Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘UK

I’m Voting In The Irish General Election

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I am privileged to be a registered voter in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.  As a Welshman I am very happy to live alongside my Celtic brothers in County Kerry and I still have a base in Dorset on the south coast of England.  I am proud to be British and although some might think in Ireland it’s a dirty word, I have never met any hostility here and it’s a fact of geography that the UK and Ireland together comprise the British Isles.

In the recent UK General Election, I voted Conservative because above all else I wanted to ‘Get Brexit Done’.  On Saturday I will be voting in Ireland and I’m deciding who to vote for.

I am a passionate Brexiteer because I consider self-determination to outweigh almost all other political considerations.  In June 2008, Ireland voted against the EU over the Lisbon Treaty but it was forced by the Eurocrats to hold a second referendum and just over a year later the Irish people were bullied into submission.  I wish that Ireland could have left the EU alongside the UK and there is a significant level of opinion here in favour of ‘Irexit’.  It would certainly have solved the problem that Brexit has caused for the border with the North.

The other solution to the border is a united Ireland and that is something I strongly support.  It’s only in the past 10 years that I have come to understand Irish history and Britain is shamed by its record of brutal oppression. I realise now that this important history is excluded from the school syllabus in the UK. Our behaviour in Ireland is one of the most dreadful episodes of history and the British were guilty of war crimes similar to Israel’s current conduct in Palestine, the Nazis in World War II and other tyrannical regimes.  If I had lived in Ireland in the 20th Century I would certainly have joined the IRA. It was a righteous and noble cause.

I know for certain that I will not vote for Fine Gael, the present party of government.  While I admire the way that it has helped Ireland become a progressive society, escaping from the evil of the Catholic Church, it describes itself as ‘the party of Europe’ and Leo Varadkar, its leader and the present Taoiseach is a gay, Asian version of Tony Blair.  I hasten to add that I have nothing against him for being gay or Asian!

I am more naturally drawn to Fianna Fail, the main opposition party that is more Ireland-centric and republican in its philosophy.  But it is very old-fashioned, embedded in the past, illiberal culture and offers little promise for the future. It strikes me that like the two main parties in the UK, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are content with the status quo where power switches back and forth between them periodically.  There’s no doubt that Ireland is ready for a change.

Ireland has a history of electing significant numbers of independent politicians and here in Kerry we are blessed with our very own independent dynasty, the Healy-Raes, an extraordinary family which can, most certainly, be described as eccentric.  We have a proportional, single-transferable vote system where voters specify candidates in order of preference by writing 1, 2, 3, etc. alongside their names. Michael Healy-Rae will definitely be near the top of my choices.

But voting for independents will not help create a new government that can move beyond the tired politics of the past.  Extraordinarily, I find myself tempted by two socialist parties: Sinn Fein and People Before Profit. Sinn Fein for its noble ideals and ambition for a united Ireland.  (The name translates as ‘We Ourselves’).  People Before Profit because I have met several of its TDs and it is strongly committed to cannabis law reform.

Also, as all democrats should be, I am disgusted by the way Fine Gael and Fianna Fail treat Sinn Fein, currently ahead of both them in the polls. They both refuse to engage at all and say they would never work with it in government.  The reason given is because of Sinn Fein’s past paramilitary connections and, as they say, that is has never properly distanced itself from violence.

I say this is preposterous, dishonest nonsense.  Firstly, it was a just war.  Of course, I deplore violence against innocent civilians but given the perspective I have recently acquired, I am ambivalent about action against security forces.  An army of occupation must expect to meet resistance.  If Fine Gael and Fianna Fail refuse to engage with a party with such massive popular support, they must reap the consequences.  How is any movement supposed to progress beyond violence to peaceful politics if it is spurned and isolated?

For me, one of the most extraordinary experiences since moving to Ireland was meeting Martin Ferris, a Sinn Fein, Kerry TD who is retiring at this election.  He was a hunger striker and starved himself for longer than some who died as a result of their protest.  In the late 70s, I was in my early 20s and I remember that my perspective on the hunger strikers was that they were fools because the British government would never give in. But now I see it very differently.  I see the huge courage and nobility in their protest.

So I shall be voting for Sinn Fein.  I’m not yet sure what number I shall put against their candidate, Pa Daly’s name but it could well be number one.  Were People Before Profit fielding a candidate in Kerry, they too woud get a vote. The elegance of the Irish voting system is that I can offer support to these socialist parties without fear.  The first past the post system in Britain really does hold us back and I hope there will be electoral reform in my lifetime.

My father would turn in his grave if he read these words.  I am surprised at myself but my mind is made up.  Of course I am only one voter amongst more than three million but I am excited about this, my first Irish election, as I believe it heralds real change.

Written by Peter Reynolds

February 7, 2020 at 8:56 pm

CLEAR Statement Concerning Cannabis Legalisation Measures In US Election.

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pjr-iow

 

“This is marvellous news for liberty, health and human rights.  The USA, unlike Britain, has a functioning democracy where the will of the people prevails rather than the bigotry and self-interest of politicians.  It is wonderful to see that truth, justice and evidence is winning out over the lies and misinformation we have been fed about cannabis for almost 100 years.

In 1971, the British government abdicated all responsibility on cannabis and abandoned our communities and our children to criminal gangs.  Since then all the harms have multiplied exponentially.  The laws against cannabis fund organised crime, promote dangerous hidden farms which are fire risks, the destruction of rental property, selling to children, contaminated ‘moonshine’ cannabis, gang violence, lives ruined by criminal records and the cruel denial of safe, effective medicine that can relieve pain, suffering and disability.

Donald Trump has supported access to medicinal cannabis all along.  Many British politicians who consider him to be an unreasonable person should now look to themselves and ask whether they are being reasonable by supporting prohibition, even for medical use.

It is time for Theresa May, Amber Rudd and the UK government to take responsibility for the £6 billion pa cannabis market.  The tide of legalisation is now unstoppable and it would be deeply irresponsible for them to fail to act.  They must grasp this nettle now!”

Peter Reynolds, president of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform

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.

Why Vote Leave Was Right For Great Britain.

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medal table 2016

Whining remainers never have and never will get it.  It’s about something much bigger and more profound than immigration or the economy.  Britain is a great nation. Through history we have led the world and we continue to do so, punching far above our weight, achieving results that no other country on our planet is capable of.

The pages of the Guardian and the Independent are still littered with complaining remainers.  Social media is full of abuse for those of us who made the right choice.  We are told we are “dumb”, “stupid”, “ignorant”, “racist” and every other insult that sore losers can summon.

It’s the small-minded nature of the complaining remainers, their focus on the mundane when it was our independence and self-determination that was at stake. Vision and ambition is what makes us who we are, not cynicism and fear.

Yet the evidence is clear.  Not just in sport but in every field of human endeavour, Britain is great, disproportionately so for our population and our natural resources -except for the most vital resource of all – the unique courage, determination and spirit of our people.

Many remainers still refuse to accept the referendum result.  Their bitterness, their enthusiasm for every negative economic indicator and their faux ‘I told you so’ complaints will soon wither.  These spiteful, negative ideas will fade into obscurity as our natural qualities of leadership and success take over.

Britain is great.  What our athletes have achieved in Rio is what we should all aspire to and is our proper place in the world.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 15, 2016 at 6:35 am

David Cameron, Theresa May And The UK Government Turned Their Backs.

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dead boy with policeman

NOT IN MY NAME!

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

This Is How The UK Government Lies To Its Citizens About Cannabis.

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The preposterous response from the UK government to the massive petition for the legalisation of cannabis is a pack of lies.

Systematic Misinformation, Deception And Dishonesty

Systematic Misinformation, Deception And Dishonesty

Yes. Lies. Not a word it’s wise to use unless it’s accurate but in this case it is. The Home Office is disgraced on so many aspects of its work but it has been systematically misleading, misinforming and promoting untruths about cannabis since 1971.  Individual Home Secretaries are fully complicit in this dishonesty, most notably James Callaghan, Merlyn Rees, William Whitelaw, Leon Brittan, Douglas Hurd, Michael Howard, Jack Straw, Jacqui Smith, Alan Johnson and the incumbent, Theresa May.

Certainly in the last 20 years there can be no excuse at all.  The balance of scientific evidence has been quite clear for at least that long that although a very small number of people may be vulnerable, for 99% of people cannabis is almost completely benign and often beneficial.

The dishonesty of these disgraced ministers brings shame on both the Conservative and Labour parties and the civil service officials in the Home Office. They all know full well that they have lied to the public and they continue to do so, undoubtedly because of corrupt influence from vested interests, principally the tabloid editors, press barons and the alcohol industry. Their lies have resulted in the unnecessary criminalisation of over one million people, the frittering away of tens of billions in futile law enforcement costs and lost tax revenue.  Most dreadful of all, the denial of access to medicinal cannabis by those in pain, suffering and disability.

ACMD CC and PHThe basis for the government’s dismissal of the petition is given as the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) 2008 report  ‘Cannabis: Classification and Public Health’.

In the covering letter to the report, the then chair of the ACMD does say “… the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society.”

Judge for yourself whether the evidence in the report supports the idea that cannabis is a “significant public health issue”. I don’t think it does and nowhere in the report is such an unequivocal statement made except in the covering letter.  Of course it is true that cannabis can cause harm to individuals, just as digestive biscuits, chips and sugary drinks can, so that’s pretty meaningless.  There is no evidence in the report at all of cannabis causing harm to society.

But the covering letter then makes the point very strongly that “strategies designed to minimise its use and adverse effects must be predominantly public health ones. Criminal justice measures – irrespective of classification – will have only a limited effect on usage.”

The report recommends that cannabis remain in class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but the government of the day, led by Gordon ‘Skunk is Lethal’ Brown, ignored that and increased it to class B.

Read the report yourself.  Compare it with the government’s response to the petition.  To claim that the report supports present policy is false.  It directly contradicts present policy. There is also now a host of high quality evidence on the reality of decriminalised or regulated cannabis markets from the Netherlands, Portugal, Colorado and Washington.  This shows beyond any doubt that the government’s suggestions of “drug dependence… misery… increased misuse” have no basis in evidence at all.  Furthermore the idea that new tax revenue would be outweighed by new costs is directly contradicted by every study on the subject.   I repeat, the government’s response is a pack of lies

Sadly, the United Kingdom is a country where government ministers are prepared to lie, mislead, distort evidence and deceive the British people in order to maintain policies based on prejudice and the corrupt influence of vested interests.

Cameron And His Inhumane, Crony Government Disgraces Britain And Destroys Our Values.

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Any one of us could become a refugee. Just pray that if it happens to you it won’t be the cruel, heartless, despicable UK government that you have to turn to.

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 24, 2015 at 8:03 am

Posted in Politics

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