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    ABSTRACT: This article compares two industrial disasters in the offshore oil industry, the explosion and fire on Piper Alpha off the coast of Scotland in 1988, the world's worst offshore disaster, and the blowout and explosions on Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It attempts to answer a simple question: Given the enormity of the first tragedy and the careful analysis of its circumstances and causes, why were the lessons of previous failure not learned by this globally organized industry, in the very heartland in the United States? The answer tells us much about the ability of corporate capital to configure regulatory regimes in its own interests and to do so in a manner that continues to threaten the safety and well-being of its employees and the wider environment.
    NEW SOLUTIONS A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy 01/2012; 22(4):497-524.
  • Modern Law Review 10/2010; 73(6):1083 - 1086.
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    ABSTRACT: Although public policy in general, and health policy in particular, can be powerful and effective tools in shaping a "healthy" environment for citizens, the influences and agendas that underpin them are often lacking in transparency. In the case of the alcohol-dependent, the critical importance of identifying strategies appropriate to their specific needs is often sidelined. This, it is argued, results in part from the influence of the alcohol industry on governments and on social conditions and in part from the ethical underpinnings of public health policy, which depends on maximising social benefits even at the expense of "hard to reach" groups. In addition, much of alcohol policy rests on the kind of' "healthy living" message that appeals to the otherwise healthy While not infantilising people who are dependent on alcohol, consideration must be given to the extent to which their ability to choose health is compromised by the nature of dependence itself.
    Journal of law and medicine 12/2009; 17(3):373-85.
  • BMJ (online) 11/2009; 339:b4695.
  • BMJ (online) 10/2009; 339:b4112.
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    ABSTRACT: Public policy on alcohol in the UK relies on health promotion campaigns that encourage individuals who misuse alcohol to make healthier choices about their drinking. Individuals with alcohol-dependence syndrome have an impaired capacity to choose health. As a result, individuals with the worst alcohol misuse problems lie largely outside the reach of choice-based policy. However, such policy has been widely criticized and efforts to reform it are underway. This paper argues that the British Medical Association's recent attempt to improve policy on alcohol in the UK by introducing strategies which have been shown to control drinking within populations still gives insufficient attention to alcohol dependence. This is because it fails accurately and consistently to characterize alcohol dependence and gives insufficient attention to the social challenges it presents.
    Clinical Ethics 06/2009; 4(2):74-78.
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    ABSTRACT: The publication of the latest contribution to the alcohol-in-pregnancy debate, and the now customary flurry of media attention it generated, have precipitated the renewal of a series of ongoing debates about safe levels of consumption and responsible prenatal conduct. The University College London (UCL) study's finding that low levels of alcohol did not contribute to adverse behavioural outcomes-and may indeed have made a positive contribution in some cases-is unlikely to be the last word on the subject. Proving a negative correlation is notoriously difficult (technically, impossible), and other studies have offered alternative claims. The author is not an epidemiologist, and the purpose of this article is not to evaluate the competing empirical claims. However, the question of what information and advice healthcare practitioners ought to present to pregnant women, or prospectively or potentially pregnant women, in a situation of uncertainty is one to which healthcare ethicists may have a contribution to make. In this article, it is argued that the total abstinence policy advocated by the UK's Department of Health, and even more stridently by the British Medical Association, sits uneasily with recent data and is far from ethically unproblematic. In particular, the "precautionary" approach advocated by these bodies displays both scant regard for the autonomy of pregnant and prospectively pregnant women and a confused grasp of the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence.
    Journal of medical ethics 06/2009; 35(5):300-3.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes Otto Kahn-Freund's advocacy of the British ‘collective laissez-faire’ system of regulation of industrial relations, in which regulation proceeded autonomously of the state. It suggests that a weakness of collective laissez-faire as a normative principle was its failure to make adequate provision for the furtherance of the public interest. It links this failure to a more general reluctance, on the part of Kahn-Freund, to conceive of the state as representative of the public interest. And it seeks to explain this reluctance with reference to Kahn-Freund's experiences of living and working as a labour court judge in the Weimar Republic, and of moving to the UK as a refugee from Nazism.
    Modern Law Review 02/2009; 72(2):220 - 246.
  • Human reproduction and genetic ethics 02/2009; 15(2):75-86.
  • Nature 11/2008; 455(7216):1035-1036.
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