Back in January the Transform blog reported on how Richard and Judy, 'the nations favorite TV couple', had come out in support of drug law reform (backing the recent report advocating moves towards legal regulation of currenly illegal drugs from North Wales Chief Constable Richard Bunstrom). The call came in the unlikely medium of their regular column in the Daily Express.
"...as a social policy, the criminalisation of drugs must surely be recognised for what it is: an abject failure. Cocaine, heroin, speed and, yes, Ecstasy, have never been more widely available or cheaper to buy. Their illegal sale on an industrial scale nourishes a huge, sprawling and hydra-headed criminal underclass. All Richard Brunstrom – with, by the way, the broad support of his police authority – is really asking is for a sensible debate on how we move on from the failed drug policies of the past."
This seemed like a bit of a scoop. They may not be the countries leading intellectuals but they are the very definition of mainstream and reading the really rather thoughtful and well argued case from Madely made me feel like, perhaps, the tide had turned in the popular consciousness in terms of entrenched support for a never-ending 'war on drugs'.
So imagine my suprise when bumbling around on the interweb like the nerd I am, I discover that both Richard and Judy have actually been on the record for some time with their progressive drug law reform views. Extraordinary that I hadn't come across this before really, but anyway, here, from an interview (well, live online 'chat') in 2004, I now give you Richard and Judy; Britain's favorite TV couple and torch bearers for drug legalisation:
phillip: what does richard and judy think about the down grading of cannabis, from a class B drug to a class C drug , and what affect do they think it will have on society
Judy : "My personal feeling is that legalising drugs is in fact the only way to combat the horrific crime element which is without doubt the worst aspect of illegal drugs in this country. I think it's hopeless to try and convince a lot of young people that they shouldn't smoke cannabis, as it's already a large part of their lifestyle. But I do think that not everybody should smoke it - we have heard of many reports of psychosis in kids who use it regularly."
Richard : "I agree with Judy. You'll never get the government of the day to decriminalise drug use. We have met senior politicians who privately agree that it would reduce street crime and robberies at a stroke - but the political cost is just unthinkable. If it were down to us we would have a joint programme of decriminalisation that would totally stuff the dealers and also introduce a massive public education."