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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘community

Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis

with 26 comments

A fortnight ago Sir Ian Gilmore, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, famously denounced drugs prohibition as a failed policy.   He said “”Everyone who has looked at this in a serious and sustained way concludes that the present policy of prohibition is not a success.”  He then went on to advocate decriminalisation and regulation.

The Home Office immediately issued a statement saying “‘Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”   This statement was reproduced on the Home Office website and has sat there for the last two weeks in direct contradiction to the governments own scientific advisers.  Anyone who has even the smallest knowledge of the subject knows that the idea that cannabis is “extremely harmful” is absurd and a lie.

Within the last day or two the Home Office website has been quietly edited to remove the word cannabis from the statement.  See here.

Charades, Fibs And Porkies

This correction is very welcome.   However it calls into question the honesty, competence and intelligence of the Home Office and the government’s drugs policy.  James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention has been looking increasingly ridiculous in the last few weeks, contradicting his advisers, spouting pre-Reagan “war on drugs” propaganda and conflicting terribly with the wise words of both David Cameron and Nick Clegg, both of whom have called for drug policy reform consistently over the last 10 years.   Young James has made himself very unpopular with the country’s six million regular cannabis users and embarrassed the government and the Tory party with his antics.

Whoever was responsible for this smart and very discreet editing, let’s hope they get to have a look at James’ Drugs Strategy consultation document too.  It needs some intelligent correction and adjustment as well.  See here for more information on what’s really a very silly game of charades, fibs and porkies.

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A BBC Preservation Order

with 6 comments

TAKE NOTICE

This noble institution should be preserved.

It is not perfect but it is better than any alternative.

It contributes enormously to the culture of the nation.

It is our BBC

This notice should be nailed to the door of Broadcasting House and all BBC premises.  Damaging or cutting off parts or branches of the institution is not allowed.  Adequate space must be given to the institution’s roots which must not be interfered with.  Severe penalties will be applied to anyone who knowingly or recklessly damages the institution in any way.

Then David Cameron, Nick Clegg and a heavyweight team need to take Mark Thompson aside and give him a good talking to.   We want to preserve the BBC and its unique qualities but we need a hard pruning of dead wood and unproductive growth.  Preserving the roots and fundamental strength are the most important objectives.   Cutbacks in the right places will stimulate stronger new growth elsewhere.

I agree that Sky should contribute towards those commercial channels that it broadcasts free-to-air.  It ties viewers into its subscription packages because they are comprehensive.  This is gives it an unfair advantage throughout the market, as does its coverage and bandwidth.

Sky is a parasite on traditional TV companies.  Its unfair advantages have enabled it to develop the best user interface and experience in the market.  Even so, it is expensive and has a reputation for appalling customer service.  Its relationship with Newscorp means it is part of a monstrous media empire which requires much more regulation in the interests of consumers and the community at large.  It should be required to invest more in original programming and production.  If necessary, a new media tax should be introduced to enforce appropriate investment and safeguards.

The BBC’s biggest mistake is the level of executive pay.  There is no justification at all for anyone in the BBC to earn more than the Prime Minister.  It is public money.  Anyone unhappy with this should resign today.  No one is indispensable.  The BBC has always been the best in its business at bringing on new talent.

The Licence Fee should remain unchanged.   It is fantastic value for money and shows just how expensive Sky is.   The BBC Trust should be strengthened in its primary role as regulator and it should enforce cost savings, efficiencies and executive pay.  It should also ensure that the BBC becomes more responsive and closer to its audience.  Its complaints and feedback system is fundamental to this.  It needs to be brought back in house and given real priority.  See here.

Britain adores its BBC.  Let’s ensure we preserve it and allow it to flourish.