During the Credit Crunch there was one UK national politician who knew his onions. Was it George Osborne? No, he was busily panicking as millions went out of his own bank account. Was it Gordon Brown? He was too busily saving his own arse over the cataclysm that took place on his watch.
The single bloke with a clue about the workings of the financial meltdown was one Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats. All too often this party has been the preserve of the right thinking minority. No such clear thinking comes from either of the two other parties.
To explain to those outside the UK reading it, the Tories are basically the fallen aristocracy who think they know what normal people want, Labour are Orwell's pigs who had too much dinner with the men and became men, and the Liberal Democrats? Until 1922 the major party of the left for many centuries, who now, well in third, tend to come up with common sense ideas.
To this extent, the Liberal Democrats thought about a subject in this year's annual conference, again without fear of the Daily Mail spewing or the Guardian intellectualising, and asked themselves collectively what is the best way forward with drugs?
The result was a breath of fresh air. Liberalise drug policy and concentrate on other, greater dangers to society than a stoner being caught with a bag of weed. For me it doesn't go far enough (see my call for drugs legalisation last month) but is a huge leap forward for current mainstream political thought on a major problem we have in society.
Conference called for:
1. The Government to immediately establish an independent panel tasked with carrying out
an Impact Assessment of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, to properly evaluate, economically
and scientifically, the present legal framework for dealing with drugs in the United Kingdom.
2. The panel also to consider reform of the law, based on the Portuguese model, such that:
a) Possession of any controlled drug for personal use would not be a criminal offence.
b) Possession would be prohibited but should cause police officers to issue citations for
individuals to appear before panels tasked with determining appropriate education,
health or social interventions.
3. The panel also to consider as an alternative, potential frameworks for a strictly controlled
and regulated cannabis market and the potential impacts of such regulation on organised
crime, and the health and safety of the public, especially children.
4. The reinvestment of any resources released into effective education, treatment and
5. The widespread provision of the highest quality evidence-based medical, psychological
and social services for those affected by drugs problems; these services should include
widespread availability of heroin maintenance clinics for the most problematic and vulnerable
Will this change the world?
Political realism meets the cleverly thought and well debated considerations of Britain's third party. Most of the newspaper media are dining out on Liberal Democrat at the minute as the Tory press resent a bunch of lefties being essential to have a majority in Parliament, and the Labour press think by destroying the Lib Dems so they'll win a few more votes in the next election. It is not a good time to support the party for the fainthearted as the party gets kicked like a reject in a school playground.
New thinking on drug policy should draw people to vote yellow in 2015 and the elections preceding. It shows that liberalism is a belief system, as opposed to following a bunch of leaders as people seem to do with other parties. That liberalism is alive and well in a country renowned for conservatism.
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