Time For The Debate On Drug Laws To Come Out Of The Closet
Its time this issue was dragged out of it's darkened hole and given the full benefit of public scrutiny and debate. The British people are ready for it even if their politicians and newspapers are not.
In mid December Bob Ainsworth, Labour MP for Coventry North East, was viciously attacked from both sides of the Commons for the mere suggestion that it might be worth reviewing Britain's approach to drug legislation. The national press followed close behind, splashing Mr Ainsworth's comments on their front pages. Conspicuously absent was the usual hum of approval from their readers. Indeed the pace with which the story petered out indicates the silence for newspaper editors was deafening.
On the day the story broke I visited the websites of all the major UK newspapers, browsed to their coverage of the story and read the reader comments beneath each one. To my surprise almost every contributor was either pro-legalisation or pro-debate. Many commended Mr Ainsworth on his comments and were outraged at the way he'd been treated. These views were as prevalent in the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Times as they were in the Guardian. While website comments are commonly polarised and extremist, these contributions were remarkably grown up and pragmatic.
The articles and their comments are there now for anyone to see and demonstrate a gaping disconnect between public opinion and the 'accepted wisdom' of our political class - that drug law reform is taboo.
I propose that 38degrees campaigns for a nationwide and parliamentary debate on this subject. In fact here's a quick idea for the campaign pitch... An image of the British people standing proud staring down at politicians cowering under a table with the slogan - "We're grown up enough to debate drug laws - are you?"
Marcia Simpson-James commented
I'm against drug-taking. Never have, never will! I've seen the results and effects on 'middle'class' cruffs and their children.
And have you seen the aristocracy and their off-spring - out of their minds on crack, skunk and a trailer-load of tablets and injections? The frightening thing is that some of these freaks are working on newspapers, in parliament as staff, and as parliamentarians making despotic laws on the people, and running local government. Legalise drugs, Oh give me a break!
One only has to go and check prince such and such or princess so and so, or Mr liberal-conservative MP, or Ms senior civil servant to find out how legal "illegal" drugs are. Just go to Westminster and Whitehall to get anything you want.
Brian Walters commented
Sixty % of crime is drug-related. If drug users could legally buy drugs to meet their needs the supply and content could be regulated, and the products taxed. Criminalizing social drug users just plays into the hands of organised crime - drug dealers are the only ones benefiting from our drug laws.
Gordon Craig commented
Should we consolidate our votes to make them count and pick a campaign that best suits the "No Confidence/ General election vote?" I personally feel no confidence says it all and should then lead to a general election.
peter g commented
personally i think we need to look at places like Amsterdam where drug use is legal thus stopping the little man getting punished while people carrying large quantity still face trouble from the police personally i don't touch drugs but feel that England would be a safer place if they were legal crippling dealers and the violence that goes with it
Alex T commented
nice idea, but any quota system risks fueling a black market. i tend to think taxation is the best way. works for petrol and cigarettes. the money can then go to treatment
This should be debated.
One option I've considered is a quota system; You can buy X amount of alcohol per week, no holding over any unused points for the next week.
Same for drugs, in order to stop excessive consumption. I had favoured banning smoking altogether on the grounds of long term savings to the NHS, but since the Tories are determined to destroy the NHS so that they can make more money from us, I'm not sure there's a point...
Agree with the sentiments. Prohibition never works and in fact simply pushes good money into the hands of bad people.