Posts Tagged ‘Labour Party’
The preposterous response from the UK government to the massive petition for the legalisation of cannabis is a pack of lies.
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.
The 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.
“There are now just two weeks to go until the local and European elections. The Conservative party has frantically been trying to paint the Leader of the Opposition as a mixture of Karl Marx and Hugo Chávez, the UK Independence party has been hiring eastern Europeans to deliver its anti-immigration leaflets, and the Deputy Prime Minister appears to have resorted to backing a report that calls for the legalisation of cannabis. I suppose mind-altering drugs are the only thing that might persuade people to vote for him.”
This from a woman who gained the distinction of becoming the British parliament’s first openly lesbian member by coming out in September 1997 in an interview with The Observer. The following year she became the first female MP to tie the knot in a civil partnership.
Putting aside the inter-party bickering, you would think, wouldn’t you, that someone who has bravely overcome prejudice against minorities and stood up for libertarian principles and justice, could do a little better on the cannabis issue? But no, she represents the Labour Party so well in its short sighted bigotry, intolerance and authoritarian instincts. She fits well with the other dinosaurs; Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson, Jacqui Smith and the ignoramuses that contribute to the absence of any drugs policy at all from Labour. It’s her hypocrisy that staggers me though and I’ve seen a similar illiberal attitude from Chris Bryant, another Labour MP who has fought bravely for gay rights but is ignorance and prejudice personified on drugs policy.
How Long Does Gerald Kaufman Get For “Attempting” To Claim £8000 For A TV?
The Daily Telegraph
By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter
7:00AM BST 16 May 2009
The former environment minister was asked to attend a meeting with officials from the parliamentary fees office to discuss details of another claim relating to £28,834 of work on the kitchen and bathroom at his London flat.
He told them that the work was necessary because he was “living in a slum”, though his second home, off Regent’s Park, is in one of the most fashionable areas of the capital. He was eventually reimbursed for £15,329.
On one occasion he asked a civil servant “why are you querying these expenses?” and on another threatened to make a complaint unless a dispute was settled by noon on the day in question. In one document, an official in the fees office noted that invoices Sir Gerald had submitted took him to “within 6p” of his annual limit. He also claimed £1,262 for a gas bill that was £1,055 in credit.
Between 2001 and 2008 the Manchester Gorton MP, one of the Labour party’s longest-serving members, claimed a total of £115,109 in additional costs allowances on his London flat, which he owns outright. In June 2006, he submitted a claim for three months’ expenses totalling £14,301.60, which included £8,865 for a Bang & Olufsen Beovision 40in LCD television.
I’m rather proud of the two brothers. Be as cynical as you like, it must have been a dreadful time for both of them. They have behaved as gentlemen, with great honour and dignity. They have risen above the snide provocations of the press. I thought David’s determination to stand well clear to give Ed a clear run was a noble and sincere act. He will return as an elder statesman. He will become an ever more important figure in British politics.
I’m more than happy to see a new broom in Ed. The Labour Party needs a fresh start. I think he’ll try to be his own man. He’ll try to shed all the baggage and forge his own path. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I wish him well because I do believe that a strong opposition is a good thing. The inside information I have, from the heart of Ed’s campaign team, is that in reality he’s way to the right of David. We’ll see!
It’s good to see that the Labour Party has rescued its leadership election from the very brink of irrelevance.
Diane Abbott comes from an authentic tradition of noble Labour politicians: Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, Ken Livingstone – these are people of integrity and valour who I mostly disagree with but who I have a deep respect for.
If the alternatives are the oily Milliband brothers or the slippery Ed Balls then there should be no contest but I fear she cannot win. She and Michael Portillo on “This Week” are the most balanced sofa in politics – despite ageing clubber Andrew Neil’s best efforts to caricature them.
The Milliband brothers are, of course, from the Tony Blair School Of Politics. It’s also called “marketing”. You don’t actually need to have any principles, you just research what the market wants and then provide it in a nice, shiny package with extra bonus points
I think that Ed Milliband will win because he still has an edge. All the edges on his brother have been polished away. He’s been burnished almost to Tony standards. I could quite like Ed. Maybe he’ll find his own voice if he’s given the chance.
Ed Balls? As a Tory I’d love to see him as Labour leader. It would be both entertaining and advantageous!