Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The Despicable and Diabolical Home Office. Our National Shame. Designed By Theresa May.

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No other British institution is responsible for causing more harm to its own citizens and responsibility for its course in recent years is entirely down to Theresa May.  When she first entered government in 2010 she established a culture that truly defines the ‘nasty party’.  Even, in her own words, deliberately creating a “hostile environment” for immigrants. The Home Office is hostile towards many sections of our society and it is completely misguided. Instead of supporting and assisting the British people, it is always more concerned about imposing and enforcing its diktat.

The Home Office has to tread a difficult path between protecting the rights of citizens and enforcing the laws that define British society.  For far too long, under both Conservative and Labour governments it has acted in a high handed and authoritarian manner.  Everything that Theresa May has done has been to increase this and, as the present Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said in the House of Commons yesterday, it has been “too concerned with policy and strategy, and sometimes lost sight of the individual”. In fact, this is completely deliberate and is the central ethos that defines the Home Office’s work.

It is the horrendous treatment of the Windrush generation that seems to have finally brought this reality into public awareness. People who came here as children, mostly from the West Indies, accompanying their parents who had been persuaded to come here to the ‘mother country’ because after the war we faced a desperate labour shortage. These people re-built Britain.  They are as much stalwarts of our society as anyone whose ancestors were born here. It is impossible to overstate how dreadful and unforgivable the Home Office’s treatment of them has been.

There have already been calls for resignations over this scandal and in a just world it would be Theresa May to go first.  There must be also be dismissals of Home Office civil servants. Anyone who has been prepared to pursue this disgusting policy without objection is simply not fit to be in public service.  Their mind set and conscience is not of the standard we require.

But this is Theresa May’s responsibility. Her style of government is secretive, authoritarian, dismissive of public opinion and everything is played very close to her chest and as much behind closed doors as she can get away with. Her dictatorial, micro-managerial style at the Home Office is continuing in her role as PM and I believe it is unsustainable for the leader of our country. We need far more openness, interest in the people and a desire to inform rather than to conceal.  I consider that Theresa May is incapable of these qualities.

She is the would-be promoter of thought crime, intensive snooping, censorship, rigid and inflexible laws, suppression of dissent, severe punishments and, as she has already demonstrated with asylum seekers, locking people up without trial. Her record on immigration, policing, drugs policy, the Passport Office, asylum, the Snooper’s Charter, the Border Force, her general authoritarian, secretive attitudes – she does not represent British values at all, only her own self-serving philosophy.

Theresa May is not a true Tory. The most important, fundamental Conservative principles are individual liberty, individual responsibility and small government. Mrs May is in opposition to these values, she is an Authoritarian Bureaucrat. All her polices are about a bigger state, interfering more and more with our freedoms, micro-managing every aspect of our lives, just as she did at the Home Office. Yet every single one of her policies has been a failure.

Mrs May has turned the government of Britain into government by her Home Office culture.  Her successor, Amber Rudd is virtually a clone of herself and every Home Office minister seems to be cast from her mould: intolerant, careless of evidence and autocratic in style. It is government of and by the Authoritarian Bureaucrat and against the individual. Her position as PM is protected by the chaotic management of Brexit which she has overseen and a complete lack of any successor in the Conservative Party.  I doubt that the terrible abuse of the Windrush generation is enough to bring her down but as the local elections approach it will be one of many factors which are leading inevitably to the wholesale rejection of her and her party by the electorate.

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The Facts About CBD In The UK. April 2018.

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This article is an update to ‘The Facts About CBD In The UK. December 2016.

The past three years have seen a true phenomenon develop around the cannabis law reform movement which has quickly crossed into mainstream society, commerce and general awareness.  It’s the explosion of the CBD market, a trade that has grown from zero to £50 million per annum in the UK in this very short period.

There has been a great deal of nonsense published about the market, the products and their legality both under drugs laws, food and medicines regulation. The facts that are set out in this article are established from close involvement with the developing market on a daily basis as well as consultation with a number of lawyers of all types and levels of experience as well as direct contact with the Home Office, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other authorities.

The market has been driven initially because of growing interest in the medical benefits of cannabis and the recognition that, within certain constraints, products derived from low-THC cannabis, legally grown under licence as industrial hemp, are a legal alternative.  An important factor has been that CBD is most often consumed by placing a few drops of oil under the tongue. This has avoided the stigma of smoking a joint and is more in line with the way people perceive a medicine or health food.

The CBD market has also exposed the contradictions, inconsistencies and errors in the Misuse of Drugs legislation and particularly in the confused and inconsistent way in which the Home Office attempts to administer it. For instance, currently there are CBD products produced legally in other EU countries and the USA which can legally be sold in the UK but which the Home Office will not permit UK companies to produce.

Ironically, the most significant development has been that responsible CBD suppliers have moved away from claiming the sort of medical benefits that are, in fact, the reason for the market’s existence.  Although everyone knows this is why people are buying CBD, if you’re in the business of supplying the products you can’t say a thing, not even indirectly, about the medical benefits it offers.

18 months ago, all the leading and responsible suppliers of CBD products in the UK joined together to create their own trade association.  The Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTA UK) now represents 80% by turnover of all the CBD suppliers in the UK. It is governed by its members who have established a set of standards on products, labelling and marketing which all abide by.  These standards are designed to protect and inform consumers and to ensure that all CTA UK members are compliant with the law.

The formation of CTA UK was prompted by the MHRA issuing warnings to some suppliers about making medical claims for their products. To remain within the law, CBD products must be sold as food supplements and the most that can be said about them is that they help to improve and maintain health and wellbeing.  Before any product can be marketed with medicinal claims it must have a marketing authorisation from the MHRA. Food supplements must also comply with certain laws and regulations administered by the FSA.

CTA UK is now engaged in a continuous dialogue with both the MHRA and FSA.  Regular meetings are held to consider new suppliers and products entering the market to ensure they comply with the law, regulations and CTA UK standards.

When supplied by a CTA UK member, consumers can be certain that the product they are buying is 100% legal and is accurately labelled and described.  CBD is not a ’controlled drug’.  It does not appear in any of the classifications or schedules to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

There is widespread misunderstanding about the 0.2% THC limit in industrial hemp.  This is the limit in the growing plant and is not relevant to CBD products.  Clearly what may be under 0.2% in the growing plant would be far higher in an extract which is, by definition, concentrated. The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 make it clear that any product derived from low-THC cannabis grown legally under licence as industrial hemp is “exempt” provided it contains “not more than one milligram” of THC or CBN. This is the limit that matters. See The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 ‘Interpretation’ 2-(1) (a)(b)(c)

Contrary to suggestions that the market is “in chaos”, “half-legal”, “a bit of a mess” and other spurious claims, in fact, it is a model of self-regulation where the industry itself has put aside its competitive instincts to co-operate for the benefit of consumers and in its own long term self-interest.

No suppliers will be admitted to membership of CTAUK unless they cease making medicinal claims, stop selling illegal products (for instance with high levels of THC, described as ‘indica’ or intended for pets or veterinary purposes).  Indeed, any suppliers that continue such conduct are likely to be subject to enforcement action by the MHRA and Trading Standards.

There are further changes or clarifications in the law relating to some CBD products which have emerged in the last few weeks.  These arise out of regulations from the FSA.  Isolates or pure CBD are now no longer permitted as they have been classified as ‘novel foods’.  This could mean a prison sentence of up to two years for anyone selling them.

It’s a myth, although regularly reported in the press, that there has been any change in the law or that CBD has been made legal or classified as a medicine. CBD products can already be prescribed by doctors without any restriction, just as any other food supplement. When the inevitable cannabis law reform takes place it will still be unlawful to make medicinal claims about any CBD or cannabis product without a marketing authorisation from the MHRA.

Within the next few months, the first CBD medicine will receive a marketing authorisation from the MHRA. Epidiolex, a whole plant extract, refined to deliver 98% CBD, is GW Pharmaceuticals’ second cannabis-derived prescription medicine which is intended for severe forms of paediatric epilepsy. It is not derived from industrial hemp but from high CBD strains of cannabis grown specifically for the purpose. It should be noted that this is to be administered in massive doses of up to 20 mg per day per kg of body weight,  CBD as a food supplement for adults has a maximum recommended dose of 200mg per day.

The CBD food supplement market will continue to grow.  Other medicines may be authorised in the near future, most likely under the MHRA’s Traditional Herbal Registration scheme, which will permit them to be described as medicines for minor ailments not requiring the supervision of a doctor.

Clearly, it remains urgent that our government gets to grips with the reality of the need and benefits of cannabis for medical use in the wider sense. However, even as we begin to make progress the CBD market in its present form will continue to fulfil an important need for many years to come.

 

 

 

 

MasterChef 2018

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Another immensely enjoyable series. Nothing on television absorbs me more and enables me to turn off and relax so effectively. Again this year, the contestants have achieved an extraordinary, almost unbelievable standard. It gets higher every year.

I will, as usual, nail my colours to the mast and predict the winner – Nawamin, the Thai doctor, champion of champions.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Posted in food, television, The Media

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Even When It’s Theresa May We Must Not Constrain Our PM From Taking Effective Military Action.

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I’d prefer Theresa May wasn’t in charge of putting out her own recycling, let alone the defence of our nation but those MPs and commentators calling for a vote in Parliament before military action are misguided and foolish.

It’s absurd to expect any prime minster to go to Parliament before acting on what may be an immediate threat to our nation or, indeed, to human life elsewhere.

It’s difficult to think of anyone more unsuitable to have their finger ‘on the button’ than Theresa May.  She’s a religious nutcase and shifts her position with the wind to suit her own political advantage.  Nevertheless, we just have to accept the fact that for now she is prime minister and she has to have the authority to act.

Whether we should attack the Syria government is another matter.  With the amount of disinformation coming from all sides it’s impossible for me to make a rational decision.  I don’t trust the Russians at all but then neither do I trust Mrs May nor the totally incredible Boris Johnson whose bluster and exaggeration has finally destroyed any confidence I had in him.

There’s disinformation from all sides on Syria, on the Salisbury nerve agent attack, even this morning from the Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, on gangsters and violent crime in London.  The news is full of propaganda these days and both the BBC and the press are playing their own games. They’re all unreliable and untrustworthy.

What I am sure of is that our weak and pathetic MPs, the likes of Chuka Umunna and Ken Clarke, should have had the courage to deal with Assad back in 2013 when he first used chemical weapons and before Putin muscled in when the West was too timid to act.   The last thing we need now is to let them delay and bicker and score party political points off each other.

Six Very Good Reasons To Panic

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 12, 2018 at 3:25 pm

The Views Of Dr Sarah Wollaston MP On Drugs Policy. A Worrying Case Requiring A Good Dose of Evidence.

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Dr Sarah Wollaston MP is chair of the cross party Health Select Committee. She was a practising GP but is now the most senior Westminster politician, not in government, who has expertise in health and medicine.

The views she expresses are extremely worrying because they betray a complete failure to take note of the evidence, particularly surprising because of her profession.

 

I responded by explaining legalising drugs doesn’t mean a free for all, it means the opposite. We have a free for all now because control has been abandoned to criminal gangs. Regulation must be in accordance with a drug’s potential for harm. It’s more urgent to legalise and regulate dangerous drugs. Keeping crack and heroin supply in the hands of criminals maximises harms through unknown strength and contamination as well as violence and street dealing. Clean, safe supplies should be available in conjunction with therapy at reducing doses. It’s simply absurd that cannabis is illegal and this idiotic policy supports crime and creates a £6 billion criminal market with massive consequential harms. It is shameful and national disgrace that our government continues with this idiocy.

There is very little health harm from cannabis. Healthcare records prove this. There are more health harms from peanuts. 99% of harms of cannabis are created by goverment policy. Ignorance, prejudice and cowardice are the defining characteristics of UK drugs policy.

Dr Wollaston suggests that drug consumers are responsible for the violence and criminal activity around the drugs trade.  I say this is utter nonsense. It is for the government to take responsibility!! That’s what you’re paid for. Take this market out of criminal hands and PROTECT people. It is disgusting to blame consumers for the harms of the drugs market which are caused by government. How dare you blame consumers for the harms of the criminal drugs market which irresponsible governments have created! UK drugs policy MAXIMISES all health and social harms. We are plagued by ignorant, stubborn, anti-evidence fools in government who are killing our children.

It is shocking that you and colleagues in government can be so trapped in ignorance and denial of the vast amount of evidence from across the world that legal regulation minimises all drug harms. If UK drugs policy was in the dock then it would get a whole life sentence.

This is an appalling abdication of responsibility by a senior politician. Dr Wollaston isn’t in government but she echoes the evil attitude of ministers who cause most harms around drugs by their idiotic policies. It is government that must take responsibility not consumers. Do your job!!

I have written to Dr Wollaston asking if she will meet me so that I may show her the evidence she is overlooking.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 10, 2018 at 9:50 am

The Assassination of Jeremy Corbyn’s Character

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While I could never vote for socialism, Jeremy Corbyn provides more leadership, courage and integrity than any other politician in Britain today.  Even considering the entire world and recent history, only Obama and Justin Trudeau could hold a candle to the bright light that burns from Corbyn’s soul.

On this day when we remember the assassination of Martin Luther King, one of the greatest leaders ever, whose dream has still not been fulfilled, I say, look at the small-minded, bickering, pathetic excuses we have for leaders today. Certainly in Britain, only Corbyn has the honesty, bravery and determination that are the prerequistites for greatness.

The conduct of the British press, most Conservative politicians, the many vile, treasonable Labour MPs and particularly the BBC towards him is despicable. The antisemitism smear campaign is so far away from truth as to be worthy of comparison with McCarthysim, the worst excesses of the Soviet era, the KGB, Stasi, Spanish Inquisition, the dissolution of the monasteries, the witch hunts, any of mankind’s most shameful epsiodes. If anything was ever going to turn me against the mainstream Jewish community and into a supporter of Corbyn, it is this. The behaviour of those I have named as responsible is a national disgrace.

Our leaders are inept.  Authoritarian bigots such as Theresa May, incapable of any effective action.  Today she is more concerned with ‘the burning injustice of the gender pay gap’ than with the horrendous murder rate on London’s streets. Politicians prefer to put time and money into politically-correct, virtue-signalling policies that raise obscure minorities way above the majority and the real issues that determine our society.  Transgender ‘rights’ for children get more attention in Parliament and from the media than the essential need to provide worthwhile employment, education and guidance in our inner city ghettos.  We have politicised love, relationships and the mating game to the level where men are unable to pass a compliment for fear of accusations of harassment and abuse.  Homosexual love and desire is given more respect and value than the 95% of population that is interested in the opposite sex.  We decry the ‘porn culture’ yet little girls are encouraged to idolise ‘Little Mix’, girls dressed as street whores as some totem of female empowerment.

The state of our justice system is pathetic but when the tyrant and incompetent such as Chris Grayling, who could only ever be Theresa May’s apprentice, is put in charge, what can we expect?  For a few moments, Michael Gove, perhaps the only ray of hope in the entire cabinet, takes over and immediately wise, innovative reforms are in the offing but just as swiftly, May replaces him with the third rate, timid Liz Truss who achives absolutely nothing.  It is impossible to get justice in Britain today in either criminal or civil systems unles you are rich or you are in the ‘minority of the moment’, viz the ridiculous, politically-correct decision that police officer are compelled to believe every word of even the most incredible allegations of historical sexual abuse.  A decision that has led to persecution, harassment, ruined lives and suicide amongst completely innocent people and then another behemoth of a public inquiry that will achieve nothing except to make a lot of lawyers rich and give our sickening newspapers more material on which to to pontificate endlessly. Which brings me back to Jeremy Corbyn.

Please God that soon, and it cannot be soon enough, we are rid of the harridan monster in Downing Street.  Yet who can replace her?  The entire Conservative cabinet is disgraced.  Though Boris Johnson has some qualities that I value, his rush to judgement about Russian responsibility for the Salisbury nerve agent attack makes him (and his colleagues) unfit to govern – another instance where Corbyn was right all along despite enduring rampant, hysterical criticism from all sides.  I first saw through Johnson when he was Mayor of London and a few more year’s experience have done nothing to iron out the fundamental flaws in his character.  Sadly, the once great libertarian David Davis has been effectively stubbed out by assimilation into the malevolent collective known as the European Union.  He may have gone there to rescue us but he has been absorbed, no doubt exactly as Mrs May intended. The only other possible candidate, Michael Gove, has disqualified himself by his duplicitous and cowardly conduct after the referendum. I blame him for the fact that Mrs May is our prime minister and there are few greater crimes than that.

I am in despair, as I believe are so many of my fellow Britons.  I see no bright future for our country.  Since I was 18, for the past 42 years, whenever I have chosen to vote, I have voted Conservative.  In recent years I was a fully paid up member of the Conservative Party and an approved local government candidate.  What I know for sure is that next time I vote it will be for which ever candidate best guarantees that the Conservatives will be out of government.  If that means voting for Jeremy Corbyn, so be it.

Home Office Denies FOI Request In Cover-Up Of All Information On Cannabis Production Licences

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On 6th March 2018 CLEAR submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Home Office asking for full details of the licences accounting for the legal production of cannabis in the UK.  This arose from the story which we broke on 4th March revealing that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis, this according to data provided to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) by the government.

The Home Office has refused the request.  Its grounds for refusal are that disclosure “would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person or would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime“.

Presumably this means that the commercial interest of GW Pharmaceuticals and whoever else has been granted such licences would be prejudiced and that they would risk robbery or other crime at their places of business.

INCB Production of Cannabis 2015-2016

We consider this to be false and without any merit whatsoever. How would it prejudice anyone’s commercial interest?  We would not expect any detail that goes behind the licence holder’s normal commercial confidence and it must be right that the identity of those companies or individuals licenced to produce cannabis should be on the public record together with outline information about the terms of the licence – what is it for, for what period, in what quantities.  Furthermore, with the security precautions required for such a licence, any attempt at crime would be foolhardy and utterly stupid.  It would be much easier either to import or produce your own cannabis.  The sort of criminal enterprise that would be required to raid, for instance, one of GW’s grows would be on a grand scale, incredibly risky and with sentences probably higher than for production of cannabis.

Clearly, disclosure of the information around these licences could, in any case, be limited to redact any specific information which should be kept confidential

It’s quite clear that this refusal is simply an excuse, probably to cover-up not only the extent of the licences but also the basis on which they have been issued.

Of course, the Home Office has pre-empted the next step in a FOI request and states that “the public interest falls in favour” of not providing this information.  We consider this to be nonsense.  It is clear that the public interest (not just the interest of the public) is very much that the issue of such licences should be a matter of public record.  It is outrageous that this information is being kept secret.

The answer to the second part of our FOI Request provides further insight into how little trust can be placed in the Home Office and demonstrates that its answers are dishonest.  In answer to a written question in Parliament on 1st March 2018, Home Office minster Nick Hurd MP said “No licences for pharmaceutical companies to grow and process medicinal cannabis for exportation to other countries have been issued.”  However the INCB report, which information can only have come from the Home Office, shows that in 2015/16 the UK exported 2.1 tons of medical cannabis.  We asked for an explanation of how Mr Hurd’s answer is consistent with the facts reported.

Nick Hurd MP, Home Office Minister

The Home Office’s answer is that “these figures could include any plant material exported for pharmaceutical purposes or pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids that are manufactured in the UK and exported, such as Sativex.” and that it takes ‘medicinal cannabis’ to mean “substances produced to be consumed, be that smoked or ingested in any way.”

It is clear therefore that the Home Office has given two different answers to the same question and that the answer given to the INCB is correct whereas the answer given by Mr Hurd is without doubt intended to mislead Parliament.  It also seeks falsely to create a distinction between Sativex and other forms of cannabis which is manifestly and beyond doubt another deception, based on information published by GW Pharmaceuticals which CLEAR revealed in 2016.

In summary therefore, the Home Office has refused to answer the FOI Request in relation to licensing on grounds which are entirely spurious and has demonstrated that it is actively engaged in deceiving both Parliament and the public on the export of medicinal cannabis from the UK.

Following the required procedure, we have now requested an internal review of the Home Office’s handling of the FOI Request.  We argue that: “It goes directly to the question of the massive public demand for legal access to cannabis for medical use and the total denial of this by government. This policy is itself irrational and against the public interest and the refusal to disclose the information requested is a political cover-up.”

We anticipate this will be a whitewash and further attempt at a cover-up. Thereafter we have a right to complain to the Infomation Commissioner.  At this stage we would also seek to mobilise support from MPs with an interest in this area.  Ultimately, we may be able to apply to the High Court for judical review of the Home Office’s decision and we will consider mounting a crowdfunding campaign to enable this.