A retired GP has been suspended from the BMA Welsh Council until 2014 after he questioned the evidence behind the BMA's campaign to ban smoking in vehicles on BBC Radio.And what was he criticising?
Dr Brendan O'Reilly, a retired GP, has also had his BMA membership suspended until he provides ‘an acceptable written apology' to four named BMA members, including Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of the BMA science and ethics committee.
In a hearing held yesterday a BMA Council panel said they considered Dr O'Reilly's language when describing his opposition to the BMA's use of statistics on the risks of passive smoking in cars as ‘unacceptable'.
Among figures questioned by Dr O'Reilly was a statistic that children in cars are exposed to 23 times more toxins than people in a smoky bar.That's right. Pointing out that the BMA were publishing absolute rubbish, which they themselves later admitted, is a crime liable to suspension in the BMA's book.
In its determination, the BMA admitted it did, at a later stage, have to publicly revise some of the data in its briefing paper Smoking in Vehicles. But it said Dr O'Reilly's use of the term manipulation was ‘detrimental to the honour and interest of the BMA'.
‘BMA members should be able to debate differences in opinion without being threatened or harangued for doing so,' he added. ‘There is a massive issue here about free speech.'Free speech in the field of anti-smoking hysteria? I'm afraid it's not allowed, sunshine. Nor is truth, more's the pity.
Just ask James Enstrom or Michael Siegel.