December 16th, 2010

Sri Yantra

And a former minister of state breaks ranks...

The problem with reacting to current events is that they rarely fall into the ambit of TP's set topic for the fortnight/month. 

Poor Bob Ainsworth has broken ranks on the drug question and called for a proper, far-reaching "grown-up" debate on the current illegality of many recreational drugs; and in so doing has drawn the ire of his party. As well as being a former defence secretary, he is also a former drugs minister: so it is impressive to see him pilloried in this way:

His comments were met with dismay by the party leadership, while fellow backbencher John Mann claimed that Ainsworth "doesn't know what he's talking about".

A spokeswoman for Miliband made clear that Ainsworth's comments did not have the blessing of the leadership or the wider party. She said: "These are not the views of Ed Miliband, the Labour party or the wider British public."

A party source described the legalisation proposal as "extremely irresponsible", adding: "I don't know what he was thinking."

Mann, who carried out an inquiry into hard drug use in his Bassetlaw constituency while Ainsworth was drugs minister, said: "He didn't know what he was talking about when I met him with my constituents during my heroin inquiry and he doesn't know what he's talking about now."
Now that's the way to start an adult debate.

Perhaps we do need a debate about having a debate on drugs, just so that we all know the ground-rules. Because this is just ridiculous, especially as some Tories (of whom Peter Lilley isn't the most attractive of a bad bunch) seem to be arguing from a position of good sense.

Just who frames the way these national and supra-national debates are carried out? What is public opinion, and how is it manipulated? And if Rupert were to come out in favour of the legalisation or decriminalisation of some currently illegal drugs, how soon would the laws be changed?

Public opinion, like a ship of state, is awfully large and therefore slow to manoeuvre or reverse. Is it finally time to change tack?
Answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address: the judges decisions are final and binding.