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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘nonsense

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

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Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis – Part 2

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See the original article here.

The Home Office has been denying to me all week that it had changed its story.  It claimed that it had said “Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”  It claimed that cannabis was never included in this statement.

Today it finally owned up.  It issued this statement at 5.18pm this evening:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“There is clear evidence that drugs such as heroin and cocaine are extremely harmful substances.

“There is also clear evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can cause both physical and psychological problems. Even the occasional use of cannabis can be dangerous for people with diseases of the circulatory system, and it can contribute to heart disease and lung cancer.

“In this instance there was a drafting error with the original version of this statement, which was subsequently rectified.”

Does It Look Dangerous To You?

Now, I understand and respect the professional efforts of the Home Office PRs to damp down this story.  It just doesn’t wash though does it?

Why did it take nearly two weeks to correct this error?

Why did they try to cover up the error in the first place?

All this from a government department that emphasises how important are its “health and education messages” and that it must not send “the wrong message – to young people in particular.”

Of course, the truth is that the Home Office sends inaccurate and misleading messages about drugs all the time.  Everyone, except the Home Office ministers and mandarins, agrees that the present drug classification system is nonsense, that it amounts to nothing less than misinformation.  In fact, the Home Office is currently less than seven days away from a judicial review of its political manipulation of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  The Drug Equality Alliance co-founder, Casey Hardison, has taken it upon himself to challenge the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in the Administrative Court for its irrational, unfair, and possibly illegal exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from control under the Act.

Even David Cameron agrees that ecstasy should not be a class A drug – see here.  The debacle and embarrassing nonsense about the ever-changing classification of cannabis destroyed Alan Johnson’s integrity for good.  Young people have been watching the government’s “messages” for years, comparing them to their own experiences and realising  that the government talks rot when it comes to drugs.  The Home Office is inconsistent, unreliable, contradictory and nothing short of dangerous when it comes to messages about drugs – as they’ve just proved, yet again.

As for the revised statement, there is evidence to show that smoking cannabis can cause the same damage to the cardiovascular system as smoking tobacco, but no one smokes anywhere near the same amount of cannabis as they do tobacco – they’d be asleep!  In fact, the very latest research shows that cannabis has an extraordinary protective effect for tobacco smokers and may actually reduce the likelihood of lung cancer.   Other recent research has also shown cannabinoids to have remarkable effects in shrinking brain, head, neck and breast cancers.

The Home Office is so far out of date it’s difficult to believe.   It still talks sensationally about the dangers of “new stronger strains of cannabis known as skunk”.   The truth is that skunk has been the predominant type of cannabis available in the UK for more than 20 years.  That’s how up to date the Home Office is.   Finally, the “psychological problems” story.  Sure, any psychoactive substance has the potential for harm but increasingly there’s evidence to show cannabinoids actually have an anti-psychotic effect.  One of the most useful applications of medicinal cannabis is in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To those who don’t already know the facts, I say simply google your questions.  Even the Home Office, much as it might try, has not yet found a way of silencing the truth.

“Outrageous Scaremongering” Over Cannabis

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Last October,  36-year old Julie Ryan was found dead in bed by her three children, now aged 14, 13 and 8.  At a coroner’s inquest in Oldham last week, pathologist Dr Sami Titi said “The direct cause of her death was cardiac arrest because of a history of smoking cannabis”.

Dr Sami Titi

Julie’s family claims that this is not true, that Julie’s cannabis use has been blamed because the Royal Oldham hospital failed to treat her properly. In Britain, there has only been one previous occasion when a death has been attributed to cannabis. In 2004, Lee Maisey, 36 of Pembrokeshire, who smoked half a dozen “joints” a day, was found dead on his living room floor after complaining of a headache.

At the inquest in Oldham, the coroner, Simon Nelson, was said to be surprised at the pathologist’s story and questioned him closely. Dr Titi insisted that “smoking of cannabis is well known to have a negative impact on the heart and can cause heart attacks in young people”. The coroner said that in 15 years he had never heard a pathologist so confident that cannabis could be fatal. He recorded a narrative verdict of “death from cardiovascular complications induced by cannabis smoking”.

Coroner Simon Nelson

Julie’s brother, Kevin Ryan, says that the pathologist’s remarks are “outrageous scaremongering”. Her mother, Linda, is bewildered by events. As planned, Julie’s children had stayed with her while the inquest was taking place. Now they have returned home to the furore of this extraordinary verdict and are extremely distressed.

Julie had visited the Royal Oldham hospital several times complaining of chest pains but been sent away with a diagnosis of heartburn. The post mortem examination revealed she had a severely enlarged heart and had suffered a previous heart attack which had not been diagnosed. Family sources said “It’s a cover up. Cannabis doesn’t kill. They made a big mistake.” Mary Burrows, Julie’s cousin, who was very close to her, said she preferred to smoke cannabis rather than have a drink and that “she was a wonderful mother and her kids miss her so much”.

Dr Mark Eckersley, a local Manchester doctor, said “More and more pressure is being piled on medical professionals to propagate this type of untruth by the powers that be.” He said doctors need to maintain credibility with the community and that “this type of nonsense makes my blood boil”.

A spokesman for the Royal Oldham hospital said “Miss Ryan died from a heart attack and cardiovascular problems. Our thoughts and sympathy go to her family.”

On 2nd November in California, Proposition 19 is expected to permit the personal use of cannabis for the state’s 28 million adults. As a result, new tax revenues of $1.4 billion are anticipated, up to 110,000 new jobs and a boost of up to $18 billion to the state’s economy from spin-offs such as coffee shops and tourism.

In America, any health concerns about the plant are far outweighed by health benefits. Medical cannabis is already regulated in 14 states with another 12 in the planning stage. In Britain, Sativex, a whole plant extract of cannabis, was recently authorised as a treatment for MS. It costs about eight times what medical cannabis costs in America, Holland, Spain, Israel and very shortly Germany, where there is a fully regulated supply chain. In Britain, despite a House Of Lords Scientific Committee recommendation, the government refuses to consider such a move. Many patients whose doctors have prescribed Sativex have been denied funding from their health authority. In some of these cases, criminal prosecutions have been brought against them for cultivating their own plants.

A spokesman for GW Pharmaceuticals, developers of Sativex, said “The therapeutic ratio for cannabis is so high that it is virtually impossible to ingest a fatal dose”.

Prof. David Nutt

Professor David Nutt was sacked as chairman of the Home Office’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs last year after claiming that cannabis was less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. His successor, Professor Les Iversen, also maintains that cannabis has been “incorrectly” called dangerous and says it is one of the “safer recreational drugs”.

On Friday, Professor Nutt said cannabis “seems to cause much less harm than alcohol and that banning the plant is “unjust and therefore undemocratic”. He added: “The previous government’s policy to deter cannabis use by forceful policing increased convictions for cannabis possession from 88,000 in 2004 to 160,000 in 2008. As well as ruining many lives through getting a criminal record, this added massive costs to taxpayers in extra policing and prison costs.”

Prof. Les Iversen

Dr Sami Titi, the pathologist, was unavailable for comment and did not respond to emails. It has not been possible to identify any scientific support for his conclusions.

Julie Ryan’s family is left bemused and uncertain by this verdict. Three children are without a mother and confused about contradictory messages. The 13 year old has been posting on websites about her concerns. Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office have criticised the government for basing drugs policy on opinion rather than evidence. James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister, in direct contradiction to his own advisers, continues with the story that cannabis is “extremely harmful”.

James Brokenshire

Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg are on record over the last 10 years as consistently calling for reform in drug policy. The Your Freedom website has been overwhelmed with requests for evidence based regulation of drugs and the legalisation of cannabis but the government is riding roughshod over this public outcry. A consultation document on a new drugs strategy was issued just over a week ago but it seems meaningless and dishonest as all the big decisions have already been taken. Cannabis campaigners, working on behalf of six million regular users in the UK, are outraged at what they see as hypocrisy, misinformation and regressive government action.

Dr Mark Eckersley, exasperated and concerned at the pathologist’s evidence said “This is simply not true. Hearing this story is more likely to cause a heart attack than the ingestion of any cannabinoid”.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 31, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Health, Politics

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Keir Starmer – The Next Lord Widgery?

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No Better Than A Terrorist

The scandalous decision not to prosecute PC Simon Harwood over the death of Ian Tomlinson is reverberating right across the world.

British justice has become a laughing stock and our proud history of freedom, liberty and fairness is heaped with derision – and deservedly so

When the establishment needs to dissemble and misinform it calls on its tame lawyers and paper tiger figureheads.   Keir Starmer, the DPP, is clearly angling for his peerage and his place on the government roster of professional liars, deceivers and propagandists.

In 1972, when British soldiers murdered protestors on the streets of Londonderry, they wheeled out Lord Widgery who produced a report of such crass dishonesty and fundamental deception that it took a further enquiry lasting 12 years and costing £200 million to expose it as nonsense.

When millions across the world have witnessed the unprovoked assault from behind on Ian Tomlinson, they have wheeled out Keir Starmer, another tame QC, to demonstrate a complete absence of integrity and deliver a deeply corrupt, manipulative and unforgivable decision not to prosecute.

In the last 50 years more than 1,000 people have died while in police custody in the UK but not a single policeman has been prosecuted.

Is it any wonder that we have pond life like Raoul Moat feted and worshipped by the underclass when they suffer under the yoke of police oppression, when they see no justice nor fairness nor hope?

The truth is that PC Simon Harwood and Raoul Moat are two peas from the same pod.  Police websites, such as the notorious Inspector Gadget, reveal serving police officers’ attitudes just as perverse as those that supported the Raoul Moat Facebook page.  The police are completely out of control, ineffective, mismanaged and corrupt.

It took 30 years for the Metropolitan Police to admit that one of its officers was responsible for the death of Blair Peach.

The suggestion from the extreme left is that we are being softened up and desensitised against a future where with swingeing public expenditure cuts we can expect to see riots in the streets and more police violence.  I don’t buy this conspiracy theory but I am desperately worried for the future of British justice when men like Keir Starmer are in charge.

It isn’t just incompetence.  It isn’t just misjudgement.  There is clear intent to pervert the course of justice.  He knew that the six month limit on bringing a charge of common assault was passing.   He knew that the conflict between expert evidence was for a jury to determine.  He knew that never was it more essential “in the public interest” for a prosecution to be brought.

Keir Starmer is every bit as dangerous to the fabric of our society as any terrorist or subversive.  Look at how many lives Lord Widgery’s behaviour was responsible for.  Look at how his lies prolonged the violence and fed the divisions within Northern Ireland.  The same thing is happening all over again.

PC Simon Harwood, Raoul Moat, Keir Starmer.  They are all the same.  They are all a danger to society.   They should all be behind bars.

Wenlock Mandeville Disaster

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Child's Play

The most obvious explanation is that someone at the Olympics Committee has been horizontal jogging with someone at the design company.

What else?

There has to be a rational explanation for one of most ridiculous, badly-judged communications campaigns I have ever seen.  The Wenlock and Mandeville mascot idea is third-rate, junior (bad) art school nonsense.

I first worked on ideas like this more than 30 years ago.  I stake all my experience on this, I stand by every ounce of this assertion – it is NONSENSE, shocking NONSENSE and I am dismayed to see it. If it gains any traction then it will only be because of the money spent on it.  Almost anything else would be better!

Lord Coe and other talented individuals on the Olympics Committee have made a mistake here.  This is a serious error of judgement.

Smellie Not Guilty Verdict Stinks

with 14 comments

No!  No!  No!  I do not believe it!  This has to be one of the greatest travesties of justice ever inflicted on the British people.  Sergeant Delroy Smellie who beat Nicola Fisher with the back of his hand and his baton at the G20 protest has been acquitted of assault.  This is an outrage, a bad and sad day for Britain.  The man is a bully, a brute and a liar.  He is a violent criminal who should go to jail for at least two years.

Thug

We all saw it, in full colour on our television screens.  The man is an unmitigated thug.   There can be no doubt in the mind of any reasonable person.  The video evidence is entirely conclusive.  The excuses put forward in his defence are manifest nonsense.  District Judge Daphne Wickham who made this disgraceful decision is either corrupt or dumb.  Her ruling flies in the face of common sense, reason and fairness.  Her comments as detailed here are absurd.  We should not stand for this.  There should be protest on the streets, questions in the House and an immediate appeal against the verdict.

Bad Apple

So, on the same day that guilty verdicts were delivered in the first trial without a jury for 350 years, we see the true colours of our increasingly cowardly and politically controlled judicial system.  British justice is a laughing stock.  It has no value any more, at all.

All the decent and honourable police officers out there must realise that this decision damages them beyond repair.  Who will stand up for justice now?  Who can we trust?

Disgraceful Betrayal Of Gurkha Heroes

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What shambolic, cowardly, civil servant-jobsworth, treacherous nonsense has come out of the Home Office today?

See here for the full story.gurkha

The disgusting conduct of Jacqui Smith’s department shames Britain and everyone of us who enjoys freedom won at the cost of Gurkha lives.  While she fritters away her expenses and her downtrodden, frustrated husband amuses himself with porn (who can blame him?), these brave, honourable men who have already won their case in the High Court have been knocked back again after months of unnecessary delay.

Not only is the decision itself a disgrace but the way it has been handled is an example of the very worst of Britain.  What are these fools in government up to?  They really have lost touch with the people and with reality.  Gordon’s YouTube cock-up on expenses – can you think of a more stupid idea? A budget based on fantasy, delusion and deceit.  Crass stupidity is too generous a description.  Gordon, Jacqui, Alistair, you are a laughing stock!  You have demonstrated your incompetence and lack of integrity again and again and again.  Please just go!