Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Ken Clarke

Even When It’s Theresa May We Must Not Constrain Our PM From Taking Effective Military Action.

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I’d prefer Theresa May wasn’t in charge of putting out her own recycling, let alone the defence of our nation but those MPs and commentators calling for a vote in Parliament before military action are misguided and foolish.

It’s absurd to expect any prime minster to go to Parliament before acting on what may be an immediate threat to our nation or, indeed, to human life elsewhere.

It’s difficult to think of anyone more unsuitable to have their finger ‘on the button’ than Theresa May.  She’s a religious nutcase and shifts her position with the wind to suit her own political advantage.  Nevertheless, we just have to accept the fact that for now she is prime minister and she has to have the authority to act.

Whether we should attack the Syria government is another matter.  With the amount of disinformation coming from all sides it’s impossible for me to make a rational decision.  I don’t trust the Russians at all but then neither do I trust Mrs May nor the totally incredible Boris Johnson whose bluster and exaggeration has finally destroyed any confidence I had in him.

There’s disinformation from all sides on Syria, on the Salisbury nerve agent attack, even this morning from the Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, on gangsters and violent crime in London.  The news is full of propaganda these days and both the BBC and the press are playing their own games. They’re all unreliable and untrustworthy.

What I am sure of is that our weak and pathetic MPs, the likes of Chuka Umunna and Ken Clarke, should have had the courage to deal with Assad back in 2013 when he first used chemical weapons and before Putin muscled in when the West was too timid to act.   The last thing we need now is to let them delay and bicker and score party political points off each other.

Six Very Good Reasons To Panic

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Written by Peter Reynolds

April 12, 2018 at 3:25 pm

“War On Drugs Has Failed, Say Former Heads Of MI5, CPS And BBC”, The Daily Telegraph, 21st March 2011

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The “war on drugs” has failed and should be abandoned in favour of evidence-based policies that treat addiction as a health problem, according to prominent public figures including former heads of MI5 and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Drug availability and use has increased with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin

Leading peers – including prominent Tories – say that despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible.

Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country.

The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to “enormous health problems”, according to the group.

The MPs and members of the House of Lords, who have formed a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, are calling for new policies to be drawn up on the basis of scientific evidence.

It could lead to calls for the British government to decriminalise drugs, or at least for the police and Crown Prosecution Service not to jail people for possession of small amounts of banned substances.

Their intervention could receive a sympathetic audience in Whitehall, where ministers and civil servants are trying to cut the numbers and cost of the prison population. The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has already announced plans to help offenders kick drug habits rather than keeping them behind bars.

The former Labour government changed its mind repeatedly on the risks posed by cannabis use and was criticised for sacking its chief drug adviser, Prof David Nutt, when he claimed that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.

The chairman of the new group, Baroness Meacher – who is also chairman of an NHS trust – told The Daily Telegraph: “Criminalising drug users has been an expensive catastrophe for individuals and communities.

“In the UK the time has come for a review of our 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. I call on our Government to heed the advice of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that drug addiction should be recognised as a health problem and not punished.

“We have the example of other countries to follow. The best is Portugal which has decriminalised drug use for 10 years. Portugal still has one of the lowest drug addiction rates in Europe, the trend of young people’s drug addiction is falling in Portugal against an upward trend in the surrounding countries, and the Portuguese prison population has fallen over time.”

Lord Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1983 and 1989, said: “I have no doubt that the present policy is a disaster.

“This is an important issue, which I have thought about for many years. But I still don’t know what the right answer is – I have joined the APPG in the hope that it may help us to find the right answer.”

Other high-profile figures in the group include Baroness Manningham-Buller, who served as Director General of MI5, the security service, between 2002 and 2007; Lord Birt, the former Director-General of the BBC who went on to become a “blue-sky thinker” for Tony Blair; Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, until recently the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Lord Walton of Detchant, a former president of the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.

Current MPs on the group include Peter Bottomley, who served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher; Mike Weatherley, the newly elected Tory MP for Hove and Portslade; and Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge.

The group’s formation coincides with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which paved the way for a war on drugs by describing addiction as a “serious evil”, attempting to limit production for medicinal and scientific uses only, and coordinating international action against traffickers.

The peers and MPs say that despite governments “pouring vast resources” into the attempt to control drug markets, availability and use has increased, with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin in 2008.

By Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent

They believe the trade in illegal drugs makes more than £200 billion a year for criminals and terrorists, as well as destabilising entire nations such as Afghanistan and Mexico.

As a result, the all-party group is working with the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust, to review current policies and scientific evidence in order to draw up proposed new ways to deal with the problem.

The Real Prison Drugs Scandal

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Banged Up

The real scandal about drugs in prison is that they’re even there in the first place.  How do they get in?  It’s prison staff of course.

That’s the uncomfortable truth which Ken Clarke and the government won’t talk about.  Compared to the extraordinary security and penalties that prison visitors face, the screws have it easy.  There’s an organised network at each prison, run by screws, for screws, supplying drugs to prisoners.  Of course there is!

The even bigger scandal is that what used to be a cannabis culture, with prisoners alleviating their boredom with a relatively harmless joint, has become a health nightmare, with prison regulations forcing them into heroin.

You see Ken Clarke’s bright new ideas of drug free wings, testing and incentive regimes have been going on for more than 10 years already.  I support Ken’s new ideas.  I think he’s a breath of fresh air but this is just unhelpful propaganda.  You see, prisoners stopped smoking cannabis when they started getting tested regularly.  Evidence of cannabis remains in urine for up to 28 days, whereas heroin or cocaine washes through in 48 hours.  Once the testing started and the prison officer-run cartels cottoned on, heroin began to flood our jails.  A nightmare but true.

Of course, the fact that the drugs problem exists at all in prison is because it’s just a microcosm of society.  If proper treatment was provided to those entering prison with a habit then it’s the perfect opportunity for them to clean up.  If prohibition wasn’t creating a fantastically profitable black market then the drugs problem would gradually recede just as it would in society in general if we introduced fact and evidence-based regulation.

Prohibition doesn’t work.  It just makes the problem worse.