Friday, October 13, 2006

Government snubs Science Committee

So according the Times the Government's response to the Science and Technology Select Committee report - that concluded the classification system was un scientific, unsupported by evidence and unambiguously 'not fit for purpose' - is to.. ignore the substantive criticism that the classification system is unscientific and doesnt do what it is supposed to and try and bluff it out by trotting out the same old drivel about drug seizures.

I do hope the minister will come on TV later and make the case for unscientific un-evidenced drug policy formation. I was due to go on the Today program and BBC breakfast TV to give them a hard time about all this but was unceremoniously dumped because the head of the army pointed out that the war in Iraq was a counterproductive disaster (pretty much what i was going to say about the drug war). I did get to go on the Nicky Campbell show though so not a total washout media wise.

Meanwhile it seems the new law on intent-to-supply thresholds, to determine whether people arrested for possession are deemed dealers or not, is to be dropped. This follows a consultation undertaken after the law was passed. Everyone said it was a stupid and unworkable idea (as they had before it was made law), so some faintly good news, in an 'avoiding another bit of pointelss legislation' sort of way. Read Transform's briefing on the shocking process by which this legislation came into being here.

What do these stories tell us about drug policy thinking at Government level? Well, political expediency clearly rules. On the one hand we have a mostly brilliant report from the Science and Technology Select Committee - detailed, thoughtful and making a series of very specific and clear recommendations, completely blown out the water by a Government obsessed with appearing tough, and not willing to give any ground on pragmatic reform (or even review/discussion of reform) for fear of being accused of being soft. On the other we have a stupid piece of 'get tough' policy that everyone thought was stupid - and said so - but was as barrelled through parliament before the election anyway, now being acknowledged as stupid and being consigned to the dustbin.

The Government couldn't care less whether the policy consulation process was completely topsy turvey - they got some tough sounding headlines in the election run up and can now dump the idea on the basis that its unwanted and unworkable - which they knew anyway.

more to follow....

1 comment:

Bob said...

The refusal to undertake a review of the classifications system isnt really surprising because we all know the result would have been deeply damning. As you say, its all about those in power looking after their own jobs.

The withdrawl of the new dealing limits is good news though, especially seeing as they were going to presume guilt.