Alan Johnson became redder and redder as his anger mounted and righteous indignation welled over in his TV defence of his sacking of Professor Nutt (you couldn’t get a better name for a science professor if you tried). I thought he might explode.
I think his anger is really directed at himself. He has made a mistake – and seems to believe that if he huffs and puffs and goes out on the offensive – he will back up his position that advisers should not open their mouths in public if they disagree with the government – even if it is just to state a scientific fact about the harm levels of various substances.
Is our Home Secretary so insecure in his decision (remembering that Minsters decide) that he can’t go out there and robustly argue the policy case? He is quite right – he doesn’t have to take the advice (advisers advise). He has clearly decided not to. All he has to do is go out there and explain his reason. If it is because whatever the hierarchy of harm of cannabis in relation to alcohol he (the Government) believes that they need to send out tough messages regardless – that is their policy – and they should have the cojones to defend it.
Sacking the messenger who speaks the truth demonstrates how weak this government is. They are still clinging to the idea that you can deny argument and debate. It shows exactly how Parliament works – or more accurately doesn’t – when power is simply wielded to hide, squash, remove any opposition.
This is symptomatic of an even greater harm out there that stalks every state institution and authority currently – where regardless of professional or clinical opinion – management overrules it. The result is that the decisions that are made are less and less to do with what is right – but much more to do with authority and expedience. And the world grows more hostile, colder and dysfunctional in the wake of this abandonment of proper inclusive process.
Going back to the Government’s drug policy – it isn’t working – and unless and until they have the courage to accept inconvenient truths – it aint going to get any better.
This whole debate and watching Jacqui Smith on last week’s Question Time has convinced me of one thing: New Labour is all about “interests” and have no concept of doing anything simply because it is the right thing to do. Our current government are morally bankrupt.
Slightly harsh this – it was Smith who messed up the classification thing (and just about everything else she did) – Johnson is merely stuck with the big mess she created.
The government can’t keep changing the classification every six months as that would send out an even more confusing message than already exists – they already look incredibly weak and such a U-turn would obviously damage them further.
Not that I agree with Johnson’s conduct in the slightest, but to blame absolutely everything on him and to fail to even mention Smith even once in the article (or even hint that the problems were caused by a predecessor) isn’t really on.
His hands are tied in terms of changing the policy, so we can’t really be sure how he feels on the issue either way.
When I saw the headline, I rather hoped that, being a liberal, you were referring to the extension of the Proceeds of Crime Act, without parliamentary debate, to allow council officers and civilian investigators employed by organisations such as the Rural Payments Agency and Transport for London to search homes, seize cash, freeze bank accounts and confiscate property.
This is a disgraceful attack on both freedom and parliamentary democracy and yet it appears no MP cares. Much the same as few MPs seem to care about the use of anti-terrorist laws by local councils. MPs who stay silent as freedoms earned over centuries are stripped away by this government are complicit in its guilt.
Well – I don’t blog everything – and if you had heard me on radio last Wednesday on the proposal to give councils those powers – you would have been very happy.
Glad to hear it, Lynne.
Is there a transcript anywhere?
How do we recover these freedoms, so hard won and so readily thrown away? I believe that they are the basic elements of society, without them nothing good can be achieved. The current government believes that its subjects do not need to be free, they just need to do as they are told by a government that knows best. Who will champion fundamental freedoms, not David Cameron I fear?
There are some out there on the right who do understand what is going on. Here is an interesting quote from Peter Oborne’s 2009 Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture. IMHO he hits the nail squarely on the head.
“We have abandoned the idea that there is an independent reality which is out there and subject to independent verification – and adopted instead a different kind of political epistemology. The purpose of public argument has moved right away from truths that can be proven to narratives that can be constructed. This is formally recognised by the ruling elite.
Peter Mandelson, one of the inventors of the new politics, speaks of the need to ‘create the truth’. Apologists for the new ruling elite celebrate this proposition. Here is the Cambridge University lecturer in political philosophy David Runciman in his recent and very well-received book on political hypocrisy: ‘it is never a question of truth versus lies; it is, at best, a choice between different kinds of truth against different kinds of lies.’”
DocBud: I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Lynne or any other MP to champion any REAL issue detrimental to our freedoms and liberties. As you can see, the only “issues” which get debated in public are the non-consequential ones such as: “is it right to smoke weed…yay or nay?”. Those “debates” are only put forward to give the impression we live in a democracy. Issues which are actually important are forced through parliament with no debate – without so-much as the public being made aware.
Lynne is a typical modern-day politician. Her job is to divert, rather than focus the public’s attention on anything substantial. She’s a shill, just like the rest of them.
We (much of the public) know what’s going on here, where our society is gradually heading. You don’t even have to have read Brave New World or experienced Soviet Russia to appreciate what’s unfolding. Day by day we see it – yet those who supposedly represent us conveniently do not. Our MPs are either amazingly thick, or laughing behind our backs.
Let’s just hope they don’t push too hard and live to regret their arrogance.
btw: “Shame on YOU Lynne Featherstone!”