Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Is Labour Control of Information to Blame?

This morning in the Independent we learnt that the the Youth Justice Board are not publishing their figures on youth crime as scheduled but in 6 months time. An official at the government agency has said that the reason for this is official "purdah" period. The former Civil Servant in me is screaming Gordon hasn't gone to the Palace yet he can't be suppressing reports under the election "purdah" period, that is unless the politico in me has missed the actually calling of the General Election (and I know that hasn't happened).

We also have Helen Goodman Labour MP for Bishop Auckland crying out:

"The police have talked to me about [mephedrone] and have really made the case for a legal ban on it.

She said it should for two reasons: "One is that it would send out a clear message to young people about how very dangerous it is.

"Secondly, it would mean that the police have more powers for dealing with it.

"The police have told me that there are people standing outside the primary school in one of the villages in my constituency trying to push that to people under the age of 12.

"We need to educate young people in the dangers and risks of taking drugs, but I also think we need to have a proper legal framework.

"Ideally, as well as looking at this one particular drug we'd have a new legal framework that would ensure you couldn't just go away, tweak it, and come back and sell something that's incredibly close."


On point one tobacco can be dangerous, alcohol can dangerous, indeed any alien item in the human body can be dangerous. Heck tasers can be dangerous, on people with minor heart conditions could be fatal.....oh hang on the police want to use them not ban them. I don't hear Labour MPs crying out for a complete ban on any of these to send out a clear message to young people, and the police, how very dangerous these are.

Also this is the same police force that have called out for ID cards, random stop and search, rights to detain for 90 days without charge, rights for fully exposing search at airports all of which, and more, have been pandered to by authoritarian Labour, without consideration of civil liberty considerations.

But then it all comes back to information, or more to the point Labour's control of information should I say. Just like we have a Youth Justice Board providing information to the Government about youth crime (even though the rest of us won't get that info for six months) how about a similar body for drug usage. Let's see let us call it the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), that'll work says exactly what is says on the tin. Lets appoint some experts in that field to that panel and let them look into things such as new drugs on the scene, just like methedrone. They could advise government based on scientific evidence just how dangerous the various drugs in our culture are.

Guess what? The ACMD does exist.

Guess what? The ACMD had a sub-committee looking into legal highs.

Guess what? Labour didn't like what the Chief expert Dr David Nutt had to say about cannabis in October so the Home Secretary sacked him.Other members of the panel also resigned.

As a result of losing the six experts Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said he would not pre-judge decisions on drug classification ahead of the committee issuing advice. However, we have Labour and Conservative members of the house now wishing to jump just such a gun before scientific opinions are made.

As Chris Huhne Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary points out:

"If the Home Secretary hadn't meddled in the work of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs we would already have had their advice and the Government would be able to act.

"The failure to classify mephedrone is a direct consequence of the Government’s interference in the independent advice of its scientific advisers.

"If the Home Secretary hadn't meddled in the work of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs we would already have had their advice and the Government would be able to act."


So it is all very well Mandelson saying a review into mephedrone should be "speedily, carefully" carried out. Thing is that process was stalled by Labour own stubbornness to accept scientific fact. They'll happily accept scientific 'fact' when it suits them, weapons on mass destruction in Iraq springs readily to mind, but not when it goes against what they have already said.

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