Bid to Legalise Cannabis in UK

I have endless respect for MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, and this stand he took on the 23 March is a good example why. I’ll be addressing this issue on a podcast soon, but for now you can listen to the entire speech he made below:

You’ll also notice Labour MP Paul Flynn in the background, another courageous campaigner on this issue.

Two Down

So long Rand! So long Rick! Barely had the podcast been recorded when it was rendered out of date. Both Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have bowed out of the race for the White House, allowing their meagre support to flow to other more likely candidates. As a parting shot at Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Rick Santorum heaped praise on Marco Rubio (our podcasts predicted next president). No such indication from Rand as to where he’d like his voters to swing, but perhaps that’s because there really isn’t anyone else in the race quite like him…

Liberal Democrat Wishlist

As the slow news summer rumbles along, the broadcasters turn towards political posturing, preparing for an autumn conference season which will see the political parties position themselves for the run up to the next general election. This will be a new experience for us Brits. In the USA they are well used to electioneering gearing up pretty much as soon as one election draws to a close, and because they have fixed terms they know just when to start buying up ad space and hitting the streets. Well, now we have fixed terms too, and whereas before our politicians would have sat on their cash in a darkened room paranoid the Prime Minister would either call a snap election or delay it as long as humanly possible, now they know when. It’s May 2015 folks. Bring it on.
So looking forward to the Liberal Democrat conference (for those of you non-Brits, the Lib Dems are our centre party – Labour is the party of the left… or at least is supposed to be) here is my wish list of policies & attitudes I would like to see expressed.

A courageous infrastructure plan based on technology of the future rather than standard procedure of the past

HS2, whilst bringing us up to date with pretty much the rest of the developed world, is rather lacking in ambition. The Lib Dems also run the risk of beating the same green drum that’s been kicking around since the eighties, without realising that there is a brand-spanking new green fiddle that is well worth a play. Rather than trying to reduce petrol consumption (which will happen anyway due to rising prices) they should be proposing investment / subsidies for driverless cars. Driverless cars will change our economy and change the way we live our lives and we should be at the cutting edge rather than playing catch up.

An economic message that is Stage 2 rather than Plan B

The Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories. They supported a centre-right economic model. These are the facts and the Lib Dems have to live with them. There will be a strong urge within the party to distance themselves as far as possible from Osborne and whilst that desire is justified, it is not good politics. We already have one party howling in anguish at every announcement Osborne makes, we don’t need a second. The Liberal Democrats need to present to the electorate their own narrative of where to take the Coalition’s economic model, embracing the strengths whilst putting a unique centrist spin on its future. No matter how much people naively complain about all three parties converging on the same political space, in truth there is a vast gulf in the middle that a canny centrist party could exploit. It is better to talk about tax cuts for the poor than tax rises for the rich. They just need to quell the left to do it.

Take a lead from Uruguay and change the world

To hell with the Daily Mail. The Lib Dems need to come out in favour of legalising cannabis now. In ten years’ time it will be legal across the world and every party except UKIP will have accepted it. The Lib Dems need to take the lead and exploit this rare opportunity now, before the moment passes. Legalised cannabis means greater revenue in cash-strapped times, reduced burden on the justice department in an era of cuts and a healthier more educated public. It is a unique selling point that will differentiate the Lib Dems from the Tories and Labour. True, there will be voters who will never vote for a party who contemplates legalisation, but they would never vote Lib Dem anyway. But there will be plenty of swing voters and first time voters will be drawn be the prospect. I repeat: the time is now!

Embark on an aggressive fight back against authoritarian politics

Even under the coalition we have seen too many big-state solutions to social problems, from national security and terrorism to copyright infringement and pornography. It is time the Liberal Democrats distanced themselves from the Labour Party and Conservatives by pledging to repeal intrusive surveillance by the state and implementing safeguards against further such legislation in the future. Freedom is a notion that seems to be forgotten in modern British politics and it is time someone brought it back.

Yes we can! No you can’t!

I have to hand it to the democrats, they sure know how to stuff it all up. Just a mere two years ago Obama was swept to power with the democratic party holding both the senate and congress. It was assumed that we were facing a generation of democratic rule, with the republicans facing a long era lost in the wilderness. On the international stage, the election result was hailed as a breakthrough for sanity, with praises heaped upon the new administration. Indeed, Obama was even given a nobel peace price (seemingly for just not being Bush).

How times change. On Tuesday night the democrats got the biggest kicking seen in a generation. Broadcast around the world were images of dancing Republicans, celebrating their conquest of congress. Obama had been successfully been painted as an evil nazi communist muslim, and they were ready to “reclaim” America.

But rather than this being a proper movement, it is a confused mess. The republicans were reliant upon disaffected over-60’s who want more money for medicare, whilst also whipping up support with deficit reduction rhetoric. They claim to be libertarians, whilst embracing the religious right. They want the state out of their pockets, but still in their pants. What this amounts to is a confused mob, united whilst they are on the outside pissing in, but what on earth will happen now they have power?

America is in for a tough time. Obama faces a rabid congress whose sole aim is to de-construct everything he’s done over the past two years. He can either let them do so in exchange for moving forward with a mild and ineffective agenda, or he can fight them, causing gridlock and stagnation until 2012. Either way, not a lot is going to get done.

Two years. That’s all it took for the democrats to stuff it up. And just when the republicans looked like they couldn’t get any crazier, they run further into the hands of Sarah Palin, deluding themselves that the reason for losing the last election was the likeable moderate John McCain, rather than his lunatic running mate. I feel sorry for Americans, they electoral choice seems to be between the incompetent and the insane.

Oh, and the people of California voted against legalising cannabis. Tossers.

Midterm Blues

The economic downturn in the United States of America has sent the political spectrum swinging wildly. In government they have a left leaning President who has delivered on healthcare reform; something a large portion of the country thinks of as radical “socialism”.

Yet whilst the executive turns to big-state solutions, a libertarian wind is blowing to upset the political elite. This is no organised movement, however, and there are numerous eddies pulling this way and that, confusing any hope of a concise swing in the popular mind.

California has a huge budget deficit, and it is in this state that the libertarian movement has its strongest play. Today, whilst voting in the midterm elections, the citizens of California will vote on weather or not to legalise cannabis. It is estimated this will lead to savings/earnings of three billion dollars per year. It is of no surprise then, that this is the primary motivation for the sudden courage politicians have shown in supporting a “yes” vote.

If California legalises pot, then many other states could soon follow, the temptation of the massive savings, drops in crime, tax raised and health improvements could prove irresistible, especially with California pulling out into the lead above their neighbours. In turn, the rest of the world would be free to pursue their own legalisation agenda, something nations have been afraid to do previously, encase they were penalised by the USA.

If this is the small, yet hopeful breeze of libertarianism, the rise of the Tea (Taxed-Enough-Already) Party is the confused hurricane. They claim to be fighting for a smaller state against a government out of control and intent on meddling in peoples lives. Whilst that is an honourable endeavour, the conservative right has once again been manipulated by religion into sullying their own message with extremely un-libertarian goals of imposing their faith on others.

The political figure-head of the Tea Party is Sarah Palin, a woman widely mocked, yet who holds a talisman-like status amongst her followers. Tonight’s election results could see a great shift, not just from the democrats, but from traditional republicans into the hands of this new and dangerous force for ignorance.

Alan Johnson Is Pro-Ecstasy!

After meeting with Alan Johnson, three more members of the ACMD (Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs ) have resigned: Dr Campbell, Dr John Marsden, and Ian Ragan. The reason for these further departures is the lack of respect given to the scientific community by the government. They claim that the government ignored their advice to keep Cannabis class C and instead upgraded it for – and this may shock you – political reasons! Yes, that’s right. The government was simply trying to grab a few easy votes!

Ok, maybe that’s not shocking, and in fact it’s obvious, but if you are a respected member of the scientific community, it’s a bit bloody embarrassing to look like you’re a part of such nonsense.

The question that needs to be asked is, why has Alan Johnson mishandled this so badly? The only possible answer I can fathom is that he must secretly be pro-legalisation, and is trying to reveal our society for the hypocritical druggy nation it is. The other option – that our home secretary is in fact a grossly incompetent nitwit (and a coward to boot) – is rather too grim to contemplate.

The Folly of the Coward Alan Johnson

Once again drugs have become the hot-topic, with scientists being put in the firing line for politicians and journalists to make an easy killing and rouse their rabid followers in jubilant screams of blood-thirsty ecstasy.

Professor David Nutt was the first to go, sacked for speaking the truth about the dangers of illegal drugs vs legal ones. One particular comment that caused him to be targeted was claiming that ‘taking ecstasy was no more dangerous than riding a horse’. Of course this led to the Daily Mail Taliban rushing in to condemn such a claim. ‘He is trivialising the deaths of victims of drug abuse’ they babble incoherently, gnawing at their collars and pulling their burqas close. What these zealots fail to see is that it is not trivialising to compare one statistic to another. If anything, it is they who are belittling deaths, but not of those who perish from the extremely rare reaction to E but those who die from horse riding accidents. Does the Daily Mail not think these are regrettable deaths? No, clearly they think a horse riding accident is a trivial laughable thing, and those related to the deceased deserve no sympathy at all.

Since the removal of Professor Nutt two more members of the council have resigned in support. I salute them and hope more follow suit. The government has for too long ignored scientific evidence and instead chased ‘tough’ headlines in the tabloid press. It is ignorant, cowardly and the actions of a theocracy rather than a supposed rational liberal democratic government.