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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘bigotry

The Miserable Matter Of The Mayor Of Bridport. Prejudice, Lies And Cover Up.

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ros kayes mayor
Ros Kayes is a Liberal Democrat councillor and was made Mayor of Bridport in May 2016.

my FB libDEm resigI resigned from the Liberal Democrats just before the EU referendum because I believed the position the party adopted was a betrayal of fundamental values of liberalism and democracy.  I think it was a perfectly respectable position to take to vote remain and there were questionable tactics on both sides during the campaign. However, the bitter, abusive response to the result by many people, particularly Liberal Democrats, has been quite terrible.

Ros Kayes’ behaviour has been shocking. Even worse, she has been dishonest and has tried to cover up her foolish remarks.

She published this comment on Facebook during 23rd June 2016, the day of the referendum:

ros kayes prejudice

I responded that this was an act of prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, totally against all Liberal Democrat values and was exactly the reason I had resigned.  In return I received these responses:

ros kayes prejudice 2

 

ros kayes prejudice 3

I have written to Ros, politely asking her to clarify what “unsavoury posts in the last few weeks” and what “unpleasant email to a party member”?  I have no idea what she is talking about and I fear she has invented these angry ripostes.

Anyway, I would have let it lie there until I received a phone call from Rachel Stretton a reporter from the Dorset Echo.

Rachel said she was calling me about a lot of complaints the newspaper had received about Ros Kayes’ Facebook posts concerning the referendum.  I told her how shocked I was at what I’d seen and she told me about a post containing bad language which, at the time. I had not seen. We ended the conversation with me confirming that Ros Kayes’ behaviour had been the final straw in my resigning membership of the party.

I then discovered the very foolish, childish use of foul language that Roz Kayes had published.

ros kayes prejudice 4

 

I posted on Facebook about what had happened and there was quite a response.  However, I thought it was probably time to let it go.  A lot of people were very upset by the result of the referendum.  I would have been if it had gone the other way.  I think in such circumstances you do have to allow people some leeway.  Many people had been up all night, most had probably been drinking as well.  A few injudicious remarks are inevitable from tired, emotional and upset human beings!

But next thing I received a message from Rachel Stretton backpedalling as fast as she could about what she had asked when she called me.  I was astonished at this! What had spooked the Dorset Echo?  Rachel now said “We have not received any complaints about the behaviour of anyone in the run-up to the referendum. Apologies for any confusion.”

Well hang on a minute, why did she call me in the first place then?  I didn’t even know about use of the ‘F’ word until she told me and she quite definitely approached me about comments related to the referendum.

Rachel then messaged me to say: “I do of course understand if you wish to change any comment you made in light of this. Again for clarification, Ros has made a statement saying her account was hacked and this, private post, was made public inadvertently.”

What?!!  There’s no other way to put this, the Dorset Echo seemed to be involved in helping Ros Kayes to cover up her behaviour. And then I saw the ridiculous article published in the newspaper “Bridport mayor Ros Kayes responds to Facebook post criticism”.

This article is nothing less than insult to the readers of the Dorset Echo and it is a shameful attempt to deceive the electorate.  Not only is Ros Kayes telling lies but the Dorset Echo is assisting her!  This is a stitch up between a local politician and a local newspaper.  There is only one word for it – corruption.  In fact I think the greatest shame is on the newspaper.  So much for a free, independent press.  There are very grave questions to be answered by the editor and I cannot imagine that local businesses will want to be advertising in a paper that is involved in a shabby, corrupt cover-up of a politician’s misdeeds. he story about privacy settings is a story of Ros Kayes own incompetence but the story about her account being hacked is a brazen, bare-faced lie.

Nevertheless, my interest waned again. I was now beginning to learn that Ros Kayes does have an excellent reputation for good work in the community.  I have myself been subject to online attack and trolling which caused me great distress and had a real effect on  my mental health.  There are some very cruel, very spiteful people who use social media to abuse and harass for no reason other than their own perverted self-gratification.  The one comfort I had is that when I was under attack I knew it was all based on lies.  In this instance, Ros Kayes was the one telling porkies, she was responsible for causing the furore and she is tee occupier of a significant public office, one that even comes with official regalia and privileges. There does have to be some accountability.

However, I really didn’t want to take it any further.  This woman obviously does good work and if she’s made one bad mistake, I didn’t want to be vengeful or unkind about it.

Then Ros Kayes responded to my email about her claims of me making “unsavoury posts” and sending an “unpleasant email“.  (She had by now already blocked me on Facebook and Twitter). Oh dear!

My “unsavoury post” (there was only one now apparently) was this one “Why I Am Resigning From the Liberal Democrats“.  Judge for yourself whether there is anything unsavoury about it. My “unpleasant email” was an email about my change of address which I had already notified the party of, which I explained and wrote “So I don’t really know what else I could be expected to do!”. Not very unpleasant in my book.

Ros also wrote: “I certainly don’t think all Brexit voters are racist – many had perfectly sensible reasons for making the decision they did. And my post did not say that all Brexit voters were racist, simply raised fears about the ones that were.”.

So, once again I was ready to let it go. Perhaps it was one error and it could be overlooked.  I was now firmly of the opinion that the more serious matter was the Dorset Echo’s corrupt involvement in a cover up.

And then today, I was provided with a copy of a letter Ros Kayes had published in the Bridport News.

ros kayes letter
This is terrible.

“I fear this election [sic] will be won by those who revel in bigotry. I despair at the number of voters saying ‘I’m not racist but…’ then utter words from the lexicon of Adolf Hitler”

“Please don’t let our country’s future be decided by racist, liars and bigots.”

This is truly terrible. Absolutely unforgivable words from any public figure or politician, particularly one who has the audacity to call  herself a ‘Liberal Democrat’.

Such ignorant generalisations from Ms Kayes are every bit as prejudiced and discriminatory as racism. She is a terrible, terrible hypocrite.

So, despite really trying very hard to pull back from this, in the end I decided that I had to publish this story in full.

I expect Ros Kayes to resign. There seems to be a valid case that perhaps she could stay on as a councillor but her position as Mayor is untenable.

As for the Dorset Echo, this is still the far more serious issue of a corrupt, underhand cover up of a politician’s dishonesty.  It will almost certainly try to bury this story entirely now. Diarmuid Macdonagh, the editor, should do the honourable thing and explain himself.  If he doesn’t, I shall be making a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

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The Politics Of Cannabis

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Originally Published In ISMOKE Magazine Issue 1

Cannabis is a political issue.  Make no mistake about it.  The scientific, moral, medical and health arguments have all been won.  What we need to do now is find a way to make change happen.

It’s in the prohibitionists’ interests to keep debating all the ins and outs and going through the evidence because it diverts from the imperative for change. We have to keep repeating the truth.  We have to cut through their deception and scaremongering but above all, we have to demand action.

In the US, they’ve gone way, way past the silly and irrelevant arguments about cannabis being dangerous or harmful. We like to think that we’re smarter, a more mature democracy but so many Brits are still suckers for a Daily Mail scare story. The propaganda and bigotry still prevails here.  In America they simply accept that if you abuse or misuse something it may cause you harm. They rarely even mention the psychosis theory.  Even after Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting and the stories of Jared Loughner’s marijuana use, his friends were quick to step forward and say he’d stopped some time ago and actually seemed worse and more unstable without self-medicating on cannabis.  More importantly than that, the US media reported what his friends said rather than hushing it up because it wasn’t sensational enough.

Peter Hitchens, the Mail On Sunday columnist wrote a disgusting rant about the shooting, blaming it all on cannabis and having nothing to do with the truth at all. Now the US media are ridiculing him about Britain’s Reefer Madness.  He really is an example of the very worst in journalism.  The truth means nothing to him.  He is a liar and a mendacious frightener of the vulnerable, the elderly, of children and their parents.  You will be interested to know that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance has drawn a line in the sand.  We will no longer let such nonsense go unchallenged.  A formal complaint is being made in the LCA’s name to the Press Complaints Commission.  It will be the first of many.  We will no longer allow the British media to distribute lies without calling them to account.

The War On Prohibition Can Be Won!

Prohibition is fundamentally immoral.  It is nothing less than the unjustified oppression of a section of society.  It is as pernicious and evil as racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of prejudice. It says that, irrespective of facts, evidence, science or justice, just because we disagree with you, we will make your activity illegal. We will criminalise you, imprison you, ruin your career, endanger your family, smear you with unjustified innuendo and suspicion. We will cause you far more harm than the activity you choose ever will.

It is pretty well accepted now, worldwide, that Nixon’s war on drugs can never be won.  It makes Vietnam or Afghanistan look like a little skirmish in some backwater.  It has been responsible for far more death, misery and destruction than any war since Nixon first declared it.  There are still those who cling to its ambitions, like our favourite preppy, baby face minister James Brokenshire   But he is rather like one of those Japanese soldiers, found on some remote Pacific island, thirty years after his Emperor surrendered – still dangerous, still committed to his cause but hopelessly out of touch, in need of re-education, a very, very sad case.

The war on prohibition is now in full flow and this is a campaign that can and must be won.  It is a war that has right and justice and common sense on its side.  It is time that we marshall our forces, determine our strategy, plan our tactics and hold fast to our courage as we advance on the enemy.  I believe that this year or next marijuana will be legalised in at least one state in America.  Once the dam is broken, progress will begin to roll out all over the world.

I believe that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance is the standard around which we should rally.  We are responsible, respectable, reasonable citizens and we need to unite to fight the war on prohibition.

What is vital is that the LCA communicates its messages effectively to the right people. It seems to me that one of, if not the most important audience is members of parliament. They, after all, are the only people who can actually change the law. We therefore have to play their game by their rules.

In the documentary “In Pot We Trust”, Aaron of the Marijuana Policy Project says that one man in short hair and a suit, lobbying congressmen can achieve more than hundreds marching in the street.  I think he’s right.

The LCA must re-launch its campaign.  We must overhaul our image, update the logo and the website.  We must become conscious of our communications, control and deliver our messages with ruthless effect, use all the spin doctor tricks and techniques, just as any other political party or pressure group.

I will put on a suit and tie for the LCA because that’s what is needed to make progress with politicians, through the media and, most importantly, with the great God of public opinion.

I think we also have to consider our name.  Not throw it out for the sake of something new but recognise that “Legalise” is a word that frightens people.  They think it means an uncontrolled free for all, whereas what we argue for is fact and evidence based regulation.  We also need to consider the word cannabis.  People are frightened to have it on their Facebook profile and concerned that it may come up in a Google search when they’re applying for a new job.  We have to consider these things.  I would argue that instead of saying “Legalise Cannabis”, we might say “End Prohibition”.

So we do need to become much more professional about our communications and image. Anything put out in our name needs to be “on message” in every sense of the phrase – look, feel, content, style, etc. Each target audience needs to be addressed on its terms. We need an analysis and a plan for each individual MP and constituency. We need a rota of pro-active media communications. We need to enlist the help of celebrities who support our cause.  This needs to be done consistently and repeatedly. We need a team of people all over the country working together with a plan to succeed.

I also believe that we should re-register as a political party and field candidates in every byelection.  In fact, I would propose that we field the same candidate in every byelection and we build.the campaign and awareness over time.  I don’t expect us to win a seat in parliament but I do expect us to start being taken seriously. I want to see us on Newsnight and on Question Time.  When Debra Bell is asked for a quote or is interviewed about a cannabis story, I want us to be quoted as well and to be on the other side of the TV sofa facing down her mischief and misinformation.

Cannabis is a political issue.  If we get our act together and get serious about the war on prohibition, get serious about achieving results, explain the facts, expose the lies, then we can prevail. We can see the truth revealed.  We can win!

Spectacular Spectator Drivel On Cannabis

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Melanie Phillips

A Zionist, Labour supporting, Daily Mail journalist – it’s hardly a good start is it? I should have known better than even to start reading her article in The Spectator.

This woman is a dangerous liar and propagandist.  Astonishingly, with breathtaking hypocrisy in promoting the most dangerous of drugs, The Spectator describes itself as “Champagne for the brain”.

Here is her article, reproduced without kind permission of The Spectator and my letter to the editor in response.

Yesterday morning, BBC Radio Four’s Today programme broadcast an interview with a professor of neuropharmacology, Roger Pertwee. Prof Pertwee was making an eyebrow-raising suggestion – that cannabis use should be licensed. His argument was as incoherent as it was irresponsible. He maintained, repeatedly, that all he wanted to do was to reduce the harm done by cannabis – from dangers which he appeared to define merely as smoking an adulterated form of the drug, or getting lung cancer from smoking it. So he wanted to restrict it to people whom it ‘wouldn’t harm’. They would use it in other ways than smoking it, so they wouldn’t get cancer. They would go along to their GP who would pronounce them fit enough to use it.

Hello?!?

What about the harm that we know is done by cannabis itself to the brain — to cognition, to memory, to motivation, to personality? What about the tremendous increase in psychosis caused by cannabis use? What about the harm it does to other people in the user’s ambit?

Yes, said Prof Pertwee, indeed, his scheme wouldn’t reduce the harm done by cannabis itself.

What about all those millions more young people who would start using the drug and become addicted and do themselves and other people all that harm?

Yes, stammered Prof Pertwee, that would indeed be an enormous problem with his scheme. But all he wanted to do was, er, to reduce the harm. And when he’d chased his own tail round that pointless circle a few times, he fell back on ‘all I want to do is stimulate discussion’.

In short, it was a stupid and dangerous idea which even in its own terms made no sense whatever. Why on earth was this professor of neuropharmacology spouting such self-evident drivel on the BBC that even he himself had to keep demurring at his own argument?

What the BBC didn’t tell us was that Prof Pertwee was not some dispassionate expert who just happened to breeze into the studio with a cockeyed idea about turning GPs into cannabis pushers.

Prof Pertwee is Director of Pharmacology of GW Pharmaceuticals – which has a special Home Office licence to market a cannabinoid medicine called Sativex which is used to treat certain medical conditions.

His embargoed press release even said of his proposal:

‘I think this might be the way forward, but it might not work…  It depends on a private company being willing to produce a branded product’.

But it’s his own company which is best placed to do just that! In other words, the Today programme – as a result of its own lazy and frivolous bias in favour of drug legalisation,  which presumably meant it didn’t do due diligence in researching its interviewee because he had the Correct Opinion on drug policy – was played for a sucker by Big Pharma. It was used to give prime air-time to a piece of commercial advocacy which was passed off as a neutral policy discussion. Except that the product being promoted here wasn’t soap powder, but a drug that enslaves.

Who needs cannabis when the Beeb is so dopey already?

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: letters@spectator.co.uk
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 11:20 AM
Subject: Melanie Phillips, The Dopey Beeb, 15th September 2010

Dear Sir,

The disgraceful display of ignorance and propaganda about cannabis by Melanie Phillips cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.

Her biogtry plumbs new depths of scandalous nonsense.

In the 1930s they used to say that cannabis makes white women promiscuous with black men. Ms Phillips continues on this shameful path of crass misinformation. She needs to do some research before inflicting her ignorance on readers any further.

I agree that Professor Pertwee was incoherent but he is an academic, not a professional communicator.  At least he was dispensing facts. Ms Phillips’ diatribe was, to say the very least, economical with the truth.

Cannabis does not harm the brain or damage cognition, memory, motivation or personality – at least no more than breathing oxygen does and a whole lot less than any other recreational drug.  The phrase “tremendous increase in psychosis” is just a bare-faced lie and that it harms “other people in the user’s ambit” is the very worst sort of journalistic hogwash.

By all means, Ms Phillips, wallow in your own deluded opinion but don’t use your position to spead such wicked, dangerous nonsense.  You should be ashamed of yourself!

Authoritarian scaremongers, political cowards and cheap scandal-seeking journalists have been urging scientists to prove that cannabis is harmful for well over 100 years.  They haven’t succeeded yet.  On the contrary, all the latest research proves that cannabis is a remarkably benign substance yet with some extraordinary medicinal properties. The endocannabinoid system, which was only discovered in 1998 is now known to be fundamental to life and good health.  The only source of cannabinoids outside the body is the cannabis plant.

I used to have time for Melanie Phillips and some degree of respect for her opinion.  I see now that she is just the same as any tabloid hack who cares not one jot for the truth, merely for cheap sensation and worthless rhetoric.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

Idiotic Israelis, Insane Islamists

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It astonishes me the bigotry, intolerance and crass stupidity demonstrated by so many who write for one side or the other on the terrible conflict in the Middle East.

Many of them are erudite and eloquent, passionate and caring – but only of their own cause.

I thought (maybe I’m wrong) that part of the idea of blogging was to comment on each other’s writing and participate in debate.

No chance!

So many of these obviously intelligent people censor comments that they disagree with and deem anyone who disagrees with them as a fascist, racist or xenophobe.   The vitriol I’ve attracted from some is almost unbelievable. They can’t understand that in one article I can condemn the evil behaviour of the Israelis and in the next I condemn the great evil that Islam has become. I can call some Israeli behaviour fascist.  I can call some Islamists perverters and defilers of Islam.

Some of these bloggers write (rant) at the most incredible length. They probably don’t have the benefit of my experience from which the most important thing I’ve learned is that even those people who agree with you will get bored if you go on and on and on and on and on…

It’s just a tip which you can ignore if you want but if you can’t get your point across in a couple of hundred words then maybe you should think again!

One individual (who I won’t embarrass by linking to), told me today that offering a link to my post on the subject was “an advert”, referred me to his “comments policy”, suggesting that I am a “xenophobic bigot”.

I explained to him that my comments policy is “please do”!