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February 06, 2009

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Paul Flynn

Thanks Dr. Aust and welcome to the website.

I'm sure you are correct, we are ar too tolerant of their brainless fools. A measles epidemic is too high a price to pay for suffering fools gladly.

Dr Aust

Re. the milkman, the judge was a pompous nitwit. But the blame is shared by all the politicians who voted for the current ludicrous drug laws. One only had to see the tabloid-a-like hysteria in the Commons discussion on MDMA deaths vs. other things with a finite risk (like horse riding) to see that it is impossible to have a rational discussion in the political arena about anything related to drugs. The way Evan Harris was shouted down said it all.

One could think of many examples of sentencing which make the absurdity of the drug law penalties clear, but one that spring to mind for me is the comparison between:

(i) selling a small amount of puff to some nice little old ladies with MS, glaucoma or arthritis - which could conceivably get you lots of years if you are convicted of intent to supply; and:

(ii) causing multiple death by dangerous driving while pissed and knackered and knowing it - which, if you are convicted, will only get you 7 years (probably out in 3-4) for multiple vehicular manslaughter.

As for Jeni Barnett... the cult of celebrity babble of the "I-don't-let-lack-of-knowledge-stop-me-from pontificating" type is alive and well. So no big surprise there, then. Personally I think her editorial team should be hung by the thumbs as well. They are (one hopes) supposed to be the brains of the operation. Or not. And anyone higher-up at LBC who green-lighted her to do the story should get fired.

Although if one believes Ben Goldacre's blog, apparently LBC don't seem to think they did anything wrong, claiming they simply were fostering lively debate, or something. For me this oddly echoes bankers, cf. trousering large salaries while simultaneously disclaiming all responsibility. At least when the BBC screw up someone is usually required to fall on their sword.

I have done my own take on the rise in measles on my blog here:

http://draust.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/measles-spot-the-worrying-trend/

I think we are far too mealy-mouthed about it all in the UK, and we need a real in-your-face ad campaign about the risks of vaccine-preventable disease. There is also the idea of barring non-vaccinated kids from school, as in the US, though I am not sure it would fly here.

Kay Tie

"I must note how quickly your army of idiots reply to my posts. Isn't schizophrenia a nasty side effect of cannabis use?"

Not any more than MMR gives you autism or masturbating makes you go blind.

Your use of the word "idiot" also shows you to be a fool, since you've offered no rational or logical argument as to why you should have the legal right to tell me what I can and can't do to myself. You think it's right to tell me I have to wear a seatbelt, I can't smoke dope, but have no problems allowing me (so gracious!) to ride a horse or to eat burgers. You are the idiot: I am arguing that no politician has the right to ownership of my body. I would go further, and embed into a constitution, a fundamental right to self-determination: that I determine what I do to myself.

Take your authoritarianism to your Tory Taliban friends and leave the rest of us alone.

Praguetory

This isn't about alcohol use but cannabis use and dealing. I note with pleasure Paul's wildly unsuccessful attempts to legalise it.

I must note how quickly your army of idiots reply to my posts. Isn't schizophrenia a nasty side effect of cannabis use?

patrick

Prague
Have you "exploded" into silence?

Huw

If Paul believed that alcohol and tobacco should be banned, he would call for them to be banned.
If you believe they should not be banned, how do you attempt to justify, making the use or posession of drugs of equal or lesser harm criminal.
Countries can have stupid laws, only stupid people do not believe they should be changed.
Particularly laws that criminalise large swathes of the population across all age, income and ethnic groups.
Particularly laws the enforcement of which, cost society far more socially and economically than the behaviours the law seeks to prevent.

Kay Tie

I never fail to be surprised at how Tories like to tell me what I am allowed to do to myself. And that they will lock me up in prison to punish me for taking substances they banned to protect me from myself. Yet they are very quick to complain about the rights of the individual being violated by the ban on hunting.

I can find common cause with the libertarian Tories, but the nasty hypocrite ones - ugh! Repulsive.

Paul Flynn

Praguetory, the law has just been changed so that the Milkman could have been sentenced to 14 years in jail. That's the same a life sentence for murder.

You defend that law?

Praguetory

Paul stuttered "What those who push the serious killers drugs that kill 100,000 people"

Are you an MP or a monkey on a typewriter? If you don't like alcohol and tobacco have the cojones to call for them to be banned.

Praguetory

We all have laws we don't like... that's no defence. The man pleaded guilty and admitted he knew he was breaking the law. I can't believe that you lot are swallowing the rubbish this criminal spouted in court. What a bunch of mugs you are. At least the judge saw through him.

Patrick - I don't even monitor the amount of traffic to my site. I am simply 'retaining a presence'. My site can explode into life at a time of my choosing.

Paul Flynn

Praguetory

What those who push the serious killers drugs that kill 100,000 people? Tobacconists, Supermarkets, Pubs, etc.etc.

patrick

Prague
If you keep trying hard and continue to say stupid things you might even get some comments and/or hits on your own site.

Kay Tie

"Defending drug dealers. Typical cant."

The man is a social-responsible entrepreneur. Tories pretend to stick up for entrepreneurs and individualism, but when it comes to cant they are right up their with their socialist authoritarian brethren.

I'm very pleased (and not a little impressed) that Paul sticks his head above the parapet for something that is morally right. I've got him marked down as "good guy" in my little black book, and when the revolution comes I shall speak up for him. You can face the firing squad on your own..

Praguetory

Defending drug dealers. Typical cant.

Graham Marlowe

Nice to agree with you Kay Tie "hard-working families" should go straight in the trash can: I am sure we all know of families who "work" that is, go to some place of employment each day, but do as little as possible. Indeed I have a neighbour who cheerfully admitted to me last week that she and her husband had taken off the first three days of the week because they could not be bothered to clean the snow off the car, but they would regard themselves as W"hard working".

Other phrases which give me the creeps and are universally used by politicians of all parties are:

"We are where we are"

"Nothing's ruled in and nothing's ruled out"

"Best practice"

"In my judgement"

"Social justice" (because nobody who utters it ever defines what they mean)

and Brown's favourite "Globalisation" not to mention "new world order"

Kay Tie

"If we had a decent honours system, he would be awarded a medal for services to the elderly."

I second that.

Such humbug on drugs, as we see today from the hysteria over Equasy (i.e. the addiction to horseriding) being more harmful than Ecstasy. Apparently Ecstasy is supposed to be evil compared to Equasy because it can kill "at random". Tell that to the relatives of the late Roy Kinnear. Or Christopher Reeve. Or indeed the descendants of Robert Peel, Ghengis Khan and Frederick I.

Paul Flynn

Thanks for the comments.

The milkman is also working in all winds and weathers at the age of 72.

If we had a decent honours system, he would be awarded a medal for services to the elderly.

Kay Tie

"keeps repeating the same phrase in interview"

Well quite. Into the bin of hackneyed phrases should also go "hard-working families" (all parties are guilty of using this one).

Graham Marlowe

But when somebody keeps repeating the same phrase in interview after interview as Osborne does (and Cameron and others have parrotted it as well), just sounds lazy and empty-headed. They could at least think up a new soundbite

Kay Tie

"Well said John. In a few hundred years, if mankind lasts that long, people will look back at drugs prohibition in the same way as we regard witchcraft trials"

Aye. But we'll have a few witchcraft trials before that day, no doubt.

"if he says that silly soundbite about "£fixing the roof while the sun was shining" once more I think I'll kick the radio"

Well, he could say "running a current account surplus at the height of the economic cycle in order to allow a sustainable fiscal stimulus in a downturn". But if he did you, along with the rest of the public, would go "eh, you what?"

Sometimes complex concepts have to be reduced to simple ones. In any case, although he's right, we have the situation where the roof wasn't fixed, and the sun isn't shining any more. What we need now it to work out how to get a plastic sheet over the hole in the roof.

We should, of course, throw the head of the house (Mr. G. Brown) out into the snow.

Stephen

Well said John. In a few hundred years, if mankind lasts that long, people will look back at drugs prohibition in the same way as we regard witchcraft trials, and think "how could ostensibly civilised and rational people behave like that?" We have turned what is essentially a public health issue into a major criminal enterprise. Occasionally you get a judgement which is so extreme and unjust, it reminds you how evil and absurd is the 'war on drugs'.

Graham Marlowe

Patrick: I despise the Tory party, especially with it's Etonian leader and his sidekick (and if he says that silly soundbite about "£fixing the roof while the sun was shining" once more I think I'll kick the radio, but the unmitigated greed of Blir and his ghastly wife, his warmongering, if it had been a Tory the Labour party would have crucified him, yet not only has he got away with it scot free, there are still (apparently sane) people in Labour who still regard him as a "great" PM - including no doubt Brown who in bringing back Mandelson bought back Blair's greatest lickspittle sycophant.

Until Labour admit that Blair and other New Labour ministers are totally out of touch with the genuine Labour voter,and in the case of the remaining Blairite ministers, get them expelled from Cabinet, they are doomed to one of the biggest defeats in their history.

John

As I understand it by reading the details of the milkmans case he was delivering cannabis to elderly customers on his round, one was over 90. He was not making a profit on this operation in fact it looks like he only just broke even.
He was found out because he refused to sell to underage kids, he was distributing for pain relief to elderly persons, some kids found out and sought to get him to sell them cannabis, he refused so they threatened to report him, he was adamant so they grassed him up. So, they prosecuted him as a result of his ethical approach.
The judges summing up is an example of how wrong we have gone in this country and how stupid we are over drugs.
lets look at what the judge said and how it really was in brackets.
Judge Lunt (obvious spelling mistake) said: "You were not some philanthropist helping out the elderly out of the good of your heart. (yes he was, he didn't make a profit) You dealt drugs for profit in a calculated way (no he did not). It was a business.(no it was not)"

She added: "You didn't consider what effect those drugs might have had on the people you were supplying."(errrr, thats exactly what he did do and why he did it)

THis poor man has been put through an incredibly traumatic time with the posibility of a jail sentance at his age and with his wife of 53 years getting daily visits from him as she is in care this case shouldn't have even come to court.
its outrageous that the so called mercy the judge bestowed on him didn't start with the arresting officers.
How much has this cost us taxpayers. This so called crime involved consenting adults many in pain who used cannabis for pain relief. The side affects of cannabis are real but minor and often far less dangerous than prescription drugs. It was hurting no-one. This guy is a hero I only hope if I get to be 90 and in pain my milkman would offer the same service.

patrick

On Blair
"The former prime minister also said he believed the 21st century would be "poorer in spirit" and "meaner in ambition" if it was not "under the guardianship of faith in God."
Tony Blair

These recent words following his and Bush's
manufactured war ending the lives of over One Million people.

Graham Marlowe

"Yet his wife, being mindful of her genitalia,
Spoke freely of her contraceptive paraphernalia"


That was another great example of the hypocrisy of the Blairs. Mrs Blair declares herself to be a devout Catholic, yes?

Now I know very little about religion, but I do know two things:

1) If you are Jewish you do not eat pork

and

2) Catholics afre forbidden to use contraception: The Pope(s) will not even condone the use of condoms to try to prevent HIV infection, yet this "devout" woman USES CONTRACEPTION!. And boasts about it. In a book. For money.

Money is the only thing Blair and his wife care about.


Also, on the topic of religion, Blears has advised the unemployed to turn to God.

Well, I suppose that is a better idea than turning to Brown or Mandy, who have no answers, but should a cabinet minister be acting as a spiritual leader?

Jolly Roger

I sympathise with the milkman's plight.
Are you sure that you've spelt the judge's name right?
A substitute letter would render absurd,
Any further comment from this poetic old bird.

I lay the blame for the MMR mess,
At the door of your hero, OK, just one guess.
That's right, it's Blair and his privacy claim,
Which adds to his eternal damnation and shame.
He urged that all kids be given the shot,
But refused to reveal whether or not,
It had been given to any of his own brood,
On the pretext that asking would be quite rude.

Yet his wife, being mindful of her genitalia,
Spoke freely of her contraceptive paraphernalia,
But balked at mention of these preventative shots,
And under the collar had an attack of the hots.
The Blairs, as ever, kept to the script,
And remained in silence in their hypocrypt.

With reference to the Crime PR can of worms.
Integrity? National Statistics? Contradiction in terms.

west2

On the Milkman and the Judge, what did the old people have to say?

On the MMR, people may not have had the MMR due to a scare. There was an alternative. A single vaccine. The government refused this option. If the rise in measle's is due to lack of immunization then the Government were at fault for not providing an alternative while they also worked to restore confidence in the MMR.

Intersting debate on ethics and the recent Antartic Warming Paper (Steig et al 2008) at Climate Audit and Real Climate.

west
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