Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Alan Johnson

This Is How The UK Government Lies To Its Citizens About Cannabis.

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The preposterous response from the UK government to the massive petition for the legalisation of cannabis is a pack of lies.

Systematic Misinformation, Deception And Dishonesty

Systematic Misinformation, Deception And Dishonesty

Yes. Lies. Not a word it’s wise to use unless it’s accurate but in this case it is. The Home Office is disgraced on so many aspects of its work but it has been systematically misleading, misinforming and promoting untruths about cannabis since 1971.  Individual Home Secretaries are fully complicit in this dishonesty, most notably James Callaghan, Merlyn Rees, William Whitelaw, Leon Brittan, Douglas Hurd, Michael Howard, Jack Straw, Jacqui Smith, Alan Johnson and the incumbent, Theresa May.

Certainly in the last 20 years there can be no excuse at all.  The balance of scientific evidence has been quite clear for at least that long that although a very small number of people may be vulnerable, for 99% of people cannabis is almost completely benign and often beneficial.

The dishonesty of these disgraced ministers brings shame on both the Conservative and Labour parties and the civil service officials in the Home Office. They all know full well that they have lied to the public and they continue to do so, undoubtedly because of corrupt influence from vested interests, principally the tabloid editors, press barons and the alcohol industry. Their lies have resulted in the unnecessary criminalisation of over one million people, the frittering away of tens of billions in futile law enforcement costs and lost tax revenue.  Most dreadful of all, the denial of access to medicinal cannabis by those in pain, suffering and disability.

ACMD CC and PHThe basis for the government’s dismissal of the petition is given as the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) 2008 report  ‘Cannabis: Classification and Public Health’.

In the covering letter to the report, the then chair of the ACMD does say “… the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society.”

Judge for yourself whether the evidence in the report supports the idea that cannabis is a “significant public health issue”. I don’t think it does and nowhere in the report is such an unequivocal statement made except in the covering letter.  Of course it is true that cannabis can cause harm to individuals, just as digestive biscuits, chips and sugary drinks can, so that’s pretty meaningless.  There is no evidence in the report at all of cannabis causing harm to society.

But the covering letter then makes the point very strongly that “strategies designed to minimise its use and adverse effects must be predominantly public health ones. Criminal justice measures – irrespective of classification – will have only a limited effect on usage.”

The report recommends that cannabis remain in class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but the government of the day, led by Gordon ‘Skunk is Lethal’ Brown, ignored that and increased it to class B.

Read the report yourself.  Compare it with the government’s response to the petition.  To claim that the report supports present policy is false.  It directly contradicts present policy. There is also now a host of high quality evidence on the reality of decriminalised or regulated cannabis markets from the Netherlands, Portugal, Colorado and Washington.  This shows beyond any doubt that the government’s suggestions of “drug dependence… misery… increased misuse” have no basis in evidence at all.  Furthermore the idea that new tax revenue would be outweighed by new costs is directly contradicted by every study on the subject.   I repeat, the government’s response is a pack of lies

Sadly, the United Kingdom is a country where government ministers are prepared to lie, mislead, distort evidence and deceive the British people in order to maintain policies based on prejudice and the corrupt influence of vested interests.

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This Nasty, Spiteful, Vindictive Harridan Must Go.

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The Right Dishonourable Theresa May MP

The Right Dishonourable Theresa May MP

Home Secretaries come and go. Let’s hope for the sake of everyone in Britain that this one goes soon.

Some are corrupt and idiotic like Alan Johnson.  Some are brave and sincere like David Blunkett.  Many have “something of the night” about them like Michael Howard.

In my lifetime there has never been one like Theresa May – vicious, malevolent and always ready for cheap, political point-scoring at the expense of the weak and vulnerable. She also demonstrates the most shameful ineptitude and incompetence and she’ll stab anyone in the back to protect her career.

She is authoritarian, anti-libertarian, secretive, oppressive, unjust and represents everything that is bad in politics.  She would be far better suited to joining the Assad government in Syria or Netanyahu in Israel.  She is the antithesis of democracy, the enemy of freedom.  She shames Britain and she has done more damage to the cause of women in politics than anyone.  She even makes Harriet Harman look reasonable, personable and relevant.

She is the token woman in the cabinet but she is detached from traditional Tory values as well. One of the few options left to Cameron to regain any credit for himself would be to sack her.

It’s no surprise then that she wants to abandon the European Convention on Human Rights which has its foundations in Britain and in our traditions of liberty and justice.  She has no interest in humanity.  She does not represent me and she is not fit to represent our great nation.

She Did Make It Up. She Is A Liar. She Is Unfit To Be A Minister Of the Crown.

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Theresa May

How to make a twat of yourself over a pussy.

Ms May really is the most dimwitted, out of touch dinosaur, eclipsing even historical relics like George Osborne or Alan Johnson.

Quite how she ever became Home Secretary I do not understand. She appeared from nowhere and was immediately elevated to high office. The most obvious explanation isn’t credible because, without wishing to be unkind, she’s not exactly a honey trap is she?

The Human Rights Act is, in any case, very much a British creation. It is simply false to blame it on Europe. It was drafted by British legislators and, in general, is a proud and noble achievement. The very last thing we need is to abandon it on the say so of some third rate politician. It isn’t going to happen anyway. Ms May is just being used as a stool pigeon to appease the Tory right. She’s a muppet – sorry, I mean a puppet. Actually, I mean both.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Alan Johnson – An Absence Of Integrity

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Shadow

I used to be an admirer.  Even as a rabid Tory, in fact, very much as a Tory, I thought the story of postman to Minister of the Crown was Boy’s Own stuff.

He has a sharp intellect and an easy charm with nothing of the snide trade union whinger that he might have been.   Then came Professor Nutt and, almost as never before, a politician’s true colours were revealed.  Not the gentle pink blush of embarrassment but a black deception and dishonour.  It was an astonishing position to take.  As David Nutt recalls, “Alan Johnson famously said in the House that he was “big enough, strong enough, bold enough” to sack me for saying cannabis was less harmful than alcohol.”  And he did.  See here.

Even worse, as a replacement he appointed Professor Les Iversen, author of  “Cannabis, Why It Is Safe” and  countless other publications extolling the innocuous nature of the plant.  He is on the record as saying that “cannabis should be legalised, not just decriminalized”.  The complete absurdity of Alan Johnson’s actions were astonishing.  He was stating boldly and without apology that whatever the science said he wouldn’t listen to it.  Even more than that, he would try to silence the truth.

This is a politician without a shred of integrity.  A man of great achievement and intelligence who has shamed himself and destroyed his own career.  He is not fit to be in the shadow cabinet.  That he has been appointed shadow chancellor is a hollow and sickening joke.

Well Done Jedward, I Mean Edward

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Harriet's Impressed!

 

It was a good start for a young man.  Solid.  Dignified.  Then, suddenly,  a scimitar sharp riposte.  Cameron almost fell backwards!

I think Ed has been underestimated and will prove to be a dangerous and very clever adversary.  For a while the coalition will get away with patronising him like the new boy at school but his time will come.

I think that’s a very, very helpful thing for parliament and for Britain.  The most dangerous thing for British politics at the moment is that the LibDems simply dissolve away.   A strong Labour party will bolster the LibDem’s position.

Please though, the sooner those two old farts, Harriet Harman and Alan Johnson are gone, the better.   Isn’t there a deep hole in the ground somewhere we can drop ’em down?

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 13, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis – Part 2

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See the original article here.

The Home Office has been denying to me all week that it had changed its story.  It claimed that it had said “Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”  It claimed that cannabis was never included in this statement.

Today it finally owned up.  It issued this statement at 5.18pm this evening:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“There is clear evidence that drugs such as heroin and cocaine are extremely harmful substances.

“There is also clear evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can cause both physical and psychological problems. Even the occasional use of cannabis can be dangerous for people with diseases of the circulatory system, and it can contribute to heart disease and lung cancer.

“In this instance there was a drafting error with the original version of this statement, which was subsequently rectified.”

Does It Look Dangerous To You?

Now, I understand and respect the professional efforts of the Home Office PRs to damp down this story.  It just doesn’t wash though does it?

Why did it take nearly two weeks to correct this error?

Why did they try to cover up the error in the first place?

All this from a government department that emphasises how important are its “health and education messages” and that it must not send “the wrong message – to young people in particular.”

Of course, the truth is that the Home Office sends inaccurate and misleading messages about drugs all the time.  Everyone, except the Home Office ministers and mandarins, agrees that the present drug classification system is nonsense, that it amounts to nothing less than misinformation.  In fact, the Home Office is currently less than seven days away from a judicial review of its political manipulation of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  The Drug Equality Alliance co-founder, Casey Hardison, has taken it upon himself to challenge the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in the Administrative Court for its irrational, unfair, and possibly illegal exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from control under the Act.

Even David Cameron agrees that ecstasy should not be a class A drug – see here.  The debacle and embarrassing nonsense about the ever-changing classification of cannabis destroyed Alan Johnson’s integrity for good.  Young people have been watching the government’s “messages” for years, comparing them to their own experiences and realising  that the government talks rot when it comes to drugs.  The Home Office is inconsistent, unreliable, contradictory and nothing short of dangerous when it comes to messages about drugs – as they’ve just proved, yet again.

As for the revised statement, there is evidence to show that smoking cannabis can cause the same damage to the cardiovascular system as smoking tobacco, but no one smokes anywhere near the same amount of cannabis as they do tobacco – they’d be asleep!  In fact, the very latest research shows that cannabis has an extraordinary protective effect for tobacco smokers and may actually reduce the likelihood of lung cancer.   Other recent research has also shown cannabinoids to have remarkable effects in shrinking brain, head, neck and breast cancers.

The Home Office is so far out of date it’s difficult to believe.   It still talks sensationally about the dangers of “new stronger strains of cannabis known as skunk”.   The truth is that skunk has been the predominant type of cannabis available in the UK for more than 20 years.  That’s how up to date the Home Office is.   Finally, the “psychological problems” story.  Sure, any psychoactive substance has the potential for harm but increasingly there’s evidence to show cannabinoids actually have an anti-psychotic effect.  One of the most useful applications of medicinal cannabis is in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To those who don’t already know the facts, I say simply google your questions.  Even the Home Office, much as it might try, has not yet found a way of silencing the truth.

“The Only Thing Drug Gangs Fear Is Legalisation”. The Independent 26th August 2010

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Superb piece in The Independent today

Superbly argued!  Thank you to Johann Hari.  Thank you to The Independent for giving the space for this to be heard.

Violence Breeds Violence.  The Only Thing Drug Gangs Fear Is Legalisation.

28,000 deaths in Mexico in four years because of drug laws!

It could be the same in the UK.   Our new drug strategy is in preparation but the only people applauding the disgraceful sham that is our drug strategy consultation are drug dealers and criminals.  James Brokenshire of the Home Office, the man intent on breaking British society,  is so backward in his thinking that he makes Alan Johnson look progressive.   He is blind to the evidence and the facts, to what is happening in Mexico and elsewhere

There is blood on the hands of cowardly politicians in the UK too.  They have shirked this issue, avoided grasping this nettle for too long.  Brokenshire can only have been offered as a lamb for sacrifice here – surely?  His arguments are too ridiculous, his distortion of science too crass. He is bound to fail if he persists but he will cause death, misery and degradation for thousands.  He personally will be responsible for a massive increase in street crime – inevitable if he tightens prohibition.  He will not have committed the crimes himself but he will have negligently and recklessly ignored proven current best practice.  His attitudes fly in the face of all logic, research and science.

The government is riding roughshod over the massive outcry for drug law reform on the Your Freedom website.  Surely, even if public opinion, morality, logic, science, history or common sense won’t convince them, Baroness Meacher’s claim of £19 billion per annum of waste will stir them to action!

Surely, if nothing else, the cash will make the government see sense!