Arts > Bitter pills

12 May 2016 | by D.J. Taylor

Bitter pills


The second instalment of the second of Dominic Lawson’s provocative series (4 May) featured some unusually strong language. Nothing obscene, mind, but the words “liar” and “deluded” clanged in the ether like church bells.

“Quackery” was one of the milder insults and there came an extraordinary moment, well-nigh unprecedented in the recent history of Radio 4, where the interviewee claimed that he had been “quite abused by Prince Charles”.

A feller of tropical rainforests? A dismantler of some prime piece of Georgian architecture? In fact, Lawson’s guest was swiftly identified as Professor Edzard Ernst. Or rather former Professor Ernst, at any rate in the United Kingdom, for the closure of the University of Exeter’s department of complementary medicine – proceedings in which the Prince of Wales’ office allegedly played a role – soon became the hub on which this particular story of recantation turned.


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