Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category
It was one of the greatest days of my life. Since the birth of my sons, never have I been more consumed by joy and delight. Sadly, most can only look on a Welshman’s appreciation of rugby from outside. I am one of the fortunate few. Since my earliest days I have known that rugby is like a religion for us – no, even more important than that, it is life – no, perhaps even more important than that.
And it is true, particularly when it comes to playing England, for in that final moment when we drove their maul into touch, I could have died happy. Nothing could complete me more. And we did it in such heroic, brave, glorious style!
After so many years, this time, for the first time, my mother had taught me how to sing the anthem in Welsh. I sang my heart out and the tears were streaming down my face even before kickoff. That would have almost been enough for me. I hardly dared dream what wonders would follow.
As our momentum grew in the last quarter, even though we were still behind, I began to get this strange feeling that it might be possible. A crossfield kick, a magnificent try, straight in front of me. I could not have been more perfectly placed, as if it were staged just for me. We were level and that feeling started to grow. When our pressure brought the inevitable penalty it was a long, long way but I knew Dan Biggar would not let us down – and we were in the lead! Just moments more and it was done. The unbelievable was real. We had taken England down at home, in Twickenham, as underdogs, in the most compelling, glorious, magnificent, absolute victory!
My thanks go to my son, Evan, whose enormous generosity took me and a large group of friends to this very special occasion. I doubt this day will be bettered in the rest of my life.
I confess I shed a few tears at Cilla’s funeral today, given extraordinary coverage on BBC News.
She was part of the the soundtrack of my life. I grew up with her. One of my earliest memories, probably aged about six, was in the kitchen of our house in St Bernards Road, Solihull. My mum was there, at the sink, and Cilla’s voice singing ‘Downtown’ was blaring out of the transistor radio on top of the fridge. (Yes, it was Cilla, not Petula Clark. Cilla did a version as well.)
Later, before she went over to tacky ITV, she was the BBC Saturday night star. ‘Blind Date’ was amusing, the first time you saw it but the Cilla show was an institution and ‘Step Inside Love’ was perhaps the first time that romance entered my young mind.
Someone to be thankful for and a little sentimental about.
Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR, interviewed on Sky News, Sunday, 9th August 2015
At a meeting of the CLEAR Executive Committee held over the weekend of 18th/19th July 2015, Peter Reynolds tendered his resignation as leader. He was first elected as leader in February 2011, won a confidence vote in April 2012 and was re-elected unopposed in February 2014.
Roland-Gyallay-Pap has been appointed acting leader and preparations will now begin for a leadership election.
Roland Gyallay-Pap said:
“I would like to extend a big thank you to Peter for the tireless work he has put in over the past four years. It is through his professionalism and tenacity that CLEAR is where it is now.
“I will seek to capitalise on our achievements so far, extending membership, and further building on the success of our Medicinal Users Panel. Never have we been so close to achieving our goals and I look forward to working with those who share our views on how change can be brought about in the most effective manner.”
Peter Reynolds’ letter of resignation reads:
This is my resignation from the office of leader of CLEAR, effective immediately.
I will remain a member of the leadership team as president of the executive committee. However, it is time for a new leader to take charge and drive our campaign forward.
I want to thank all members of CLEAR for the opportunity to serve as leader since February 2011. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. We have built a follower base that exceeds all other UK drugs policy groups combined. We have developed a set of policies and tactics that are more effectively challenging cannabis prohibition than ever before. We have made more progress with government in the last two years than the whole campaign has in the last 50.
I will now concentrate on managing the Medicinal Users Panel. This is at the core of our strategy for practical, achievable law reform. It is, I believe, how I can now make the most effective contribution. CLEAR needs a new face to take the next steps in our campaign and I shall give my full support to our new leader.
Julia George interviews Peter Reynolds of CLEAR, following publication of the report ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’. Nick Rijke, of the MS Society, comments on using cannabis to treat multiple sclerosis and how Sativex, the only licensed cannabis medicine, is very difficult to obtain on prescription.
Capone is only nine, going on 10 but I know that his time is approaching quickly, far too fast for me.
He saved me when I escaped London from a woman and a destructive lifestyle. We used to walk five miles every day – at least. Now he has to be encouraged every step, at best half a mile then I have to take him home and Carla and I go out again for exercise
He has a strong, stable, self-contained personality. He is loving, obedient but independent. He is my guide as much as I am his master.
He has severe arthritis in all four legs, particularly around the elbows but he also has some sort of spinal problem and you can see it clearly from the way he walks. For some months anti-inflammatories seemed to help but no longer. Now he is on 300mg gabapentin twice a day and there has been an improvement, without evident side effects.
He also developed epilepsy a few years ago and about every six months he has a cluster of about a dozen seizures over 24 – 36 hours.
I shall be by his side until the final moment and that will be a very difficult decision to make. As long as he is happy and enjoying life I will look after him. When he finally goes to that neverending walk in the sky his legs won’t ever hurt again, the sun will always shine and there will be deer and rabbits to chase around every corner.
There is real momentum building in Parliament on the issue of medicinal cannabis. The first thing George Freeman said this week when he welcomed us to the Department of Health was: “There is a lot of discussion going on in government about this subject”.
This is extraordinary progress, unimaginable as recently as 2012. Undoubtedly, developments in the US have raised cannabis up the political agenda. Through 2014, CLEAR has been well received by the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Home Office, the Department of Health, the Health Select Committee and just before Christmas I met with Baroness Meacher and Lord Howarth in the House of Lords. They are chair and treasurer, respectively, of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform. They are determined to push reform through to make medicinal cannabis available and have briefed one of the UK’s leading psychopharmacologists to prepare a review of existing evidence on the subject. Armed with this they have a plan to meet with key individuals in both Houses of Parliament and I have no doubt that they will succeed in changing minds.
Also this week, I met with advisors to Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, in the very heart of government at the Cabinet Office. The Liberal Democrats are planning towards another coalition after the General Election and determined to see drugs policy form part of a new coalition agreement. Right at the front of their priorities is medicinal cannabis for which there is strong support from existing ministers, Lynne Featherstone at the Home Office and Norman Lamb at the Department of Health. Expect announcements in the run up to the election.
George Freeman is the Life Sciences Minister, responsible for medicines, NHS innovation, research, development, the MHRA and NICE. His role is as important as any other minister in achieving the reform we seek. He is another ally and has asked me to submit a paper setting out our proposals. Of particular importance is how medicinal cannabis could be regulated, either with a full Marketing Authorisation from the MHRA or possibly registration as a Tradional Herbal Medicine. The very fact that we are now discussing such detail is a measure of how far we have come.
So there is great cause for optimism at the start of 2015. We are closer than we have ever been before and this has been achieved by moving away from the old ‘protests’ and outdated campaigning ideas. I am confident that early in the new parliament we will see substantial progress.