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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Nick Clegg

LibDems: Correct On Cannabis Policy, Wrong On Scaremongering.

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The Liberal Democrats are doing great work on advancing the cause of cannabis law reform.  Their policy proposals are sensible and their arguments for change are irrefutable but they are wrong to buy into and sustain the myths and scaremongering that have dominated the cannabis debate for so long.

Cannabis does not cause psychosis.  Stronger strains do not present serious health risks.  Memory loss is not a significant issue and no issue at all in comparison to the health harms of alcohol or tobacco. Cannabis cannot be described as dangerous unless you also apply that word to hay fever remedies, over-the-counter painkillers  and energy drinks.  There is not and never has been any scientific evidence to support these myths.

Of course, we must be sensitive to people’s fears and concerns.  For more than 50 years the British people have been fed a stream of lies and exaggeration by the tabloid media.  The Home Office, right up to today, is engaged in a systematic and deliberate policy to mislead and misinform on cannabis.  Shocking though that fact is, this policy transcends successive governments and continues irrespective of ministers’ views.  It clearly emanates from dishonest and corrupt officials who are determined to pursue their own agenda, irrespective of truth or concern for the massive harms and cost of cannabis prohibition.

lamb 10 min stillNorman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP and health spokesperson, who is leading the party’s campaign, is a brave, sincere and conscientious politician. One of the few in Westminster that matches up to the high standards of probity and wisdom that we should be able to expect from all MPs.  Similarly, Nick Clegg, former leader, and Tim Farron, current leader, have spoken out strongly on the need to reform the law. Now is the time for them also to start telling the truth about cannabis, about how its dangers have been vastly exaggerated, how for adults, in moderation, it can actually be very beneficial and far preferable as a choice of relaxant to alcohol. Indeed, if people substituted cannabis for some of their alcohol consumption, it would be a public health revolution.  It would save the NHS billions and transform the health of our society.

The cannabis campaign will not succeed unless we tell the truth. We cannot compromise facts and evidence for the illusory belief that buying into the scare stories will somehow advance the cause.  We need to push back at the scaremongering, acknowledge there are risks but that they are extremely small.  They really only apply to use by children or to behaviour that is analogous to a ‘white cider drinker’.  Consume anything to excess, regularly, without a break, without regard to other aspects of life and it will cause harm but even then, cannabis will cause less harm than any other substance.

As for children, one of the main aims of reform must be to minimise underage use.  Even then, the scare story that cannabis is causing significant mental health problems amongst young people is untrue.  The Department of Health’s own data shows that in the last five years, there has been an average of just 28 episodes per year of care for ‘cannabis psychosis’ in young people.  28 individual tragedies but an insignificant problem in public health terms.

The misuse of the term ‘skunk’ is also unhelpful. The Channel 4 ‘Drugs Live’ debacle last year was  based on reckless, irresponsible overdosing of inexperienced users by a scientist who should know better.  All the time calling the cannabis was called ‘skunk’ when it is a matter of fact that it was silver haze as grown by Bedrocan, the Netherlands’ government producer of medicinal cannabis. Skunk is actually the name of one particular cannabis strain and not an especially strong one.  Cannabis is available in Britain that is twice, sometimes three times as potent as skunk but the word has been selected and promoted by the tabloid press because of its obvious, sensationalist, negative connotations.

Thank you to the Liberal Democrats for the fantastic work they are doing.  All we need now is a little adjustment and focus on truth rather than scare stories.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

March 23, 2016 at 6:37 pm

CLEAR Medicinal Users Panel. Fifth Delegation To Parliament.

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Vicky Hodgson, Kate Stenberg, Roland Gyallay-Pap, Lynee Featherstone MP, Peter Reynolds, Penny Fitzlyon, Richard Tong, Jonathan Liebling

Vicky Hodgson, Kate Stenberg, Roland Gyallay-Pap, Lynne Featherstone MP, Peter Reynolds, Penny Fitzlyon, Richard Tong, Jonathan Liebling

Today a further delegation from CLEAR met with Lynne Featherstone, the new Home Office minister with responsibility for drugs policy. She is the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and was appointed to replace Norman Baker after he resigned in November 2014.

We invited Jonathan Liebling, Political Director of the United Patients Alliance (UPA) to accompany us and he gave eloquent testimony about his own use of medicinal cannabis.  UPA has been doing excellent work in running a series of meetings up and down the country bringing medicinal users together.  We hope there will be further co-operation between UPA and CLEAR.

Jonathan spoke about using cannabis to help with anxiety and depression, as did Kate Stenberg who has also used cannabis to deal with a chronic pain condition.  Vicky Hodgson spoke about treating her scoliosis, COPD and cluster headaches. Roland Gyallay-Pap, related how he produced cannabis oil when his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the great help it gave her with sleeping and eating in the final months of her life. Penny Fitzlyon talked about treating her MS with cannabis and how she has now been refused Sativex.  It was obvious this had a big impact on the minister.

She listened to each of us very attentively and we all felt that she had taken genuine interest and understood our arguments, particularly about enabling UK patients to import Bedrocan medicinal cannabis.

We also presented Ms Featherstone with a pre-publication copy of the paper ‘Medicinal Cannabis: The Evidence’, which we have produced at the request of George Freeman MP, the Life Sciences minister.  This is a literature review of the existing evidence on medicinal cannabis.  It makes a powerful argument for the transfer of cannabis from schedule I to schedule II so that it may be prescribed by a doctor. Currently the paper is being peer-reviewed and we hope that it may itself be published in a scientific/medical journal shortly.

CLEAR has also recently delivered a briefing on medicinal cannabis to Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats.  We shared this with Ms Featherstone as well.

With the General Election fast approaching, all MPs, including minsters, are about to go into campaign mode. Nick Clegg is to cover drugs policy in a speech a Chatham House later this week. There may yet be further developments, specifically on medicinal cannabis as the election campaign unfolds.  What is certain is that the new Parliament will represent a real opportunity for change and we have high hopes of real progress.

The Daily Mail Uses Terrorism To Promote Its Bizarre Ideology.

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Nick Clegg.  The UK's Most Progressive Politician on Drugs Policy.

Nick Clegg. The UK’s Most Progressive Politician on Drugs Policy.

The Mail on Sunday screams:

“The Lib Dem leader risks provoking outrage this week when he joins Sir Richard Branson to put the case for removing all criminal sanctions for possessing cannabis – including skunk, its most potent form.”

Mail on Sunday, 1st March 2015

Mail on Sunday, 1st March 2015

The only thing that keeps this terrorising message about cannabis off its front page is Jihadi John.  The Daily Mail and Jihadi John share the same ideas in how to persuade people to their bizarre and distorted world view. 

In fact, elsewhere in the Mail, as well as in its terrorist allies in Fleet Street, cannabis and Jihadi John are conflated. Apparently, he used to smoke ‘high strength ‘skunk‘ cannabis’.  Of course! That explains it all then.  The Mail wants us to believe that cannabis causes terrorism, as well as psychosis, mad axe murderers, destroys the economy and makes normally happy, hard working people turn instantly into demented gibbering wrecks.

The Daily Mail is as accurate about cannabis as Jihadi John is on Islam, good and evil.

Charles Walker MP, the habitual deceiver on evidence about cannabis, is at it again – and he’s a terrorist too.

Charles Walker MP. Crazy Claims About Cannabis.

Charles Walker MP. Crazy Claims About Cannabis.

 

“…the drugs are seven or eight times more powerful now.”

What is this lie designed to achieve?  It’s intended to terrorise people, parents in particular, with ridiculous exaggeration that has no evidence to back it up at all.

Maybe if we had more honesty from politicians and newspapers we’d have less terrorism all round?  We’d certainly be better able to protect people from the dangers caused by the ‘war on drugs’. Also, young people might start to believe what we say about extremist ideologies rather than concluding that they can’t believe anything said by numbskull liars like Charles Walker or publisher liars like the Daily Mail.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 1, 2015 at 11:39 am

CLEAR Medicinal Users Panel. Fourth Delegation To Parliament.

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Freeman meet 1There is real momentum building in Parliament on the issue of medicinal cannabis. The first thing George Freeman said this week when he welcomed us to the Department of Health was: “There is a lot of discussion going on in government about this subject”.

This is extraordinary progress, unimaginable as recently as 2012. Undoubtedly, developments in the US have raised cannabis up the political agenda. Through 2014, CLEAR has been well received by the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Home Office, the Department of Health, the Health Select Committee and just before Christmas I met with Baroness Meacher and Lord Howarth in the House of Lords.  They are chair and treasurer, respectively, of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform. They are determined to push reform through to make medicinal cannabis available and have briefed one of the UK’s leading psychopharmacologists to prepare a review of existing evidence on the subject.  Armed with this they have a plan to meet with key individuals in both Houses of Parliament and I have no doubt that they will succeed in changing minds.

Also this week, I met with advisors to Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, in the very heart of government at the Cabinet Office.  The Liberal Democrats are planning towards another coalition after the General Election and determined to see drugs policy form part of a new coalition agreement.  Right at the front of their priorities is medicinal cannabis for which there is strong support from existing ministers, Lynne Featherstone at the Home Office and Norman Lamb at the Department of Health.  Expect announcements in the run up to the election.

George Freeman is the Life Sciences Minister, responsible for medicines, NHS innovation, research, development, the MHRA and NICE.  His role is as important as any other minister in achieving the reform we seek.  He is another ally and has asked me to submit a paper setting out our proposals.  Of particular importance is how medicinal cannabis could be regulated, either with a full Marketing Authorisation from the MHRA or possibly registration as a Tradional Herbal Medicine.  The very fact that we are now discussing such detail is a measure of how far we have come.

So there is great cause for optimism at the start of 2015.  We are closer than we have ever been before and this has been achieved by moving away from the old ‘protests’ and outdated campaigning ideas.  I am confident that early in the new parliament we will see substantial progress.

Vote ‘YES’ Scotland!

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scottish piper

If all the people, politicians, institutions, banks and monopoly businesses who are responsible for the terrible injustices and inequalities in our society are so desperate for a ‘NO’ vote, what should that tell you?

That Cameron, all his disgusting, self-serving cronies, Miliband and Clegg are terrified, scared and panicking, what should that tell you?

When all the members of the Fleet Street Mafia: dishonest, manipulative, gutter press editors and seedy proprietors want Scotland to vote ‘NO’, what should that tell you?

When the UK parliament does all it can to prolong the sick perversion of democracy  that is Britain in the EU, what should that tell you?

Please vote ‘YES’ Scotland!

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm

The Silence Of UK MPs On Gaza Is Shameful.

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House of Commons empty

Where are they?

I see a few have signed petitions or letters or statements.  Two ‘leading Tory MPs’ (is this what we call leadership?) have written to David Cameron.

That the right of self-defence is with Palestine and its elected leadership is self-evident.

It’s sickening.  My MP, Richard Drax, Lord of South Dorset, has simply ignored my last two emails about Israel’s war crimes. Cameron is cowering in his bunker. Clegg is redeeming all the accusations of cowardice.  Miliband is no more irrelevant than usual.

There is a ringing, hollow, horrifying, echoing, cacophony of silence from these small, small people.

They have no right to call themselves our leaders. They are disgraced by their inaction, by their cowardice. They are useless.

This is the Auschwitz, Belsen and Dachau of our day. Yet Parliament stands idly by. The West fiddles while children burn.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Snooper’s Charter. This Is Why Americans Keep Their Guns.

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 “You can have my guns when you take them from my cold, dead hands.”

“You can have my guns when you take them from my cold, dead hands.”

Nick Clegg has caved in again.  Norman Baker sat next to the most monstrous woman in British politics as she sneaked her snide subversion of our freedom through parliament. These people are ‘Liberal Democrats’?

It is all decided.  There is nothing we can do.  Parliament adjourns in less than a fortnight.  There’s little your MP could do for you anyway, even if he or she had the balls to stand up against this railroading of fundamental changes to our rights.  The leadership of the main parties have conspired to pervert our democracy to their own ends. In America they would be put on trial for treason.  This is why Americans keep their guns. It is some protection against an overbearing state.

Meanwhile, in London, Boris Johnson’s water cannons have arrived. Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuador embassy. Edward Snowden, the great American hero is running for his life in Russia.

Bring the Guillotines To Parliament Square!

Bring the Guillotines To Parliament Square!

At least America has a constitution. British democracy is a sick joke. We have no control over our government.  Elections are meaningless.  Politicians are a self-serving, incestuous elite, part of the tripartite oligarchy with the Fleet Street Mafia and the bankers.  We are the servants of the state.  We can’t even determine the issues that the media and parliament consider.  Their agenda and priorities are imposed on us.  We can’t enact local medicinal cannabis laws as 23 states have in the US, where the people have instructed the government what to do.  We can’t define the debate on education, the health service or foreign policy.  We must just do what we’re told.

We let these people take our guns away from us – and we were foolish to do so.  After the water cannons, what comes next?