Martin Sewell is a
Family Lawyer specialising in Child Protection and Adoption and an
Anglican Lay Reader. His work puts him in daily contact with the
disadvantaged of society who experience the consequences of social
policy the most acutely.
For so long, “progressive” thinking has had a Neo-Marxist confidence that “history will absolve us”, and fueled by this dogma, liberals always feel able to make free with established wisdom, institutions, and experience, with a confidence unencumbered by recollection of their past failures.
Consider the following “progressive solutions” to recent problems.
“The provision of sex education will reduce teenage pregnancies and the incidence of sexually transmitted disease”.
“Special needs children will fare better in mainstream schools”
"Relaxed opening hours will reduce binge drinking”
“More money will inevitably result in an improved NHS”
Not looking good? Well consider, for a while, the latest Lib Dem proposals on drugs, but first, do remind yourself that everyone of the above policies was originally accompanied by the assertion that reason, and evidence from elsewhere, justified our moving away rom a policy that had hitherto served the country well, towards a more “progressive” solution.
With a growing incidence of schizophrenia amongst young people in
general and strikingly amongst young prison inmates, and young black
men in our inner cities, any rational analysis might begin by seeking
a commonly used agent, clinically proven to cause mental illness – such
I am well aware that any mention of a possible cultural (not ethnic)
component within the statistics is difficult and sensitive, but it is
as legitimate to examine a cultural wish amongst any community to use
cannabis as a possible causative link with enhanced susceptibility to
schizophrenia, as it is to follow up the possibility of “racist bias”
within the diagnostic criteria.
It is a worrying phenomenon amongst two cohorts of young people who we ought to wish to assist.
But what do our “progressive” Lib Dem heroes propose? Why, “Legalise Cannabis” of course!
In case that does not in itself solve the problem, they have a Plan B, which largely consists of placing their trust in a dynamic new
initiative. That policy might loosely be described as “review”.
Thus we have a proposal for a Standing Drugs Commission to keep drugs
classification ”under review”. It would also “carry out a regular
audit”. Europe, of course, has a role: there should be… err… “A Europe wide review”, and just
to be on the safe and practical side, the current 1988 UN Convention
against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs should be kept under…. well
you get the general idea..
Impressive isn’t it?
This anaemic approach is curiously described in its Heading ah
“Honesty, Realism, and Responsibility”. It is nothing of the kind, and
the sooner we get into the debate in an informed and confident manner,
tracing past failures back to their intellectual roots where they
belong, the better.
It lacks the honesty that might allow them to admit that drugs policy
over the last 30 years has not been characterised simply by a failed
“prohibitionist approach” as they assert, but also and overwhelmingly
by an institutional, cultural, and moral drift towards tolerance of
recreational drugs use. When do you last hear censure of drugs use from
the BBC – or in any other mass media?
No wonder our young people are confused when faced with such institutional schizophrenia.
This drugs tolerance largely emanates from a leadership class that
dabbled with “Puff” in its youth, got away with it, and would rather
consign future generations of the failing underclass to the
consequences of drugs degradation than admit that they might have been
wrong to do so.
It is of course overwhelmingly the poor and vulnerable who bear the
burden of drugs liberalism whether in the hospitals or the prisons.
However, no politician or media superstar can bear to be a
“Hypocrite”, so, to save their fragile consciences, the proposal is
that we have to let the drugs dealers loose on the poor to sell the
modern “skunk cannabis”, which is many times more potent and harmful
than anything liberals ever experienced..
Drugs have moved on, Lib Dems have not.
Their policy may state that they want to prosecute the dealers, but
non-intervention on the demand side of the equation can only have one
consequence on supply in the eyes of anyone with a remote
acquaintanceship with economics.
Neither can the proposed policy be termed “realistic”. Our law may have
echoed the past, but the overall culture has actually been liberal and
drugs permissive throughout the period of drugs growth. That is where
the change needs to be made.
A truly realistic approach might begin by ensuring that a real economic
and social cost is paid for transgression. This policy is precisely the
Least of all is it “responsible.” To proast this policy with how the Lib Dems apphe Lib Dems are
apparently reluctant to enforce the law against drug users, who
contribute nothing towards the health care costs of their self abuse,
whilst they are determined to vigorously marginalise smokers, who do.
Surely a better description of their drugs policy is that it is
dishonest, removed from the reality of drug abuse and completely
irresponsible. We ought to get out and say so.