Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Gavin Williamson Shouldn’t Resign, He Must be SACKED. #AndImATory

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The disgusting abuse of Jeremy Corbyn by the immature young man who has been give the grave responsibility of running Britain’s defence is beyond redemption.

I am a Tory. I’m no longer a member of the Conservative Party and after 40 years of voting for it I shall never do so again until it turns away from its authoritarian and illiberal path. But I am a true Tory instead of the fake that inhabits 10, Downing Street and her sycophants and hangers on.

Similar smears about Corbyn’s efforts in talking to the IRA and Hamas by other Conservative politicians are also beneath contempt. If our senior politicians aren’t doing all they can to reach out to such organisations in peaceful dialogue then they are irresponsible.  However, that the Defence Secretary demeans himself and his office with such puerile conduct requires firm action. It is horrifying that this idiot has our armed forces under his control.  It would be like giving his allies in defaming Corbyn: Murdoch, Dacre and the Barclay Brothers, access to our weaponry.

Williamson is totally unsuitable for his role and he was well before these events.  He should be a junior assistant at some obscure party branch where he can make his childish mistakes and clumsy errors without causing real harm.  The combination of youthful arrogance, incompetence, poor judgement and a flappy mouth should now destroy his political career for good.  Perhaps his chums in the Fleet Street Mafia can find something for him to do publishing more poison and abuse?

Before that he should be dragged through the courts and bankrupted. There is no defence of fair comment or honest opinion for his behaviour, not even against the leader of a political party. Indeed, Williamson’s behaviour is an argument for bringing such serious slander back into the criminal courts.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

February 25, 2018 at 11:32 am

Victoria Atkins MP, The UK Drugs Minister, Opposes Drugs Regulation While Her Husband Grows 45 Acres of Cannabis Under Government Licence.

The UK’s New Princess Of Prohibition: Dishonesty, Hypocrisy, Corruption And Cruelty Behind A Pretty Face.

There are many examples of wilful ignorance, blind prejudice and bare faced dishonesty on drugs policy from many former and current MPs.  There is no one though who plumbs the depths of deception and hypocrisy as the new drugs minister Victoria Atkins.

Her recent performance in the Westminster Hall debate on drug consumption rooms (DCR) was riddled with inaccuracies, distorted information and downright falsehood about the success of such facilities throughout the world.  She simply told brazen untruths in order to support her rejection of the clamour from other MPs to introduce DCRs because they are proven to save lives.  I can do no better than Transform in explaining her behaviour. Its press release sets out her lies in detail.  Ronnie Cowan MP even raised a point of order and then a Home Office question about her scandalous dishonesty but as usual the government just brushed aside any criticism.

Victoria Atkins: Barrister, MP, Home Office Minister, Dishonest And Corrupt To The Core

Ms Atkins is the daughter of Sir Robert Atkins, a former Conservative MP and MEP.  She studied law at Cambridge and was called to the bar at Middle Temple in 1998. She has practised as a barrister and was formerly listed as a member of Red Lion Chambers.  She has been appointed to the Attorney General’s Regulators Panel and the Serious Fraud Office’s List of specialist fraud prosecutors.  She claims to have been involved in the prosecution of major, international, drugs gangs and that this, somehow or another, qualifies her as an expert in drugs policy.

I relate her background because it is clear that she is a highly intelligent, clever and well informed woman.  This makes her dishonesty, hypocrisy and corruption all the more serious and completely inexcusable.

Ms Atkins has replaced Sarah Newton as drugs minister.  Ms Newton didn’t last long, perhaps because she couldn’t stand the ridicule that she was subjected to for trying to hold the line on the government’s ridiculous drugs policy.  When she tried to claim that alcohol isn’t really that damaging compared to illicit drugs, she had MPs either gasping in amazement or chuckling in amusement.  Ms Atkins was clearly spotted for the job because she is one of the few MPs still enthusiastic about prohibition.

Paul Kenward, Victoria Atkins’s husband, grows cannabis under government licence

But of course, it’s specifically on cannabis that I must call Ms Atkins to account. Aside from the usual, hysterical and evidence-free claims that so-called ‘skunk’ cannabis is causing an enormous increase in mental illness, which she trots out repeatedly, she rejects any idea of regulation in drugs policy as a means of reducing harm.  In the drugs policy debate on 18th July 2017 (before she was appointed drugs minister) she said:

“We are talking about gun-toting criminals, who think nothing of shooting each other and the people who carry their drugs for them. What on earth does my hon. Friend think their reaction will be to the idea of drugs being regulated? Does he really think that these awful people are suddenly going to become law-abiding citizens?”

and “I do not share the optimism of others about tackling the problem through regulation.”

Paul Kenward’s Cannabis Greenhouse

However, in what must be the most blatant hypocrisy ever from a government minister, Ms Atkins benefits directly from regulation of drugs.  She is married to Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar which is growing 45 acres of cannabis under licence in its mammoth Norfolk greenhouse.  Mr Kenward is producing high CBD cannabis for use in Epidiolex, GW Pharma’s cannabis extract epilepsy medicine.  Ms Atkins has tried to brush this off calling it “…a very different substance (from the) psychoactive version of cannabis.”   Of course, anyone with even the most basic knowledge of plant science will know this is nonsense.  The difference between different strains of cannabis is the same as the difference between different varieties of tomatoes.  Whether they’re Ailsa Craig or Alicante, they’re all tomatoes.

With this latest scandal the shameful truth about UK drugs policy and the corrupt nature of this Conservative government is highlighted once again.  It is difficult to believe this bare faced dishonesty can prevail in a country that was once held up as an example of honour and decency but as with so much that Theresa May has been responsible for since she entered government in 2010, we are disgraced, shamed and the electorate is treated with absolute contempt.

 

Let’s Temper Hope For Paul Flynn’s Medical Cannabis Bill With Some Reality.

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Paul Flynn MP introducing his 10 Minute Rule Bill

No one would like to see Paul Flynn’s ‘Elizabeth Brice’ bill  to re-legalise medical cannabis pass through Parliament more than me.  Yet it concerns me that expectations are being raised way beyond what is realistic. There is widespread misunderstanding about what the bill is and what are its chances of getting any further.

The Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill 2017–19 is a Private Member’s Bill. It was  introduced to Parliament on Tuesday 10 October 2017 under the Ten Minute Rule. This allows an MP to make his or her case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. An opposing speech may also be made before the House decides whether or not the bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful the bill is taken to have had its first reading.

Private Member’s Bills almost never become law.  Those that have the best of a very slim chance are proposed by one of about 20 MPs who win the right to put a bill forward a bill in the ballot that takes place at the beginning of each session.  This also decides the order of precedence for the 20 bills to be given parliamentary time.

A 10 Minute Rule Bill is even less likely to become law.  It is the only way other than the ballot that an MP can introduce a bill personally and if it passes its first reading, as Paul Flynn’s bill did, it is set down for second reading.  All Private Member’s Bills are debated on Fridays and before any 10 Minute Rule can be debated the bills put forward under the ballot will come first and even for those, mostly there will be no time available.  Remember also that on Fridays most MPs will not even be in Parliament, they will be back in their constituencies seeing people in their surgeries.

Sadly, the truth is that the second reading of Paul Flynn’s bill is unlikely even to take place.  Although it is set down for 23rd February 2018, there is virtually zero chance of any time being found for it.  It will simply wither away with no progress or further mention.

Even Parliament’s own website says of 10 Minute Rule Bills “an opportunity for Members to voice an opinion…rather than a serious attempt to get a Bill passed.”

I asked Paul Flynn himself what he thought were the chances of his bill making any progress and his response is illuminating. His exact words were: “I am expecting major changes to political party attitudes in the next 12 months following the developing trends in the United States.”

I think we can all agree on that.  In fact, I would say that there already have been major changes in the attitudes of most MPs.  The single biggest obstacle to any drug law reform is Theresa May. After all, what other leader anywhere in the world, apart from the murderous thug President Durterte of the Philippines, has recently called for a continuance of the war on drugs?

May and Duterte – two of a kind on drugs policy

I am confident that once Theresa May is gone, then whatever party is in power, we will see some progress. There is similar, hopeless optimism about Jeremy Corbyn.  Speaking at a Labour leadership debate in Glasgow, in  August 2016, he said: “I would decriminalise medicinal uses of cannabis.”  I think it was the same day or the day after that both John McDonnell and Diane Abbott contradicted him.   Nevertheless, there is a delusional strand of opinion that Corbyn would act on this immediately he was elected.  Dream on!  The Labour Party has the worst record of any UK political party on drugs policy.  For instance it was Margaret Thatcher who introduced needle exchange back in the 80s and yes, even Theresa May sanctioned the provision of foil to heroin users for smoking as an alternative to injecting.  The Labour Party has never done anything in support of progressive drugs policies that it hasn’t reversed under pressure from the tabloid press.

Progress on access to medical cannabis is coming irrespective of which party is in power.  In the meantime, the best that any of us can do is keep up pressure on our personal MPs and in our local media and through our doctors.  Probably the biggest breakthrough this year on medical cannabis will be the publication of guidelines by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).  Organised by CLEAR and authored by our Scientific and Medical Advisor, Professor Mike Barnes, this shows MPs that however irresponsible and pig-headed government ministers may be, doctors have a responsibility to their patients, an ethical duty that transcends the grubby and corrupt politics that ministers subscribe to.

Sadly then, 23rd February and the second reading of Paul Flynn’s bill will be a non-event. For the rest of 2018 look out for the RCGP guidelines and drop your MP a line when they come out asking for his or her view.  Also, in July look out for Canada’s legalisation of cannabis for all adults.  Again, another opportunity to bring the subject up with your MP.  The latest, standard, Home Office approved reply from MPs reads as follows:

“Cannabis in its raw form is not recognised as having any medicinal purposes. The licensing regime for medicines is administered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which issues licences for medicines in the UK which have been tested for their safety, quality and efficacy. 
 
A medicine derived from the cannabis plant, Sativex, has already been licenced for use in the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS). The MHRA is open to considering other licence applications for medicines containing cannabinoids should such products be developed.
 
In 2014, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its clinical guideline on the management of MS that does not recommend Sativex as a cost effective use of NHS resources. In the absence of positive guidance from NICE, it is for commissioners to make decisions on whether to fund this treatment based on an assessment of the available evidence.
 
I do appreciate that there are people with chronic pain and debilitating illnesses who seek to alleviate their symptoms by using cannabis.  Although such use is illicit, the Sentencing Council’s guidelines on drug offences identify such circumstances as a potential mitigating factor.
 
The Government has no plans to legalise the recreational use of cannabis. The official advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs cites medical and scientific research showing that cannabis use has a number of adverse acute and chronic health effects, especially for people with mental health problems, and continues to present a significant public health issue.”

If you receive this response, first of all, don’t bother writing back, it will get you nowhere.  If you really want to do your bit then make an appointment to see your MP at his/her surgery.  Then give him/her this simple fact that totally devastates the Home Office and MHRA position:

In every jurisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation.

This is the government’s very last excuse for denying access to medicinal cannabis. The MHRA process is incapable of dealing with a medicine that contains hundreds of molecules.  It is designed by the pharmaceutical industry for regulating single molecule medicines, usually synthesised in a lab, which have the potential to be highly toxic. Every other government that has recognised the enormous benefit that medicinal cannabis offers has come to the same conclusion: cannabis is a special case.  It is far more complex but much, much safer than pharmaceutical products.

 

Darkest Hour.

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This film is brilliant. The first movie I have watched in years where it felt too short rather than too long. Instead of self indulgence from a director with far too high an opinion of his work, this is beautifully crafted, paced and at the end I was thinking “no, surely it can’t be over now?”

The final minute delivers the most massive emotional punch which had me reeling and as the credits began to roll the tears followed them down my face.

Just magnificent.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 22, 2018 at 9:20 am

Review: The Saber Vape Pen

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I’ve enjoyed trying out the Saber Vape Pen over the last couple of months.  It’s a vape pen for concentrates: wax, shatter, oil and all types of cannabis extracts with textures ranging from brittle toffee to gloopy sludge.  In use, the main difference is how easy it is to get the gloop into the bowl – and sometimes it’s not easy, it quickly becomes a sticky mess!

Of course the sort of product that this is designed for isn’t easily available in the UK, so I turned to California for a selection of the delights available there.  I asked for wax but ended up with two types – the first was called shatter but it wasn’t at all brittle, in fact it’s soft and pliable.  The second, which seems to be the latest thing, is known as juice.  It’s a very smooth and thick oil that goes stringy when you pick it up with a dab tool and you have to twist it like spaghetti round a fork to try and poke it into the bowl. I had a selection of strains: Banana OG, Blue Sherbet, Pineapple Express, Nug Run, King Louis OG, Juliet, Starfighter – yes I was that kid in a sweet shop!

Concentrate pens are essentially very simple devices.  They consist of a battery, a bowl and a mouthpiece.  The bowl heats up when you press a button and usually it can be set to three different heat levels.  The big difference is in the technology that the bowl uses, either dual quartz coils, literally two tiny coils at the bottom of the bowl that heat up or a ceramic bowl that is just a clean, uncluttered reservoir where the bottom of the bowl heats up.  The ceramic bowl seems preferable but in practice dual quartz coils generally works a bit better but are more difficult to clean. You really have to try for yourself to see which you prefer.

The Saber comes with both types of bowl and I prefer the dual quartz coils.  The unique feature of the Saber is that it holds together magnetically. The battery connects to the bowl with a magnet which in turn connects to the mouthpiece with magnet, there’s no screw thread at all.  This is convenient and it works well but where it falls down is in connecting to the charger which is also achieved with a magnet.  This means that you always have to use the Saber charger and not one of the standard chargers of which I have many.  This is inconvenient and if you lose or break the Saber charger you’re going to have to buy a new one.

All concentrate pens work in a very similar way and it’s difficult to differentiate between them.  The type of mouthpiece, its size, the overall size of the pen, all these factors effect how each pen works and, to be honest, I think it’s just a question of getting used to each type and learning its idiosyncracies.  I do like the Saber. I have tended to stick with it although I have another three or four in my drawer.  I find it a handy size, it’s not too harsh as some pens can be and, with the exception of the magnet connection to the charger I have nothing to criticise about it.

If you haven’t used a concentrate vape pen before and experienced the effect of a good quality concentrate and the wonderful flavour and intense hit, then it’s something you can really look forward to. Take it slow! It’s very easy to rip your throat out if you pull too hard and as most of these concentrates are 80% THC and more, it’s very easy to blow your brains out!  Even for an experienced cannabis consumer, be careful, these are very, very powerful and you need to learn how to use them so that the experience is safe and enjoyable. When you get it right though, there’s not really anything to beat it. It’s clean, convenient, wonderful flavour and you’re inhaling far less smoke or vapour than by any other method.  In my opinion, this is the best way to consume cannabis.

My Saber Vape Pen came from NY Vape Shop.  Thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to try it.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 21, 2018 at 4:53 pm

How Long Until This Wicked And Deranged Woman Steps Down?

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Can you be deranged and still wicked, or does an unbalanced mind excuse immoral and harmful actions?

In the case of Theresa May there can be no excuse.  Her wickedness is persistent and has been since 2010 when she entered government as Home Secretary.  She refuses properly to consider the consequences of her actions. She refuses properly to consider expert advice and evidence.  Her explanations of why she persists with damaging policies are at best disingenuous but more often deliberately deceptive. She runs everything on the basis of her personal opinions, prejudices and with a myopic determination that some mistake for strength but is actually bull-headed ignorance.

Her continual evasion of proper answers on NHS funding must be her most serious deception.  Yes, the NHS may well be seeing more patients, performing more operations, receiving more funding every year but the gap between demand and delivery is widening ever further.  Does she think the electorate is so stupid as to be taken in by her deflection and refusal to answer questions properly?  Perhaps she does.  Many politicians seem to think they can get away with such bluster and deceit and there is so much fatigue over the nonsense these people try to palm us off with that, to an extent, she is correct.  The electorate is not provided with proper means to hold our politicians to account because of course it is politicians that would have to implement such reform.

She is exactly the same on nearly all issues.  She has successfully buried the child sexual abuse scandal, the misconduct of the British press and the refusal to continue with the Leveson Inquiry, the criminal complicity of local and national government in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.  She is deceit and untruth personified when it comes to the Carillion scandal and all aspects of government outsourcing which is a deeply corrupt policy, not in the interests of anyone except politicians. And what other leader anywhere in the world, apart from the murderous thug President Durterte of the Philippines, has recently called for a continuance of the war on drugs?

Like most UK voters I am tired, cynical and fed up about the behaviour of our politicians who are entirely self-regulating, self-serving and have no interest in making themselves properly accountable.  They have all forgotten that they’re there to serve us and not the other way round.

At two periods in my life I have been a member of the Conservative Party but I fervently hope that at the next election the party receives the biggest drubbing ever in its history.

I am also now firmly of the opinion that religion can play no part in politics and any politician who calls on their religious faith as some sort of qualification for public office should be disbarred for life.  I consider that people should be free to pursue whatever belief they wish as long as they do not impose on or affect others but to bring such delusion into any aspect of public life should result in summary dismissal.  This is the 21st century.  Any politician such as Theresa May who proclaims her faith as a factor in the way she works is not fit for public office.

Hopefully the one thing Theresa May has achieved is to make the Conservative Party unelectable for a very long time.  Even better would be that is is destroyed and the centre right of UK politics has to rebuild itself under a new banner.  I am not optimistic about a Labour government.  I admire Corbyn even though I don’t agree with him about many policies but it is the Labour MPs who concern me, most of whom are exactly the same as Tories, only out for themselves.

Never since the time of Cromwell has this country been so ripe for revolution.  I don’t expect it to happen imminently but unless the younger MPs can work together to reinvigorate our politics then I do believe Britain will continue to slide towards some sort of violent uprising. We cannot, we must not and we should not tolerate any longer the weak, ineffectual and corrupt politicians that have led our country for the last 30 years.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 18, 2018 at 5:14 pm

‘Gone To Pot’ Shows How Close We Are To Legalisation. Now We Just Need To Deal With The Scaremongering.

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It seems we really are on a roll now.  The cannabis campaign has gained momentum over the last five or six six years more than ever before.  It’s snowballing, the rate of progress is accelerating.

What’s made this happen? It’s recognition of the benefits that cannabis offers.  It certainly isn’t because of some crazy idea that if we exaggerate and overstate its harms, suddenly the government will recognises that legal regulation makes it safer.  No, that flawed idea has nothing to do with the fact that we are now getting very close to the change we seek – even here in backwards, bigoted Britain.

There are more and more reports of real medical benefits and also of less dramatic but very real help with conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and stress.  It’s this that is changing minds, not scaremongering and fake data from the charlatans in the ‘cannabis therapy’ business.  Sadly this is the path that Volteface, the new drug policy group, has chosen to take with its ‘Street Lottery’ report.  It’s not the first of course, Transform has also followed this misguided path but at least, unlike the newcomers, it has real credentials in campaigning for reform.

Of course, legal regulation will make the cannabis market safer for everyone but the real dangers are not of young people developing psychosis after bingeing on so-called ‘skunk’ – the actual numbers are tiny – but of the harms caused by prohibition.  It is the criminal market that means cannabis is easily available to children and no age limits can be enforced.  It is the criminal market that means nobody knows what they are buying: how strong is it, is it contaminated, has it been properly grown, does it contain any CBD? It is the criminal market that leads to violence, street dealing even involving young children, dangerous hidden grows that are serious fire risks, human trafficking and modern slavery and, of course, profits on the £6 billion per annum market being diverted into ever more dangerous criminal activities.

ITV and the production company Betty have done an enormous amount of good for our campaign and for the whole of Britain in bringing a balanced, rational, honest exposition of cannabis to our TV screens.  This series showed quite clearly how beneficial cannabis can be but also how it can bite back if you’re a bit silly with consuming too much.  Thankfully it didn’t follow the familiar path of talking up, overstating and exaggerating the very small risk of mental health effects.  It’s easy to see why those who support prohibition have used this tactic to try and demonise the plant but how anyone who claims to support reform can see it as an intelligent or positive way to create the right environment for change is inconceivable.

Volteface is the money of Paul Birch, who became a multi millionaire after his brother founded the now defunct social media company Bebo.  It was a classic flash in the pan of the dot com boom but left those lucky enough to be involved with bulging bank accounts.  Birch first tried to enter the reform movement with his Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol (CISTA) political party.  It really is a ‘volteface’ to move from that accurate if tired message to now pushing the dangers of so-called ‘skunk’ as if that’s going to encourage reform.  However, I have it on reliable authority that recently Mr Birch suffered a major panic attack (or ‘psychotic episode’) after over-consuming some potent weed, so much so that an ‘intervention’ was called for.  Many of us will know how disconcerting such an experience can be and usually we can laugh at ourselves in retrospect (just as we laughed at Christopher Biggins and Bobby George when they ate far too much cannabis-infused food on ‘Gone To Pot’).  If he’s basing an entire campaign strategy on one personal experience it’s hardly sensible.

Paul North

Birch’s money has enable Volteface to hire full time staff and now its own tame drug therapist, Paul North. He is the very epitome of the angry young man, getting into furious outbursts on Twitter with anyone who dared to challenge his view. The way people like North manipulate and misrepresent data is horrendous and when they’re challenged their answer is they were engaged in the collection of the data – well yes, duh, that’s the point!  People who work in mental health or drug therapy are always pronouncing on our mental health wards being ‘packed full’ of people with problems caused by cannabis but the facts don’t support these claims. It’s inevitable that if you spend most of your life surrounded by people who are mentally ill, you get a rather distorted perspective on the world.

In many previous articles, I’ve laid out the facts of the number of people admitted to hospital and in GP community health treatment for cannabis.  The truth is that those with an agenda don’t care about facts.  They prefer the wild, speculative studies from Professor Sir Robin Murray and the Institute of Psychiatry with their bizarre statistical tricks that would make you think there are cannabis-crazed axe murderers on every street corner.  Journalist Martina Lees recently published two articles in the Daily Telegraph where she exaggerated the number of people admitted to hospital for cannabis related problems by 50 times!  Of course, we’re used to this sort of thing and it’s a sad fact that when it comes to science or medicine reporting, even in the so-called ‘quality’ press, Fleet Street is not just incompetent, journalists don’t just exaggerate, they’re systematically mendacious whenever it’s possible to be sensationalist about cannabis.

So let’s be grateful for the light that ‘Gone to Pot’ has shone on the reality of cannabis and let’s continue to reject the falsehood, deception and exaggeration that Volteface and others try to bring to our campaign.  I have no doubt that when legalisation finally arrives some politicians will use their argument to post-rationalise their ‘volteface’ on policy but it’s not the truth and it never has been.  The simple truth is that for 99% of people, not only is cannabis benign but it’s positively beneficial.