves a very large number of cases. It is a typical cognitive bias to ignore and exclude the exceptions and have little awareness of just how large a number they represent.

    I have also had it said to me that standards on some organic farms are shockingly poor because illness is ignored and excuses made for treatment failures when non-conventional treatments are used first.

    In some of the coverage I have read of this speech, the pro-homeopathy side cited the use of homeopathy to treat ‘stress’ in animals which is very similar to its use by the human ‘worried well’; a vague wiffly indication for treatment and a near-unquantifiable claim of effect.

    http://gu.com/p/4j5zx?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    I really don’t know how much ‘real’ use of homeopathy goes on in organic farming for real medical problems.

    Where I do share the concerns of the organic lobby it is in the constant use of anti-microbials in food and water to prop up farming systems. In the long run, that could never make sense, bugs plus evolution are just too powerful. But the right respionse is to modify our use of antimicrobials not get deflected by the false promise of useless treatments.

    I was disappointed that Sally Davies’s response was reported in Teh Grauniad as merely being “I’m not a vet”

  • Why did the Royal Society give a platform to someone not prepared to enter into the debate?
    IMHO the conference organisers are guilty of egregious sycophancy and a throughly unscientific approach to important issues.
    Why should anyone take this conference seriously?

  • The UK monarchy shall not survive Charles III.

    • Charles III will not survive to inherit the UK monarchy if he gets a genuine bacterial infection and treats it with homeopathy!

  • This is exactly the quality of medical advice you’d expect from a man who talks to plants.

    I suppose it is inevitable, given that he is basically surrounded by deferential lackeys, that the possibility he is wrong, has never really occurred to him.

  • Oh, for goodness sake, he talks to plants! What better qualification is there for being entitled to the throne?

    He uses their answers to provide him with the wisdom and confidence to guide NHS healthcare, UK politics, and global affairs.

    For thousands of years, his ancestors relied on astrologers for guidance, so don’t mock this baby step forward in the progress of monarchies.

    And never forget the moral standards that he has so freely provided to the world; especially, perhaps, in regards to the affairs of matrimony (although I prefer the astute redefinition of words and phrases that were provided by Bill Clinton).

  • Ha-Ha-Ha!!! Very good satire!! Long live the (future) king!

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