‘That nice Mr Liddle’: exchange of emails with ‘The Sun’, 27 January 2012

January 27, 2012

The ME Association is attempting to get the following letter published in ‘The Sun' in response to Rod Liddle's column yesterday:


Dear Editor

Re: ‘Pretend Disabled' really ARE sick

Rod Liddle has made yet another incompetent and inaccurate attack on people with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis).

ME is not ‘newly invented'.

It was first described by The Lancet in 1956 and was later classified by the World Health Organisation as a neurological disorder.

ME is recognised by the Department of Health to be a serious and debilitating condition.

The Medical Research Council recently provided £1.5 million to fund biomedical research into the cause, diagnosis and management of this devastating illness.

Yours sincerely

Dr Charles Shepherd
Hon Medical Adviser, ME Association
Member of MRC Expert Group on ME/CFS Research
Member of the (previous) Chief Medical Officer's Working Group on ME/CFS

ME Association
7 Apollo Office Court
Radclive Road
Bucks MK18 4DF

After receiving a standard response from the paper's acting letters editor, which read:

Dear Charles Shepherd

Thank you for your letter.

I am sorry you do not agree with some of the views expressed by our columnist, Rod Liddle.

We allow all our columnists to express their views in their columns, but that does not mean that they are the Sun's views.

It is always useful to hear readers' opinions, and we do take them into consideration when forming policy for future. I am sorry for the distress that this article has caused for you, and can assure you that your views will be passed on to the Editor and senior executives for discussion, as well as Rod Liddle.

Do feel free to write to us about the paper, or any other subject that you feel merits discussion. Our readers are the most important element of our success and we constantly strive to give satisfaction and value, so we do listen and take account of what you have to say.

Yours sincerely

Kay Cox
Acting Letters Editor

Dr Shepherd has sent the following email and we await developments:

Dear Kay

Thank you for sending a copy of this Rod Liddle reply letter.

The MEA has, not surprisingly, received a substantial number of complaints about this article and my response, which corrects a factual inaccuracy, is clearly intended for publication.

So I would be grateful if you could confirm whether you are intending to publish a response from the MEA.

I have also been in contact with the Press Complaints Commission this morning.


Dr Charles Shepherd

11 thoughts on “‘That nice Mr Liddle’: exchange of emails with ‘The Sun’, 27 January 2012”

  1. Dr Shepherd – you shouldn’t have to waste your time and energy on this idiot Rod Liddle,but given the extremely vindictive nature of his remarks, I am very grateful for your efforts. I hope the letter gets published.

  2. Thank you, Dr. Shepherd, for intervening to try to set the record straight. The ill-informed and spiteful comments by this ignoramus were all I needed to finish off what was already a bad week., (the usual aches, pains, twitches and spasms!). A DWP letter tells me that my IB claim is being investigated pending a change to ESA, so I now have the whole Atos merry-go-round to look forward to. Doubtless many of the officials will have read and swallowed whole this article and the other recent unpleasant Press comments. Are any of us likely to get a fair and unbiassed hearing? I doubt it.

  3. Well done Dr. Shepherd.
    Rod Liddell is surely guilty of inciting hatred and I will therefore be interested to see how the Press Complaints Commission respond.

  4. Quite right Dr Shepherd. Rod obviously mistook us for a soft target and took a cheap shot. Thank you for speaking up.

  5. Thank you. This had made me very angry. I am a group leader supporting those with Fibromylagia and ME as i myself have them.
    I see all the time the distress these illness’es have caused, some already struggle with their own gp’s and family believing them, so if the non believers where to read Rod Liddles article, what hope have we got in trying to get others to believe in us?
    I wish this was a made up illness, cause then I can get up and go to work, which I very much miss, I don’t like being stuck at home in bed all the time, I want to go back to the way I was before I was struck down. As I’m sure many others would agree.

    What also makes me angry, is those who do claim for benefits when there is nothing wrong with them. They don’t care for anyone but themselves and the truly deserving are having to go without. So Thank you to the scroungers who are lazy and don’t want to work, how about we swap lives? you can have my illnesses, but you won’t be lazy, you’ll be too ill to be able to do anything, and I will have your life, so i can go to work!!

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