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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Drax

Letter To My MP, Richard Drax, On Israel And Gaza.

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Richard Drax MP

Richard Drax MP

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: Richard Drax MP
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2014 5:35 PM
Subject: War crimes in Gaza

Dear Mr Drax,

I pay my taxes, amongst other things, to provide effective armed forces able, if necessary, to project power to wherever it is needed in the world.

One of its functions must be in the gravest of circumstances, when tyranny reigns and innocent men, women and children are being slaughtered, to intervene on humanitarian grounds to force an aggressor to cease its attacks.

When are we going to Gaza?

This is a noble cause, far more so than defending assets or property. This is what our brave soldiers, sailors and airmen are for. A single Type 45 destroyer stationed off the coast of Gaza could immediately neutralise all Israeli airforce and missile activity.

When are we going to take the action that we are ethically and morally compelled to?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

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Written by Peter Reynolds

August 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

The Silence Of UK MPs On Gaza Is Shameful.

with 2 comments

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

Britain Descends Into A Police State, Liberty Is Extinguished, Government Is Corrupt.

with one comment

Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax known as Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset.

Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax known as Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset.

An email to my stuffed shirt, honorary Bullingdon Club member, self-serving and utterly useless MP, Richard Drax.

 

—– Original Message —–
From: Peter Reynolds
To: Richard Drax MP
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:20 PM
Subject: Britain descends into a police state, liberty is extinguished, goverment is corrupt and self-serving.

Dear Mr Drax,

Theresa May is a monster. The coalition government conspires with the opposition to deprive us of our few remaining liberties. Files on Westminster paedophiles and illegal rendition via Diegio Garcia are mysteriously “lost”. The UK government and its propaganda mouthpiece, the BBC, flagrantly defies 65 UN resolutions and supports the Israeli genocide of Palestine.

Do you even begin to realise the contempt that you self-serving and corrupt bunch of criminals are held in?

Time to roll out the guillotines in Parliament Square.

Any MP with a shred of honour would resign from this disgraced House of Corruption.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

An Open Letter To My MP, Richard Drax, On The Leveson Report

with 2 comments

RICHDRAX

 

Dear Richard,

You suggested in your speech in the House this evening that implementing the Leveson report would mean legislating on ethical standards for the press.

This is nonsense and I find it difficult to believe you could advance such an idea in good faith. What Leveson recommends is legislating to create an independent regulator which would set ethical standards based on consultation and agreement. This is exactly what we need.

I could not disagree with you more when you say “non-statutory, self-regulation” is the only option. I believe precisely the reverse is the case. The press has been given seven ‘last chances’ in 70 years to put its house in order and without fail has returned to abusive, corrupt and unacceptable conduct.

You will recall, I hope, that I too am a journalist and real ‘freedom of the press’ is something I value highly – but with freedom comes responsibility. It is preposterous, as you seem to suggest, that there should be no rules and all journalists must be trusted without question!

I regret that in your speech I found you pompous, apparently completely detached from the reality of most people’s day to day lives and, most of all, out of touch. You appear to be a caricature of an MP from an age that is long, long past..

The press barons, owners and editors, are flexing their muscles, saturating our country with propaganda which blatantly misleads about the urgent necessity for independent regulation. Their furious disinformation, trying to frighten and intimidate with nonsensical allegations about state control of the press is the dishonesty and manipulation of Fleet Street exemplified.

Independent regulation, backed by statute, is essential. As proposed it will enshrine a newspaper industry as independent from the state. It is a necessary and progressive move in support of freedom and liberty and against the corruption and vested interests of the media megalomaniacs.

I reject entirely your position on this vital issue.

Peter Reynolds

Written by Peter Reynolds

December 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Posted in Politics, The Media

Tagged with , ,

SECOND UPDATE On Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

with 68 comments

This is the third instalment in this story.

1. Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

2. Update On Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

Eventually The Guardian took some notice.   See here.

Despite the pleas of those in pain and suffering, the Home Office was talking to Mary O’Hara of The Guardian but not to them.   Dozens if not hundreds of medicinal cannabis users had written to the Home Office asking for confirmation that they could go to Holland for a prescription.  Not a word was heard.

Jim Starr, the subject of this story, wrote to his MP, and then he wrote again.  He heard nothing.  He wrote to the Home Office, chasing up his application for a personal import licence.  He heard nothing.  He wrote again.

Dilatory

Richard Drax, the first timer, newly elected Tory MP for Dorset South just happens to be my MP too, so I wrote to him on Jim’s behalf.

Jim has heard nothing.  Richard Drax asked me not to mention his name in any article about Jim. Jim wrote again.  I wrote again.  We have heard nothing.

Jim’s medicine has run out.  We told the Home Office and Richard Drax that it was an urgent medical emergency.  We have heard nothing.

I spent the last week on the telephone and exchanging emails with the Home Office.  This is the result:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The UK’s position is clear – cannabis is dangerous and has no medicinal benefits in herbal form. It remains illegal for UK residents to possess cannabis in any form.

Britons benefit from reciprocal laws which allow EU nationals, in limited circumstances, to travel with controlled medicines. We are working with European authorities to ensure the system is robust and not open to abuse.

The Home Office says you can import cannabis to the UK and use it without restriction provided you “are resident in a country where that drug is legally prescribed”.  So it’s OK for the Dutch and the Belgians and the Spanish and the Italians and the Czechs and the Poles (and many others) to smoke weed in Britain but not if you’re British.

We Won't Give Up

This is clearly unequal, discriminatory, unjust and unsustainable in law but the Home Office is not about to give in.  The only way to resolve this is that either someone must appeal a conviction all the way to the Supreme Court or there must be an application for judicial review.

Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment.

In the meantime, Jim and thousands like him will manage as best as they can.

He’s still heard nothing from either the Home Office or Richard Drax.

Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

with 92 comments

In The Pink

Last week Jim Starr flew into Bristol Airport from Amsterdam carrying 80 grammes of herbal cannabis as prescribed for him by a Dutch doctor.  That’s just under three ounces of dried flower heads.  He was carrying it in a parcel about the size of a telephone directory.

There was no one at customs, even though Jim went through the red channel and had telephoned ahead to advise the airport that he was bringing the cannabis in.  He waited, even looked around for someone, anyone, but there was no one to be seen at all.  He wanted to declare what he had with him.  He’s never wanted to break the law.  He knew that he was risking confiscation of the cannabis, possibly even arrest but the coast wasn’t just clear, it was deserted.  The authorities had evidently decided that in their “war on drugs”, this time, discretion was definitely the better part of valour.  They were in full scale retreat.

Jim had confirmed to the airport that he had the necessary paperwork to prove it was prescribed medicinal cannabis.  His doctor had told him that he was protected under Article 75 of the Schengen Agreement which states “persons may carry the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that are necessary for their medical treatment provided that, at any check, they produce a certificate issued or authenticated by a competent authority”

Prescription

Of course, even then, it didn’t stop the journey being a nerve wracking and tense experience.  Now, safely at home in Dorchester with his family, Jim understands from the Home Office that he is entitled to bring in the cannabis as prescribed for him by his Dutch doctor.  He can bring in up to three month’s supply at a time if he carries it on his person. Otherwise he has to apply for an import licence and have it shipped to a UK pharmacist.

Jim is 36 and is married to Emma, with whom he has two children.  Originally from Birmingham, he was a very active man in full time employment until in 1999 he was diagnosed with a degenerative disease of the spine.  In 2003 he was involved in a road accident and suffered terrible spinal injuries. His life seemed hopeless. The cocktail of powerful drugs he was prescribed, including morphine, were debilitating in themselves.  He couldn’t face a future in which he was turned into a zombie, unable to enjoy any sort of decent life with his wife and children. He admits frankly that he was suicidal.

One day in 2004, Jim was upstairs in bed in so much pain and despair that he could barely move.  A friend called round to see him and offered him a joint. Half an hour later Jim made it downstairs for the first time in three weeks.  Suddenly he had hope and the possibility of a future with his family.

Life since then has been a constant game of cat and mouse with the police and drug dealers.  Apart from risking arrest and even prison, Jim has also been in danger of being robbed or ripped off by dealers. He’s never wanted to break the law. He told his doctor the relief that cannabis provided and as soon as Sativex became available, even before it was officially licensed, his doctor prescribed it for him. Unfortunately, the very next day she rang to say that because of licensing and regulation problems she wouldn’t be able to prescribe it again.  In fact, Jim did manage to get another prescription for Sativex but again it was withdrawn, this time because his health authority refused to fund it.

Jim has been an active campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis ever since.  He has organised a series of marches, protests and petitions in Dorchester, Weymouth and even Downing Street. Over the last seven years, three MPs, Oliver Letwin, Jim Knight and Richard Drax, have written various letters in support of him.  He is a distinctive figure in his wheelchair with his dyed beard which has earned him the nickname “Pinky”.  Perhaps he has been a little too high profile for the Dorset police who he accuses of persecuting him.  Unable to obtain Sativex or afford the prices and risks of dealers, Jim enlisted the help of a friend to grow his own medicine. Inevitably, in May 2009 the police arrived and Jim was arrested.

Campaigning

In August this year at Dorchester Crown Court Jim was given a two year conditional discharge for growing cannabis. He is now pursuing a complaint against the police alleging brutal treatment during his arrest.  Other complications, allegedly at the police’s behest, have led to the DVLA revoking his driving licence although he has never been arrested, charged, convicted or even stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Jim has become an avid recorder of everything.  He uses mobile phones, video cameras and audio recorders to retain evidence of every contact with the authorities.  He has a video recording of an officer saying to his wife “Look luvvy, whatever he grows up there from now on is up to him.  We promise it don’t bother us”.  Foolishly, he took the officer at his word.  Three weeks after receiving his conditional discharge the police arrived again.

There was no provision for transporting him to the police station in his wheelchair.  The officers were warned not to lift him by his arms because of his spinal condition.  They wrenched him out of his chair by gripping his shoulders and underpants causing anal bleeding due to an existing condition. He was refused a doctor at the station. There was no provision for disabled people, even for his special toilet needs.  He was refused access to any of his prescribed medication or even his specialist anti pressure sore mattresses.

The following day he attended hospital and was diagnosed with torn shoulder muscles.  In fact, his spinal column is so delicate that any movement could potentially paralyse him. This is the basis of all his high profile campaigning and must be well known to the police.  Jim now faces another charge of cultivating cannabis and a possible prison sentence.

With Mr Nice

The trip to Holland was a last resort, only made possible by the generosity of a friend.  The Dutch doctor was horrified at the range of highly toxic prescription medicines given to Jim and prescribed two grammes per day of medicinal herbal cannabis.  He told Jim that he shouldn’t be using Sativex as the alcohol in its solution was like pouring petrol on a fire, given his medical conditions.

So at last, Jim seems to have the medicine he needs.  He will have to continue to rely on the generosity of friends to pay for it.  He is applying for a Home Office licence for the cannabis to be imported to a local pharmacist who can then dispense it to him.  He will continue to campaign for the right to grow his own for free.  The costs of cultivation at home are minimal compared to the rigmarole of importing from Holland or the massive “Big Pharma” cost of Sativex.

Jim is not the first person to get the medicine they need in this way but he is the first to go public about it.  Many tens of thousands may now wish to follow his example.  Most European countries and 15 US states already regulate the provision of medicinal cannabis. Surely it is time for the government to consider reform of what looks increasingly like an absurd and cruel law.

My MP, Richard Drax, To Write To David Cameron On Drugs Policy

with 21 comments

The Honourable Member For Dorset South

Today I met with my MP, Richard Drax.  He was just as sickeningly handsome and charming as I expected him to be!   So I showed him no mercy and bombarded him with my opinions for a good half an hour.

I realised afterwards that my favourite maxim “less is more” would have been a better strategy.  Nevertheless,  he did offer to write to David Cameron on my behalf on drugs policy and seemed genuinely sympathetic to some of the points I made.

I have just sent him a lengthy email in confirmation which I reproduce below.  If anyone wishes to use this as a template for a letter or email to their own MP, please feel free to do so.

******

Dear Richard,

Thank you so much for your time today.  I very much enjoyed meeting you.  As I said, I came with opinions not problems.  I am grateful to you for listening to me.

I realise that I made the classic mistake of bombarding you with far too much information and not giving you time to absorb any.  I hope I may correct that error by summarising here what we talked about.

1. Gary McKinnon. Thank heavens that progress seems to have been made on this. The idea of an “extradition” treaty that provides for someone to be sent to the USA for trial on an alleged crime committed here is iniquitous.  It’s particularly unfair in McKinnon’s case as he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome.  You pointed out to me that similar dangers exist with the new European arrest warrant.

I would urge you to do everything possible to ensure that if Gary McKinnon is to be tried, it should take place in the UK.

2. Ian Tomlinson. In my view the failure to prosecute the policeman who assaulted him is an outrage and Keir Starmer’s reasons entirely inadequate.  Now that the credibility of the pathologist in the case has been destroyed by a GMC panel, Starmer should at least reconsider and hopefully reverse his decision.

References here:


http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/killer-cop-harwood-must-be-charged/

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/keir-starmer-the-next-lord-widgery/

I would urge you to press for a re-consideration of the decision not to bring charges.  If no criminal charges are brought, at the very least the disciplinary hearing should be held in public as the rules allow.  The Tomlinson family are entitled to justice.

3. Drugs policy. You very kindly agreed to write to David Cameron on my behalf.  I am very concerned at the conduct of the Home Office at present and particularly James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention who is causing great damage to both the coalition governemnt and the Tory party by promoting ideas and policies that contradict virtually all expert opinion, including the government’s own scientific advisers.  He also seems to be completely at odds with the calls for drug law reform which both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have made consistently over the last 10 years.

This is not a peripheral or secondary issue.  According to Baroness Meacher in the House of Lords on 15th June 2010, “There is no more obvious waste than the £19 billion annual cost of the UK’s war on drugs”.

There is a huge amount of reference material on this subject on my blog:

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/?s=drugs

I would also refer you to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation which has highly detailed and almost universally acclaimed proposals for drug regulation:

http://www.tdpf.org.uk

Virtually all experts agree that the “war on drugs” has failed. In exactly the same way as alcohol prohibition in the US led to a massive increase in crime and violence, so drug prohibition has created an illegal market said to be worth £350 billion per year. It has also financed civil war in Latin America for 25 years and is the principal source of finance for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are dying every day because of the illegal trade in opiates.  Why don’t we just buy up the whole crop for the next 10 years?  It would be much cheaper in both cash and lives than the Afghan war.

Virtually all experts agree that regulation would be a better solution.  I have distilled the following five point plan from everything that I have read and learned over more than 30 years:

1. An end to oppression of drug users (at least 10 million UK citizens)
2. Removal from the criminal law of any offence for possession and/or social supply
3. Fact and evidence-based policy, information and regulation
4. Re-direction of law enforcement resources against real criminals
5. Treat problematic drug use as a health issue

Five years ago, while campaigning for the Tory party leadership, David Cameron called for “fresh thinking and a new approach” towards drugs policy and said that it would be “disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”. Nick Clegg has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws and to stop “making ordinary people criminals”. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons. The coalition government’s new Your Freedom website has been inundated with proposals to legalise cannabis and to end the futile war on drugs.   In July a poll carried out for the LibDems showed 70% of people in favour of legalising cannabis.

The Home Office and James Brokenshire are completely out of touch with expert and public opinion as well as the declared views of both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

In my view, regulation means tighter control on the most dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine and alcohol and lighter regulation on relatively harmless substances like cannabis and ecstasy.

There is also the very important question of medicinal cannabis.  The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1998 has led to an ever-escalating volume of evidence of the medicinal value of cannabis.  In June the MHRA approved Sativex as an MS medicine in the UK.  It is a whole plant extract yet presently, the Home Office refuses to consider a regulated system of the plant itself for medicinal purposes.  This is completely irrational and absurd.  The House Of Lords scientific committee recommended such a system should be introduced 12 years ago.  Medicinal cannabis is available and regulated throughout almost all of Europe, Israel and 14 states in the USA (with 12 more in the planning stage).  The UK stands almost alone in its obstinate refusal even to consider such a system.

Already this is leading to quite obscene injustices where patients have been prescribed Sativex by their doctor but their health authority has refused to fund it and patients are then facing criminal prosecution for cultivating their own plants.  There is a case of exactly this going on in the Dorchester Crown Court at present and the CPS insists it is in the public interest to prosecute!

Thank you once again for listening to me Richard. I hope these notes are useful in composing your letter to David Cameron and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds