...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day 3227: Postman Pot


We know a SONG about this, don't we children:

"Postman Pot, Postman Pot, Postman Pot and his black and white… opinions about drugs policy…"

Minister for Misuse of Science Drugs, Mr Alan Johnson and Johnson must be wishing for a No More Tears formula today, or at least a no more RESIGNATIONS one, as by firing the Nutty Professor, he has gone from being next leader of Hard Labour to merely the next failed Home Secretary faster than it takes to say "My word, how very RED-in-the-FACE you've gone, Mr Johnson and Johnson; have you taken any DRUGS for that?".

The root of Mr Johnson and Johnson's problem is NOT that the Nutty Professor has criticised his policy; the problem is that the POLICY makes not the remotest HOOT of SENSE, and he knows it, and everyone else knows it and he KNOWS that everyone else knows it.

I am reminded of the story of the EMPEROR with NO CLOTHES ON. And what was the MORAL of that story? Yes, the little boy who pointed out that the Emperor was in the nuddie got taken away to Guantanamo Bay and tough new laws enforcing Imperial Attire were enacted, because pointing out that people in power are fluffing idiots is never a healthy career option.

Increasing penalties, spending millions on police snatch squads, re-classifying everything as Class-A triple-star with skull-and-crossbones and dagger-dripping-with blood, these are all the clear signs of someone who is SOFT on drugs.

Yes, SOFT – the Government's "war on drugs" policy is the SOFT option, it is easy, lazy pandering to headlines in the redtops, and it causes HARM, it unnecessarily criminalises a whole generation, it encourages robbery and burglary, it wastes police resources, it puts people at risk from impure sources of supply, it supports a culture of violent criminal gangs both here and in poverty-stricken parts of the planet (usually countries that, by an astonishing coincidence, regularly get bits of their territory EXPLODED by Americaland).

It is, on the whole, EXTREMELY stupid and, yes, SOFT.

The TOUGH stance on drugs is tackling the problem head on.

What IS the problem? The problem is that for some unearthly reason politicians and meeja curtain-twitchers think that it is ANY business of theirs what other people choose to do with their bodies.

This is where the HORSE RIDING comes in.

Horse riding is a VERY, VERY slightly dangerous activity that people choose to participate in. We don't ban it. In fact, people would probably think of it as HEALTHY and FUN because of the associated physical exercise, fresh air and social interaction. And yet people can and do get killed doing this.

And so I present you with the rave.

Was the Nutty Professor RIGHT to compare "tragic accidents involving harmless innocents" to the deaths of "drug-taking-fiends" who go "raving" on "ecstasy" (©all newspapers)?

Well, what are the numbers:

About two-and-a-half million people regularly go horse riding.

About half a million people regularly take ecstasy.

If there's about TEN deaths a year attributed directly to each activity – as the Nutty Professor claimed – then you can do the maths: it works out that horse riding has a risk of death of 0.0004% (or four in a million) and ecstasy taking has a risk of death of 0.002% (or twenty in a million).

So (tabloid speak again) ecstasy FIVE TIMES more DEADLY than Horsies! Or, more rationally, you are actually QUITE UNLIKELY to die of either.

The POINT, as made in this study, is that the meeja OVER-REPORT deaths attributed to "drugs" and in particular ecstasy in order to PORTRAY "drugs" and in particular ecstasy as an EVIL COCKTAIL of DEATH, with your average teenager playing Russian Roulette every time they pop a party fun pill.

The truth is, you are far more likely to drop dead of PARACETEMOL.

In fact the BIGGEST killers appear to be Diazepam and Temazepam ("The Housewife's Choice") but nice Middle-Class ladies numbing themselves into oblivion don't seem to be on the Daily Fail's agenda. Odd that.

And any examination of the HISTORY of drug policy in Great Britain would suggest that more than likely it was MEEJA-DRIVEN moral panic that CAUSED the explosion of first heroin then other drug abuse by going all "moral high ground" on the doctors who were actually TREATING the at-the-time actually VERY SMALL number addicts back in the Sixties.

So, to return to the Emperor with No Clothes On, the Nude Secretary – do not SHUDDER; even Mr Johnson and Johnson has an, er, Johnson – he says:

"You cannot have a chief adviser... campaigning against government decisions."

Was the Nutty Professor WRONG to speak up when he disagreed with the POLICY? Should he have kept QUIET, not published his piece about the relative HARM?


As a scientist, he has an absolute moral DUTY to present his findings, whether they support the policy or not; whether they support his OWN beliefs or not. It is actually VITAL to the scientific method that ALL results are presented, otherwise you introduce BIAS into the shared pool of data

This is in DIRECT contradiction to the OPERATING systems of Hard Labour.

Their MP Mr Tom Price, appearing on the Westminster Hour, went as far as to utter the STAGGERING suggestion that independent advisors should be bound by collective responsibility.

The Labour Party, it seems, have come up with a new DOCTRINE for independent advisors: "ministers decide and advisors AGREE".

As Dr Woo once said: "the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: they change the facts to fit their opinions".

Whether Mr Johnson and Johnson is very powerful of very stupid, I will leave it up to you to decide, but if we can't face the facts, we can never see it: the "War on Drugs" has been a TOTAL FLUFFING FAILURE.

My favourite comment, though, must be that of Mr Stephen of the Glenn:

"New Government Science Policy: Anyone who claims that the Earth is NOT the CENTRE of the Universe will be taken to the EDGE and thrown off!"


1 comment:

Stephen Glenn said...

Thanks for the post script mention oh Fluffy One. To be fair the idea has been muted by scientist elsewhere in the multiverse. I jsut stumbled upon if when I got lost in the Library once. Somehow I never found that particular shelf again. Most peculiar.