Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘voter

I’m Voting In The Irish General Election

with 3 comments

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

The LCA Leadership Election

with 15 comments

The ballot papers have been mailed to members today.  The candidates are Stuart Warwick and myself.  Voting closes a week today.  The result will be announced shortly afterwards.

Peter Reynolds

Dear LCA member,

I am seeking election as leader of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance.

I have been campaigning for an end to the prohibition of cannabis for more than 30 years.

If elected, I can promise you radical change in the way that LCA goes about its business. We will launch a new campaign based around the theme: REFORM, REGULATE and REALISE.

That is REFORM the law to end prohibition, REGULATE production and supply based on facts and evidence and REALISE the huge benefits of the plant both as medicine and as a £10 billion net contribution to the economy.

This will be a tightly focused campaign aiming for the urgent availability of cannabis for those who need it as medicine and a properly regulated supply chain for the millions of British citizens who use it recreationally. That means we will take the business out of the hands of criminals, allow commercial growers to produce the plant under properly regulated conditions and permit small scale personal cultivation of up to six plants.

We will advocate sales of cannabis through licensed outlets such as tobacconists and/or coffee shops to adults only. It would remain a criminal offence to supply cannabis to under 18s. We accept that cannabis should be taxed, partly to cover the costs of the regulatory system and a health advisory service but also so that the entire country will benefit from bringing this huge market out of the black economy. Based on research by the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit and the Transform Drug Policy Foundation we estimate that with reductions in law enforcement costs and new tax revenue, there will be a net contribution of approx £10 billion to the UK exchequer.

We will not be diverted by peripheral issues such as the many uses for industrial hemp, although we will be glad to see progress in that area. We will run a campaign focused on achieving practical change, not promoting a philosophy. That means that our main concern will be to educate and influence MPs and get our message across in the media. MPs are the only people who can change the law and it is through the media that we can influence voter opinion so we will deal with them on their terms, in Westminster, in newspapers and television studios. We will bring a new professionalism to this issue and demand the attention and respect that our proposals deserve.

The prohibition of cannabis is unjust, undemocratic and immoral. Most cannabis users are reasonable, responsible and respectable people and I will demand our right to be heard and treated fairly.

I shall stand for parliament in every by-election and in the next general election on this single issue. Being realistic, we do not expect to win a seat but we will put cannabis back on the political agenda and we will be taken seriously. No longer will we allow the Daily Mail or other media to publish lies and propaganda uinchallenged. No longer will we allow prohibitionists like Debra Bell and Peter Hitchens to misinform and promote scare stories without any balance.

I want to transform the LCA into a professional, effective campaign that will achieve results. I believe that I am the right man for this job. Please vote for me. Vote to REFORM, REGULATE and REALISE.

My website at http://www.peter-reynolds.co.uk contains a wealth of information about cannabis and many articles that I have written on the subject. If you want more detailed information about me and what I stand for, that is the place to look.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Peter Reynolds

Stuart Warwick

Dear Member,

As one of the candidates seeking election for leadership of the LCA, I’ve been asked to write a short letter outlining my plans for the direction and actions I’d like to see the LCA take.

As Leader I would not seek to limit our campaign to the medical and recreational issues only (although I believe this should be our focus) but use the plethora of other applications that cannabis has in industry to gain support from as wide a demographic as possible.

I intend to campaign for legalisation, regulation & taxation.

Legalisation, done properly would remove the cannabis market from the hands of criminals and terrorists and open it up to legitimate businesses & entrepreneurs, giving the substantial profit back to society.

Regulation will help prevent dangerous contamination, ensure good quality and be more effective at keeping it out of the hands of children.

Taxation to put some of the profit back into the country – everyone benefits.

I think licensed outlets and growers is what we should be aiming to achieve. Licensing should cover not only the supply of cannabis but should also cover growing set-ups to ensure electrical and fire safety as this is a known hazard with some badly fitted installations. This would allow local growers to provide more variety in outlets, allowing users to clearly identify the strain that suits their needs the best.

Licenses should be available to cover a wide range of grow sizes to encourage both local and national business opportunities.

I think fact-based policy is a must, with genuinely unbiased research. To base policy purely on knee jerk emotional and moral arguments while ignoring scientific research is unjust and unproductive.

We know there are people in power who understand this but are forced to repeat the same prohibition mantra.

We need to let people know that if they decide to make a stand against prohibition we will be there to back them up. They will not want to make a move unless they know that when they do, they are not left hanging, We just have to give them the nod and be ready when they do.

By standing for elections, I hope to challenge not only my local MP’s and the other candidates but also policy on a national level. As leader of the LCA I hope to unite all of the voices in our community to achieve just that.

I have 2 sites that I have used to promote my ideas so far. Feel free to visit them, although there are some very early attempts on there, so quality isn’t always great, sorry.

http://www.youtube.com/user/NovictimNocrime08

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hunar-for-Prime-Minister/238421977309

Thanks for your time – , this wasn’t as easy to write as I thought it would be!

Regards

Stuart Warwick.