The Global Commission on drugs report which hit the headlines last week has left the prohibition lobby scrabbling around for reasons to explain why prohibition is a good idea. In just one week – actually just four days – we’ve had two of the best drug war madness quotes of all time. They deserve to be preserved for posterity and google searches so I’m happy to oblige.
The first came last Friday on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions programme Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. On her blog she described the audience as
possibly one of the most hostile I have ever been into
Well, she did excel with her ignorance as this clip demonstrates. Listen and try not to laugh:
Nadine Dorries MP – mp3 file
In case you can’t play this, she said
This government has no intention of decriminalising drug use. The National Drugs Prevention Alliance once startled me when they told me that the cut of cannabis which teenagers are smoking now and using across the UK is actually fifty times more potent than it was even a year ago because of the different drugs that are coming in and being put into it. It only takes a teenager or young person one spliff, one joint or whatever they refer to it now to smoke and they will never reach their full academic potential because it is so dangerous. They are the words of the National Drug Prevention Alliance and I think they know more about it than we do.
This is coming from a sitting MP, a person who has power over our lives. That she is daft enough to listen to the National Drug Prevention Alliance at all is bad enough, but that she is stupid enough to come out with this sort of rubbish on national radio is little short of amazing.
Interestingly this was too much even for David Raynes of the NDPA who went on Any Answers – the Saturday follow up programme – to correct her, sort of, by claiming that
Modern cannabis is three to four times stronger than the strongest cannabis of the 60’s
Which is still an obscene misrepresentation of the situation. The Home Office study of 2008 – weak as it was – is the best we have to go on and they estimate “modern” cannabis is 2 – 3 times more powerful than the norm from that period. But of course there has always been strong cananbis at least as poky as modern strains.
David Raynes also went on to claim that modern strains are low in CBD (which may be true) and claimed this
aggravated the potenial for brain damage which cannabis always has
Which is simply wrong. He also failed to pint out that the change from high CBD hash to low CBD weed has happened under prohibition and as a direct result of enforcement efforts, which choked off the supply from North Africa.
As if all this wasn’t enough though, today (Monday) saw perhaps the ultimate statement of a belief for prohibition that anyone has been stupid enough to ever put in print. This howler came from John Rentoul – the person mentioned in the last blog who on Sunday owned up to writing the lead article of the infamously bad “Apology” the Sunday Independent printed in 2007. He justified his support for prohibition again today, this time by by writing
It is a bad thing that the drugs business is in the hands of criminals. My view is that it would be a worse thing if it were legalised, and regulated or administered by the government.
He must surely have been drunk when he wrote that, it beggars belief that any sober person would have put something like that in print. in a national newspaper. The rest of the item is not much better.
Now I will always be the first to defend anyone’s freedom of speech, even if they do say things which are obnoxious or just plain stupid, but what I do criticise is people who say these things on the mass media from a position of responsibility. Nadine Dorries is an MP. she has a duty to be well informed about major social issues, especially if she is going to (heaven forbid) be allowed to vote through laws on the basis of her understanding. John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday and was, through his appalling “Apology”, in no small part responsible for providing the justification to increase cananbis from class C to B.
These people are not only daft, they’re dangerous, remember that when you’re laughing at their comments.
The jewel in the mud award: Following David Raynes on Any Answers was Peter Reynolds of CLEAR, who put the case for reform very quickly but firmly. Well done Peter