I have affectionate memories of Professor David Bellamy, OBE; he was always a bit of a clown, but his zest was endearing and his 400 TV programmes were entertaining and did much to popularise his enthusiasms, particularly botany.
Sadly, he later espoused the cause of climate change denial and more recently became the patron of the British Homeopathic Association, lobbyers for more quackery in the NHS.
This letter by Professor David Colquhoun asks Bellamy to appeal to the organisation, as one of its trustees, to take a firm and unequivocal stance against homeopaths using their products to either prevent or treat serious diseases such as HIV, malaria and to make a firm statement that they condemn this murderous use of homeopathic products.
It is indeed sad to see that dear old Bellamy (he is 78) needs to be advised not to support an organisation like the BHA. However, Colquhoun's letter gives some heartwarming comments on the increasing decline in the popularity of the absurd nostrums which they peddle:
"According to the Telegraph today, spending on homeopathic prescriptions has plummeted eightfold since 2000. If this decline continues, we can expect no prescriptions to be written with public money within a year or two....
I am not sure why homeopathy has declined so precipitously. But the very vocal campaign over the past few years against the provision of this superstitious form of medicine with public money may have played a part.
Homeopathy within the public sphere has been declining since the formation of the NHS with it almost disappearing entirely in the ‘70s. There are not any real homeopathic hospitals left at all now – just a few small clinics clinging on. Tunbridge Wells homeopathic hospital closed down a few years ago and the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital had to stop pretending it was a real homeopathic hospital in its own right and changed its name to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine. Maybe we are just seeing the tail-end of a long decline."