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Mud sticks
The charges against John Leslie have been dropped, but now he must battle to reclaim his career. Stephen Naysmith questions if those accused of sexual crimes should be publicly identified

Nationalist Identity Crisis
The protagonists may be grey, say Political Editor Douglas Fraser and Political Correspondent Alan Crawford, but there’s still trouble brewing

The Blair years: how does he measure up?
As Tony Blair becomes the Labour leader with the longest continuous term in office, Westminster Editor James Cusick finds unnerving parallels with Harold Wilson

Time to decide who we are
The SNP should use this challenge to stop old arguments and engage with the public, says Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow

Will Stella do the trick?
Madonna did it for Dornoch. Now Rothesay is hoping the wedding of Paul McCartney’s daughter – rumoured to be held there later this month – will bring the tourists back to beautiful Bute. Magin McKenna reports

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Why I owe it to parents to question triple vaccine


'What I'm advocating is that in the presence of this question mark, a question mark that was put there by the parents, which we have corroborated in repeated studies -- while that question mark exists, at the very least, parents de serve a choice of how they protect their children against these infections, whether it be with the MMR vaccine or with the single vaccine.

'There is a very limited body of material bearing on the safety of the vaccine, but those studies were totally inadequate from the beginning. They looked at short-term outcomes three or four weeks after vaccination, but these children regress insidiously over weeks or months, and this is never ascribed to the vaccine by the attending physician .

'I sit across from you as the parent and you say: 'this is what happened to my child, they were developing normally, they had speech, language, social skills, they received their MMR vaccine and they developed bowel symptoms and their behaviour deteriorated, I lost them, the light went out'.

'You listen to that story, you don't buy into it, but you say: 'is there anything I can do to substantiate this in my job as a physician?' You investigate the symptoms and you find that there is an inflammatory bowel disease that has gone unrecognised in these children . So the parents were right . So when they say: 'I believe my child regressed after the MMR vaccine', do you take that seriously? Damn right you do .

'I don't believe that [single vaccinations would lead to a drop in take-up]. I think parents are well informed, they are not inherently anti-vaccine, nor are we. We have advocated throughout that children continue to be protected . But in the light of this evidence there is a question mark, and while that question mark exists, parents must have the choice over how they protect their children .

'What we have done is to show that the parents' story is valid. We have found measles virus highly in excess of developmentally normal controls in the diseased [bowel] tissue of children with autism, and not only in the diseased tissue but in the very cells in that diseased tissue that you would antici pate if it were the cause of the disease. This is a very compelling observation that means, once again, that though causation has not been proven, there is sufficient anxiety that the parents must have a choice .

' What actually precipitated this crisis? What precipitated this crisis was the removal of the single vaccine, the removal of choice, and that is what has caused the furore -- because the doctors, the gurus, are treating the public as though they are some kind of moronic mass who cannot make an informed decision for themselves.'

10 February 2002

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what we think: SNP must make its mind up
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