Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Theresa May

The Root Of All Britain’s Drugs Problems Is In Marsham Street, London, SW1

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The Home Office describes its role as “to keep citizens safe and the country secure”. Its lead role in drugs policy achieves exactly the opposite of this.

It is a scandal encompassing successive governments for more than 50 years that the UK’s approach to drugs has been so utterly disastrous that our policy has caused far more harm than it has prevented.

Currently, the two issues of major concern are the rate of drug deaths and difficulty in accessing cannabis as medicine. It’s no surprise most people now recognise that drugs policy should really be a matter for the Department of Health. The only reason for keeping it in the Home Office is if you believe it is primarily a security issue and about enforcing the law to stop people using drugs and interventions to stop production and importation.  This is an outdated view based on misguided thinking.  The Home Office’s own research shows that laws, enforcement and penalties make absolutely no difference to drug use.  There is no justification for keeping drugs policy in Marsham Street, particularly when we consider the way this focus on security and enforcement has made all our drugs problems so much worse.

Famously, before the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it is said there were about 3,000 problematic drug users in the UK. Today, the effect of this law, administered by the Home Office, is that figure has exploded to more like 350,000 problematic users.  It has been a disaster of unparalleled scale.

Victoria Atkins and Theresa May. The drug barons of Britain.

And everything about Home Office drugs policy makes the problems worse.  The only purpose of drugs policy must be to reduce harm but the Home Office is obsessed with a moral crusade of reducing drug use and the level of use is not the same as the level of harm.  Most of the time, the Home Office’s attempts to reduce use cause more harm than the use of drugs itself.  This is particularly true with cannabis where a criminal record, even a caution, causes far more harm to an individual than the use of cannabis. The Home Office already knows that criminal justice measures do not reduce drug use, so enforcement is largely futile and it causes harm.

It is dreadful that the Home Office is strongly resisting efforts to introduce drug consumption rooms (DCRs) which have been shown, conclusively, to reduce drug deaths.  In Glasgow, the local council and the Scottish government are backing the proposal but the Home Office is intransigent.  What is truly appalling and demonstrates a criminal standard of corruption at the highest level is the way that Victoria Atkins, a Home Office Minister, has lied and misled Parliament and the public on the evidence for DCRs.  She, of course is also a rabid anti-cannabis campaigner while her husband makes his living from cannabis production, licensed by the Home Office! This conflict of interest and hypocrisy well illustrates the fundamental corruption and dishonesty that is the Home Office culture.  The ‘hostile environment’ towards immigrants, first introduced by Labour but enthusiastically pursued by Theresa May when she became Home Secretary in 2010, is central to the way that Home Office officials conduct themselves, not only about immigration but every area of home affairs.  The ‘customer’ is the enemy in Home Office terms, someone to be distrusted. This is the way officials treat those who they are paid to serve.

Against this background, it’s astonishing that the new regulations enabling access to cannabis as medicine were introduced while Theresa May was PM.   No one is more strongly prohibitionist, nor, during her six years as Home Secretary, more in tune with the Home Office’s interfering, repressive culture.  It’s more than ironic that on leaving Downing Street she has purchased a flat in, you guessed it, Marsham Street!  This, the scene of her most shameful actions in government, is where she feels at home.

The introduction of the new regulations while she was PM shows that with a big enough media outcry , even the most stubborn bigot can be forced to concede. Though now the media spotlight has moved on, the desperately ill children, some having hundreds of seizures a day, have been forgotten. With just a couple of exceptions they still aren’t getting the medicine they need on the NHS. For them, the new regulatiions mean that they can now get their medicine legally but it has to be paid for privately. Typically this means expenditure of thousands of pounds per month which the families simply cannot afford.

Under the new regulations, cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) are supposed to be available on prescription from specialist doctors as unlicensed, schedule 2 medicines. It’s proving difficult enough to get a doctor to prescribe, such is the lack of understanding amongst doctors and the incredibly restrictive guidelines that professional bodies have put in place.  On top of all that, the Home Office is doing all it can to obstruct access.  Clearly its duty is to facilitate implementation of the new regulations but it is hostile towards the people that seek access to cannabis.  It is and always has been institutionally opposed to cannabis.

For years there has been a procedure in place for those who are prescribed schedule 2 medicines containing controlled drugs to bring up to three month’s supply into the country without requiring a licence.  For cannabis this has been swept aside without any explanation or reason.  The process involved in importing CBPMs is tortuous and complex as the Home Office shows no flexibility, no compassion and places obstacles at every turn. And there is no accountability at all. All Home Office policies, decisions, actions and processes are opaque.  They see no reason to explain themselves. They do what they want, irrespective of the needs of the people concerned, or even the law. Marsham Street considers itself above the law, exempt from any judicial or democratic accountability. Ultimately, the prospect of applying for judicial review of its actions is completely out of reach for everyone except the super rich.

The other crucial aspect of delivering on the new regulations is to develop a UK-based cannabis industry where we are producing ourselves what our people need.  The Home Office has failed entirely to grasp this nettle. Reports are that dozens of applications have been submitted for licences but so far, a year on, the best information I can get is that only one, highly restricted, research-only licence has been issued. So even it doesn’t allow for porduction of CBPMs, all of which have to be imported at huge expense.

It remains the case that the only company licensed for commercial production of cannabis is GW Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiary/supplier companies.  A company in which Home Office minister Victoria Atkins and former Home Secretary and PM Theresa May both have a personal financial interest.  The depth of this corruption and the failure to hold these two crooks to account is surely one of the biggest political scandals ever in British history.

Home Office ministers have a great deal to answer for but also the officials who have restrained those few ministers, such as the Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, who have even dared to consider reform.  The prejudice and bigotry on drugs policy runs so deep it is difficult to see how it can change.  But change it must.  Britain desperately needs a PM and a Home Secretary with the courage and intelligence to grasp this nettle.  Until those people emerge we are destined to stay in a very dark and destructive place while more and more deaths, misery and serious violent crime are caused by those who are failing us so badly.

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 30, 2019 at 6:49 pm

‘Cannabis Law is Simply Criminal’. Letter to the Sunday Times, 26th May 2019

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The Sunday Times, 26th May 2019

Thank you to the Sunday Times for publishing my letter about cannabis today.

In fact, it was orginally a comment left on this article: ‘CBD products being rated for tax — but still seized’.  I received an email asking for my permission to publish it as a letter which clearly I was happy to agree to.

Obviously I accept that letters will be edited but when this is done to alter very substantially the original meaning, questions have to be asked.

Why is the Sunday Times protecting corrupt, senior British politicians from facts which are in the public domain? In the original the last two paragraphs read:

“Our politicians are incompetent, stupid and in some cases brazenly corrupt on this subject and reform is inevitable, although how long it will take remains to be seen.

While Theresa May and the Home Office drugs minister, Victoria Atkins MP, both continue to make personal financial gain from licensed cannabis production, the UK has a steeper hill to climb than Ireland. Corruption at the very top of government is difficult to overcome.”

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 26, 2019 at 3:49 pm

The Conservative Party Is Destroying Britain. It Must Be Stopped. #AndImATory

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Theresa May is in charge and her party is causing immense, possibly irrepairable damage to Britain.  She must be called to account and her party must be stopped.  This is a grave national emergency which in some countries would provoke a military coup. Who can say that in the interests of our nation this is not justified?  I’d trust one of our senior military officers to act more responsibly than any member of the cabinet, any day.

Sadly, I cannot see a heavily armed band of brothers seizing Downing Street and carting Mrs May off to HMP Belmarsh but something close to such drama is urgently needed.  If there is anyone left in the Conservative Party who puts the national interest before their own, they need to step forward.  I can see no way ahead except a general election.

That may cause an inevitable crashing out of the EU. Article 50 has been activated and we are on a predetermined timetable. If we haven’t done a deal by the next March we will exit with all future trade on WTO terms.  My view is that would be a very good thing.  It woud deliver what we voted for in the referendum and we would be forced to make it work.

All the bleating, hand-wringing from the treasonous Remainers would be hot air, dispersing into nothingness that it was all along.  I wish that the vile, whining cabal of Chuka Ummuna, Anna Soubry, Ken Clarke, Chris Leslie and others would resign.  They have campaigned relentlessly against the people’s decision, they have sabotaged our nation and they are no longer fit to be in Parliament.

But no one bears more responsibility than Theresa May.  The Brexit supporting MPs are rightly insisting that Brexit must be implemented and she has deceived, cheated, procrastinated, double-crossed and betrayed.  No consequence can be serious enough for her but I will be content provided she is removed from office and public life for ever.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 17, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Posted in Politics

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Let’s Nail the Home Office’s Latest Smokescreen About Medical Cannabis

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As the evidence and support for legal access to cannabis for medical use grows, so the Home Office adjusts and reframes its arguments in denial.

This should come as no surprise. The ‘hostile environment’ revealed by the Windrush scandal runs through the Home Office like a stick of rock. The culture of this department is defined by Theresa May and it reflects her character and personality. It is secretive, demands total control and micro management of everything it touches and whenever it is challenged it finds another excuse to maintain its iron rule. It is institutionally dishonest.

A Home Office spokeswoman said:

“We recognise that people with chronic pain and debilitating illnesses are looking to alleviate their symptoms. However, it is important that medicines are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market, so doctors and patients are assured of their efficacy and safety.”

The truth is rather different. In every jurisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation. You cannot regulate a 500 molecule plant-based medicine in the same way as a single molecule synthesised in a lab.

Regulation by the MHRA is the final excuse, the last obstacle to a revolution in healthcare in the UK. We need an ‘Office of Medicinal Cannabis’ as there is in the Netherlands, or ‘Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations’ as administered by Health Canada. Colorado has its ‘Medical Marijuana Registry Program’ and other US states have similar arrangements. Israel’s Ministry of Health has its ‘Medical Cannabis Unit’. In Australia, its equivalent of the MHRA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has established its own set of medical cannabis regulations.

Every other government that has recognised the enormous benefit that medicinal cannabis offers has come to the same conclusion: cannabis is a special case. It is far more complex but much, much safer than pharmaceutical products.

So next time you hear this, the last, lame excuse from a government ideologically opposed to this long overdue reform, treat it and them with the contempt they deserve. They prefer that people should continue in pain, suffering and disability than that they should do what science and medicine says is right.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm

UK Parliament Will Lose Its Legitimacy If It Fails To Act In Defence Of Palestine

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Netanyahu is nothing but a murderer.

In Israel, he and his IDF gangsters use tear gas and live ammunition on people who are throwing stones because their land has been stolen from them. Israel calls this self-defence.

Anyone who stands idly by without at least speaking out is complicit in murder, most particularly our political leaders. If the British Parliament fails to act on this it no longer has any legitimacy.  If Theresa May fails to act she bears personal responsibility and cannot be immune from revenge.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 14, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Politics

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The UK Government’s Latest Excuse About Medicinal Cannabis Is Yet Another Deception.

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Nick Hurd MP, Home Office Minister

Nick Hurd MP, the Home Office minister, said again this week that as far as any consideration of cannabis for medical use is concerned, the government will “await the outcome” of the report on cannabis due from the WHO in 2019 “before considering the next steps”.

In fact, the results of an FOI request show that the UK government has refused to take part in the WHO committee which will “review cannabis and cannabis-related substances on their potential to cause dependence, abuse and harm to health, and potential therapeutic applications”. This despite the WHO issuing a questionnaire to the Department of Health and Social Care “designed to gather information on the legitimate use, harmful use, status of national control and potential impact of international control”.

Aside from the obvious concerns this raises, it is quite extraordinary considering that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis.

Fundamentally the government’s postion on cannabis for medical use hasn’t changed since 1971. Those who follow the Home Office’s statements will have noticed gradual changes but they all seek to reinforce the fundamental premise that cannabis is a dangerous drug of abuse with no therapeutic benefit.

Recent ‘adjustments’, shall we call them, of the official position have dealt with the now overwhelming weight of evidence that cannabis does have very real and significant medical value.  The response has been to caution that all medicines must go through the etablished system of testing for safety and efficacy.

This is a deception as well.  As CLEAR revealed at the beginning of 2018, in every jurisdiction throughout the world where medicinal cannabis has been legally regulated, it is through a special system outside pharmaceutical medicines regulation.

Theresa May is ideologically opposed to the use of cannabis as medicine, it’s as simple as that.  She won’t permit it to be properly considered, discussed or investigated and every time something forces a response, such as a parliamentary question or an enquiry even from a fellow Conservative MP, another deceptive excuse is conjured up.

Victoria Atkins MP, Theresa May MP. Both Have Family Interests In Cannabis For Medical Use.

CLEAR can further reveal that the Home Office’s public position on prospects for licensed cannabis medicnes is also a deception. The statement that has been published is “As happened in the case of Sativex, the Home Office will consider issuing a licence to enable trials of any new medicine…”  We can’t name names just yet but we now have first hand knowledge that at least one publicly-quoted company with established cannabis production facilities in two other G7 countries has been refused permission by the Home Office even to apply for a licence.

The UK government’s stance on cannabis becomes murkier and murkier the deeper you look.  The stench of corruption becomes overpowering when you consider that Theresa May’s husband’s company is the largest single shareholder in GW Pharmaceuticals and the husband of Victoria Atkins MP, the drugs minister, holds a licence to produce 45 acres of cannabis for medical use.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 12, 2018 at 6:24 pm

There Was Grenfell, Then The Windrush Generation And Now Theresa May Fiddles While Alfie Dingley Faces Death

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When Will This Tyrant Be Overthrown?

The campaign to save Alfie Dingley’s life looked to have succeeded on 20th March when 108 MPs met Alfie and family at Parliament. That same day, accompanied by Sir Patrick Stewart, a petition of over 370,000 signatures was delivered to Downing Street and Theresa May herself met with the family and encouraged them that everything possible would be done to help. Originally, the Home Office were suggesting that they might issue a licence to allow a bespoke trial of medical cannabis but that changed to a suggestion that they would consider issuing a licence on a ‘compassionate basis’. They also  indicated that they might issue the licence for Alfie within days rather than weeks.

Home Office Minister Nick Hurd MP appears to support the petition delivered to Downing Street. Today (3rd May 2016) the petition has gown to over 650,000 signatures.

A  formal application for a licence was submitted to the Home Office on 16th April 2018 by Alfie’s GP and a consultant neurologist. This was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions two days later and once again Mrs May expressed sympathy and promised that the Home Office would look at it “speedily”.

Now, Hannah, Alfie’s mother, has been told that it could take up to four months for the application to be considered and even then no one can be certain what the decision will be.

Apparently this is because the medical cannabis oil needs to be ‘tested’, whatever that means.  Is this a U turn to requiring a full clinical trial to be undertaken? If so, how can a clinical trial be undertaken on one boy with a particular form of epilepsy so rare that he is said to be one of only nine boys in the world?  Clearly a clinical trial with the normal double blind testing is impossible.  So what other form of ‘testing’ needs to be carried out?

The oil has already been tested on Alfie under the supervision of a consultant neurologist in the Netherlands.  There, having experienced up to 30 seizures per day in the UK, after taking three drops of oil per day he had only two seizures in two months.  The oil is made by Bedrocan, the Netherlands government official contractor for the production of cannabis for medical use and already complies with international standards for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that this is yet more procrastination and deliberate delay by a government that is notorious for its inhumane treatment of many people.  Theresa May has a long standing and well documented record of being opposed to any drug law reform and of dismissing the campaign for access to cannabis for medical use as ‘just an excuse to take cannabis’.  With the sole exception of President Duterte of the Philippines, who is engaged in a murderous campaign of extra-judicial execution of suspected drug dealers, Mrs May is the only world leader still calling for the ‘war on drugs’ to continue.

After scandal after scandal after scandal it is difficult to see what will finally bring Mrs May down.  In Britain, where the idea of democracy has become little more than a bad joke, it seems that infighting within the Conservative Party over Europe is a more likely reason for her downfall than the grave abuses of individuals for which she is ultimately responsible.

Let’s be 100% clear, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes specific provision for any action that would otherwise be unlawful under the Act to be permitted under licence by the Home Secretary.  It would take a single stroke of Sajid Javid’s pen to save Alfie Dingley’s life and Theresa May could have ordered that months ago.

Famously, Mrs May is a practising Christian.  Surely, there must be a special place in hell reserved for her.

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm