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Friday, December 17, 2010

It's high time we decriminalised drugs...

So Bob Ainsworth says drugs should be decriminalised. “Who he?” I hear you cry.

Believe me, it really doesn’t matter, but for the record he’s an ex-UK minister who was too gutless to put his head above the parapet when he had some power. Now, in a transparent bid to retain some sort of public profile, he’s challenging the orthodoxy. Well done mate. Have a comedy moustache as a reward. Oh, sorry, you’ve already got one.

It’s frankly nauseating how many politicians find their voices on issues that matter only after they’ve enjoyed the trappings of power. The drugs debate is a classic example of the duplicity of these people. They know the current approach to tackling drugs doesn’t work. They know this. But they also know that the fearful, ignorant morons who read the Daily Mail won’t tolerate any move away from prohibition. So they spin the lie when they’re in office and speak the truth when they leave the stage.

I don’t know what the long-term impact of legalising drugs would actually be. I’m no expert in the field of narcotics abuse. But what I do know is keeping drugs illegal isn’t helping anybody except criminals who – like Capone – know a good opportunity to make a fortune when they see it.

Bob Ainsworth may have spoken out too late but what he’s saying is right. If anyone honestly believes the war on drugs can be won without a radical change of strategy, they really are tripping.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Election 2010: The 'New' Politics

So the election's over and we have a new man in Number 10; a new broom to sweep away the myriad problems left behind by a tired and discredited government. Oh, sorry, I forgot, we don't. We have one almighty cocking mess.

The results of this election prove, once again, that the first-past-the-post system is knackered. Okay, so voters were able to send that colossal turd Lembit Opik and the odious expenses racketeer Jacqui Smith packing. But that doesn't quite make up for the fact that millions of people might as well have stayed at home than trudged to the local community centre to exercise their democratic right.

The Liberal Democrats have - as usual - got particular cause to feel aggrieved. They garnered nearly a quarter of the popular vote but this translated into only 57 seats in the Commons - a mere nine per cent.

However, for once, the Lib Dems have a golden opportunity, and it's an opportunity that they have to take. Their leader Nick Clegg is being wooed by the vacuous David Cameron to help the Conservatives form a government. He must resist. The Tories will never deliver on electoral reform. If Clegg gets into bed with Cameron he'll be biting the pillow before he can say: 'But you said you wouldn't shaft me!'

He could do nothing and allow the Tories to attempt to rule with a minority government. But how would that help his party's cause? A minority administration would probably lead very quickly to a second election and a Conservative majority. The Lib Dems would be sidelined once more.

Clegg has only one route to take: Go to
Peter Mandelson and offer a coalition based on Brown resigning, seats in the cabinet and a referendum on PR within six months. Labour would go for this and be able to rope in the SNP, Plaid, and one or two others. There would be anger from the Tory press but this could be countered with a strong defence of the new government's legitimacy and wide appeal. It would, after all, have the statistical support of the majority of the voters.

So Mr Clegg, take your chance now or go home and prepare for permanent electoral oblivion.