First Ade then Paul – Podcast News

It’s been slowly boiling away and now the first serving of our new podcast is available. Each week Paul Hayes and myself will bring you gossip and scaremongering from the world of politics and tech.

First Ade then Paul – Satire for Solipsists

Episode #001 Snitch in the Machine: Our daring heroes boldly discuss the Psychoactive Substances Bill & security flaws in the Internet of Things

Breaking The Taboo

Thanks to the brave folks in Washington and Colorado, the campaign to end the disastrous war on drugs is gaining momentum. A new documentary will be released on 7 December (on Youtube) that promises to explore this fake war. Looks to be interesting, they have scored some very high profile interviews.

Ecstasy Drug Trial

For those who missed it last month, Channel 4 conducted an investigation into the effects of ecstasy (MDMA) on the brain. 25 participants were each given placebo and MDMA doses whilst their brains were scanned. Afterwards each participant (one of which was Keith Allan!) was interviewed about their experience.

Whilst the show was painfully aware of its precarious position, namely trying to remain disapproving of a drug they were revealing to be relatively harmless, it did throw light on a topic often steeped in shadow. Professor Nutt was a particular joy to watch, especially after his unjust treatment by Alan Johnson in the last Labour government.

Click the link and have a watch:

At the end of the show they announced that a further study has been commissioned to look at the effects of ecstasy on PTSD, but for those of us who believe in legalisation, we were left swinging in the wind.

Why is a drug with such few long term effects illegal, whilst alcohol (a ruthless, addictive, deeply harmful drug) not only remains legal but is socially encouraged? The only arguments seem to be weak protests about feeling depressed for a few days after use, though Professor Nutt stressed that this was actually down to exhaustion from activities conducted whilst on the drug, rather than the drug itself.

MDMA is a very cheap drug to produce. In times of economic hardship it is reckless to leave such an enormous source of revenue in the hands of criminal organisations. Legalise it, test it, tax it. The status quo puts users at risk – and worse! – leaves the government out of pocket!

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.

They’re Coming For You Barbara…

We’re rather spoilt for political stories at the moment. Last week there was yet another failed coup against Gordon Brown, the NI first minister is fighting for his political life after a series of scandals, and David Cameron has discovered photoshop and is busy trying to improve his face for the campaign pictures.

But I would like to draw your attention to a little story in the Evening Standard – “Jobless could lose benefits if they refuse drugs test”.

It seems a pilot scheme is being launched in which suspected drug users will be forced into a drug “assessment” if they wish to claim their benefits. I suspect this will garner a large amount of support from the tabloids, but this policy presents a grave breach of a persons right to privacy.

Without due cause, a person should be free from suspicion, and if a person is suspected of a crime then it is up to the justice system to determine their guilt. The benefit system should not be used to blackmail people into proving their innocence to a body who are not a part of the justice system.

Unemployment benefit is a system that we all pay into with the assurance that the state will support us if we fall on hard times and cannot support ourselves. Under this new proposal a person who, having previously paid taxes whilst in employment, is now refused financial aid because they do not consent to taking a drug test.

For those of us who will always refuse a test of this kind on principal, perhaps we could be exempt from tax as the benefit system no longer applies to us?

Let Us Keep Our Booze!

We in the UK like a tipple. Everyone knows that. And by tipple I mean, ‘getting smashed, starting a fight and vomiting on the street’. It seems to be in our veins. Or at least a bloody great amount of alcohol does.

To try to end this behaviour (and the vast amounts being spent by the NHS on alcohol related illnesses) MP’s have called for a change in government policy to combat binge drinking. They want to introduce minimum prices per units of alcohol and a rise in duty on spirits.

There are two factions at war here. The first are health professionals who estimate alcohol abuse in England and Wales kills 40,000 people each year. They want people to stop drinking and become more healthy.

On the other side is the drink industry who believe that alcohol abusers should be penalised rather than society as a whole. And gosh darnit, I feel dirty saying it, but I have to side with the large evil corporations. Their motivations are obviously greed; a rise in duty would hit their sales (exactly the MP’s intent), but through this greed they have actually stumbled upon a vital argument.

You cannot punish sensible law abiding citizens for the abuse carried out by others. If it is possible for an act to be conducted sensibly and safely, then it should be legal and the government should not be involved. If action is to be taken, it should be directed at those who are irresponsible. If alcohol misuse is too costly for the NHS, then it is more ethically acceptable to reform the NHS than simply punish every drinker in the UK. If drink fuelled crime is an issue, then you need to clamp down on the crimes being committed, not the alcohol that happens to be in their system. If a person can drink and NOT commit crimes, then those who do cannot blame it on the booze.

Another suggestion. How about we legalise Cannabis, Coca, Opium and Ecstasy? All four are far less harmful than alcohol and lead to far better behaviours whilst intoxicated. Revenue would still be generated for the taxpayer, whilst savings would be made for the NHS and Justice system. Think about it, just don’t let the Daily Mail whisper nonsense in your ear as you do so.

True Weirdness

The terrible weather has led to disaster for many over the past week, but for myself it prompted a rather bizarre experience. My partner and I were making our way to Camden (in the hope of reaching the disappointingly studentish Electric Ballroom) when we were caught in an apocalyptic deluge. Becoming drenched within a matter of seconds we jumped into what appeared to be a small quiet pub in the hopes of drying out and regrouping our spirits.

Upon entry we were greeted with a small but astonishingly eclectic group of individuals, all cavorting about to 80’s tracks, pumped out with much vim and vigour through an overeager sound system. Rather than allowing us to slip into the corner to dry out, we were immediately set upon, offered a change of clothes (which I refused) and as many drinks as I could drip at.

Despite the lack of a dance floor, these Londoners weren’t to be foiled;they danced up and down alongside the bar, and soon my girlfriend was dragged off by a large group of lesbians, of various ages, who insisted that she have a boogie too!

I thought I had made a lucky escape, being left alone at the bar, but this was not to be! As soon as I was by myself a deeply inebriated gentleman began babbling in my direction, eyes as wide as his grin. It turns out he was a devout Muslim taking part in a fast; but the fast only applied to food, not drink, and certainly not to ecstasy, a pill of which he tried to force into my hand.

“Take it, take it! My gift to you!” he muttered above the din. “If I have any more I won’t be able to complete my prayers correctly.”

My girlfriend fortunately came to my rescue, dragging me away from his spinning eyes.

“You must start accepting their drinks,” she hissed, chastising my lack of etiquette. “They’ll take offence otherwise!”

“I can’t! They’re trying to poison me with alcohol, ecstasy and even orange flavoured mousse. The rain seems to have eased for a moment, lets make a dash for it!”

And with that we made our escape, back into the wet London night. Later, we did end up in the Electric Ballroom, but despite all the glitter and colours, there were no freaks there, it’s all just for show. True weirdness is to be found in the local pubs.

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.