Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Dear Sir

If I told you that I read The Daily Telegraph would you hold it against me? I promise I'm not a raving Tory. I don't really have any strong political leanings, other than toward Martin Sheen in The West Wing and I'm pretty sure that it's easier to lead a country in a TV show than in the real world.

The Telegraph has always been the paper of choice in the Giraffe-a-licious household. Whilst obviously having the appeal of a broadsheet, ie. a paper that reports news rather than 'celebrity' sightings, it also has the best sport section of any British newspaper.

However last week saw a story appear in its hallowed pages, of such absurdly lazy writing, that I was moved to write to the Editor. The article reported on new guidelines published by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence on M.E. and the treatments and therapy that should be made available to patients. Despite the content of the story and the article's own acknowledgment that M.E. is a real and debilitating illness, The Daily Telegraph still saw fit to run the story under the headline of "Treat 'yuppie flu' more seriously, doctors ordered". I was stunned. Yuppie flu was a term coined over 20 years ago when there actually were yuppies and ignorance of M.E. was extreme. Yet still, even above a news article calling for better treatment and support for sufferers, this term refuses to disappear. It doesn't matter that inverted commas were used around the expression. The phrase is completely redundant and unnecessary. Replace 'yuppie flu' with M.E. in the headline and the report is fine, good even. Sufferers have been fighting for years to get rid of this term and to have their illness officially recognised. That finally happened in 2002 when the Government's Chief Medical Officer released his report on M.E./CFS and declared it to be a genuine and serious illness whilst also detailing the ways in which he felt that research and support should advance.

It goes without saying that 'yuppie flu' is a terribly insulting name for a distressing and incapacitating disorder. Yuppies disappeared at the end of the 1980s. 'Yuppie flu' must follow shortly.

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