About Conservative Home

Conservative Home's debate blogs

Conservative Home's reference blogs

How is David Cameron doing?

Conservative blogs


Contributors test

« Ernie Warner: Aid Partnerships (AP) | Main | Chris Palmer: Nationalise the BBC »



Since handguns were made illegal the use of illegal handguns has soared. Even illegal immigrants seem to use them for robberies.

Police stations close and the govt has no border controls.

Surely it is time to issue handguns more widely so citizens may protect their communities - banning handguns has failed ?


"But legalisation of drugs is politically inexpedient and would legitimise the businesses of some of the nastiest criminals in the UK."

And this is a piece *in favour*?!


This idea has been around for decades.

It has some conservative attributes - a dispassionate approach to a persistent and apparently intractable problem, the transfer of the market (and the profits) from the pusher to the good guys, and hypothecating the tax to fund the NHS.

On the other hand, it makes the state accessory to the misery of hundreds of thousands of people, the break-up of families and the disadvantaging of countless children.

Liberalism has not worked with drugs. While it is clearly beyond the current Tory leadership to take a Rudy Giuliani stance, I hope they won't give this old idea the time of day.

Guido Fawkes

The fact is that the war on drugs can not ever be won. All it does is criminalise otherwise law abiding people, bring bumper profits to criminals, clog up our prisons with non-violent drug users who displace thieves, murderers and rapists who really should be in the cells they occupy.

The truth is that we are signed up to a UN treaty that requires us to criminalise marijuana, cocaine and heroin use. We have given up our sovereignty on this issue.

Practical moves towards decriminalising and medicalising the problems of addiction can be argued over, as here.

First we have to win the argument in principle. My recreational use of home grown marijuana is nobody else's business, the use of the same by MS/cancer sufferers is a humane mercy.

Moderation in all things. Half the shadow cabinet knows from experience that occasional use of recreational drugs is not dangerous. We need to win the argument that what people do in private is their own affair. I don't want the government intervening in the economy, bedroom or my post-prandial pursuit of pleasure.

I am not sure that the NHS is the best vehicle for licensed drug sales / distribution. But YES to decriminalising drug use and medicalising drug addict's problems rather than punishing them.

Mark Wadsworth

YES YES YES, at least we could do an experiment with heroin, there are 300,000 addicts, charging them £5 per day for a single shot administered at a doctors would mean a moderate net cost of £1bn or so.

They'd get a fixed time slot so that would teach them punctuality if nothing else. Plus they'd never get colds (heroin is the only know preventative medicine). If shoplifting and other such crime does not fall by a significant amount over the space of a year, then the scheme is just dropped. Plus all the existing pushers will go out of business.


single shot administered at a doctors

Yes they have a lot of spare time nowadays - no doubt doctors could fit providing dopeheads with a fix into the mother and baby clinics or perhaps they could line up outside the surgery as they do at Boots

Mark Wadsworth

TomTom, go back to Jonathan Munday's 100 Policy on "Federal Parliament" and read his CV. I think we'll have to trust him on the practicalities of this.

Shane Greer

TomTom, we have no need for legalised handguns in the UK. If handgun ownership became standard it would increase the quasi-market incentive for criminals to own handguns.

I'm not convinced that enough criminals possess handguns to justify the legalisation of handgun ownership.

John Coles

Well, whilst you're waiting to be convinced, Shane Greer, I'd prefer to own a handgun. At the very least I should be able to own a shotgun for defence of my property and family. Our Chief Constable is busy sub-contracting out his work by means of Neighourhood Watch arrangements, all the while operating Police sub-stations part-time and selling off Police accommodation. If that's the way it's to be then we should be able to have the necessary tools of self-defence.

Chris Palmer

This has to be absolutely the most ridiculously thick-headed 100 Policies suggestion that I have seen in quite some time.

This policy is absolute drivel. I mean look at this sentence – “The NHS would become a monopoly supplier of illegal drugs and use the power of the market.” The NHS is currently overwhelmed – incredibly bureaucratic and inefficient. Can you ever imagine them effectively running this policy? But then, you say you wouldn’t legalise these drugs, so effectively the NHS/State would be giving out banned substances – and for free too! How much is this absurd scheme going to cost? Also remember that you are going to have to buy these drugs from a supplier somewhere – which would mean abroad in places such as Afghanistan and Columbia – so basically you are advocating state funding of terrorism and criminals. Brilliant idea!

It is a policy for the rest of society. Most petty crime is drug related as addicts steal or prostitute themselves to maintain their artificially expensive habit.” Hey guess what, brilliant new idea here. You could, woah, legalise robbery and prostitution – then guess what, no crime problem! What a fantastic idea. “If children are going to take drugs,” then what? Legalise drug use? Hand out a little pack of cannabis with every child’s magazine? Get a free injecting needle with every chocolate bar? They’re just going to do it anyway… If people are going to commit murder why not make it legal? They’re just going to do it anyway. I mean, why criminalise otherwise law-abiding citizens? I am sure most murderers pay their taxes etc!

Telling teenagers that drugs aren't daring or clever but mean that they are sick and need to go to the doctor for them is a very powerful message for that age group.” Complete balls. The thing is, they are not sick or ill at all – so you are lying to them.

If children are going to take drugs, would you rather they got them from a gun-toting psychopath on a street corner or from a doctor in a clinic?” I would rather that they didn’t take them at all (though obviously that potential option doesn’t enter your cranium.) Last time I looked, people had to wait sometimes hours or days to see their local GP. Sending in a few thousand worthless druggies who shouldn’t need to take these drugs is unlikely to make matters better is it?

Once the government had achieved a monopoly, it could start to raise prices to cut consumption, as with cigarettes.” And then if you raise the prices enough, then the illegal element will come back in – how clever of you.

Dispensing illegal drugs would risk making Britain a Mecca for every addict in Europe, so clinics would only be open to UK citizens, via an Identity Card.” Ah right, so we’ve got to bring in ID cards to do this as well then – and you know how ridiculously expensive and ineffective those will be don’t you?

It looks like the usual illegal drug taking suspects are out in full force in the comments area above selfishly advocating legalisation - especially the one who actually believed himself to be a "whisp of smoke" - yes of course I speak of Paul Staines. I am sure all you selfish bastard druggies will benefit nicely from this little arrangement, and I find it saddening that in your desperate personal need to get these drugs at cheaper (or free) rates you attempt to justify this policy by claiming that it would benefit non-druggies. What rubbish. Try for a moment to actually really consider the lives of others rather than just your own.

You may think that you are able to control your use of those ‘giggly bits of harmless fun,’ but the vast majority simply cannot. Users and addicts are sucked into a depreciating cycle of abuse that they cannot escape. That is the very nature of these drugs; they are addictive and many people simply do not have the strength of will to abandon their vice. Misuse eventually spirals out of control whether they are legal or not. While said morons above might be able to get their fix at a cheaper price, most would simply buy more of the drugs, overdose and probably kill themselves – and if not actually kill themselves, require copious amounts of healthcare on the NHS to put them right again – at a detriment to us all.

You see though, the thing is with most (if not all) illegal drug users are that they only care about themselves – nobody else (especially when under the influence.) They couldn’t give a toss about the rest of society, so long as they can afford to get their next fix.

Further, while drugs could well be legalised in this country, this would only aggravate rather than prevent the problems that their use cause globally. Drugs fund terrorism and tyrannical regimes amongst other less desirable activities – look at the Taliban in Afghanistan for example. But then, hey, what do the druggies care? As long as they can snort their ‘harmless’ white powder, intravenously pump themselves full of concocted narcotics and smoke foul smelling weeds, they’re happy – and to hell with the rest of us.

I think two very specific questions need to be asked at the end. Number one, Jonathan Munday would you have any personal interest in this scheme being enacted – ie. do you take these illegal drugs? Second question, were you under the influence of these drugs when you wrote this driveleous nonsense?

Denis Cooper

Guido, there's been a series of international treaties relating to narcotics, starting with an International Opium Convention of 1912. They're listed in Chapter VI here:


According to that the most recent treaty is the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances:


However it's not true that "We have given up our sovereignty on this issue".

As a sovereign state and a member of the UN we have agreed that we will abide by the terms of this international treaty. But as a sovereign state, we can also decide that we will no longer abide by the terms of this treaty.

Article 30 makes this explicit:


"1. A Party may denounce this Convention at any time by a written notification addressed to the Secretary-General.

2. Such denunciation shall take effect for the Party concerned one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General."

but even without this Article the UK would retain the right to withdraw at any time.

I only mention these details because I'm fed up with ministers and officials quietly going off and signing us up to international agreements in attempts to pre-empt future policy decisions. If we these legalised drugs we would be defaulting on our current "international obligations", as agreed behind the backs of the electorate, but the answer would be to renounce those obligations. If the EU objected that by renouncing the UN Convention we would be defaulting on our current obligations under the EU treaties, as agreed behind the backs of the electorate, then the answer would be to renounce those obligations as well.


Not a bad policy actually. Just the sort of radical thinking that 100 Policies was supposed to generate. I like it.


Well I did say the chief problem was going to be to get people to overcome years of govt propaganda.

The policy is specifically not in favour of legalising drugs but of nationalising the supply. This is a moral and a practical distinction.

But the State is currently accesory to misery. The illegality is the reason why people have to buy from dodgy dealers and contaminated product. The State could be more vigorous in enforcing the law with zero tolerance, including of the middle classes, but does anyone want the sort of controlling puritanical society that that would create.

The practicalities are quite straightforward. There are already plenty of NHS Drug clinics. Drug Counsellors do not need to be medically trained and certainly not doctors.

@Chris Palmer
The NHS already has drug clinics. Drugs would not be free but at cost and with an excise duty - read the policy

Drugs would be synthesised in Britain for pennies. Funding of foreign terrorists and drug barons would stop. That is one of the chief benefits of the policy

Robbery and murder are done to others. The harm of drug use is done to oneself. Not a clever analogy. Alcohol is not banned, paragliding is not banned a cleverer analogy

Addiction is an illness with a strong genetic component

We've tried getting children and adults not to take them at all and it hasnt worked for 50 yrs. What will change anytime soon?

The intention is that they should attend specific clinics and save the time they currently waste at the GPs

ID cards are coming anyway. This would be one benfit from them.

Illegal drugs fund terrorism we agree but you seem to be happy to keep this situation intact

For the avoidance of doubt I dont take illegal drugs and was sober when I wrote this

You are personally abusive, intemperate, haven't read the policy, have a kneejerk reaction to the issues

What's your excuse?


This strikes me as a typical 'political' solution which confuses the basic problem by introducing a host of other objectives and agendas.

There is certainly merit in the concept of reducing drug-related criminality by simply making them legal but the idea of the 'shambolic' NHS manipulating a multi-billion market to ulitmately reduce drug use is ludicrous.

A few points particularly caught my eye:

--"Once the government had achieved a monopoly, it could start to raise prices to cut consumption, as with cigarettes"

So this is a continuation of typical Government policy which encourages us to become (for example, car owners, home owners, all-day drinkers, drug users) and then penalises us for so doing with a steady increase in taxation.

Wouldn't the drug dealers come back after the prices were raised?

--"Nationalising an industry to ensure it decays and collapses is a very Tory policy"

Strikes me as more typical 'devious' political thinking

--"so clinics would only be open to UK citizens, via an Identity Card"

So it's another back-door method of introducing unpopular policies out of 'necessity'

How about the NHS controlling the market for Mars Bars to control obesity?

Chris Palmer

"The illegality is the reason why people have to buy from dodgy dealers and contaminated product." - Jonathan

And this is where your argument once again fails miserably. Nobody is forcing these people to buys these drugs, other than themselves. They chose to take the drug in the first place though personal choice. They do not have to buy them at all.

"The NHS already has drug clinics. Drugs would not be free but at cost and with an excise duty - read the policy" - Jonathan

What you said in the article above: "initially, the NHS would give the drugs away free. You wrote it, not I. Read the policy.

"The harm of drug use is done to oneself." - Jonathan

Incorrect again. Taking drugs affects society. As I said before, the Paul Staines types may believe that they can control their usage and turn up on time to work every day and seem unaffected – but most would not be able to do so. These illegal drugs are very addictive and can completely immobilise people. This is at a complete determent to society.

We've tried getting children and adults not to take them at all and it hasn’t worked for 50 yrs. What will change anytime soon?

It has worked in the sense that the majority of people do not take these drugs. However, a minority still do, and the failing is because the laws have not been enforced stringently enough. It is people like yourself encouraging a more liberal attitude to drugs over the past decades that has confounded the problem. Your types create a problem and then claim to be able to save us from it. Very New Labour.

Drugs would be synthesised in Britain for pennies.” – Jonathan

Let us assume for a moment that you are correct. What will happen once the production of drugs is nationalised? Costs will go up, inefficiency will creep in. State run industries are notoriously bad at costing. Foreign countries such as Afghanistan where they can grow the drugs for even less then pennies will be back in the game. IT WON’T WORK.

Illegal drugs fund terrorism we agree but you seem to be happy to keep this situation intact.” – Jonathan

Err, no – I am advocating much tougher measures and stricter border controls. You on the other hand are advocating state funding of terrorism and criminal activities in other countries, because in reality your policy would not work as in theory.

Also Jonathan, you still have not answered my points about the NHS. How do you believe that a bureaucratic and inefficient organisation will be able to effectively administrate such a scheme?

Why do you believe we should have ID cards forced upon us by the backdoor because of this policy? Saying “ID cards are coming anyway” is firstly incorrect, and secondly a pathetic attempt at reasoning and argument.

Do you think that GP surgeries will be able to cope with the upsurge in usage? Which other patients will suffer, because where are you going to get the extra staff from?

I am rude because I am sick and tired of people like you advocating policies that will benefit a small minority of people and condemn the vast majority of others. You have not acknowledged the fact that the use of drugs is harmful at all, and that we should be trying to properly prevent people taking these substances in the first place. You like to think that use of drugs is completely personal. It is not. These things are highly addictive. If one person if a family takes them, it affects all.

Like I said, some people just don’t care about anyone but themselves.



Father Brian

What on earth is turning so-called conservatives into control freaks? This is just the sort of eye-catching initiative that would appeal to Tony Blair. If he announces it next week, we'll know exactly who suggested it.

The NHS can't cope with people who are ill through no fault of their own. Add the burden of those who have chosen their addiction (nobody can claim they don't know drugs are dangerous) and the bloody thing will implode.

There are other, more effective ways to deal with illegal drugs. Among them is summary execution of anyone found in possession of dealing quantities of illegal drugs. Another is to put addicts to sleep, as one would administer the coup-de-grace to a faithful loved pet. But society is too squeamish to take any action that might infringe so-called rights, even those of drug dealers.

Mark Wadsworth

It's the sort of initiative that would appeal to control freaks like Tony Blair, or indeed that well-known authoritarian and promoter of the Nanny State, the late Milton Friedman.


Annabel Herriott

If drugs were medicalised, the teenagers that start for kicks would be put off, as they are with anything mainstream. It has to be forbidden and illegal th get their interest.

Denis Cooper

I don't agree with this proposal, but nor do I agree with all of Chris Palmer's objections. It's clear that many people can and do use illegal drugs without inflicting great harm on themselves, and without inflicting significant harm on others, except the harm caused by the present illegality of the substances.

Therefore I would move from a blanket prohibition of the substances, to strict prohibitions applied to persons who had been identified as irresponsible users.

Any person who was convicted of an offence committed under the influence of a drug would certainly not be supplied with that drug either in prison or through the NHS, because the court would make an order prohibiting that named person from using that and similar substances, they would be liable to random tests for the rest of their life if necessary, and if they were found in breach of the order they would face severe consequences, and so would the person who supplied them.

Within that context of legalisation of the use of drugs by adults, except by those who had been specifically prohibited from using them, the sale of drugs would be restricted to licenced vendors who would be held responsible if they knowingly or negligently supplied the wrong people, directly or indirectly.

However alongside liberalisation for adults, I would introduce ferocious penalties for supplying drugs to children, or negligently allowing children to obtain drugs.

For an adult who was found guilty of the most serious offence, knowingly selling a Class A drug to an under-age person, the maximum penalty would be death.

Yet Another Anon

The NHS is not the appropriate place for drugs that are for other than recognised treatment - I happen to think that the NHS to charge for services and it's provision of drugs to cover costs, however the NHS does not supply alcohol so I see no reason why it should supply other currently illegal drugs - rather they should be licensed in a similar way to alcohol with the same minimum ages and be available for purchase from supermarkets, pubs, clubs etc.... licensed to sell them, and they should be subject to the same rates of VAT and duties as alcohol is - this would bring in revenue, ensure that people know what they are getting and probably put most of the current criminal element pushing these things out of business, police activity could be diverted to enforcing licensing and the price would probably come down meaning fewer crimes of acquisition by users trying to afford a fix so reducing pressures on police time and resources.

Oliver Henry Cooper

Were the Conservatives in government, it would be an eminently sensible suggestion, reflecting both the pragmatic need to reduce crime and the principled support of personal liberty. The problem is that we're not in government. Forget the downside of having to tell a few bawling chief constables that their forces are oversized; the main downside of this policy is that it can't be put into effect unless we keep our stance on law and order, and that includes drugs.

Yet Another Anon

Were the Conservatives in government, it would be an eminently sensible suggestion, reflecting both the pragmatic need to reduce crime and the principled support of personal liberty. The problem is that we're not in government.
The solution as presented is flawed in that the state would be actively engaged in doing something damaging, the NHS could just as easily sell alcohol or cigarettes but especially with regard to cigarettes and of course currently illegal drugs it is desirable to discourage use, not only is it undesirable for Health companies to do this but there is no need, it is best to leave it to private sector companies supplying it simply as a product for consumption - illegal drugs are not medicines (although some might have some medicinal benefits - if so then they should only be supplied through a health company where they will be of benefit to patients) and yet for them to be supplied by the NHS would give the perception that they were, there are regulatory controls on alcohol and tobacco sold privately restricting who can sell them and certain restrictions regarding content and labelling. In the state producing illegal drugs there is also a danger of actually perpetuating drug use in circumstances where it would not occur otherwise, the private sector would only supply such drugs where there was a commercial payback in them doing so and not as some kind of perverted form of public service.


Just legalise all drugs. People just have to work out for themselves they are dangerous. Anyone can buy solvents for sniffing but few do - make them illegal and they would become a craze.

Oliver Henry Cooper

Yet Another Anon: I meant that the actually bold part of the plan was eminently sensible. That is, legalisation. Putting narcotics in the hands of the NHS is a good step, even if it isn't the ideal step.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
Blog powered by Typepad


  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below:

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker