Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Friday, 13 February 2009

Ecstacy comments on Question Time

I was quite disappointed that the excellent question put to the panel on Question Time last night "What is the point of the ACMD if the government is continually going to ignore its recommendations" (paraphrased) was left until the last 5 minutes, thus not giving the panel much time to respond.

The most sensible responses in my view came from Monty Don, the gardener and the leader of Respect, Salma Yaqoob, both of whom think that the current system is silly and Don even said he would legalise them all.

Justine Greening for the Tories (who frankly had been very disappointing all evening - perhaps not the "rising star" many thought) peddled the usual uninspired Tory line on this.

However the responses that bordered on the nonsensical were from Kelvin McKenzie, the tabloid hack and Liam Byrne the cabinet minister.

McKenzie said that if anything the current penalties were not harsh enough and started banging on about how dangerous drugs are. Dimbleby tried to intervene to get him to answer the question and also to ask him how he reconciled his position with the fact that horse riding is more dangerous than taking ecstacy. His response was that taking Ecstacy is illegal so you cannot compare the two. At this point, Salma Yaqoob tried to intervene but was stopped by Dimbleby. I had hoped someone would draw attention to the complete nonsense he was talking. How are we ever going to debate this issue properly if people are allowed to say "It's illegal so you cannot compare it." as a clincher to an argument!? The entire point of this is questioning why it is illegal, that cannot be used as a means of closing down the debate. The sad thing is I think that people like McKenzie are so blinkered in this that they genuinely think this is a fair point. He seemed confused by Dimbelby's question and seemed to honestly think that the two things are incomparable. And I thought that tabloid hacks are supposed to be secretly very clever. Not on the evidence of this.

As for Liam Byrne, well of course he was going to trot out the usual government line however what he said made even less logical sense than McKenzie. When pressed about the evidence and the fact that the government keeps going against it he said "I may not be a scientist but I am a father" and then banged on about how harmful drugs are. Again, he seems to think this is a clinching argument. Why exactly does the fact that he has managed to procreate mean that he is better placed to adjudge the risks associated with ecstacy than scientists who will have analysed and assessed the actual evidence for this? This is absolutely typical of the distorted and anti-scientifc political posturing of this rotten government. No attempt to engage with the actual debate or evidence, just populist soundbites appealing to emotion about the fact that he has children. Absolutely disgraceful.

When a TV gardener talks more sense than two senior front-bench parliamentarians, you have to ask yourself what is politics in this country coming to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem is the Lib Dems are every bit as cowardly and illiberal as the other two parties when it comes to drugs.

They haven't put a serious challenge up to this nonsense either.

Come the General Election I'm going to spoil my vote rather than vote for any of them.

Drugs is like a political litmus test for common sense and pragmatism, until a party promotes sensible debate I'm not voting for them