Archive for October, 2011

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Rich hippies endanger our children’s lives

October 27, 2011

How can you object to a charity called “The Sunflower Jam”?

It all sounds so cheery and positive. When you hear that they’re raising money for sick kids and they do it by holding spectacular concerts in the Albert Hall full of rock dinosaurs like Rick Wakeman (Yes), Micky Moody (Whitesnake) and even some young hipsters like Jamiroquai bassist Nick Fyffe, how can you not crack a smile and open your wallet?

The Sunflower Jam is a charity registered in England and Wales (1138401) and founded by Jacky Paice, the wife of Deep Purple drummer, Ian Paice. Other high-profile supporters are the actor Jeremy Irons and Charles, Prince of Wales.

However, behind all the positivity, fun and outdated music there is something very wrong and very dangerous about what The Sunflower Jam are up to.

The aims of the charity are explicitly to fund complementary therapists and spiritual healers to work on cancer wards in the British National Health Service. After setting up a meeting between members of Deep Purple and a young boy dying of leukemia, Paice saw “all the good work the healers were doing” and decided “let’s find a way to raise money to get more healers in there.”

Despite the flashy concerts and the VIP supporters, The Sunflower Jam have been criticised in the British Medical Journal for its fundraising activities in support of The College of Medicine. This, as I have previously blogged for Republic, is an alternative medicine lobby group in the UK linked to Prince Charles, a big fan of, and profiteer from, ineffective alternative therapies. A hobby for which he has been roundly criticised. The College is simply the most recent incarnation of an apparently many-headed hydra The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, which folded in 2010 after an accounting scandal.

Past “Superjam” concerts run by The Sunflower Jam have raised thousands of pounds to fund complementary therapists or “healers,” as they are described on the event website, to work with children in NHS cancer wards. As a result of the Jam’s activities, “healers” have been installed in University College London Hospital and a dedicated “complementary room” has been rolled out, like a homeopathic Trojan Horse in Great Ormond Street Hospital.

As Steve Jobs found out recently, delaying proper medical treatment of cancer is a bad idea, and cluttering up NHS wards with acupuncturists and Yogic flyers is simply going to blur the boundaries between what is medicine, and what decidedly isn’t.

On what basis are Paice and her rich spiritualist friends allowed to interfere with cancer care in National Health Service hospitals? Well, Paice practiced as a healer herself and … they’ve got the money and contacts to do it. That’s it. Money talks in Cameron’s philanthropic Big Society it seems that rich rock dinosaurs (and their wives) can always use their music industry and royal connections to fill our hospitals with well-meaning, but ultimately useless bunkum.

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