Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Monday 30 November 2009

What is Nadine Dorries on?

Nadine Dorries, the controversial MP for Mid-Bedfordshire has been tweeting again. Yesterday she decided to try and tackle an issue that I have covered many times on here, drugs policy. Here were her first couple of tweets:

So she was trying to rebut Norman Lamb's comments about alcohol being more dangerous than some currently illegal drugs (the same point that Professor Nutt made backed up with evidence before he was sacked recently) by saying that she has never seen booze being sold at a school gate unlike presumably illegal drugs. Firstly, just because she has never seen it does not mean it does not happen. Indeed Jason Lower was quickly able to find this news story about older children selling alcohol to younger children at the school gate from the Daily Mail a few years back and tweeted it back to Nadine. No response. Secondly, there was no engagement from Nadine in response to the many tweets that people sent back to her asking how much this problem of drugs being sold to youngsters was exacerbated by the fact that the drugs are illegal.

She then went on to make the preposterous point:

At this point I could stands no more and I tweeted back:

Her implication that it is only illegal drugs that cause problems and wind people up in prison is off in cloud cuckoo-land somewhere. Maybe the same place where nuclear weapons are not weapons of mass destruction.

j_alcoholfree pretty quickly dealt with her claim via this tweet:

The link is to a BBC report from 2007 which reports the findings of an Alcohol Concern survey of prisoners.

Nadine continued:

All things caused by the illegality of drugs, not the drugs themselves. Nadine should perhaps study American history between 1919 and 1933 to find out what happened over there when alcohol was made illegal. She would find that all the pernicious effects that occur due to drug prohibition in the UK at the moment happened there as a direct result of that policy.

She then moved onto her thoughts about what to do:

I'm also not sure how an increase in methadone scripts proves that abstinence rehab works. All that proves is more scripts are being given out. However I would just draw her attention to the fact that in 1970 there were 2,000 heroin addicts. Now there are over 200,000 under the current drugs laws. Also, the figure she quotes is how much it has cost over 10 years, not one year. Despite many people tweeting this to her she has not corrected this figure.

So it looks like Nads' solution to the failing "War on Drugs" is to fight the war harder and send out a strong message to all users. In other words rather than accept that this is a "war" that can never be won she wants to spend even more money trying to fight it and "sending out a message". Er, but hang on a minute, isn't that what governments of both stripes have been trying for 40 years? Brace yourselves for more of the same from a potential Tory government...

Her comment about rehabilitation orders is about the only good thing she says. I am not sure about them being compulsory though. After all, an addict will only get clean when he or she is ready so Nadine's talk of compulsion could easily be throwing good money after bad.

As El_Cuevro tweeted, HM Prison Service says that 33% of female prisoners are in for drug offences. Nadine's figure of 100% can only be because she must have visited a drug offenders institution. So I am not sure what point she is trying to make other than to imply that all offenders are in for drugs offences which is blatantly untrue.

All in all this was a dispiriting Twitter session for me and I suspect everyone else who tried to engage with her. She did tweet a couple of responses to people towards the end but the ignorance of one of our members of parliament on this issue made me want to weep.

For someone who so clearly wants to keep drugs illegal she seems to be in very real danger of making the opposite argument. I would suggest that she researches this issue more carefully before wading into the public arena with ill-founded statements like these.


John said...

Surely all this proves is that safe seats are bad for putting in place thoughtful and intelligent MPs instead of ignorant buffoons like Dorries.

Anonymous said...

Nice one. Dorries is ignorant, logic-challenged and an evidencephobe.

Bryony Victoria said...

How many people has she actually seen selling illegal drugs at a school gate? I don't think they make a song and dance about it and I'm sure if she had actually seen them, rather than simply using the expression to convey a ridiculous and incorrect point, she would be bringing it up every two minutes that Super Nads had shopped the druggie scum and saved all the ickle children.

As for 'What is Nadine on?' I have a few suggestions but I'm sure they're all libelous, although it's probably just a massive ego and a sense of ill advised self-righteousness that causes these insane comments.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

They might not sell alcohol at the school gate but the practice of kids paying adults to buy alcohol on their behalf must surely be as common now as it was when I was at school.

Lunchtime alcohol consumption was a big problem in my school - far worse than the odd spliff behind the bike sheds.

Sam Hart said...

Dorries is scary. How can someone so willfully ignorant have even a bit-part in passing legislation.

Surprising as it may be, I'd rather have John Prescott in the House of Commons.

Rob Parsons said...

If you think she's scary, Sam, consider the probability that, as one of the Conservative party's more senior MPs (yes, she will be) she is likely to end up with a portfolio if they form the next government. Now that really is scary.

libber said...

no point reasoning with ND

if you correct her, she just ignores you

Linda Jack said... seat? Not if I have anything to do with it :-) Am I gonna have fun in Mid Beds? Oh yes!


Pete Connolly said...

That's a depressing read. The ignorance and inability of some politicians to listen is just astounding. The fact that she's willing to put her name to such stupidity does not bode well for the future.

Chris Paul said...

I'm up to 66 Qs for Dorries so far this month. Last night tonight. May get it up to 100.

Nadine not only got a very safe seat (as was) but it was at the last minute, meaning there was no scrutiny for her comedy CV. See my series for just a few of things that might have come out if there had been a proper process.

There are some A1 revelations to come. Though hopefully the answer to Mark's "What is Nadine Dorries on?" will not be:

"Cell Block H"

Sara said...

If you correct her, she blocks you from following her on Twitter!

Good for lowering blood pressure :-) - although of course the tweets are still visible on the web if you want!

Chris Paul said...

Anonymous said...

You realise her constituency is Mid-Bedfordshire. InBev, "The World's Leading Brewer", are based in Luton, Bedfordshire. Co-incidence?

scotch said...

I am still waiting for her to answer my question about her "blog policy" statement, specifically regarding commenting on her "blog". Which she doesn't allow anyone to do.

Ade Brown said...

An astonishing level of ignorance on this important issue from any elected-rep. Appears too dim to realise she's actually making the opposing case: all the Bad Things she invokes are known-about, documented and easily-grasped consequences of prohibition.

And then gets snitty when corrected or presented with evidence! No, Drugs Are Bad proles, so do as you're jolly well told.

Trouble is... if drugs were legally and safely made available to existing addicts, the resultant fall in street-muggings, car-theft, burglaries, overdoses and HIV infection would reduce the opportunities for wise old birds like Nad to send her messages about what's best for us.

Anonymous said...

The most surprising aspect of this case is that no one has taken Dorries aside and told her what a fool she is making of herself.

Out of all she's said the clear factual error of the 110bn figure is probably the worst aspect of it all.

As Cameron showed at the end of last week, you have to be prepared to accept that you are sometimes wrong. Dorries should do this.

However, I suspect she doesn't read most of her replies, which doesn't really surprise me given their usual contrary viewpoint to hers.

She appears to want to use twitter to fire off messages rather than as a communications tool - I don't think she understands it - not a surprise.

Jim M. said...

I must concur with all the disparaging and pejorative comments made with regard to the troughing harridan Dorries:

massive ego...tick

It's a real comfort to know that, as my MP, she's the pillar of support I should turn to in a time of crisis! I doubt I'd make it past the praetorian guard that protects her from the likes of me...I forget which one of her daughters it is!

Dick the Prick said...

@greengables - yup - £110 billion per year!! Reeeeaaallly? Somehow I don't think so - she is becoming a bloody liability that woman.

Sungei Patani said...

Is it Lib-Dem policy that current illegal drugs should be legalised?

I think we should be told.

Riggsy Brown said...

Go Nads!

Keep talking/tweeting the usual bollox to reinforce your airhead-with-attitude status.

Mark Thompson said...

Sungei - no it is not.

However the Lib Dems are clearly far more open to the idea of evidence based policy than either Labour or the Conservatives. The responses of Chris Huhne, Phil Willis and especially Evan Harris to the sacking of Professor Nutt a few weeks ago amply demonstrate this.

Sungei Patani said...


If the Lib-Dems are indulging in evidence based policy making then, given the evidence presented in this blog, they should be legalising all drugs.

Mark Thompson said...

Well my views are well known on this issue and I hope over time to be able to persuade others of the benefits of legalisation and regulation to reduce harm and take the drugs out of the hands of criminal gangs but that is not Lib Dem policy.

Anonymous said...

Gawd. It's embarrasing, it's clearly a subject that she knows nothing about, but feels compelled to show the world her ignorance.

It's a shame people this vacant can rise to become MP's.

Stu said...

It just goes to show, you can't be too careful.