"Jack of Kent, pleased to meet you, love your writing."
And with that introduction, I am tossed into Nick Cohen's wonderful and heart-warming article today, agreeably titled: "Now charlatans will know to beware the geeks".
At least I am presented as having some social skills.
(A geek, of course, is a nerd with social skills.)
But is it correct to emphasise the role of skeptic bloggers, geeks, nerds, and the rest of the internet-based enthusiasts and Skeptics in the Pub attendees who have clamoured and campaigned over the last two years?
Well, in narrow terms, such an emphasis is incorrect.
The case ended within a matter of days of a highly adverse ruling of the Court of Appeal. This is not unusual. Not even those who inhabit the alternative reality of alternative medicine could realistically maintain a legal case in such circumstances.
However, the case - and Simon Singh's defence - needed to have got that far.
And this is where I would contend that the emphasis Nick places on the various forms of skeptic activism is in large part correct.
In particular, I would highlight the following points where it seems to have made a difference.
First, from the news emerging of the libel suit to the preliminary hearing (August 2008 to May 2009), it was on-line volunteer sources - bloggers - who shared, analysed and collated all the available information. There was almost no mainstream media interest at at all; indeed, there was no formal campaign behind Simon beyond a Facebook group.
Simon could have given in then, but chose not to: in part because of the moral support he was obtaining - internationally - from well-wishers, scientists, and bloggers.
Secondly, after the preliminary hearing - with its astonishingly illiberal ruling - it was this internet-based support and awareness which helped convert a good cause into a major outrage.
When I organised the meeting in Penderel's Oak last May (at which point Simon was still very undecided about whether to apply to appeal), it was via blogs and Twitter that word was passed that a perhaps important event was about to take place.
Indeed, both Dave Gorman and Professor Brian Cox kindly came to speak at that meeting having heard about it through Twitter.
The huge support Simon received at that meeting made a real difference; and not only to Simon's resolve.
The meeting was also the first time that the mainstream media became interested in the story; it was when Simon's campaign hooked up with Nick Cohen's longstanding critique of English libel law generally and one judge in particular; and it was when it became clear that there was a coalition, ranging from figures in popular culture to eminent science publishers, from politicians like Evan Harris (who also spoke) to bloggers, who had simply had enough.
And it was a meeting organised in a few days and which would not have occurred but for blogs and Twitter.
Then, following that meeting there were wide-ranging internet-based discussions about which course of action to take. The so-called Heresiarch Manoeuvre - of Simon apologising for a meaning he didn't intend just to bring a silly case to an end - was analysed from every angle.
It was almost "wiki-litigation".
However, this did not force Simon into his decision to apply to appeal: there was a range of other, more important factors, from the support of his wife to the funding arrangements of the lawyers. But the on-line support and rigorous examination of his options played a significant part in his decision-making.
Thirdly, from Simon's decision to apply to appeal (May 2009) to finally obtaining permission on his third attempt (November 2009), it was the skeptics and others whose ongoing and loud support kept Simon as as cheerful as possible. At any point in this period - especially when the Court of Appeal refused permission - no one would have thought badly of Simon if he had just brought the case to a halt. Again, the ever-growing on-line support helped keep him soldiering on.
But in the meantime, the skeptics were making a crucial difference to the case elsewhere.
For, fourthly, a concentrated effort by bloggers had forced the BCA to disclose its evidence into the public domain. Famously, the "plethora" of evidence was then destroyed utterly in less than a day.
And, fifthly, Alan Henness and Simon Perry - and others - had set about an internet-based campaign (which I dubbed the "quacklash") to force hundreds of chiropractors to actually abide by their professional obligations, and with the rules of advertising and trading standards.
This campaign, which is still on-going, not only had an incredible effect on the promotional activities of chiropractors; it meant that many chiropractors were stopped from making the very claims which the BCA were litigating over before the High Court.
The dual effect of the destruction of the "plethora" and the impact of the "quacklash" was to destroy the credibility of the BCA.
This adverse consequence the BCA's scientific credibility, combined with the moral support, the enthusiasm, and the "wiki-litigation", all helped ensure that Simon maintained his defence - and allowed the world to see why he should maintain his defence - all the way until 1 April 2010, when the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment.
(And there is of course a delicious irony that a process which commenced in "Chiropractic Awareness Week" in 2008 effectively ended two years later on April Fools' Day.)
However, it is crucial not to overstate the effect of the skeptics.
It was the magnificent legal work of Adrienne Page QC and William McCormick (also now a QC), supported by Robert Dougans, which enabled Simon to obtain permission to appeal and then to succeed before the Court of Appeal.
In my view, Simon would simply not have won without these lawyers; indeed, he would been highly unlikely to have got to a full Court of Appeal hearing.
It was Sense About Science which converted a pub meeting of a few hundred people into the outstanding Keep Libel Out of Science campaign and a petition of 25,000 people; and it is now on this solid foundation which the wider Libel Reform Campaign is partly based.
It was the British Medical Journal which subjected the "plethora" to a peer-reviewed and formally-published demolition of the claims of the BCA for their supposed "evidence"
It was the readiness of Trading Standards officers and the Advertising Standards Authority to take seriously the "quacklash" complaints which effected a reformation in the professional practices of chiropractors such that their own professional body had never bothered to try and achieve.
And it was Simon Singh and his wife Anita who made it all possible. No words can express the admiration which his example in this case inspires.
I have now been asked to write a book over the summer about the campaign and the case, which will have a lengthy preface by Simon.
And in the book I will of course not deny that skeptics and geeks, nerds and bloggers, played an important role in the case, and one which should be emphasised.
But an evidence-based approach is more important, and so I think we will find that it was a little more complicated than that.
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