A Rhetorical Question for Inspector Gadget.

And if there’s no point in arresting “Wayne“, for failing to attend his community service, why bother flagging down “Colin” for speeding?

Oh. Right. Colin has something to lose and can therefore be forced to co-operate with the criminal justice system in pursuit of the sanction detection target.

True, it’s the criminal justice system’s fault, not the beat bobby. In that I agree with Gadget. But the police can lead, by patrolling, and arresting (for this does indeed have a deterrent value, whether or not there’s an custodial sanction at the end of it) or they can admit defeat in the face of the underclass and a pathetically dysfunctional criminal justice system. The underclass, who have long since worked out that co-operation is a mug’s game, will still respond to force judiciously (and legally) applied. Eventually either the police will work out who they serve – the respectable working people who pay their taxes (and parking & speeding fines), and act accordingly, or there will be a revolution when even the middle classes cease to co-operate with the law.

So. The police can either do their job, and get out from behind their warm, safe desks or walking in large groups around safe areas where there might be pretty tourists, and get in to the grotty estates and start putting it about a bit. Aggressive patrolling in the shitty areas on foot will work – it’s what we mean by “bobbies on the beat”, and it’s fiercely resisted by the police because they would have to deal with uncooperative scrotes or even members of the public, instead of watching their arses grow in a flash motor. Car chases, you see are more fun for the police than foot races.

Inspector Gadget has admitted defeat. I sincerely hope there are some police out there with balls, because gadget clearly blames the people he serves “the few remaining law-abiding citizens” of ruraltown should be offended, and if outed, Gadget should be quietly retired for this contempt for the people who pay his wages, and generous pension.

What ever happened to NightJack? He, at least hadn’t forgotten the Peelian principles. Oh yes. The police machine (probably) shopped him to the media. His ideas might have led to the police doing some police work, and that would never do. Far better to harass the middle classes while sitting in the car. Gadget has also clearly drank the NuLab “Police should enforce the law” Kool-Aid. They’ve become merely the provisional wing of the Jobsworth movement, and they’ve earned our contempt – almost as much as your contempt for us, Gadget.

On Recognising Marriage in the Tax System.

I anticipate abuse from anyone and everyone from all corners of the political spectrum, and I hope there’s something in it for everyone (to get all offended about).

I loathe the term “partner”. For me, and all civilised people, the progression is Girlfriend-Fiancee-Wife. A “Partner” is someone with whom one does business. Anyway semantics aside, one’s girlfriend, if she lives in the same place is now deemed in law to be a “partner”, and as such deemed does not qualify for any out of work benefits should she become unemployed beyond Job Seekers’ Allowance (assuming a history of recent NI contributions). The working “partner” is responsible for the non-working one, saving the country thousands in benefits, yet as far as I can see, the working partner (usually the man) sees no benefit from taking on this responsibility at some cost to himself.

No-one seems to bat an eyelid about the fact the decision is made on whether two people who live together are “in a relationship”. The question is therefore one of sleeping arrangements and sex. Were you shagging your lodger, any benefits (s)he may claim would become fraudulent. This gives the state a prurient interest in people’s bedrooms, hence RIPA and bin-snooping by council prod-noses. This represents a gross intrusion into people’s privacy.

This is also grossly unfair on the working partner, who may find himself (for it is usually a ‘He’) with financial burdens he was not expecting and did not want.

Marriage should be the contract under which two people should be bound together by law, where they take fiscal responsibility for each other and any fruit of the union. Taking this logic one stage futher, surely women would take more care with their fertility if they did not have access to a man’s wallet should they “accidentally” fall pregnant. After all, I thought the whole pill, 60’s feminist revolution and all that was about the “woman’s right to choose” put a woman in control, taking that control from the patriarchal phallocracic oppression rape-matrix, or whatever it’s called in sociology classes these days. It should indeed be the woman’s right to choose, but not at the man’s expense. Sex is not an open offer of fatherhood. That, I thought was the other side of the whole 60’s feminist revolution? Don’t like abortion? Pay for the kid yourself, or keep your legs shut until you find a man willing to commit. It is after all, a woman’s right to choose.

Marriage would be the contract under which a man declares that he takes responsibility for his wife’s children (assuming they’re actually his…). Marriage would be the contract that he agrees to pay his wife’s bills when she’s unemployed. In return, he (for it is usually a he) should get to enjoy his wife’s tax allowances by allowing her to take some of his salary. Obviously, working women keeping a beta male at home should enjoy the same advantages. “House-husbands” will remain risible, emasculated creatures, however much the Guardian wishes they weren’t, but the tax-system should not discriminate between the sexes, and should allow people to make life-style choices as they see fit.

At the moment, the tax and benefits system is a standing invitation for both sexes to behave appallingly to each other, but in financial terms, it is horribly weighted against men, who bear most of the risk, and enjoy few benefits of any form of relationship with the opposite sex beyond soulless condom-covered one-night stands.

And though social conservatives were wrong about gay-rights, for example, they’re right about marriage: Because any form of co-habitation is now essentially the same as marriage in the eyes of the law, marriage itself becomes devalued. Thanks to liberal legislation without an eye on the unintended consequences, the flexibility of the genuine lifestyle choice of uncommitted co-habitation has become impossible, thanks to legislation generally opposed by social conservatives: the social Liberals have generally sought measures by which they perversely limit freedom. By all means campaign to remove social stigma, but by seeking to liberalise (by removing any penalties against unmarried co-habitation) any co-habitation, in essence becomes a marriage, whether the parties want this or not. Allow people to choose to be committed to each other. The state should not be forcing the issue.

The grey areas of co-habitation and “long-term partnerhood” should be relegated to mere social descriptors. Marriage should be the sole and only declaration by which any two people are bound together and have responsibilities to each other in law. Thus in the timeless words of the book of common prayer that marriage, and the responsibilities it entails should not be…

…enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly…

… are as true today as they were when they were written. Marriage is a life-style choice like any other, but it is one which entails enormous responsibilities and risks, especially that of child-rearing, and promising to support another person through thick and thin; and those risks should not be forced on anyone. And because everyone benefits from stable families, it’s only fair that those risks should be recognised in the tax-system.

So. The Coalitions slain the post-war shibboleth of universal benefits. In return for middle class mums losing their child benefit (spent mostly on white wine), Dad should get a lower tax-bill. Of course, though they might not say it, the reason the lefties are so against the means-test for child benefit, even though it means they have to argue in favour of state hand-outs to millionaires is the same as they argued against top-up payments for NHS treatment. The principal of universality is one by which the people who pay for the welfare state – those on middle and higher incomes – feel they get a little back. Now this principle is broken, we will see a steady decline in support from the middle and upper earners (who together form a majority) for the welfare state in which they have no stake. They will instead start arguing and voting for lower taxes. Middle and upper income earners are more likely to vote. This is something the more intelligent lefties have noticed.

The left would rather tax someone, then give some of that back as a benefit, simply to keep the tax rolling in to pay for Labour’s client state. This is inefficient, unfair, and frankly idiotic.

The mooted recognition of Marriage in the tax-system is going to be presented as a sop to the Tory right. But will it be a means by which the manifest unfairnesses of the means by which the relationships between the sexes are governed will be addressed, by allowing the furious objections of the left to be dismissed as what they are: divisive political dogma.

Police Pay & Conditions.

Inspector Gadget delivers a description of the underclass estate in “ruralshire” which demonstrates total contempt for the community he serves, then asks for a pay rise

You want to ‘review’ the pay and conditions of the only people left who will go into these areas? What kind of nation fights two needless and ultimately unwinnable foreign wars while its own emergency services have their pay reduced? I lost thousands last year when our SPP’s were scrapped…

My heart is bleeding purple piss for you. I’ll tell you what, take a leaf out of the Army’s book (a Private soldier in the infantry is paid much less to take far more risk than the Police). Go in and do the job out of a sense of duty, it’s what you supposedly signed up for. And don’t bleat about the “risk”. Most coppers are at more risk of a paper-cut than a bullet or knife, and you’re no-where near the top 10 most dangerous jobs in Britain. You don’t see deep sea fishermen or construction workers asking for special favours, and they’ve endured FAR worse at the hands of this recession.

The chavs aren’t Wahhabi-inspired AK-47 toting jihadists. They’re kids with nothing to do. Yet they terrify the “brave” police officers of ruralshire’s constabulary. Maybe the police will be worth a pay rise, when they go in and sort out the sink estates rather than harassing the motorist, or chasing easy sanction-detections. Again, take a leaf out of the Army’s book – agressive patrolling is good for friendly morale, and bad for the enemy’s. Get out of your cars and get seen on the ground in the areas where the problem is. Help and support the decent people of the sink estate, because they exist but with their heads down, and keep an eye on the bad apples.

The police have lost their NuLab top-cover. It’s time they started to do their job again. Just a thought…

To be, or not to be, (on the birth certificate)

In matters of relationships, I’m a strict libertarian. I don’t care with whom you shack up, and what you do behind closed doors with consenting adults. Marriage should not concern the state one jot, as it is a public declaration to family and friends, and as far as the tax advantages of “marriage” go, that’s what the civil partnership’s for, gay or straight. The state is not interested in the wedding vows, but the signing of the register.

Now the issue of children is a different matter. Deliberate single motherhood, without asking the father’s permission is evil, as is abandoning a woman during pregnancy when you’d promised to help support her. The problem comes when the issue of child support creates an incentive to trap a man into fatherhood, and the issue of benefits forces a potentially loving nuclear family apart. The state has regulated too deep, and intrusively and created perverse incentives in doing so.

However, there is no legal requirement for Milliband minor to be on his spawn’s brat’s child’s birth certificate, though it could in theory (but probably not in practice) affect his legal rights as a parent, but neither of the above cases apply to him she neither entrapped him, nor he abandon her. I’ve no doubt that he’s an admirable father, if slightly awkward and bug-eyed, with an anoying nasal whine, which he will no doubt pass on to the unfortunate offspring. Though I suspect anyone trying to make political hay out of the Millisprog’s bastardy or anything else related the new Leader of the opposition’s unwedded state to be a Daily Mail-reading git, Milliband minor did vote for laws which intrude into the bedroom, in which case, the nastiness is just deserts. Reap what ye sow, interfering socialists.

Shopped for Shopping on Call?

Given that the fines for motoring offences are considerably more severe than those meted for kicking the shit out of someone (generally unpunished, if the victim is me for example), it is clear that society regards illegal parking as really very serious indeed.

There are few things that give me more rage and hate for the state than a parking ticket because I take care to obey the rules, and the couple of times I’ve been caught in the past few years, has been because of a misunderstanding of which bay was residents’ and which was pay & display (whilst training, as it happened with the TA) and an unavoidable delay (I’d stopped to help a cyclist who’d been knocked off). Neither excuse washed and I was made to pay the fines anyway. Often the rules are unclear, and the parking attendents act as if they’re on comission, though I understand this is no longer the case.

Obviously though certain, public servants are granted exemption, when in execution of their duties. Clearly the police, or ambulance service responding to a call can reasonably ignore many of the rules of the road including the only crime the police take seriously, speed; and they can abandon a vehicle more or less where they like, if the circumstances demand it. So when I saw this “ambulance” (in truth a vehicle which is designed to meet targets rather than save lives) parked on the double yellow lines outside the front door of our local Sainsbury’s, I thought that someone had suffered a turn at the fish-counter in reaction to the price of Halibut, and fully expected to see a paramedic giving CPR, or at least comforting someone next to the frozen peas.

I saw no such thing.

Do we “little people” who don’t get exemptions from parking tickets when we stop to scrape a cyclist off the pavement allow paramedics or the police to leave their cars wherever they like whilst they go shopping? You could argue that “If a call comes in” she could drop everything and make a quick get away. But if speed is THAT important, should she be picking up her groceries when she’s on call?

The other question would be whether bringing this to the attention of the authorities in the local ambulance service would mark me out as an astonishingly petty twat. Because I hate the police, I’d always shop a cop for speeding if I see one, and the rage I feel when I get a parking ticket means I’m erring on the side of a snot-o-gram e-mail with these attatchments (If I can be bothered).

But I’m seeking the advice of the blogospehere first…

Bureacracy Ruins Everything.

I am in the process of registering probate for someone who owns shares registered in Hong Kong. This rather wry post from the White Sun of the Desert talks about registering as a Guest in Russia, and this rather moving post from the delectible Bendy Girl on registering for Disabilty Living Allowance show what bureaucracy does.

Try as I might, I cannot see any benefit to anyone of some of the forms which need to be filled in, the permissions sought, and the time consumed. It is because we have miserably acquiessed to the bureaucrat’s convenience that we meekly tick the boxes and give them the information they want (but often have no need or use for) out of lethargy and habit. The form has become law, almost by accident. Obsessive collecting of data are the mark of the Totalitarian, separating him from the mere despot.

This informs all my dealings with bureaucracy. I am dealing with people who would do ANYTHING if the order came down on the correct form, without thinking of the consequences.

If you have ever sent anything back for being on the wrong form, or demanded that the same information be put on a different piece of paper, then you are evil. It is people like you who saw to it that the Nazi atrocities were carried out, and I despise you.

David Nutt solves the Alcohol problem.

Remember when Professor David Nutt stuck his head above the parapet and said that some drugs where safer than horseriding? Of course we all thought he meant that drugs should be decriminalised. What he, of course, meant was that horseriding should be banned. For our own good, of course.

It seems the good professor is quite the puritain when it comes to alcohol. So I take back the nice things I said about him. Here’s his 21 point action plan for the ancient problem of people getting drunk. There’s no link, because he won’t allow a link here in the comments. You’ll have to find his drivel yourself or if you can’t be bothered, I’ve cut and pasted his ‘ideas’ here.

1. Make alcohol a national health priority: current estimates are that the damage from alcohol costs the NHS the order of £20bn per year and the violence it induces cost £7billion in police time.

From whence these estimates? Anyone admitted to A&E with any alcohol in their blood, whether or not this had anything to do with their admission, just like Road Traffic stats?

2. Tax according to alcohol content since alcohol is the dangerous drug in drinks. Everyone accepts the rationality of this between alcohol classes – e.g. sherry is taxed more than beer and less than spirits, so there is a precedent that could easily be brought into action. A can of 8% lager should cost twice that of a 4% one and 4 times that of a 2% one. This was planned by the last Labour government and the coalition missed a real opportunity to make a statement about alcohol harms by not increasing the tax in this way despite their manifesto commitment.

Why should a 4% can of lager cost twice as much as a 2% can? I can see the logic of a progressive taxation, but this would make wine, that facet of the Mediterranean cafe culture we’re all supposed to emulate, prohibitively expensive. He’s not thought this through.

3. Increase alcohol tax to bring the cost of alcohol in real terms back to where it was in the 1950s before the progressive rise in consumption started, i.e. gradually, say over 5 years, triple the price. All available evidence shows that the price of alcohol determines use for almost everyone with the only possible exceptions being severely dependent drinkers. The increased health burden of alcohol is largely driven by non-dependent drinkers so would be significantly reduced by an increase in price. I have estimated that the average taxpayer would save the order of £2,000 per year by the reduced costs of alcohol-related harms if we increased the price as suggested. In the case of wine drinkers, only those consuming more than several hundred bottles a year would be worse off with this scheme, and they are drinking at a dangerous level anyway.

Everything except land, gold and whores are cheaper relative to incomes than they were in the ’50s. It’s called ‘getting richer’ and it’s a good thing, David. You stick to the psychopharmacology, and leave the Economics to people who understand it.

4. Stop selling strong alcohol in supermarkets; use the Swedish model where only alcoholic drinks of less than 3% can be sold outside licensed shops that have more limited opening times than supermarkets. Supermarket alcohol sales are not only destroying lives but also public houses and other alcohol outlets where drinking is conducted in a social manner and where intoxication can be monitored and young people can learn to drink socially and more sensibly.

Because problem drinking is UNHEARD OF in Scandinavia. Clearly we should emulate their drink policies.

5. Ban special discounting of alcohol in bars e.g. happy hours, all you can drink for £10 etc.

I’ve no problem with cracking down on establishments which cause a problem, and I’ve no doubt this correlates with happy hours, but it is unlikely that this correlation is perfect. Try enforcing existing laws before banning a perfectly reasonable marketing ploy by bar owners. How about enforcing the law about serving clearly intoxicated people? Wouldn’t that work…. Puritanism is the nagging fear that someone, somewhere is having fun. I think you just revealed that here, David.

6. Stop selling wine in larger 250 ml glasses that have crept up on use in recent years – we should go back to smaller glasses again. For a medium size female, 5 large glasses of wine in one hour will lead to a blood alcohol level of 300mg/% which is that needed to produce coma.

Oh for Pity’s sake. Where to start with this one. I’ve been to the pub with many, many ladies over the years, and I’ve often bought them large white wines in 250ml glasses. Not one, ever has ever slumped into an alcoholic coma. Perhaps you should stop adding the Rohypnol, or would that stop you ever getting laid?

7. Repeal the 24 hr licensing law so bars close at 11pm.

Fuck off, you miserable, bloodless Puritan wanker. I would quite like to be able to stay in my local, drinking a few pints with my buddies until midnight on Friday nights, if that’s OK with you?

8. Ban organisations such as Carnage UK that promote dangerous levels of drinking as entertainment

If they cause a problem, why not enforce existing laws first?

9. Make it a law that all alcohol outlets must sell non-alcoholic beers and lagers so that those who like the taste of ales can get it without the risk on intoxication. Make these drinks be sold at below the cost of equivalent alcohol-containing ones and make it obvious that they are available.

mmm. Alcohol free lager. Yes please! Not. Been tried. No-one likes it. Go away. This end up being a mandatory few bottles in the fridge, replaced only when they go out of date, and never, ever drunk by anyone. Just another silly, pointless law.

10. Enforce the law that makes serving drunk customers illegal in bars: have breathalysers in bars and clubs so that seemingly intoxicated people can be tested and denied more alcohol if they are above 150mg/%.

This would go a long way to limiting the harm of binge drinking. Why not try that at #1 before banning stuff for those of us who don’t cause problems?

11. Add warning notices to all drinks warning of the damage alcohol does, as with those on cigarette packets.

Oh ffs. Go Away. Leave us the fuck alone. Stop fucking nagging us. You cunt. We drink to excess because cunts like you piss us off. Capish?

12. Reduce the drink driving limit to 40mg/% to deter drink driving and hence reduce drinking. And if caught, get people properly assessed and repeal their licences if they flout DVLA guidance. Encourage the wider use of alcohol detectors in cars.

We’ve the safest roads in Europe, despite their being the most crowded. We’ve lower levels of drink driving despite drinking more than many others. Everyone should be copying us. Stupid idea.

13. Invigorate the treatment of alcohol dependence by making alcohol a priority for the national treatment agency; encourage the use of proven treatments that reduce drinking and stop relapse.

Get alchies to dry up and medicalise addiction. Sound point there, at #13.

14. Provide incentives to the pharmaceutical industry to develop new treatments for alcohol dependence and its consequences.

#14 can’t hurt either. What are the incentives: a tax break. Wouldn’t you see AIDs or Malaria as being more deserving though? Doesn’t this show warped priorities?

15. Encourage research into developing an alcohol alternative that is less dangerous, intoxicating and addictive than ethanol and for which an antidote or antagonist can be made available to prevent deaths in overdose.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d rather a line or two of coke than a pint of the Nutt’s gnat’s piss ‘ale’, but I suspect that’s not what you had in mind, is it David?

16. Educate from primary school age about the dangers of alcohol.

Make alcohol glamorous for kids. Good Idea. What could possibly go wrong?

17. Develop public campaigns to make alcohol unfashionable just as was done for tobacco.

None of the pretty girls I know smoke. Not one. NoSireee. Smoking isn’t fashionable. Not at all.

18. Ban all alcohol advertising as with tobacco.

Fine. Take money out of sport and new programming. All we’ll ever have on TV are American sitcoms. Good Idea.

19. Ban all government supported organisations e.g. universities from having subsidised bars. Ban drinking games and pub-crawls in public organisations such as university sports and social clubs; remove financial support from clubs that allow these.

I’ll tell you what: You try and stop Exeter Agrics 2nd XV going on their annual pub golf tournament. How, just how will this be enforced? Fuckwit.

20. Raise the drinking age to 21. When this was done in the USA in the 1990s it was estimated that over 170,00 lives were saved in road deaths.

1. I dispute the figures. 2. It’s catastrophically illiberal. You can send an 18 year old to face AK47s in Afghanistan, but not let him face B52s in Bar Khyber? Madness. It’s madness in the USA, and it will be worse here. Knob.

21. Finally, a measure that could be a powerful tool in the implementation of the above would be to reduce the use of alcohol by politicians as it could distort their objectivity in law-making in relation to the harms of alcohol. Get them to openly declare any association with the alcohol industry. The government’s wine cellar should be closed and the subsidy of alcohol in the Houses of Parliament stopped. Somehow though, it seems unlikely that MPs would call time on that particular perk…

I see what you did there, David. A knowing wink at the policy makers. I’ll tell you what. You’ve got 3 or maybe 4 out of 21. Fail. No wonder even the last government thought you were an idiot and fired your sorry arse.

Ban, Ban, Ban, interfere with the market, Ban, nanny, stop, plan.

Here’s my plan for you, David, and anyone else thinking of interfering with my free time. LEAVE. ME. ALONE.

Drug Decriminalisation, again.

Another day, another sensible person in the public eye bravely puts his head above the parapet and says “isn’t it time we decriminalised recreational drugs for personal use?” In this instance, it’s Chairman of the Bar Council, Nicholas Green QC. I wonder if he’s to suffer the same fate as the unfortunate professor Nutt.

A growing body of comparative evidence suggests that decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences. “It can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health. All this can be achieved without any overall increase in drug usage. If this is so, then it would be rational to follow suit.

In the Telegraph’s report, we get the same facile rent-a-quote arguments against this sensible proposal. First up is savagely illiberal Labour crypto-facist and serial Hypocrite, Keith ‘I cannot believe I’m still an MP after the shit I’ve pulled‘ Vaz, who offered the “message” argument:

I am shocked by the suggestion that drugs should be decriminalised for personal use. The legalisation of drugs would simply create the mistaken impression that these substances are not harmful, when in fact this is far from the truth

There’s a law against procuring malfeasance in a public office, Mr Vaz, you corrupt little maggot, and that didn’t prevent you accepting a peerage to vote in favour of locking your co-religionists up for 42 days at a time on a Governmental whim, did it? So you’re shocked that someone expresses an opinion, mr Vaz? I’m shocked you’re not in gaol, fuckwit.

OK, so I’m playing the man, not the ball there, but the law is about setting the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, and the savage penalties for drug use are out of all proportion to the harm they do, especially when compared to Alcohol. The law is not there for public health, and shouldn’t seek to protect people from themselves. It should certainly not be used to “send a message”, because the law is a powerful, but blunt tool that can bitterly oppress. The law creates victims if overused. It should not be used to express disapproval.

Next up we’ve got the “slippery-slope” argument from Tory MP James Clappison.

There seems to be a very strong link between recreational drug use, leading to drug addiction leading to crime fuelled by drug addiction. I would have thought the chairman of the Bar Council would have seen that for himself.

How many people have tried Canabis and never tried any other illegal drug? The answer to that question blows the slippery slope argument out of the water. Some 25% of young people enjoy a joint. Fewer than 10% report use of anything else, though the article linked seems to claim that this does show a slippery slope! If that won’t wash, try anecdotal evidence: How many people were enthusiastic tokers at University and then don’t touch anything else afterwards? The slippery slope argument is facile.

Next up, we’ve ex-Asda checkout boy and wet-back Tory MP Phillip Davies who offers the “well why don’t we legalise crime argument”:

It is a ludicrous argument to say let’s legalise drugs to take pressure off the police and the courts. That is an argument to legalise everything.

No it isn’t because one chap selling another chap something he wants does not create a victim. Why are we policing something that thousands of people take regularly the vast majority of whom do not cause problems? Why are we prosecuting people for possession of small amounts for personal use, when moderate canabis, extasy or cocaine use causes less problems than Alcohol, which leads to blood and vomit on every high street in Britain every friday night?

MPs shouldn’t ask “why should we legalise”? they should ask “why are we banning when we allow people to get pissed”. An absurd percentage of the court’s time is taken up with “drug-related” offences. Legalising the trade would remove a hugely profitable industry from organised crime, remove profits which are fought over by rival gangs, remove the introduction to criminals by otherwise law-abiding users and allow users to be confident in what they are taking. Legaised drugs would be safer, less harmful, create less crime AND help the exchequer. The Governmnet would have lower enforcement costs (by some billions a year) AND have a revenue stream they could tax.

Inevitably when this subject is covered in the papers we get some Mother who’s son (usually it’s ‘died’, but in this case it’s merely) developed “severe personality changes” when he started smoking canabis at 14. First, is there any evidence that Canabis causes mental health problems. Yes, but it’s not certain that Canabis is worse than Alcohol in this regard. But Post hoc Ergo Propter Hoc – find me a teenager who doesn’t develop “severe personality changes”! Of course no-one’s going to pretend recreational drugs are good for you. But it is a personal choice. And in this instance, a developing brain is more likely to be kept from dope, were it legal and the trade regulated. This is NOT an argument against decriminalisation, but an appeal to the emotion of the reader.

Every argument against decriminalisation falls down because the assumption is that banning has any effect at all on supply, and a negative effect on demand. It doesn’t. If you’re in a town in the small hours, illegal drugs are easier to come by than legal alcohol. If you’re 14, illegal drugs may be easier to get than booze. There are many pieces of evidence that if you want to reduce USE, especially amonst the young, then legalisation or decriminalisation are the way to go. I’ve dealt with this in more detail here, but principally it boils down to the fact that the easiest way to sustain a habit is to become a dealer. This leads to a highly efficient pyramid marketing and distribution scheme.

If you want to reduce harm, then safe, legal and regulated drugs are the way to go. If you want to reduce crime, then remove the profits from THE MOST PROFITABLE TRADE THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN from organised crime and give it to businesses which pay tax and produce safe, reliable products. As well as improving the health of the users, This will reduce enforcement costs, which can be redeployed elsewhere, and the create revenue. Much drug related crime is fighting over the profits. Remove the profits, remove the crime.

Anyone who cannot see this is an idiot. Anyone who thinks there’s a moral issue here about what should be allowed in the face of these utilitarian arguments is a cunt. It really is that simple.

Poor regulation.

Just like sub-prime, if you dig, then you find stupid regulation behind, or at least contributing to, every disaster.

Ask yourself 2 questions:

Why is the gusher so difficult to cap? Because it is in deep water.
Why was BP drilling in deep water? Because they were not allowed to drill in shallow water.

Whilst ultimate responsibility clearly rests with BP who could have run multiple pipes, which I’ve read somewhere is industry best practice (I don’t know – I’m not an oil engineer), the US Government too is partially responsible for its knee-jerk, reactive and slapdash approach to regulation, which puts political concerns and pork-barrell politics above environmental and economic concerns.

Every regulation has a cost, and it is rarely borne by the people the framers of the regulation intend it to be borne by. In this case, Louisiana shrimpers and British Pensioners have paid for the poor regulation of deep water drilling and the ban on shallow water drilling.

Governments: Fucking things up since 5,000 BC.

Phew, What a Nutter!

Professor Nutt’s sensible and measured description of the harm that various recreational drugs do has caused an entirely predictable storm of indignation from the knee-jerk prohibitionists. This is just as last time he questioned Government policy. Except for one crucial factor. The press is starting to see through the prohibitionists’ case, based as it is on willful prejudice and habit and is broadly supportive of the sacked scientist. Obviously there is no sense from the ususal suspects, but Just as the Tabloids were still (and still are) puff bashing long after homosexuality was made legal, they will lag society and the law on this issue too. Now that even the Daily Mail carries an article supporting Professor Nutt, it is clear which way the wind is blowing.

Drug policy is my political weathervane. Anyone who cannot see the logic of freedom on this issue where the limits of state power over the individual are so starkly demonstrated, is an idiot who shouldn’t be listened to on anything else.

The scientists who advise the Government, not just on this issue, but on others too are considering their positions, and a raft of resignations may yet follow, as professor Nutt was not criticising Government policy but setting out the Harm done by various drugs. Legal drugs were included, to put the harm in perspective. This is something the British people can see, and the press coverage is backing him up. Guido’s post is worth reading in full:

The sacked Professor David Nutt has turned the tables on Alan Johnson. Johnson keeps repeating angrily that the professor should stay out of politics, the professor is squarely saying that politicians should stay out of the science.

Professor Nutt opposed the re-up-grading of Cannabis to class B, and opposed the ‘clarification’ of the law which saw Magic mushrooms in their fresh state classified as class A, as neither move reflected the harm to individuals and society from their use, and brought the law into disrepute. I would like to see the Conservatives make some party political capital out of this, but I suspect they’re still afraid of the Daily Mail tendency, even though most of the public (though not, crucially, the majority of Conservative voters) are in favour of some relaxation of the law. Chris Dillow sums it up beautifully:

It seems that when public opinion is wrong – for example on immigration – politicians pander to it, but when it is right they ignore it. The function of representatives in representative democracy, it seems, is take all the idiocies of public opinion, and when these are insufficient, to then add some of their own.