Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Theresa May

My Spoiled Ballot Paper. What Other Choice Is There?

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In case you can’t read my dreadful handwriting, here’s what I have written on my postal ballot paper:

Canning, Andy. Liberal Democrats – “An illiberal and undemocratic party”
Clayton, Kelvin Charles. Green – “Irrelevant”
Letwin, Oliver. Conservative – “I could vote for Letwin but this is a presidential election. I cannot vote for May.”
Rhodes, Lee. Labour – “Socialism is a delusion”

I remain a member of the Conservative Party but Theresa May is not a true Tory. It is she who has made this a presidential election, against all the principles of British democracy and I cannot possibly support her. She betrays all fundamental Tory values. She doesn’t believe in individual liberty and responsibility, she is a repressive, nanny-state authoritarian.  She doesn’t believe in small government, she is a bureaucrat who wants an ever-larger state encroaching into every aspect of our lives. She is not a true Tory.

Please review my previous articles about Mrs May.

22-01-17 – Theresa May Is Not A Tory, She’s An Authoritarian Bureaucrat.

29-03-17 – Thank You Ms May, Your Work is Now Done.

07-05-17 – Theresa May Isn’t Strong, She’s Cowardly, Evasive And Weak – And I’m A Tory!

22-05-17 – The Best Election Outcome Is A Tory Government With A Weakened Theresa May.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 27, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Theresa May Grandstands On The Manchester Tragedy.

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I’m sorry to make this point but every second of airtime that Mrs May gains from this, every image of her visiting victims and encouraging the emergency services is more votes in the ballot box.

Shamelessly, she is exploiting this diabolical act for her own self-interest.  The election campaign may be suspended but the media spotlight is now far more tightly focused on her.  Just as it’s probably true the Jo Cox murder affected the leave vote in the EU referendum and the Falklands War helped Margaret Thatcher through a difficult political period, so Mrs May will gain immeasurably from this horrifying, terrible, heartbreaking event.

We should return to the election campaign as soon as possible.  That is the best way to pay respect to the victims and their families by not allowing terror to win.  Our democracy, poor inadequate version that it is, must go on.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 23, 2017 at 4:52 pm

The Best Election Outcome Is A Tory Government With A Weakened Theresa May.

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I cannot vote to support Theresa May.  I could vote for my local Conservative candidate but Mrs May has made this election all about herself and she is not a true Tory.

Although I shall remain a member of the Conservative Party, I shall not vote for it.  If voting tactically was relevant in my constituency I would have no difficulty in voting Labour or Liberal Democrat in order to weaken Mrs May but it would make no difference, so I shall abstain by spoiling my ballot paper.

Theresa May is not a true Tory.  the most important, fundamental Conservative principles are individual liberty, individual responsibility and small government.  Mrs May is in opposition to these values, she is an Authoritarian Bureaucrat.  All her polices are about a bigger state, interfering more and more with our freedoms, micro-managing every aspect of our lives, just as she did at the Home Office.  Yet every single one of her policies has been a failure.

Immigration has been a disaster.  Since 2010 she has failed entirely to control this most divisive of issues.  It is at the root of Brexit and behind a large part of the conflict in our society.  Mrs May has simultaneously allowed us to be ‘swamped’ by economic migrants and implemented some of the most horrific human rights violations against genuine refugees.  Her failure to provide sanctuary for those fleeing Syria brings everlasting shame on Britain.

Policing is such a disaster that it is impossible to get any attention to a burglary, car theft, online fraud or harassment. Almost any crime short of being stabbed in the street is ignored.  Meanwhile the division between police and the community grows ever wider. We never see policemen except speeding by in a car.  The police canteen culture and a corrupt complaints system has encouraged terrible negligence, failing to protect children against grooming, failing to create a safe environment where young people do not feel they have to carry knives.

Drugs policy is a scandal with the highest ever rate of deaths by overdoses, stupid legislation like the Psychoactive Substances Act which has massively increased the harm of Spice.  The ban on khat promoting crime and racial division for a policy that has nothing to do with evidence.  The deeply cruel and anti-science policy of denying access to medicinal cannabis and the idiocy of gifting the wider £6 billion cannabis market to organised crime.

Remember the Passport Office chaos? Remember the racist billboard vans telling migrants to go home? Remember the deal advising Saudi Arabia, a brutal, oppressive, medieval regime, on policing? Remember Mrs May banning the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women from visiting Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre? The appalling rejection of asylum claims from Afghan heroes who had acted as interpreters for British troops? The proliferation of CCTV, making us the most snooped-on people in a so-called democracy in the world?  The repeated, insistent bullying and intolerant imposition of the Snooper’s Charter despite opposition from all sections of our society?  The exclusion of controversial speakers from entering the UK on no grounds except that Mrs May disagrees with them? The total, unmitigated, inexcusable disaster that is everything to do with the Border Force?

The triggering of Article 5o is the only successful policy that Theresa May has had anything to do with.  It made best use of her talents: we needed someone stubborn, obstinate, pig-headed, intransigent and incapable of listening to get that job done in the face of the anti-democratic Remainers.

If the Liberal Democrats didn’t have this stupid, illiberal, anti-democratic policy on Brexit I’d be voting for them on 8th June.  However, there is no party other than the Conservatives with a credible set of policies to govern Britain – but Mrs May is the weakest link.  She needs to step aside after the election and make way for a real leader, someone who actually believes in Brexit, in Britain as a world leader in liberty, justice and freedom.

Theresa May Isn’t Strong, She’s Cowardly, Evasive And Weak – And I’m A Tory!

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As a member of the Conservative Party, I am horrified with the dishonest and manipulative way in which Theresa May is running her election campaign.

She was a terrible Home Secretary with an appalling record of failure in every policy area.  However, I accept that she was the inevitable choice for leader when both Boris and Michael Gove bottled out.  Also, as I’ve written before, we needed someone stubborn, obstinate, pig-headed, intransigent and incapable of listening to get Article 50 triggered in the face of the anti-democratic Remaniacs.  She did a good job of that but now we need a real leader, someone who can actually implement her empty words about a “country that works for everyone” – which Ms May neither really means nor is she even capable of achieving.

Her refusal to engage in any proper debate is pathetic and brings shame on the Conservative Party.  Her bluster, barking and abusive style at PMQs is nothing to do with debate and not only is she refusing to take part in any TV debates but she’s avoiding any contact at all with real voters. It’s quite clear why – she’s an intolerant, abrasive and charmless person who really can’t deal with any dissent or disagreement. Her conduct in the Home Office where she ruled with an iron fist and micro-managed everything demonstrates this.  It’s not ‘strong’ to evade debate, to silence your opponents and to use government authority, power and facilities to undermine them.  In fact, on this last point, it’s probably unlawful as a misuse of government resources.

It’s ironic but also prescient that it was Ms May who named the Tories “the nasty party”, for that is exactly what she has achieved.  I’m also reminded of Ann Widdecombe’s remark about Michael Howard, “there is something of the night about him”.  This catches the spirit of Ms May very well.  I find her sinister, threatening and spiteful.

She’s clearly had intensive media training as Margaret Thatcher did but it hasn’t made her more appealing. True she seems to have controlled that dreadful sideways movement of her jaw and some of her worst gurning but her recent pitches to camera are nauseating: patently insincere, contrived and awkward.

The entire basis for this election is dishonest.  As PM, Ms May already has an indisputable mandate based on the EU referendum, endorsed by several votes in Parliament and by the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.  It is utter nonsense to suggest that the result of this election will strengthen her hand. The only reason she has called it is political opportunism and why you can’t really blame her for that, as a Tory I object to her seeking to create a what is effectively a dictatorship.  I even have concerns that the real reason she wants this personal mandate is so that she can start to reverse the UK towards her personal position as a Remainer.  She may choose to accept a far softer Brexit than we voted for and with a big majority there is nothing we will be able to do about it.

Never forget, the political class, the Westminster ‘elite’ are in despair at losing their long-term retirement/second career/super pension plan arrangements.  The EU offered them all a permanent role with a lavish, protected lifestyle funded by taxpayers.  They desperately want it back.

I cannot vote to support Theresa May.  I will remain a member of the Conservative Party because its fundamental principles of individual liberty, responsibility and small government are what I believe in.  I may well be on the liberal, even libertarian wing of the party but it is Theresa May who is out of step, not me.  Her leadership is cowardly, evasive and weak.  I shall either be abstaining or voting tactically and that could even mean that I vote Labour for the first time in my life.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm

UK Department of Health Has Neither Requested Nor Received Any Advice On Medicinal Cannabis.

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“I know nothing. I ask nothing. I understand nothing.”

This is the astonishing reality of the way the UK government is responding to the national outcry for access to cannabis as medicine. They are doing absolutely nothing.

Across the world a revolution is taking place as more and more jurisdictions are introducing legal access to medical cannabis. Medical professionals and patients alike are realising the huge benefits to be gained from re-opening access to this most valuable of medicines. Scientific research is proving beyond doubt that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine for a wide range of conditions. Many pharmaceutical companies are investigating different cannabinoids, extracts and therapies. Most of all, citizens are demanding access to a medicine that has been denied to them for no good reason and that can improve, even save the lives of people of all ages, from the baby with severe epilepsy to the grandparent suffering the effects of aging, even dementia. Cannabis can help improve and maintain good health in all of us.

Yet the UK government is not considering the evidence. Despite even a year long Parliamentary inquiry which recommended permitting access, the Department of Health has not considered nor even asked for any expert advice. My Freedom of Information request has established this beyond doubt. See here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/395319/response/965315/attach/html/2/1078680%20Reynolds.pdf.html

I have been pressing my MP, Sir Oliver Letwin, on this issue ever since I became his constituent two years ago. Early on he was an extremely powerful cabinet minster, generally recognised as number three in the government after David Cameron and George Osborne but he was swiftly sacked when Theresa May became prime minister.  He has already announced he will not stand for re-election to the next Parliament.

Meeting with Sir Oliver Letwin MP

To be fair, Oliver has always listened to me politely and attentively.  We have met on about half a dozen occasions and we frequently exchange emails.  He has been more responsive to me than I had hoped and to begin with he told me he was investigating what was happening in government about the subject.  His answer was that the evidence has been considered, expert advisors have been consulted and ministers have concluded that there is not a good case for reform.

I have pressed him again and again, shown him reams of evidence, shared stories with him from across the world, both of scientific research and patient testimonies.  While always courteous towards me he has remained resolutely opposed.  I could have given up long ago.  Indeed, when I asked him why can’t we simply leave it to the professional judgement of doctors whether to prescribe it or not, he gave me an answer straight out of a ‘Yes Minster’ script.  He said: “But then they would prescribe it.”

At the beginning of this year I asked him once again for assistance in putting me before a minister to advance my case.  He replied:

“We have discussed this issue before, but I am happy to set out the reason why I will not support your proposals. The Department of Health have, as you know, considered this issue, have taken advice on it from their professional public health advisors, and have concluded that the gains in healthcare arising from the legalisation of medicinal cannabis (as opposed to cannabinoids) would not be sufficiently great to outweigh the risk of abuse.”

It seems that, at best, Sir Oliver is mistaken.  I have written to him again asking for comments on the FOI response.

Whatever reply I now receive, I urge everyone to get on to their MP about this.  It is a scandal.  There can be no doubt that it is irresponsible and negligent that the Department of Health is so clearly failing in its duty to the country.  That’s not to say how very cruel and inhumane this failure is or how much money legal medical cannabis could save the NHS.  Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, must be called to account for this.

Thank You Ms May, Your Work is Now Done.

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Thank you Ms May. We needed someone stubborn, obstinate, pig-headed, intransigent and incapable of listening to get Article 50 triggered in the face of the anti-democratic Remaniacs.

Now your work is done and we need a real leader. Please take early retirement with the grateful thanks of the nation.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 29, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Posted in Politics

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How To Campaign For Cannabis Law Reform Under A Theresa May Government.

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  • Lobbying Parliament

  • If the Government Won’t Regulate Cannabis Then We’ll Do It For Them

  • The CBD Market

  • Medical Cannabis

  • Educating And Influencing Researchers

For cannabis and drugs policy reform, out of 650 MPs, there could not have been a worse person to seize power than Theresa May.  There are a few who come close on both Tory and Labour benches but no one who has such a long record of bigotry, denial of evidence and refusal even to consider the subject.

Senior Tory MPs For Cannabis Law Reform

To be fair, I am a member of the Conservative Party, which to many people involved in the cannabis campaign is a mortal sin but my advocacy is based on science and evidence, not tribalism or wider politics.  In any case, though many find this fact hard to accept, there has always been more support from Tory MPs than Labour. Highly influential and senior Tory MPs such as Crispin Blunt, Peter Lilley and Dr Dan Poulter are powerful advocates for reform. I firmly believe that the only sustainable route to legalisation is commercialisation and the left wing, nanny state, anti-business types are already pushing the ‘Big Cannabis’ scare stories.

So what can we do and what are we doing to advance our cause in these dark days?  Theresa May always has been secretive, inaccessible, unresponsive and entirely disinterested in any opinion except her own.  How can we possibly make any progress with a PM who has already shown she is prepared to cover up or falsify evidence and defines herself by her belief in a supernatural power?

There is more support for cannabis law reform in Parliament than ever before.  It is now official policy of both the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party. The support from Scotland is far more valuable than that from the discredited LibDems.  With the added factors of Brexit and Scottish Independence, the SNP is in a powerful position to advance its policies.  Also, in Ireland, both north and south, public support for medical cannabis reform is exploding.  Michelle O’Neill, SinnFein’s new leader, has pledged medical cannabis reform if she is re-elected (though she has no power to do so!).  Her negotiating position is immensely strong now that the problems at Stormont, the rise of Sinn Fein and the Brexit factor all combine to make a united Ireland a real possibility.

During the coalition government from 2010 to 2015, few doors were closed to us.  Over that period, CLEAR conducted more meetings with ministers and senior politicians than the entire UK campaign had achieved in 50 years.  Because we had support from the LibDems, and introductions from the Deputy Prime Minister, even Tory ministers were ready to see us, even if they were merely paying lip service.  That all stopped with the election of a majority Conservative government and after Cameron stepped down the doors were slammed in our faces, bolted and double-locked.  The campaign has been in the doldrums ever since. Or has it?

The last major achievement of the last few year’s campaigning was the release of the APPG report on medical cannabis in September 2016.  Alongside it, Professor Mike Barnes, CLEAR advisory board member, published his review ‘Cannabis: The Evidence for Medical Use‘.  To all impartial and reasonable observers, these documents should have initiated positive government action towards reform, even if it was only very limited in scope.  But no, Theresa May didn’t leave it to Amber Rudd, her successor as home secretary, she stepped straight in herself on the day of publication, before she could even have read it and dismissed the report out of hand.  This echoes the apocryphal story of James Callaghan, then PM, throwing the 1969 Wooton Report in the bin without even opening it.  Such is the inertia and prejudice that has not softened at all amongst the bigots despite 45 years of science and research proving that there are better, safer, more beneficial options available on cannabis.

Lobbying Parliament

For now, individual lobbying of MPs is our only route to power. Over the years we have refined our approach to this and we know what works.  Getting into ping pong correspondence with an MP is a waste of time.  An initial letter or email needs to be followed up with a face-to-face meeting and a determined focus on getting a tangible result. What sort of result you should look for depends on your circumstances but getting your MP to arrange a meeting with a government minister should be your goal.

If you’re a medical user then you’ll want to meet a health minister, preferably the Secretary of State, if not a junior minister or perhaps an advisor to the Department of Health.  Work with your MP to achieve the best result you can.  Your MP doesn’t necessarily have to agree with you about cannabis but they should facilitate your communication with government, that’s their job. If you’re more interested in the economic or social benefits to be gained from reform, you could ask for an introduction to the Chancellor, a treasury or business minister, or someone at the Cabinet Office who is involved in policy development.  CLEAR can usually provide someone to accompany you on meetings but this must be arranged in advance and agreed with your MP or whoever your appointment is with.  Alternatively, we can provide advice over the telephone on how to approach the meeting, what to ask for and what evidence or supporting material to take with you.

If the Government Won’t Regulate Cannabis Then We’ll Do It For Them

With an intransigent government that does it all it can to evade engagement on this issue, there is more that CLEAR is already doing.  If the government won’t take responsibility and regulate cannabis, then step by step we are going to do it for them.  Someone has to, there is far too much harm and suffering caused by present policy.

The CBD Market

Through 2016 the CBD market in the UK really began to take off.  These are products derived from industrial hemp, grown legally under licence that offer many of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.  They should, in fact, be more accurately termed low-THC cannabis as apart from crystals and a few, rare examples of isolated CBD, they are whole plant extracts and contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds found in the plants from which they are made.  Therefore they offer many of the ‘entourage effect’ benefits but with very low levels of THC.  It was obvious though that this market was heading for problems.  More and more dubious suppliers were starting up, many making brazen claims for the medical effects and benefits of their products and many without any product testing, quality assurance or honest customer service.  The law was then and always has been crystal clear, you cannot make medical claims for a product without it being properly licensed or regulated.  Inevitably, in June 2016 the MHRA stepped in and sent threatening letters to a number of CBD suppliers.

CLEAR took the initiative.  We wrote to the MHRA requesting a meeting.  We engaged with the leading CBD suppliers and our advisory board members Professor Mike Barnes and Crispin Blunt MP were quickly on the case.  The story has already been extensively reported but now, nearly a year on, our efforts are coming to fruition. We led the approach to the MHRA and in the process created what is now the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTAUK).  It is now recognised by the MHRA, it has established a code of conduct and it is now the gold standard of quality, ethics and legality that can give anyone buying CBD products real peace of mind.  There are still cowboys out there, making false claims, selling products that offer no real benefit and even endangering their customers with products that are illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.  Now though, customers can go to the CTAUK website and choose a supplier that is operating legally, ethically and within the regulations that the industry itself has established.  We expect the MHRA very shortly formally to endorse CTAUK members as legitimate suppliers of CBD products as food supplements.

Medical Cannabis

Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary, Royal College of GPs

Neither can we accept the government’s irresponsible and cruel policy towards people who need cannabis as medicine. So CLEAR has taken a further initiative. After Theresa May’s dismissal of the APPG report, we approached the Royal Colleges of medicine.  We pointed out that whatever the government might say, around one million people are using cannabis as medicine.  Doctors have a duty and an ethical responsibility to educate themselves on the subject and be able to provide properly informed care to their patients.  Our efforts have borne fruit.  Professor Mike Barnes and I have worked with Professor Nigel Mathers of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).  We will be producing a draft set of guidelines on medicinal cannabis for GPs which will go the next meeting of the RCGP Council and is planned for publication in June 2017.  If the government won’t do it, we will and the medical profession agrees with us.  This will be the greatest practical advance ever made in medical cannabis in the UK.

Educating And Influencing Researchers

Dr Musa Sami, Peter Reynolds

The UK is the most prolific source of research into the harms of cannabis, particularly the tenuous links between cannabis and psychosis.  Despite dozens of studies, mainly from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College Hospital, this has never been shown to be any more than statistical correlation.  Most of these studies are confounded by tobacco use but the latest work from Professor Sir Robin Murray and his team shows an even stronger correlation between tobacco and psychosis than cannabis.

Across the world, UK scientists have become notorious for this scaremongering which seems little different from the ‘reefer madness’ hysteria.  To be fair, much of this is down to the UK media which has barely advanced since the 1930s in its reporting.  It provides the environment in which researchers are able to gain funding for research into cannabis harms but hardly ever for cannabis benefits.

CLEAR is now working with the Institute of Psychiatry to develop a new and more balanced way of surveying the effects of cannabis.  Dr Musa Sami has asked us to advise on the construction of a questionnaire on which the Institute will base its future work.