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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Parliament

Theresa May Is Not A Tory, She’s An Authoritarian Bureaucrat.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote speech on Brexit at Lancaster House on January 17, 2017 in London, England. It is widely expected that she will announce that the UK is to leave the single market. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 17: British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers her keynote speech on Brexit at Lancaster House on January 17, 2017.

At the beginning of last week, Tuesday, 17th January, Theresa May finally made clear that leaving the EU means leaving the single market.  It also means leaving the customs union because without doing so it will be impossible to negotiate independent trade agreements.

This has been obvious all along.  Before the referendum, campaigners on both sides were clear. The idea that there was any doubt about it was an invention of the soft-left Blairites at the BBC, eagerly supported by the delusional Tim Farron and his party, now the most illiberal, anti-democratic party in Britain.

I’m unhappy that Ms May didn’t make this clarification a lot sooner but of course she was a Remainer and as David Cameron said, it would be foolish to have a captain to steer the ship in a direction he or she didn’t want to go.

I am generally very unhappy about Ms May’s style of government.  It is secretive, authoritarian, dismissive of public opinion and everything is played very close to her chest and as much behind closed doors as she can get away with.  Her dictatorial, micro-managerial style at the Home Office is continuing in her role as PM and I believe it is unsustainable for the leader of our country. We need far more openness, interest in the people and a desire to inform rather than to conceal.

But the shocker for me was her repudiation of central Conservative philosophy.  She derided the ‘cult of individualism’ as she put it.

DF-SC-85-12090Ms May, the Tory Party is all about the individual.  It is  about individual liberty and individual responsibility.  Individualism is the very essence of why I am a Tory.

Then today the brazen cover up about the Trident missile launch which was kept secret from Parliament, even as it was debating the renewal of our nuclear deterrent. Her secretive, fundamentally dishonest approach was revealed as she dodged Andrew Marr’s questions again and again.  It is obvious that she did know about the incident, chose to keep it secret from both Parliament and the electorate and refused to be honest about it when questioned.

I am , of course, reminded about her attempt to falsify and cover up the International Comparators report on drugs policy which showed clearly that harsher criminal sanctions have no affect at all on drugs use.  This didn’t fit with her prohibitionist prejudice and she wanted it changed to deceive Parliament and the electorate.

I have given Theresa May a more than adequate, even generous, chance to prove herself, particularly given my knowledge of her conduct as Home Secretary.  She was the right compromise candidate at the time but now the Conservative Party needs to get rid of her and appoint someone with leadership ability.  I was impressed with her initial words about inclusiveness and a country that ‘works for everyone’ but I see now that the leopard has not changed its spots.  She is authoritarian, illiberal, secretive, anti-democratic and, most importantly, dishonest.

Theresa May is no Tory and she is not fit to be prime minister.

 

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The UK’s First Licensed Cannabis Dispensary.

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Mike Dobson

Mike Dobson

When Mike Dobson first called me a few months ago and told me he had an idea for gaining legal access to cannabis in the UK, I was, of course, sceptical. CLEAR has frequently been approached with hare-brained and convoluted plans for avoiding the law that prohibits cannabis.  Without exception they have all been bonkers.

Within a few minutes though, I could see this one was different.  In the past, most of these ideas have been around sidestepping the law by claiming ‘freeman’ status, the suggestion being that statutes, laws made by Parliament, are only enforceable if you have consented to them in the first place.  Some claim to have succeeded in using this to defeat charges for growing cannabis, even having their harvest returned to them by police.  I can’t verify any of these stories but I’m quite sure the courts are littered with the broken dreams and delusions of those who have tried to go down this path.

The big difference with Mike’s plan, his ‘scheme’ as I like to call it, is that instead of evading, avoiding or dodging the law, it actually uses the law itself to provide legal rights to grow and possess cannabis.

Preston Cannabis Club Website.  Click To Enter.

Preston Cannabis Club Website. Click To Enter.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 empowers the Home Secretary to issue licences in respect of cannabis. These could be for cultivation, production, possession, supply or any other activity such as import or export.

This scheme involves setting up a company to cultivate cannabis and produce cannabis products under licence from the Home Office – the ‘Licensed Supplier’. Providing the various licence conditions are complied with, the Home Office cannot unreasonably refuse such a licence.  If it does then it will be subject to judicial review.  The licence conditions that need to be met are security and the prevention of ‘diversion’ of the cannabis into illicit or unlicensed hands.

The next step is to set up another company where it and its shareholders, guarantors and/or members are licensed to possess cannabis – the ‘Membership Company’.  Again, providing the licence conditions are complied with, the Home Office must issue a licence and if it refuses judicial review proceedings can be brought.  Sensible and responsible rules must be put in place so that members only consume cannabis in private with necessary security precautions.

The genius of Mike’s scheme, now coming to reality with the first Membership Company, the Preston Cannabis Club, is that it uses the law exactly as it is intended, to ensure that the only people cultivating, producing, supplying or possessing cannabis are licensed to do so.

I have consulted informally with several lawyers and there is no doubt that this scheme holds promise. Whether it works out remains to be seen.  CLEAR is putting its weight and support right behind the scheme as a responsible and lawful way to enable legal access to cannabis.  I would expect initial resistance from the authorities but if we are right, it would mean Parliament would have to pass a new law to prevent this happening.  In my judgement that is unlikely and, in fact, the demonstration of such a legitimate route to cannabis would get the government off the hook of its present, unsustainable policy.

Watch this space.  CLEAR is now actively involved in supporting this venture and we will keep you fully informed.

Cruel And Irresponsible Response from UK Government To Parliamentary Report On Medicinal Cannabis.

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doctor-tips-bud-out-of-pot

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the response to the recent call from MPs and peers to legalise cannabis for medicinal use has come straight from the top.  Theresa May’s longstanding reputation as a denier of science and evidence on drugs policy is reinforced by her peremptory dismissal of the expert report.  It seems that, at least in the short term, the UK government is sticking by a policy that is discredited, ridiculous and deeply cruel.

It fell to Sarah Newton MP, minister of state at the Home Office, to respond to a parliamentary question from Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham, Hall Green.

Roger Godsiff MP

Roger Godsiff MP

“To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will respond to the recommendations of the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform Accessing Medicinal Cannabis: Meeting Patients’ Needs, published in September 2016.”

 

Sarah Newton MP

Sarah Newton MP

“The Prime Minister responded to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform’s report ‘Accessing Medicinal Cannabis: Meeting Patients’ Needs’ on the 27 October.

Cannabis is controlled as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and, in its raw form, currently has no recognised medicinal benefits in the UK. It is therefore listed as a Schedule 1 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

It is important that all medicines containing controlled drugs are thoroughly trialled to ensure they meet rigorous standards so that doctors and patients are sure of their efficacy and safety. To do otherwise for cannabis would amount to a circumvention of the clearly established and necessary regime for approving medicines in the UK.”

In other words, this is nothing more than a re-statement of the same position that the UK government has held since 1971 when legal access to medicinal cannabis was halted.  Quite clearly the government has given no consideration at all to the vast amount of scientific evidence and international experience that has accumulated over the last 45 years.  The latest report which took nine months to produce, took evidence from over 600 witnesses and included a review of over 20,000 scientific studies is simply cast aside.  To be honest, I doubt whether it has even been read by Ms May or anyone in the Home Office or Department of Health. This is the standard that now prevails in the UK – government of the people by an unaccountable, out-of-touch, unresponsive cabal of individuals elected by a deeply flawed system that gives democracy a bad name.

On the face of it, the claim that all medicines must be thoroughly trialled seems plausible – but it is not.  It is a misleading half-truth clearly intended to squash the call for access to medicinal cannabis by painting a false picture.

Doctors are allowed to prescribe any medicine, licensed or unlicensed, as they see fit, based on their own judgement. But prescribing of cannabis is specifically prohibited by Statutory Instrument despite the scientific consensus that it is far less dangerous than many, probably most commonly prescribed medicines.

So it’s not a level playing field.  It’s a policy that is based on prejudice and scaremongering about recreational use of cannabis.  Ms Newton’s answer is at best disingenuous but then she probably doesn’t even realise that herself.  For many years Home Office policy has been systematically to mislead and misinform on cannabis and evidently under Ms May’s successor, Amber Rudd MP, such dishonesty continues.

Theresa May MP

Theresa May MP

Something will eventually force the government’s hand to change its absurd position on cannabis. Sadly the very last consideration will be scientific evidence or the will of the people. Such factors hold no sway with  UK governments. Only when enough of the political elite open their eyes and examine their conscience, or some key individuals or their family members, experience the need for medicinal cannabis will change become possible.  Alternatively, political upheaval may present an opportunity. The Liberal Democrats were too cowardly, weak and concerned with building their personal careers when in coalition to advance the cause they now so bravely advocate.  Perhaps the SNP, with 56 MPs, all in favour of medicinal cannabis may be our best hope.

Sarah Newton is merely a puppet of the Home Office bureaucracy.  Theresa May’s mendacious position on all aspects of drugs policy is well established and she is as stubborn and bigoted as they come on such matters.  Only when she, in person, is subject to sufficient pressure will this cruel, ignorant and hateful policy change.

How Much So-Called ‘Anti-Semitism’ is Actually Opposition To Israeli War Crimes?

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Yes, On This Subject I Am A Corbyn Supporter

Yes, On This Subject I Am A Corbyn Supporter

It suits supporters of Netanyahu’s gangster regime to characterise any and all opposition to it as anti-semitism.  It’s also true that much of that opposition and emotional outrage is badly framed and expressed so that it can be easily or deliberately misinterpreted as opposition to the Jewish people and their religion.  But the Israeli regime itself plays fast and loose with the confusion between state, race, nationality and religion.  It twists and distorts anything to justify its apartheid policy and genocide of the Palestinian people.

Personally, I see very little anti-semitism.  In fact I cannot remember the last time I saw any words, behaviour or actions that could properly be described as such.  On the other hand there are daily examples of the brutal discrimination, oppression, murder, land theft and extra-judicial execution of Palestinians.

So I call total balderdash on the invented stories of anti-semitism within Labour.  In this instance, I believe Jeremy Corbyn and Shami Chakrabati are absolutely in the right.  Of course, there are the loony left extremists in Labour who are a danger to the whole of our society.  They undoubtedly push their delusional agenda of a Jewish banker mafia but they are bonkers anyway.  We all have to deal with their idiocy on a daily basis.  The far greater danger they pose is their already-achieved elimination of any effective parliamentary opposition.

No, the accusations of anti-semitism, including from the Home Affairs Committee, come from the pro-zionist apologists for Israeli war crimes.  I really don’t believe that amongst decent, honourable British people of all political persuasions, there is any significant anti-Jewish prejudice or actions.  Obviously I’m not saying it never happens but it’s largely Israeli government propaganda.

The answer is to root out the corrupt Israeli lobby in the UK Parliament and in US Senate and Congress.  Stand up to Netanyahu and the despicable conduct of so many in the Knesset. Give the Israeli people back the freedom to live in peace with their neighbours and for the nation to flourish without the hatred and oppression which constrains it today.

Senior Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, Joins CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform.

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crispin-bCrispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate, has joined the advisory board of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform as political advisor.

CLEAR is the largest drug policy reform group in the UK with more than 685,000 registered supporters.  It was formed in 1999 and its main aim is to “To promote as a matter of urgency and compassion the prescription of medicinal cannabis by doctors.”.

Crispin Blunt is a graduate in politics from the University of Durham and an ex-Army officer. He has represented the constituency of Reigate, Surrey as a Conservative MP since 1997.  He is presently chair of the foreign affairs select committee.

He commented on his appointment:

“I am pleased to join the board of CLEAR. It is wrong that people with a range of conditions are missing out from medicinal benefits of cannabis because of the UK’s out-of-date drug laws. We need a new approach and a sensible regulatory system to support patients and their healthcare professionals in accessing safe and effective medicinal cannabis products.”

Mr Blunt’s appointment comes a few days in advance of the publication of a Parliamentary report on medicinal cannabis.  It is to be announced in the House of Lords, committee room 2 at 11.00am on Tuesday 13th September 2016.  Alongside the report, Professor Mike Barnes, the world-renowned neurologist, who is also a member of the CLEAR advisory board, will be publishing a comprehensive review of the evidence of the medicinal applications of cannabis.

Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR, said:

“This is what we need, a forward-thinking, Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, alongside an eminent scientist and clinician, Professor Mike Barnes.  Very shortly, we will also be appointing a human rights barrister to our advisory board.  We aim to shake up the cruel, anti-evidence policy that denies British people access to cannabis as medicine.  The UK is in the dark ages on this compared to most of Europe, the USA, Canada, Israel and Australia.”

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Responsibility For This Hate-Filled Campaign Lies With Cameron’s ‘Project Fear’.

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jo cox flowers

Jo Cox is a martyr to British democracy.  Why have we had taken from us one who was clearly so worthy when so much of Parliament is comprised of the venal and self-serving? Many MPs will not even meet their constituents if they do not like the questions they have to ask. I have too much experience of MPs refusing to meet or assist their constituents who need access to medicinal cannabis.  Some are cowards who avoid controversial issues and disrespect their constituents’ views.  Jo Cox was  the very opposite and we must hope that some good comes from her sacrifice.

I saw my own MP, Oliver Letwin, just a couple of weeks ago and I wandered into this picturesque folly on the side of a church in Beaminster and there he was, no security, no entourage, not even a friendly bobby on the door.  He saw me through the window and called me in.  Is such informality, such casual access to a senior government minister, to be lost, even in deepest, rural Dorset?

Oaf

Oaf

We have no reliable information yet on the killer’s motivation but I see that has not stopped almost instantaneous and divisive speculation.  What is certain though is that the febrile atmosphere of this referendum campaign has brought more tension and division into our society than I have seen before.

I said this to Oliver when I met him.  His response was that this is democracy and the very nature of a referendum.  That is true but I do believe that the tactics used on both sides of this campaign have engendered far too much hate in Britain. For many this has caused great fear and confusion, particularly for the feeble minded or those that are easily led and can have their emotions inflamed by rhetoric.

The disgusting behaviour of the stinking-rich oaf Bob Geldof, abusing hard working and courageous British fishermen who have seen their livelihood devastated by the EU.  The vile UKIP poster of a queue of migrants released just a hour or so before Jo’s murder.  Nigel Farage is greatly to be admired for his determined and principled work but this poster is a mistake and inflames racial tension.

farage migrant poster

Inflammatory

Most of all though,  I blame this almost hysterical upsurge in hatred on Cameron’s Project Fear. He and Osborne told people we would be alright if we left the EU and everything would be be OK, we could make our decision without fear that either choice would be a catastrophic mistake.  Immediately though they have engaged in a campaign of terrorism, predicting chaos, disaster and mayhem if we vote to leave. Osborne’s scaremongering about a post-Brexit emergency budget was the nadir of Project Fear. He has stepped so far over the line that he will never command the trust of the British people again.

I have already submitted my postal vote and it is #VoteLeave.  I know it is the opposite of what Jo Cox would have voted but I pay tribute to her as a politician who stood for democracy and, in my view, that is what this referendum is about.  It’s not ‘…about the economy, stupid.’  Neither is it about immigration. It’s about self-determination and being governed by people we elect, not faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats.

Project Fear

Project Fear

A House of Commons full of MPs with the sincerity and good faith of Jo Cox would be my ideal. I believe that is what we should work towards, not abdicating our responsibility to some out-of-touch superstate, not led into servitude by a self-serving, elite of privileged politicians who rely on fear and scaremongering and try to intimidate us into a vote that is not freely chosen.

Email To My MP On Conduct Of Tory MPs At PMQs.

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cameron smirk

From: Peter Reynolds
Sent: 09 March 2016 15:00
To: Oliver Letwin
Subject: Conduct of Tory MPs at PMQs

Dear Oliver,

The disgusting behaviour of your colleagues in the House today was shameful. They demean Parliament and our entire political system, not to mention the elected government and, most important of all, our nation.

The spectacle of these pompous buffoons conducting themselves in a manner that would be unacceptable from primary school children is just too much. It appalls me and, I am sure, all decent people throughout the UK. They are pigs rooting in a trough of self-indulgent hypocrisy. Each one of them could do with 24 hours in a cell to contemplate their behaviour which is far worse than some drunken yobbo vomiting in the gutter after a binge drinking session.

That all Cameron can do is smirk makes the whole matter worse. His failure to act makes him the most culpable oaf of all.

Please ensure that my views are communicated to the prime minister, your colleagues in cabinet and other Tory MPs.

This must stop.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 9, 2016 at 3:13 pm