Posts Tagged ‘Israel’
In a letter dated 15th August 2016, Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary, has invited CLEAR to raise “any queries and concerns” about present UK policy on cannabis. This is the first time since 2006, with Charles Clarke, that the UK cannabis campaign has had any direct contact with a serving Home Secretary. It reflects the reality, now recognised in government, that changes in cannabis policy are imminent.
In recent months, there has been a manifest and significant change in attitudes within the Home Office. We have seen this through the process of obtaining a low THC cultivation licence for our partnership with GroGlo Research and Development. The response from the drugs licensing department has been enthusiastic. There has been no difficulty with our declared purpose of producing CBD oil for sale as a food supplement and we are now in detailed discussions on our application for a high THC licence, looking towards clinical trials for a medical product for chronic pain.
As soon as Theresa May announced that Amber Rudd would be heading up the Home Office, I contacted my MP, now Sir Oliver Letwin, thanks to Cameron’s resignation honours list. Although he will not openly support our campaign, in the past year or so he has been very helpful indeed, meeting with me on roughly a monthly basis and helping me navigate through the Conservative government. He has now put me in direct contact with Ms Rudd and I will be preparing a written submission as a preliminary to a face-to-face meeting.
In accordance with CLEAR policy, our first concern is how we can enable UK residents to gain access to medicinal cannabis on a doctor’s prescription. In practice that means Bedrocan products as there is presently no other source of prescribable, consistent, high-quality, herbal cannabis. I would expect that to change very soon though. Both Canada and Israel look like potential near-future sources. GW Pharmaceuticals is undoubtedly considering entering the market and our venture with GroGlo could shift gear depending on how quickly UK policy changes.
We will also be addressing the need for wider reform and a legally regulated market for adult consumers. Although medicinal access remains the top priority, there is no doubt that more overall harm is caused by prohibition of the recreational market. It is this that creates the £6 billon per annum criminal market which is the cause of all the social harms around cannabis. This will need to be handled much more carefully as, due to nearly a century of misinformation and media scaremongering, many people still retain great fear as to what legal cannabis will mean.
The one thing that has been very lacking in the cannabis campaign is pragmatism. Most campaigners for recreational use continue to be lost in a swirl of ‘free the weed’, teenage angst, outrage, revolution and delight in being a rebellious outlaw. That was until 2011 when CLEAR introduced a new approach which has led to more engagement with government than ever before. The emergence of the United Patients Alliance and now the End Our Pain campaign has helped this but these campaigns are focused only on medicinal use
The fact is that we need to work with Theresa May’s government and the anti-Tory tribalism that many still adopt is nothing but an obstacle to reform.
In addressing Ms Rudd, our overall strategy for wider reform will be:
1. A final separation from the ridiculous ‘free the weed’ movement and ‘stoner’ groups which are incapable of understanding how they are seen and despised by wider society.
2. Differentiation between medicinal use and the more controversial legalisation for adult, recreational use.
3. Shift public attention onto scientific and medical evidence rather than the very poor standard of media reporting.
4. End the fake policy that says ‘cannabis is dangerous therefore it must be regulated’. Educate that nearly all the harms around cannabis are caused by its prohibition, not by cannabis itself.
5. Emphasise the importance of harm reduction information, education about excessive use and essential investment in treatment for those who do suffer health harms.
6. Clarify that decriminalisation is no solution and is a dangerous option that would probably increase harm. The product needs to be sold within a properly regulated environment, careful that over-regulation would support a continuing criminal market.
Remember the apologist for mass civilian murder in Gaza two years ago? Mark Regev is now Israeli ambassador to the UK and he was whining on TV this morning that Israel is being demonised and villified and denied the right to exist.
Get this straight Regev, Israel DESERVES to be demonised and villified. That does not mean it has no right to exist but the greatest danger to its continued existence is itself and its war crimes
Nothing is more guaranteed to whip up anti-semitism than the ridiculous conduct of those who defend the indefensible. Israel is a war criminal state, fundamentally responsible for much of the conflict in the Middle East.
Whenever it suits them they conflate Israel with Judaism. It is convenient to mix race and religion when they turn it to their own advantage. Being a Jew is a choice, irrespective of the family you are born into. People who choose to be Jewish are entitled to that freedom as anyone else who chooses any other religion.
Israel has sown the seeds of its own destruction because of its own behaviour. Now it risks promoting anti-semitism through its own ridiculous defence of justified criticism of its policies.
The disgraceful, thuggish behaviour of John Mann in his assault of Ken Livingstone happens every day in Palestine. There, it may be heavily armed IDF soldiers dealing with Palestinian children. Or an Israeli demolition team throwing elderly grandparents out on the street before sending in the bulldozers to destroy their home. It’s often far worse: a young Palestinian man taken out of sight and summarily executed simply because the IDF know they can get away with it.
John Mann’s conduct is right in line with the aggressive, brutal arrogance that characterises the state of Israel. The pathetic response of the Labor Party, so many spineless, politically-correct MPs ganging up against Livingstone, alleging that his reference to Hitler’s 1933 Haavara Agreement with Zionist German Jews is somehow ‘anti-semitic’. The readiness of these cowards to jump on this bandwagon is contemptible, as are the underhand attempts to smear Jeremy Corbyn with the same charge.
The Tory Party is already well under the Israeli cosh and subservient to its two-phase strategy, donate and bully, donate and insist on a blind eye to Israeli war crimes. Now Labour, in utter shambles between the Blairites and the hard left, are vulnerable to the most crafty, insidious political gameplayers of all. Israel is a nation intent on subversion of western democracies at every level while imposing its brutal, racist, apartheid policies at home.
All honourable Israelis; Jew, Christian, Muslim and those of no faith, must rise up against this monstrous regime that is largely responsible for the Middle East conflict and now threatens the cohesion and stability of western nations. The corrupt influence of the pro-Israel lobby must be rooted out from our political parties and all parts of our society.
On this morning’s BBC politics-fest the most credible views on Syria I heard were from George Galloway. He was balanced, intelligent, rational and focused on the issue rather than his personal advancement.
Corbyn is a pacifist, whatever he says and that is an untenable position for a leader. I agree with him about the futility of bombing in Syria and that it will create rather than solve problems for us at home in the UK. However, I think he is incredible and incompetent. His confusion about the use of deadly force against marauding terrorists was unforgiveable. He won’t last much longer.
Michael Fallon is a bumptious, Tory fool, better suited to life as a provincial solicitor than as defence minister. Dr Liam Fox would be more use caring for patients than as a warmongering, hard right authoritarian disguised as a friendly GP. Cameron is a liar about there being 70,000 soldiers on the ground ready to support action against Daesh/ISIS, just like Blair was a liar about Saddam Hussein able to launch a WMD attack in 45 minutes. I’m afraid I think his principal motivation is that he wants to be at the ‘top table’ with Obama and Hollande and he feels left out. It’s a pathetic reason but I fear it’s true. It’s his personal prestige he’s most concerned about.
I can see no argument at all that bombing in Syria will make us safer, the reverse is the truth. The story about British forces having greater precision bombing capability with our Brimstone missiles is propaganda. I believe that the US, France, Russia and all modern military powers have at least equivalent if not better capability.
The most convincing argument I can see for bombing in Syria is that our ally, France, has asked for our assistance. I would be more ready to support such action if we were prepared to do the job properly and that means putting in our own ground forces.
I don’t want war but Daesh/ISIS is a evil ideology just like Nazism and we need to destroy it. I think we need to put a substantial force of highly trained professional soldiers on the ground and expect that we will take many casualties but that we will root out the terrorists house by house, room by room until the job is properly done and that includes removing Assad. Thereafter, we need to be ready to stay there for at least a decade until civil society is restored. This is why we have a military and if we don’t use it as necessary then why do we bother?
I am more convinced every day that the election result this year was a disaster for Britain. Cameron is an oily, self-serving creep with no integrity, no backbone and interested only in advancing his own interests. The Tory frontbench is composed mainly of toady yes men (and women) who fail to achieve the intellectual and moral qualities that we should expect from ministers. Personally I blame the Tory dominated press and all those weak, flip flopping voters who turned on the Liberal Democrats. Another coalition would have set Britain on the right course. That we now have a government with a mandate from just 24% of the electorate is absolute proof that British democracy has failed.
I fear that the outcome of all this will be more half measures. Then there will be another terrorist outrage, quite probably in the UK, possibly even in America. Then we’ll have more handwringing and the endless cycle of political posturing with no one having the courage to act will resume.
We have no moral justification for our conduct in the Middle East when we support Israel which is the most dangerous terrorist state, responsible for creating much of the hatred amongst followers of Islam and perpetrator of outrages every bit as heinous as Assad, Daesh/ISIS, Al Quaeda, Hussein or Gaddafi.
Let’s either do the job properly or let’s get out of the Middle East entirely.
We really have twisted priorities in our world. Nothing can excuse or justify the events in Paris but much more death, brutality and injustice has been inflicted on Palestine by Israel and its conduct drives much of the extremism that now preoccupies us.
We stand idly by while this outlaw state, in breach of 64 UN resolutions, oppresses a whole nation and routinely uses high technology weapons, phosphorous bombs, F16s and tanks against an heroic resistance armed only with pop guns and fireworks.
Israel defies every decent standard of behaviour, every moral and every ethic that we claim to support in our outrage against the evil that took place in Paris. Why are we not using drones to drop Hellfire missiles on Netanyahu’s head? Why is the Knesset not regarded as the headquarters of an evil, terrorist ‘so-called’ state when that is exactly what it is?
If we took a moral stand, refused to trade with an apartheid state that engages in child murder and land theft, defended the women and children of Gaza, perhaps it would be more difficult for the monsters of Raqqa to recruit supporters?
Until we become more consistent and fair then we can only expect resentment to grow. We can never defeat the evil of a perverted idea of Islam until we root out the murdering terrorists of Israel.
It’s amazing and frightening. Two days ago, Cameron wasn’t interested in the plight of the refugees. He and his crony government didn’t even have the decency to recognise them as refugees, they were migrants. They weren’t leaving the sort of desolation and destruction seen above, they were ‘economic migrants’ about to “swarm” onto our shores and “swamp” our hospitals, GPs, social services with nasty, dirty foreigners.
Then, with the tragic picture of a little boy dead on a Turkish beach and, unusually, the supine, brainwashed, British public actually getting off their backsides and signing a petition in massive numbers (now over 400,000), he had to do something. Democracy and public opinion is not a force that can be allowed to gain strength in the UK. It is the very opposite of what the increasingly corrupt Tory government wants. Its new petitions website is biting back hard. Its been a major mistake. More than 200,000 want cannabis legalised, nearly 220,000 want a vote of no confidence in the Health Secretary, over 100,000 want the war criminal Netanyahu arrested when he arrives in London.
This all sounds frightfully like democracy and it has to be nipped in the bud!
So now he’s posturing with weasel words about the millions of refugees but simultaneously ramping up for war on Syria and IS, just as the USA confirms that Russian jets are fighting on behalf of Assad.
I think Cameron is a puppet: an anodyne, oleaginous creep with a shiny face for inane grins into the camera and a Goldilocks wifelet (not too gorgeous, just enough) to portray the mythical British family that we’re all supposed to aspire to. Who is pulling his strings?A conspiracy of bankers, arms manufacturers, the alcohol industry and press barons.
Fleet Street Fox makes frightening predicitions about war today. It comes to something when a tabloid like the Daily Mirror presents more challenging, insightful reporting than what used to be called the quality press, now disgraced by the Murdoch and Barclay Brothers comics. The Times and The Daily Telegraph now represent vested interests, mainly supportive of Tory repression but ready to exercise their own muscle when inconvenient subjects like press regulation or BBC charter renewal come along. Fleet Street clears its throat and Cameron succumbs. Big Booze complains about overregulation, Cameron drops his trousers and says ‘How do you want me?’
I am horrified about the reality of Britain. The disgusting cover-ups of wrongdoing in high places that we now know has been going on forever. We have laughed about Nigeria, about tin pot South American regimes but we are every bit as bad, worse in some ways, more secretive, deceptive, corrupt and rotten to the core in police, civil service and throughout the establishment.
It’s a truism that it is the internet that has let all this truth out. That’s how we know that cannabis is pretty much harmless for 99% of people, while Big Booze is responsible for 1.25 million hospital admissions each years. That’s how we know that the Israeli regime is composed entirely of brutal, sadistic war criminals intent on becoming the new Nazi power and igniting nuclear conflagration in the Middle East. That’s why your internet connection is increasingly censored, monitored and everything possible is being done to turn it against you, to become an instrument of oppression rather than a gateway to truth and knowledge.
I have no answers. What I know is that increasingly often, as I chat with my 80-year old mother, we say to each other how glad we are we won’t be around to see it.
In my view the only rational choice for the next UK government is another Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.
The Labour Party is simply a joke. Miliband is an out-of-touch, Hampstead-socialist buffoon who was part of the team whose reckless borrowing meant that the banking crisis destroyed this country’s economy. It is ludicrous that we should even consider giving the same people another chance.
Cameron is an oily, two-faced oaf who has transformed the Conservative Party into the Bullingdon Club Party, dominated by out-of-touch posh boys with quasi-fascists like Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling as their attack dogs.
The only redeeming factor about the Tories is a basic competence in managing the economy. Osborne knows what he is doing but left unrestrained he would devastate our society: trashing the benefits system, care for the disabled and access to justice.
We must have the decent, fair, rational and conscientious Liberal Democrats in government with the Tories. Crucially they must hold out for a much tougher coalition agreement which will see the disgusting policies of Duncan Smith and Grayling reversed. I think it’s too much to hope that we will see the back of Theresa May but definitely, in my area of special interest, the Liberal Democrats will insist on drugs policy reform. The evidence-free, prejudice-based, self-defeating and cruel drugs policies of the past must be overturned. They have caused too much harm, suffering and promoted the interests of organised crime and the alcohol industry over common sense and the national interest.
So, in February I joined the Liberal Democrats. I was free to do so because that month the CLEAR Executive Committee resolved that we would no longer be a political party. An explanation of that decision is here.
My decision had a lot to do with drugs policy but, as I have explained above, was considered across the wider issues. I think it reflects the fact that the LibDems are less ideologically-driven, more rational, evidence-based and fair in their policies. All my life I have been a Tory voter for the crucial values of individual liberty, regulated free markets and opposed to the cloying, repressive ideas of socialism and the overbearing state – but the Tories have lost their way, their moral compass and their integrity. I will never, ever vote Tory again.
CLEAR has worked closely with the LibDems since I first led a delegation of medicinal cannabis users to meet Norman Baker, then drugs minister, in July 2014. Just a few weeks later he publicly called for a change in policy on medicinal cannabis, the most significant breakthrough in the UK cannabis campaign for nearly 50 years. This year we have worked closely with Nick Clegg’s team and the LibDem manifesto incorporated CLEAR’s policy on medicinal cannabis word for word. I had the privilege of personally briefing him on medicinal cannabis just a few weeks ago. Julian Huppert, Norman Lamb and Lynne Featherstone, also LibDems, have been of great help to the CLEAR campaign and demonstrated outstanding sincerity, honesty and commitment, uncommon qualities amongst politicians. Personally, I also greatly admire the courage of LibDem David Ward in standing against Israeli war crimes and in support of Palestine.
On the narrow issue of drugs policy, once again, Labour is a joke. It doesn’t have one. With a few honourable exceptions, such as Paul Flynn, David Winnick and Bob Ainsworth, the party is stuck in reefer madness, terrorised by tabloid editors and prefers prejudice and scare stories to science and evidence. The Tories have more individuals who support reform but the party as a whole is in a corrupt relationship with the alcohol industry and also terrorised by the tabloid press.
As far as the Greens are concerned, yes they have a sensible drugs policy (originally drafted, in fact, by Derek Williams, my colleague on the CLEAR Executive Committee) but they have no chance of any influence in the new government. Caroline Lucas did a good job on getting the drugs debate in Parliament last year but I cannot support her party’s bizarre behaviour in the illiberal ‘No More Page 3’ censorship and fracking campaigns. The Green’s attitude to fracking is as evidence-free and based on prejudice as is Labour’s attitude to cannabis. Also, CLEAR gave the Greens an opportunity to present their drugs policy to our supporters but despite repeated efforts they couldn’t get it together. By contrast, the LibDems welcomed us enthusiastically and at the highest level.
I am a Eurosceptic LibDem, which is unusual. In fact, I voted for UKIP in the last European elections and although the party itself is confused on the issue, I have talked with Nigel Farage in person at length on drugs policy and he is progressive, intelligent and pragmatic on the subject.
CISTA, the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party? Well, I know a number of the candidates personally and I would recommend voting for them in constituencies where the LibDems stand no chance. Overall though the party is a waste of Paul Birch’s money and I can say that with the experience of CLEAR’s 16 years as a political party. It’s great that they are bringing some attention to the campaign but it’s a futile strategy and Birch has spurned all efforts at support and assistance from CLEAR. Had he even returned our calls we would have endorsed and promoted CISTA candidates in some constituencies.
So in conclusion, for drugs policy reform, particularly for access to medicinal cannabis, but also for a fairer society where policy is based on evidence and compassion rather than prejudice and vested interests, vote Liberal Democrat!