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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘PM

May Brings A Fresh Start To The Cannabis Campaign.

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tm no 10

Would that we were in spring looking forward to a splendid summer. Instead, in mid-July we are heading into autumn towards what looks like a stern, drab and ominous future.   Theresa May is prime minister, perhaps the worst nightmare for those who seek cannabis law reform.

You have to admire her first few days though. What you see is what you get. She is smart, calculated and very, very certain about the nature of the government she will lead.  I have no doubt she has a softer, caring side and there is testimony to that effect from those who support her.  She is a strong woman, she will be sympathetic to people and causes that she chooses but ruthless and absolute against those she opposes. Our problem is that, as confirmed by both the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee, evidence has nothing to do with it. Theresa May’s drugs policy is based on her personal opinions and even the plight of those in chronic pain and disability is unlikely to change her mind even on the medicinal use of cannabis.  I remember Norman Baker told me that she simply does not comprehend that cannabis can be a legitimate medicine.  The very idea is anathema to her.  It is beyond her comprehension.  The daughter of a vicar, who attended a convent then a grammar school, she has a lot about her that suggests piety, reserve, self-discipline and control.  Admirable qualities but lacking perhaps in empathy with modern lifestyles and values.

Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary

Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary

But this is a fresh start.  Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary, is cast from the same mould as Ms May.  My MP, Oliver Letwin, himself disposed of in the new cabinet, has already written to Ms Rudd and asked her to see me.  As of today, CLEAR represents nearly 700,000 registered supporters, equivalent to the electorate in more than eight parliamentary constituencies, so I think she has a good reason to give me a few minutes.  I will continue to press for a meeting until she or one of her junior ministers agrees to see me.

It can only help that I am now a fully paid-up member of the Conservative Party.  I made this decision shortly after the EU referendum and I have also joined the Conservative Policy Forum which works to influence Conservative Party policy from the grassroots. I will be advancing the cause of medicinal cannabis and wider drugs policy reform as quickly and effectively as I can through the party’s established channels. Whether it is a short or long game, it has to get started now.

I do believe this is the best way forward for the cannabis campaign.  I will work from within the party of government to try and influence change.  It is more than likely that the Tories will be in power for the next 10 years, if not more. Now is the time to get involved, face our opposition, engage with those who have power.  Every other UK political party is in disarray.

When we relaunched the Legalise Cannabis Alliance as CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform in 2011, we brought a totally new, professional approach to the campaign.  Others have followed and there is now a significant group that understands how to use professional lobbying techniques.  The greatest achievement of this has been to get the Liberal Democrats involved and although there remains great resistance amongst party members in the shires, the leadership is very much onside.  Sadly, the party itself is as far away from power as it has ever been and, in my view, has swung widely off course in a futile and misguided effort to reverse the referendum result.  Such whimsical strategies have always been the LibDems’ problem.  Unless a political revolution suddenly makes Corbyn a serious contender then there will be no other party in power but the Tories. This is where we must invest time, effort and all our resources.  We must understand how to turn Tory aims, ambitions and viewpoints to our advantage.  Which arguments will work and how do we get them across?

mcte thumbnail fcAlthough we now have a more professional campaign and several individuals with real ability, now is not the time to revert to talking amongst ourselves.  Conferences, meetings, documentary films and events are all very well but they almost exclusively preach to the choir.  Just like the demos and protests that have at last ebbed away, they make those involved feel good and they ramp up morale but they do little to create change.   This is no way to make progress.  I will ensure that CLEAR is on the front line.  It is those who oppose us that we need to be talking to, not those who already agree with us.

Professor Mike Barnes

Professor Mike Barnes

At the same time, specifically on medicinal cannabis, our focus must be on the medical profession. We published ‘Medicinal Cannabis:The Evidence’ just over a year ago and it has added real credibility to the campaign.  In a few weeks when the APPG for Drug Policy Reform publishes its report on medicinal cannabis, Professor Mike Barnes will release his own review of current evidence and it will become the definitive work on the subject.  CLEAR will be taking this to GPs all over the country, to the Royal Colleges and particularly to those working in pain management. We already know that thousands of doctors endorse their patients’ use of cannabis for chronic pain, it is time to bring this out of the closet. Doctors and nurses have literally been terrorised into keeping quiet about cannabis.  We have first hand knowledge of Home Office officials warning off doctors who have tried to assist their patients by prescribing Sativex off label or recommending Bedrocan.  This must stop.  We must equip the medical profession with the evidence it needs to be able to do the best by its patients.

I know many will be downhearted by this new government but change is always a good thing.  It offers us the opportunity to renew our campaign.  Most important, we must walk towards the enemy, not hide in our bunkers, fearful of their response.  All over the world, mainstream opinion is turning in favour of cannabis as medicine and wider drugs policy reform.  Now is the time to step forward, to do all we can to  educate and inform those who are still in the dark. I have set out above what CLEAR’s new strategy will be. Please join us. Become a member. Sign up here.  Your first duty?  Make an appointment to see your MP.  This is the most effective thing you can do.  We will publish new guidance in the next few days on how to prepare for and conduct these meetings.

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Theresa May is PM. At Last My Future Is Settled.

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fortune cookie smoke pot

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 12, 2016 at 10:03 am

After A Vote For Brexit We Cannot Have A Remainer For PM.

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Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom

Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom

It’s obvious isn’t it?  It would be an insult to the electorate and a subversion of the democratic vote if our new PM was not a committed supporter of Brexit.

The most disastrous choice the Tory party could make would be Theresa May.  Not only is she a remainer who hid away during the referendum campaign and didn’t have the courage to stand up even for her own side, she is also a deeply divisive figure. All Home Secretaries are unpopular but few are reviled like Theresa May.  She is intolerant, authoritarian, illiberal (some Tories might like that but not the rest of the country) and she has a diabolical record of incompetence at the Home Office.

#NotTheresaMay

#NotTheresaMay

She has presided over the complete collapse of our border controls. Even despite the incompetent policy making on immigration, Theresa May has allowed our borders to fall into uselessness.  On the other hand she has also been responsible for some of the most cruel, inhumane treatment of genuine refugees.

She was responsible for the disaster at the Passport Office and for other policies which prevent the partners of British citizens living here unless they earn a minimum amount. These are un-British, cruel and spiteful policies that seem to characterise the mindset of Ms May.  She would be a disaster for Britain and for the Tory party.

Stephen Crabb is an interesting, young, up and coming politician – and he’s Welsh (which is always an advantage in my book) but he’s a remainer.  He cannot be our next PM.  Neither can Jeremy Hunt, Nicky Morgan, Justine Greening, Robert Buckland or any other remainer who puts their name forward.   It would be an insult, the greatest disrespect to the electorate.

Personally I regret that Michael Gove is not standing. Other than his support for the war criminal state of Israel which I deplore, he is, in my view, one of the bright lights in Parliament: fiercely intelligent, a reformer and  a skilled media spokesperson.  I suspect he may be keeping his powder dry for the next opportunity.

I believe there are only three possible candidates for our next PM: Boris Johnson, Liam Fox or Andrea Leadsom.

Britain’s Elder Statesman

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In A Proud And Honourable Tradition

William Hague is a British politician we can be proud of.  I agree with almost every word he says.  The only subject on which we diverge is Trident.  I see no point at all in this massively expensive white elephant.  Everything that can be achieved by possessing a nuclear weapon is achieved by just one warhead capable of use on a variety of delivery methods.  Our generals don’t want Trident.  We should listen to their advice.

Hague’s time as PM was an unhappy one and it is true that his judgment can be a little wobbly at times but only on trivial matters such as dress code.  His presence, intelligence and dignity endow him with a magnificent stature that commands not just the conference platform but the world stage.  He makes Labour politcians look either like spiteful, spotty schoolboys or grumpy old codgers with dinosaur attitudes and medieval manners.

He is the perfect foil to David Cameron.  Truly, this is a wonderful partnership which will enable Britain to regain its place as a world leader.

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.

Republicans Reveal True Colours To Brits

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The story about the mosque being built at Ground Zero has been bubbling away for a few days.  This evening, on BBC Radio 4’s “PM” programme an interview with Scott Wheeler of the National Republican Trust fired my interest.  In fact, it made me explode with anger.

To start the interview Eddie Mair, the PM frontman, played a radio commercial opposing the construction of the mosque. The NRT has paid for its production and broadcast.   It is outrageous.  I think it would probably fall foul of the law here for “incitement to racial hatred”.

Here’s the TV version which uses the same audio track.  Setting Brush Fires, a US blogger,  found this for me.

I’ll repeat that name for you:  Scott Wheeler, of the National Republican Trust.   He’s the individual promoting these ideas.  If the boot was on the other foot he would now be at 30,000 feet on his way to Guantanamo Bay.

I hope that US Republicans are going to tell me that I’m wrong, that he’s a bit of a nutter and he and his cronies are unrepresentative of the mainstream.  I hope so because if this is what represents American free speech, for the first time ever, I’m not jealous of their written constitution.

These ideas are every bit as wicked as the preachings of Abu Hamza or Anjem Choudary, the Islamist extremists who have tried to influence Britain.   Scott Wheeler is exactly the same but the opposite.

These are the scum of the earth.