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Kenneth Clarke - Secretary Of Justice WHY, was'nt he at the heart of the BSE scandal?

(44 Posts)
Beaaware Fri 21-May-10 15:36:07

Many of us remember the BSE scandal and corruption back in the 80's and 90's when Mr.Clarke was the Minister of Health from 1982 - 1985 then the Health Secretary 1988 - 1990, it beggars belief that Kenneth Clarke can take on the role of Justice Minister when nobody has been made accountable for the hundreds of deaths from the Human Form Of Mad Cows disease (vCJD), nobody has been bought to justice for these unavoidable, unlawful deaths, does this man have no integrity, honesty,transparency or moral code?
How can we trust this man who did nothing to stop the lethal pathogens from continually entering the food and medicine chain from 1985 - 1996 (era of corruption).
One death from vCJD is one death to many.
There is no hope for open and honest politics when such a person is given so much power, he should resign!

Chil1234 Fri 21-May-10 15:54:34

Wasn't it the Minster for Agriculture, John Gummer, who was more directly responsible for standards in the livestock industry at the time?

BarmyArmy Fri 21-May-10 15:58:56


Beaaware Fri 21-May-10 16:16:03

hi Chil1234

There were several if not many politicians and civil servants involved in the BSE scandal, but at the end of the day the Minister of Health was responsible for our health and did nothing to stop lethal pathogens entering the food and medicine chain, for more in-depth information have a look at under Who's To Blame.

WetAugust Fri 21-May-10 22:45:31

I thought Stephen Dorrit was the Minister in Charge at the time.

Callisto Mon 24-May-10 13:12:28

I'm not sure how much blame you can really lay at the door of the govt of the time. Farmers bought cheap feed that contained animal by-products, fed them to their cattle and then the cattle got BSE. It was standard European practice during the '80's to do this.

I can't quite get the connection between animal feed quality and the Minister for Health.

Beaaware Tue 25-May-10 09:41:58

Hi Callisto,
I understand your point, rather than explain this to you on here please visit look up "Who's To Blame" all I will say is that government officials knew what was going on in the food & MEDICINE chain decisions were made behind closed doors on how to keep important information from the public for over 11 years. Even today anybody who lived or visited the UK between 1980 - 1996 cannot donate their blood because of BSE being transmitted to humans (vCJD), this has to be a serious health issue related to the health minister at the time. Even the Health Protection Agency website offers advice on how to stop the spread of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in 2010, I'm afraid the Clarke/Gummer/Dorrit legacy lives on.

Chil1234 Tue 25-May-10 09:47:17

What I have never understood about vCJD is why so few people have contracted the disease globally, relatively speaking. If everyone who visited or lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 is deemed to be at risk and if the majority of those people would have been consumers of meat products, are we all just time-bombs waiting to drop dead without warning...... or is it not quite as simple a case of 'cause' and 'effect' as some would have us believe? Are there other factors at play to explain why one person contracts the disease and so many others don't?

Beaaware Tue 25-May-10 10:39:33

Here is an extract from the Guardian Magazine 22.09.2001 written by Kevin Toolis, I think Chil1234 it will give you some idea of what went on back then:
Mad Cows Disease began in Britain, but not eating British beef does not necessarily lessen your risk of contracting the disease. Animal feed contaminated with the infectious BSE agent was exported to over 100 countries, whose livestock could now be harbouring mad cow disease. As a sfety measure the US and a host of other countries ban blood transfusions from anyone who has lived in Britain in tha last 20 years for more than 3 months. Bovine serum is used in the manufacture of insulin and polio vaccines. Beef tallow, industrialised fat finds it way into creams, ointments and even toothpaste. British pharmaceutical companies annually export £5bn worth of products & hold a 12% share of the world market.For the past two decades , a significant percentage of those pharmaceuticalshave used by-products, as commonplace as the gelatine in pill coatings, derived from BSE-infected cows.
In 1986 Britain had just 2 herds infected with BSE. By 1996 there were 200,000 confirmed cases and 110 human victims of Mad Cow Disease (106 in UK, 3 in France, 1 in Ireland)
Prions are the most infectious agents known to man.
Prions cannot be killed by heat,radiation, boiling, chemical destruction or normal sterilisation techniques
The clinical symptons of vCJD are a catalogue of doom:muscle spasms (myoclonus),involuntary loss of muscle movement including speech (akinetic mutism),cortical blindness and progressive dementia.
It was discovered that humans with spongifrom encephalopathies had close association with cattle, wrote Ruth Bradley head of pathology at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Surrey, in the first memo about the new disease circulated to senior civil servants in DECEMBER 1986. Panic set in at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Bradleys memo set the tone for the governments official response for the next decade as civil servants and ministers waged a propaganda war to convince themselves and an increasingly sceptical population that British Beef was safe.

Chil1234, I hope these extracts answer some of your questions, please feel free to contact me if you would like the full version (5 pages) of the Guardian article.

DaisymooSteiner Tue 25-May-10 10:45:11

Chil1234, genetic susceptibility to vCJD is thought to play a large role in why many fewer people people have contracted the disease than originally feared. There may also be a subset of individuals where the period between infection and symptoms appearing is much longer than those we have seen so far.

Beaaware Tue 25-May-10 11:05:18


Kenneth Clarke - now Lord Chancellor of Great Britain & Secretary Of State for Justice, his experience in government expands over 3 decades.

quoted from the Evening Standard 14.5.2010

To date NO minister or civil servant has been held accountable for the BSE scandal, there is NO justice for the victims and their families of vCJD the human form of Mad Cow Disease, where is the fairness in that?

Beaaware Tue 25-May-10 11:20:20

An important point that may explain why we do not have more recorded deaths from vCJD is that no automatic test is performed on cavadors by coroners at autopsy for vCJD I am led to believe.

Callisto Tue 25-May-10 12:50:46

That Guardian headline is ridiculously OTT. Sorry Beaaware, you obviously feel strongly about this, but that headline is as bad as the media circus that surrounded BSE at the time. It is irresponsible, emotive and designed to sell newspapers, not get to the truth of the matter.

Beaaware Wed 26-May-10 16:49:13

With the appointment of Kenneth Clarke, politics have reached back into the dark days of the 1980's and 1990's, I remember the awful news in 1985 when the first case of BSE in a cow was discovered. I trusted my government to deal with this terrible situation and ensure that the nations health was of absolute paramount, I now know that this was not the case and I like many other millions of people in the UK for over 11 years we were potentially being exposed to vCJD, of course Mr.Clarke was not the only minister or official at the time here are a few more names that need to be mentioned:
John Major
Margaret Thatcher
John Gummer
Ray Bradley
William Rees
Donald Acheson
John Macgregor
Keith Meldrum
Kenneth Calman
Douglas Hogg
Stephen Dorrell
Richard Packer
Elizabeth Attridge
Dr.Jeremy Matters
Richard Carden
Alan Lawrence
Roberts Lowson
Gerald Wells
Sir Derek Andrews
Sr Alisa Wright
Angela Browning
Thomas Eddy
M H Baker
Dr.Bernard Williams
Dr.Robert Kendall
Dr.Richard Kimberlin
Ron Jacobs
Dr.Gerald Jones
Dr.Hilary Pickles

Today we live the legacy of what happened all those years ago:
Our blood is not screened for the human form of mad cows disease (vCJD)
We are unable to donate our blood or organs overseas if we lived in the UK between 1980 -1996 for more than 3 months.
We cannot donate blood within the UK if we have had a blood transfusion.
Over 124 children to date have lost a mother or father to vCJD, this figure is still rising.
People are still dying in 2010 from vCJD.
There is no automatic test at autopsy for vCJD.

I'm afraid this why I feel strongly.

Beaaware Wed 26-May-10 22:22:46

Haemophiliac Haydn Lewis passed away 21st May 2010 aged 53 years, his death was attributed to contaminated blood, in this BBC news bulletin you will see that Kenneth Clarke is mentioned. We must not forget that Kenneth Clarke was involved in allowing contaminated blood being used on haemophiliacs, as head of health in the 80's & 90's he must take responsibility for all those unlawful deaths.
here is the link to the story about Haydn:

Chil1234 Sun 30-May-10 16:36:11

"I'm afraid this why I feel strongly."

And I'm afraid that others really don't feel strongly about this because so few have been affected or are likely to be affected. Even though millions of us were exposed to risk, it turns out the risk was extremely small - smaller, in fact, than the normal everyday risks we expose ourselves to daily. Surely it's more important that mistakes were rectified (albeit slowly) and systems put in place to improve the safety of the food chain and blood products than it is to keep raking up the past and staying so vitriolic? What exactly are you hoping for? Ken Clarke, John Major and the rest given prison sentences? Heavily fined? Stripped of titles? Would that make your life better? Give you peace of mind? Would that be 'justice'?

Beaaware Tue 01-Jun-10 10:19:49

This would not be an issue for me if people were not dying of vCJD in 2010 and if our blood was safe, I personally think it is scandalous that NOBODY has ever been made accountable and probably never will be for the deaths of many innocent victims. One death from vCJD is one death too many imo.

Beaaware Fri 25-Jun-10 15:38:15

The legacy of Kenneth Clarkes years as Health Minister during the BSE crisis continues with the latest death from the human form of mad cows disease (vCJD)

DEAN BURRELL AGED 25, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, died 24th JUNE 2010 another victim of vCJD.
Dean leaves behind a young wife aged 24 and 2 young children aged 20 months & 4 years.

Deans mother is devastated that her once fit, handsome son who this time last year was preparing for his wedding has died due to a totally avoidable disease.

How did Dean get vCJD, he was born healthy in 1985, was he given contaminated vaccines, contaminated beef, contaminated babyfood, contaminated surgical/dental instruments. From 1985 - 1996 we were told that our beef was safe to eat, we believed our ministers, but now we know that our ministers were not open, honest and transparent.

The BSE legacy lives on, we are still exposed to the human form of mad cows disease.
Our justice minister is Kenneth Clarke! how can this be?
John Gummer has been made a peer! how can this be?

Beaaware Sat 26-Jun-10 10:30:56

and here is another reminder of the innocent victims of the BSE crisis:

RIP Andy Black

Beaaware Sun 25-Jul-10 13:46:06

Interesting quote in todays newspapers from Denise Fergus mother of James Bulger:

re: Kenneth Clarke


she may just have a good point there!

secunda Sun 25-Jul-10 13:52:47

Oh what IS your point? Ken Clarke was in government during the BSE thing so he shouldn't ever hold another position? Bad things happen whoever is in charge, you can't expect a minister to be wholly responsible and in charge of every event that occurs. It's just naive to think otherwise.

Beaaware Sun 25-Jul-10 18:05:47

A "Stuttering Buffoon" who I personally believe should not have been given another position, someone holds the smoking gun for so many deaths from vCJD caused by the BSE crisis. We have the very same minister who was suppose to protect our health now in charge of our justice system, I find this uncomfortable and disturbing, a personal opinion of course.

Beaaware Sun 25-Jul-10 21:43:55

Quote from "PERFECTLY SAFE TO EAT? The Facts on Food" by Vicki Hird available on Amazon, here is a quote:

" Professor Lacey pointed out the dangers of BSE, particularly in relation to public health. His views were supported by other scientists" Instead the government kept repeating the message that British Beef was safe to eat. This gave out conflicting messages to an increasingly sceptical public.
If Beef was safe to eat, why had the government embarked on a slaughter of infected animals?
Early in 1996 marked a watershed in the BSE crisis. The findings of the BSE Advisory Committee inquiry were announced by the Secretary of state for Health, Stephen Dorrell MP, in March 1996. The report showed that the government had been "lax" in its reaction to the crisis in order to protect the beef market. The Committeee also suggested that there was a possible link between BSE and nvCJD"

there is a lot more written in this book about the BSE crisis and I urge anyone who is sceptical to buy this book. There is no doubt that the British public were mis-lead over the link between BSE and the human form of Mad Cows Disease, had our government at the time acted swiftly and in the interests of public health perhaps today we would not be seeing the continual deaths from vCJD in our population and the manipulation of the true statistics.
To see a return of those ministers who were actively involved in the BSE crisis is nothing but outrageous, how can these people be open, honest and transparent?

LadyBlaBlah Mon 26-Jul-10 13:01:01

This is interesting because it is a typical example of profit being put before health and safety.

I think they got away with it lightly too. They are fortunate because of the way in which the disease manifests itself over a long period of time and very sporadically. If 124 people had been killed in one day because of this, there would have been public outrage and you are right, none of these people would ever work again.

Bad things happen whoever is in charge - yes..........but it is very different if you knowingly ignore reports and data which is telling you there are problems. Accidents and disasters are never just accidents, there is always a specific process they follow leading up to it. Check out Reason's accident causation - the BSE disaster is just one in a long line where people at the top put profit before safety.

Beaaware Thu 05-Aug-10 22:44:43

Another human victim to add to the growing list of the deaths from the human form of mad cows disease:

SUSAN BUTLER aged 45 years, from Cutnall Green, Droitwich died 5th May 2010.

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