Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘coalition

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.

Britain Descends Into A Police State, Liberty Is Extinguished, Government Is Corrupt.

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Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax known as Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset.

Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax known as Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset.

An email to my stuffed shirt, honorary Bullingdon Club member, self-serving and utterly useless MP, Richard Drax.

 

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: Richard Drax MP
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:20 PM
Subject: Britain descends into a police state, liberty is extinguished, goverment is corrupt and self-serving.

Dear Mr Drax,

Theresa May is a monster. The coalition government conspires with the opposition to deprive us of our few remaining liberties. Files on Westminster paedophiles and illegal rendition via Diegio Garcia are mysteriously “lost”. The UK government and its propaganda mouthpiece, the BBC, flagrantly defies 65 UN resolutions and supports the Israeli genocide of Palestine.

Do you even begin to realise the contempt that you self-serving and corrupt bunch of criminals are held in?

Time to roll out the guillotines in Parliament Square.

Any MP with a shred of honour would resign from this disgraced House of Corruption.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

Sixth-Form ‘A’ Level Course In PR Omnishambles

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midtermreview

Utterly humiliating, amateur, empty, ridiculous, incompetent, shameful.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Vive Brittania, Rule La France. The End Of The United Kingdom.

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Non!  C’est impossible.  This treaty is treason.

Ratty & Mr Toad

I don’t want the French having anything to do with the defence of my country.  I’m happy to have them as allies but at arm’s length, please.  They have shown all too often how ready they are to turn and run, to pursue their own obscure and strange ideas and to fail to support us.  We don’t need the French and we don’t want them.   David Cameron has betrayed us.

It is ridiculous.  It is a shabby politician’s compromise.  With a searing bolt of shining light I realise the danger of the coalition.  This is a disastrous fudge by two Euro-politicians intent on a grubby deal to reinforce each other.  I thought David Cameron was so much more his own man yet the longer the coalition continues I see that it promises little more than mediocrity and mutual back scratching.  Nick Clegg has become a poodle.  David Cameron is just a committee chairman and all politicans are now even more focused on their own personal advantage and gain than they were in the days of the expenses free for all.  There is no integrity left in parliament at all.

This shameful abdication of our sovereignty is the worst of all worlds. It is politicians doing all they can to lock themselves into power with no regard or concern for the people, for our honour or our independence. It is all about politicians and nothing to do with the people.

This devious scheme has been cooked up behind closed doors without any recourse or consultation.  It is undemocratic, un-British and a disgrace.  I can no longer support the coalition.  I cannot vote for Mr Toad.  He is a liar, a cheat and a conman.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

The Severn Scandal Of Huhne

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Artist's Impression

If there is idiocy in the coalition this is it.

Chris Huhne, the so-called progressive LibDem Energy Minister has called off the Severn barrage, the biggest tidal energy project ever in Britain.  See here.

What more sustainable, reliable, self-evidently ideal source of energy is there than the tide?  Until the earth spins off its axis or the moon melts into green cheese, the tides will continue to work.  The Severn estuary has the second highest tidal reach in the world.  The power inherent in its cycle is unimaginable.  When we find a way to harness it efficiently we will have achieved something every bit as revolutionary as cold fusion.

Blind

Yet our short sighted Energy Minister has cancelled the project and says that investment in such new energy sources should come from the private sector. Then he says that private sector investment is unrealistic.  There is something seriously wrong with this man’s thinking.  This is not the sort of project that you judge on the basis of some nit picking consultant’s report.  This is akin to the invention of flight or the microprocessor.  This requires vision.  This is a project that stretches across centuries and dwarfs Chris Huhne and his shameful decision.

This is exactly, precisely and properly the sort of project that government should be investing in heavily.  Only government can promote this sort of essential, long term development.  As for the pathetic whinging of the RSPB et al, this reveals how many small minded fools there are in the green movement.  The birds will find somewhere else soon enough.

A disastrous and terrible decision that will define and should destroy Chris Huhne’s career.

Anti-Social Police Behaviour

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Out Of Control

The British police are out of control.  Far from becoming a politically correct “service”, they’re moving more and more towards the “force” ethos, promoting their own self-interest and resisting all attempts to be subject to democratic control.  The sooner we get elected police commissioners the better.  Those presently in charge of the police increasingly place themselves above the law and regard the public as the opposition, not the people they are paid to protect and serve.

They’re even trying to frighten us over the spending cuts, suggesting that any reduction in police budgets will lead to increased crime and disorder.  What other public service with its budget under threat uses direct fear of violence as its response?  I call that scaremongering.  I call it precious close to a protection racket, to blackmail and extortion.

The police are very, very good at road accidents.  There are brave and clever men and women in anti-terrorism and serious crime.  But we lost the British bobby sometime ago now.  I’d say it was in the 1990s.  Dixon Of Dock Green had retired to the other side of the world.  Jack Regan was supposed to have gone but he returned disguised as Gene Hunt.  The TSG continued its long tradition of brutality providing a career path for violent thugs.  The term “institutionalised racism” was coined.  The cars got faster.  The uniforms got sexier in a Nazi stormtrooper sort of way.   Meanwhile, in parallel,  the gay rights, politically correct, sociology graduates and new Labour bureaucrats gained influence and these two factions, fundamentally incompatible, consumed huge quantities of police time and procedure,  and eventually created a perfect storm of bureaucracy, corruption and laziness.  The police lost touch with the people completely.

The police don’t want to be accountable to anybody.   Even when they assault members of the public, even when innocent bystanders die at the hands of police officers in disguise, they close ranks, obstruct justice, lie, cheat and dissemble to avoid the consequences.  Now,  Sir Paul Stephenson, not content with the way his officers pervert the criminal justice system, wants some sort of immunity from the civil courts.  His secret letter to Theresa May, seeking protection against officers being sued for brutality or wrongful arrest is a disgrace.  See here. It reveals his true intentions only too clearly.  He even wants to charge for requests under the Freedom Of Information Act, further tightening the police culture of secrecy and concealment.   It is truly terrifying that Britain’s most senior police officer should even contemplate such ideas.  It is the very opposite of responsibility and conclusive proof that he is not a fit and proper person to be any sort of policeman, let alone commissioner of the Metropolitan police.  Theresa May should dismiss him immediately.   He is a power hungry, manipulative, enemy of justice.  No sort of protector or champion or servant of the public at all.

When it comes to the brutal assault by Sergeant Delroy Smellie on Nicola Fisher or the death of Ian Tomlinson, clearly caused by PC Simon Harwood, most of us would be prepared to accept the “bad apple” argument.   Yet somehow, in the Nicola Fisher case, District Judge Daphne Wickham was persuaded to refuse to hear Ms Fisher’s statement in court.  Somehow,  over a year and a half after Ian Tomlinson was killed, PC Harwood has still not been called to account for his actions and is still suspended on full pay.  Neither have his colleagues who blatantly lied and tried to cover up what had happened.  The truth is these men are not bad apples.  They are the deliberate product of the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG).  In hiding their identification and using brutal, disproportionate violence, they are entirely consistent with the culture and training that their senior officers have designed.

Hero

Of course, there are still good cops, selfless, conscientious heroes like PC Bill Barker who genuinely seek to serve the public.  He gave his life while protecting people during the Cumbrian floods.  See here.   He deserves every honour that we can bestow on him.  He shames all those corrupt, cowardly bullies that infect our country, that hide in their offices and cars, that display their vile and despicable attitudes on the Inspector Gadget website.   Officers like PC Barker are now in the minority, in full scale retreat, ridiculed and excluded by a wannabe Gene Hunt culture that has attracted more and more borderline psychopaths to the paramilitary uniform and fast car culture.

Role Model

Now they don’t even think that anti-social behaviour is police work.  It’s not exciting or glamorous enough.  In the early noughties in North Kensington, I saw how the police completely lost control of the Avenues, the terraced houses between the Harrow Road and Queens Park.  The police from Kilburn and Paddington Green stations were in full scale retreat, absolutely impotent and useless in the face of gangs of kids aged 10 – 16, on the streets at all hours, abusing people, keying cars, throwing eggs and laughing at any authority or discipline.   Those hooligans and yobs are now breeding and the police are reaping what they’ve sown.  I expect their solution will be violence and “fit-ups”.  They’re no different from the lowlife,  layabouts themselves.  They’re just two sides of the same coin.

Illegal Weapon

The Raoul Moat affair revealed how the police have lost the plot.   While some officers proved their courage and worth, others indulged in an orgy of technology, expense, hiding behind their procedures and precautions.  Others used banned super-Tasers, illegally obtained from their cronies in the arms industry and undoubtedly caused the death of the mad nutter.  Not a bad result but achieved in a dreadful way.  It was a dismal and demeaning epsiode for all concerned.  See here.

Corruption is endemic in the police.  It starts at the beginning of every shift and continues off duty.  At its worst, it’s the disgusting spectacle of PC Stephen Mitchell in Newcastle, who inflicted his sexual desires and drug appetite on those he arrested.  See here.  At the everyday, commonplace level, it’s the copper who confiscates a bag of weed and takes it home to smoke himself, or who brutalises a wheelchair bound medicinal cannabis user.  It’s the thugs who think it’s acceptable to terrorise and batter an old man over a motoring offence.  See here.

Elected police commissioners are our only hope.  I applaud the coalition government for bringing forward this proposal and acting on it.  I see no other way of rolling back the  Stasi-like culture that the Labour party has allowed to flourish.  Beware though, those that put themselves forward for election as a commissioners are in the front line.  They risk the attention of the police establishment in ways that we cannot yet know.  I wonder how many candidates will have their personal lives investigated and possibly fabricated?  Any prospective commissioner who wants to disrupt the comfortable life of the police may find himself in the firing line.   All sorts of inconveniences,  stops and searches, investigations and embarrassments may be just around the corner.

The police want us to believe that if they are squeezed in the spending review we will face danger, disorder and violence in the streets.  Instead, what we must do is paralyse the police bureaucracy, starve it of the resources it needs to promote its self-fulfilling prophecies and force officers back onto the streets. We will pay for shoe leather but not for air conditioned limousines.  We will support bobbies on the beat but not poseurs in flashy SUVs.   We will not tolerate any sort of discrimination or favouritism.  No officer may be a freemason or belong to any secret organsation.  We must fight for the soul and integrity of our police service against the corrupt thugs that have infiltrated it.

The British people deserve police officers they can be proud of.

Well Done Jedward, I Mean Edward

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Harriet's Impressed!

 

It was a good start for a young man.  Solid.  Dignified.  Then, suddenly,  a scimitar sharp riposte.  Cameron almost fell backwards!

I think Ed has been underestimated and will prove to be a dangerous and very clever adversary.  For a while the coalition will get away with patronising him like the new boy at school but his time will come.

I think that’s a very, very helpful thing for parliament and for Britain.  The most dangerous thing for British politics at the moment is that the LibDems simply dissolve away.   A strong Labour party will bolster the LibDem’s position.

Please though, the sooner those two old farts, Harriet Harman and Alan Johnson are gone, the better.   Isn’t there a deep hole in the ground somewhere we can drop ’em down?

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 13, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Banker Robbers Still On The Loose

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If I considered it as the plot for my next novel, I would discard it immediately as being completely unbelieveable.  It is outrageous.  The story of the way the banks have wriggled and wormed away from their responsibilities is the biggest scandal the world has ever seen.

The Very Worst

Today the shameful figures are revealed of the number of complaints that our high street banks receive.  See here.  It is an appalling litany of failure and disrespect of customers.  Complaints are at the very bottom of their priorities.  They are inefficent.   They have bonus systems that discourage staff from accepting complaints.  Santander, which so many used to know as the Abbey or Alliance & Leicester,  cannot manage to answer even half of its complaints within two months!  It is shocking.  It hasn’t got better since we all bailed them out.  It’s got worse.  Oh, except for the bonuses.  They just get bigger and bigger all the time.

These problems,  affecting the modest balances of ordinary people, may seem trivial in the context of the billions that the banks have already cost us but they are not.   They are crucial.   This is real money belonging to real people and needed to pay real bills.  It’s not the cocaine, champagne, Ferrari fantasy of some City boy ponce.   These figures indicate precisely the contempt, the utter disregard which bankers have for us even though it is we, ordinary people, who have been called on to rescue them from their catastrophic mistakes.

Actions Not Words!

Where is Vince Cable now?  He is the biggest disappointment of the coalition government.  His brave words as recently as the LibDem conference are all hot air.  He has let us all down.  His promises were empty.

We want the banks split up so that they are no longer too big to fail.  Only today, in Ireland they are realising that their nation is still held to ransom by its bankers.  So is ours.

We want retail and transaction banking separated entirely from casino investment banking so that there can be no more threat to our economy from the spivs and gamblers.  We don’t want any of these sharks anywhere near our  money.   John Diamond, the putative new head of Barclays has made a £100 milion fortune on the back of the taxpayer and the banking crisis.  He is not a fit and proper person to be in charge of a British bank.  The government should ban him immediately.

Wide Boy Spiv

Late last year the Office of Fair Trading let the banks off a £40 billion hook.  These were the extortionate charges illegally debited from customers’ accounts over the previous six years.  See here. This was in addition to the £850 billion cost of the original bailout.  See here.

How much more are they going to get away with?

When will David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and Vince Cable stop dithering?

Stop the banker robbers now!

Tony Blair With Andrew Marr

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Showdown

I have to admit I was impressed.

I do not begrudge it all.  It was fantastic, riveting television – if you’re a politics junkie like me.  I know there will be vociferous opinion against but I thought he was marvellous, quite inspiring and utterly convincing.

He always was the best possible successor to Margaret Thatcher and that shone through in the interview.  He’s explicitly not a socialist, so why he persists in the Labour Party I don’t know.  I can see why he supports the coalition.  In fact, he’d make the perfect coalition PM with Dave and Nick as his deputies!  Now there’s a thought!

I never voted for him but always rather liked him.  I confess I allowed myself to be swayed by the Bliar and anti-Blair brigade but yes, even I am susceptible to propaganda.  Recently, I have given serious attention to his involvement in the Israel Palestine dispute.  I have been deeply impressed at his even-handedness.   It is a talent to remain so impartial in such a heated and emotional situation.  It convinced me of his integrity.

That is the quality that shines through.  It is the quality that matters to me most, that I think means most of all.  He is a man of integrity.  I do not agree with him on everything by any means but…

He is a great man.

My MP, Richard Drax, To Write To David Cameron On Drugs Policy

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The Honourable Member For Dorset South

Today I met with my MP, Richard Drax.  He was just as sickeningly handsome and charming as I expected him to be!   So I showed him no mercy and bombarded him with my opinions for a good half an hour.

I realised afterwards that my favourite maxim “less is more” would have been a better strategy.  Nevertheless,  he did offer to write to David Cameron on my behalf on drugs policy and seemed genuinely sympathetic to some of the points I made.

I have just sent him a lengthy email in confirmation which I reproduce below.  If anyone wishes to use this as a template for a letter or email to their own MP, please feel free to do so.

******

Dear Richard,

Thank you so much for your time today.  I very much enjoyed meeting you.  As I said, I came with opinions not problems.  I am grateful to you for listening to me.

I realise that I made the classic mistake of bombarding you with far too much information and not giving you time to absorb any.  I hope I may correct that error by summarising here what we talked about.

1. Gary McKinnon. Thank heavens that progress seems to have been made on this. The idea of an “extradition” treaty that provides for someone to be sent to the USA for trial on an alleged crime committed here is iniquitous.  It’s particularly unfair in McKinnon’s case as he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome.  You pointed out to me that similar dangers exist with the new European arrest warrant.

I would urge you to do everything possible to ensure that if Gary McKinnon is to be tried, it should take place in the UK.

2. Ian Tomlinson. In my view the failure to prosecute the policeman who assaulted him is an outrage and Keir Starmer’s reasons entirely inadequate.  Now that the credibility of the pathologist in the case has been destroyed by a GMC panel, Starmer should at least reconsider and hopefully reverse his decision.

References here:


http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/killer-cop-harwood-must-be-charged/

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/keir-starmer-the-next-lord-widgery/

I would urge you to press for a re-consideration of the decision not to bring charges.  If no criminal charges are brought, at the very least the disciplinary hearing should be held in public as the rules allow.  The Tomlinson family are entitled to justice.

3. Drugs policy. You very kindly agreed to write to David Cameron on my behalf.  I am very concerned at the conduct of the Home Office at present and particularly James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention who is causing great damage to both the coalition governemnt and the Tory party by promoting ideas and policies that contradict virtually all expert opinion, including the government’s own scientific advisers.  He also seems to be completely at odds with the calls for drug law reform which both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have made consistently over the last 10 years.

This is not a peripheral or secondary issue.  According to Baroness Meacher in the House of Lords on 15th June 2010, “There is no more obvious waste than the £19 billion annual cost of the UK’s war on drugs”.

There is a huge amount of reference material on this subject on my blog:

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/?s=drugs

I would also refer you to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation which has highly detailed and almost universally acclaimed proposals for drug regulation:

http://www.tdpf.org.uk

Virtually all experts agree that the “war on drugs” has failed. In exactly the same way as alcohol prohibition in the US led to a massive increase in crime and violence, so drug prohibition has created an illegal market said to be worth £350 billion per year. It has also financed civil war in Latin America for 25 years and is the principal source of finance for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are dying every day because of the illegal trade in opiates.  Why don’t we just buy up the whole crop for the next 10 years?  It would be much cheaper in both cash and lives than the Afghan war.

Virtually all experts agree that regulation would be a better solution.  I have distilled the following five point plan from everything that I have read and learned over more than 30 years:

1. An end to oppression of drug users (at least 10 million UK citizens)
2. Removal from the criminal law of any offence for possession and/or social supply
3. Fact and evidence-based policy, information and regulation
4. Re-direction of law enforcement resources against real criminals
5. Treat problematic drug use as a health issue

Five years ago, while campaigning for the Tory party leadership, David Cameron called for “fresh thinking and a new approach” towards drugs policy and said that it would be “disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”. Nick Clegg has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws and to stop “making ordinary people criminals”. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons. The coalition government’s new Your Freedom website has been inundated with proposals to legalise cannabis and to end the futile war on drugs.   In July a poll carried out for the LibDems showed 70% of people in favour of legalising cannabis.

The Home Office and James Brokenshire are completely out of touch with expert and public opinion as well as the declared views of both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

In my view, regulation means tighter control on the most dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine and alcohol and lighter regulation on relatively harmless substances like cannabis and ecstasy.

There is also the very important question of medicinal cannabis.  The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1998 has led to an ever-escalating volume of evidence of the medicinal value of cannabis.  In June the MHRA approved Sativex as an MS medicine in the UK.  It is a whole plant extract yet presently, the Home Office refuses to consider a regulated system of the plant itself for medicinal purposes.  This is completely irrational and absurd.  The House Of Lords scientific committee recommended such a system should be introduced 12 years ago.  Medicinal cannabis is available and regulated throughout almost all of Europe, Israel and 14 states in the USA (with 12 more in the planning stage).  The UK stands almost alone in its obstinate refusal even to consider such a system.

Already this is leading to quite obscene injustices where patients have been prescribed Sativex by their doctor but their health authority has refused to fund it and patients are then facing criminal prosecution for cultivating their own plants.  There is a case of exactly this going on in the Dorchester Crown Court at present and the CPS insists it is in the public interest to prosecute!

Thank you once again for listening to me Richard. I hope these notes are useful in composing your letter to David Cameron and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds