Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Brown’
Essentially, UK government policy on cannabis hasn’t altered since 1971. Despite the vast amount of new evidence published since then and revolutionary change, particularly on medicinal use, all across the world, successive governments have stubbornly and obstinately refused to consider any sort of reform.
It doesn’t matter which party has been in power, Conservative, Labour or the coalition, it’s a subject that ministers and MPs simply refuse to engage with. It’s easier that way for them and be in no doubt: laziness, fear of a media backlash and deeply ingrained prejudice are the key factors in this impasse.
We had the downgrade to class C in 2003 and then back up to B in 2009 but this was a turgid and useless effort. No notice was taken of any evidence arising from this experiment. It was enacted to enable police to concentrate more on class A drugs and reversed based on Gordon Brown’s ‘Presbyterian conscience’ and a grubby, corrupt deal with Paul Dacre to win the Daily Mail’s political support. In fact, use went down while cannabis was class C and back up again when it was upgraded but governments have no interest in facts or evidence on this subject, only in political expediency and spinning advantage with the media.
The clamour for medicinal access has increased enormously, just as the evidence for its safety and efficacy has become overwhelming. The UK is now virtually isolated amongst first world countries with a cruel, inhumane and anti-evidence policy which makes us a laughing stock with all who are properly informed. It’s not a laughing matter for the victims though. For those persecuted by this nasty policy it is tears, pain, suffering, disability – all of which could be alleviated to at least some extent just by a stroke of the Home Secretary’s pen. It is sickening that all those who have held that office over the last 45 years escape without any shame or opprobrium on their character.
CLEAR receives hundreds of letters and emails every year from people who have written to their MP about medicinal cannabis and it is astonishing that unlike almost every other policy, exactly the same words are used by all MPs. They slavishly repeat the Home Office line which is ruthlessly enforced across party lines.
There have been some subtle changes. The marketing authorisation issued for Sativex in 2010 has led to a minor change in the tired and inaccurate line ‘there is no medicinal value in cannabis’. It’s now become ‘there is no medicinal value in raw cannabis’. This is scientifically and factually incorrect. Pharmacologically, Sativex and the ‘raw’ plants from which it is made are identical. It is whole plant cannabis oil and its authorisation by the MHRA as an extract of THC and CBD is fundamentally dishonest. GW Pharmaceuticals reveals it contains more than 400 molecules, the MHRA says it only contains two and “unspecified impurities”.
More recently, and in the face of an explosion of supportive evidence, another line has been added. This states that ‘the UK has a well established process for the approval of medicines through the MHRA and that any company wishing to bring a medicinal cannabis product to market should follow this procedure. In fact, inside sources suggest that the government is very keen to see new cannabis-based medicines approved by the MHRA. It would take the wind out of the sails of the medical cannabis campaign
This is the very last excuse for denying access to medicinal cannabis. It is nothing but an excuse and one that is misleading and based on deception. If we can expose how weak, inappropriate and fake it is, the government will have nowhere else to hide.
Firstly, as demonstrated with Sativex, 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. CLEAR rejects the tired, boring theory that ‘Big Pharma’ is engaged in a massive conspiracy to deny access to cannabis and to ‘keep people ill’ so it can continue to sell its products to the NHS. The MHRA isn’t engaged in such malevolent conduct, it’s simply incapable of properly evaluating a whole plant extract through its existing methods.
The bright, shining truth of this, that totally demolishes the government’s position, is that in every jusrisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation. 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.
Of course, there is also the ludicrous status of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug, which prevents doctors from prescribing it. If it was moved to schedule 2, alongside heroin and cocaine, or to schedule 4 alongside Sativex (the logical choice), doctors could be prescribing it tomorrow and high-quality, GMP and EU regulated medicinal cannabis from Bedrocan would be immediately available.
So the MHRA is the final excuse, the last obstacle to a revolution in healthcare in the UK. We need an ‘Office of Medicinal Cannabis’ as there is in the Netherlands, or ‘Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations’ as administered by Health Canada. Colorado has its ‘Medical Marijuana Registry Program’ and other US states have similar arrangements. Israel’s Ministry of Health has its ‘Medical Cannabis Unit’. In Australia, its equivalent of the MHRA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has established its own set of medical cannabis regulations.
This is now the most important factor in achieving medical cannabis law reform. Next time you contact your MP or in any advocacy or campaign work you do, this is where to focus your energy. Cannabis is a special case, it is not like other medicines. Once we can open the eyes to this truth the path ahead will be clear.
The stitch-up between big business, politicians, civil servants and bankers should be crystal clear to anyone with eyes and ears. It is vital to the future of our children and grandchildren that we vote to leave the EU in a month’s time. The alternative is that we subsume ourselves forever under the yoke of transnational business, self-serving, corrupt governments intent on widening the divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Intelligent people, including, to my amazement, fellow members of the Liberal Democrats, are intent on relinquishing all principles of liberalism and democracy – and for what?
All the Project Fear scaremongering, the ganging-up of the CBI, the Bank of England and all the rest of the establishment flunkies, reveals exactly what is going on. Just as we were lied to and deceived over the need for war in Iraq, we are being led by deception and falsehood into an ever-closer union that will fill the pockets and enhance the power of corporate political interests.
This referendum is not about the economy. It is about much bigger and more important principles of self-determination, democracy and freedom. I believe that such principles will also, in the end, bring us more prosperity.
Leaving the EU is most important for our children. Young people themselves must vote for opportunity. Be for Europe but not the EU. Be for co-operation but without a straightjacket. Be ourselves
The political elite wants it. The parasite outsourcing companies that suck up billions in taxpayers’ money want it. The civil servants in 28 countries want it. When you see David Cameron, Harriet Harman, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, George Osborne, Michael Heseltine all want it, ask yourself why?
It’s a stitch-up! You’re being lied to, intimidated and deceived. Independence Day is 23rd June. Make sure you make the right choice.
I suppose I should get my six ha’porth in, if that’s the correct expression, before the result is announced.
The very entertaining More 4 programme, Miliband Of Brothers, finally corrected my spelling last night. There may be two brothers but there’s only one “l”. I’ve been getting it wrong all the way through this thoroughly underwhelming campaign. At least it will be all over this afternoon. Then we’ll be treated to the appalling spectre of Gordon Brown making a farewell speech. Farewell and good riddance I say. The worst British prime minister in my lifetime. No doubt about that.
David Miliband is the obvious choice. He has the gravitas that you would expect from an ex-foreign secretary but I fear that he will be yesterday’s man by the time of the next election.
Ed Miliband has most of the qualities that his brother offers but with a spark of individuality that I think would serve his party well. If I was a a Labour supporter, wanting to see the party succeed, Ed would be my choice.
Andy Burnham can be very proud of the campaign he has run. He is coherent, honourable, very telegenic and, I should think, every Labour mum’s toyboy fantasy. He hasn’t got a hope in hell.
Ed Balls? Now as a Tory he gets my vote. What a total plonker! He would be disastrous for the Labour Party but it would make wonderful entertainment for the rest of us. I can dream!
I’m very fond of Diane Abbott. Along with all my fellow political junkies I love the Michael & Diane sofa partnership on “This Week”. They’re the real stars of the show, forget the leering old lothario in the corner. Trouble is, Diane isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. In fact she’s probably the bluntest in the entire kitchen so I’ll be looking forward to seeing her back on the sofa with Michael next Thursday.
After Bush, to my knowledge, the worst US President ever, I was excited about the prospect of Hilary Clinton in the White House. The election of Barack Obama was simply stunning. For me, it rejuvenated the whole idea of America – the noble principles of the Constitution, the idea that anyone can rise to the very top based on merit alone. It updated that dream by transcending race, prejudice and history.
As it happened, I watched his inauguration with my parents. I wept at Obama’s words, at the huge symbolism of his achievement, at Jesse Jackson’s overwhelming moment. My Mum & Dad said that it was like Kennedy was for their generation – the sense of new hope and optimism. The same idea that makes me think of Churchill’s “broad sunlit uplands”.
So what’s going on now? I ‘m sure I don’t understand a lot about American politics. I can only see it from my perspective. That means I get most of my news from the BBC. I balance that with a daily trawl through the blogs and online newspapers on the issues that interest me.
In some ways I think the BBC is more British than Britain. In fact, I trust the BBC more than I trust any politician. Its standards and independence preserve our national integrity better than any political leader.
Going online gives me a broader view, often composed of ridiculous extremes as well as mainstream media. There are so many highly literate, super clever bloggers who are completely deluded and beyond any reason. Going online provides an overall summary of all different points of view and sources of information.
I think Obama is a fundamentally decent man. There is a coterie of bloggers who believe he is a Chicago politician just the same as when Al Capone was in town. I think he is bigger than that.
There is also a sisterhood (men and women) of Democrats, bitter supporters of Hilary, who are determined to undermine him. Republicans say he is un-American and claim that he won the election through fraud.
I still have faith in the man. In the horribly murky world of American politics I don’t think he would have risen to the top unless he was very special. I detect authenticity.
The oil spill has been his greatest challenge. I feel that when he speaks for himself, from his heart, he speaks the truth. When he is confused and manipulated by those around him he fails. Many will say I am naive but how can anyone triumph without support? We need leaders who can inspire, who can make us believe in them.
From the very beginning Obama has “extended the hand of friendship” towards Iran but it becomes clearer every day now that the current regime must be condemned without reservation. He has stood up against Israel better than his predecessors and in the overall moral balance that was well overdue. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the attempted kidnapping of Gary Mckinnon It’s probably not high enough in his priorities to have had his proper consideration yet.
No one was more critical of Gordon Brown and his foolhardy, self-serving government than me but the way that some Americans criticise their leader horrifies me. Some of the conspiracy theories and charges levelled against Obama are worse than those against Hitler or Mengele. There are are so many complete nutters in America I really do wonder what they put in the water.
After re-consideration, from my British perspective, I still have faith in this extraordinary man. I urge him to continue to have the courage of his convictions. I wish he could put aside short term political considerations. I think, almost whatever happens, he will win a second term so he can afford to look at least six years in advance and ignore his critics. I still believe in him.
I would have thought it was obvious after the unsatisfactory result of this election that Tories need electoral reform too. It should definitely not be a dealbreaker between the Tories and Lib Dems. In fact, I’ll go further, David Cameron should offer a referendum on the issue – why not?
A redrawing of constituency boundaries so that each seat has the same number of voters would in itself be a more proportional form of representation. I also think that a fixed term of office would lead to fairer and more sensible government.
David Cameron has an opportunity now to become prime minister and usher in a new, fairer, brighter politics. If he misses this chance then he will have let down the British people as well as the Tory party and himself. Brown, at last, thank God, is gone. At least we can be grateful for that and, yes, eventually, he did find some dignity in his defeat.
I’m optimistic. Nick Clegg and David Cameron behaving like grown-ups, Paddy Ashdown singing David Cameron’s praises, Michael Gove giving Andrew Marr a one word answer that he would sacrifice his cabinet seat for the good of the nation. It’s quite wonderful isn’t it?
You can be cynical if you want to be. I’m dismayed at reports of the Tory old guard turning on Cameron for not gaining an overall majority. Lord Tebbit has said some stupid things but then he is even more yesterday’s man than Gordon Brown. He should get on his bike back into retirement.
No, I think there is every reason to be optimistic and we should encourage this biggest swing of all towards common sense. The result of this election shows that the Tories need electoral reform just as much as any other party. The nation certainly does. Perhaps this is our equivalent of the election of Barack Obama? Perhaps we have a future after all?