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Aware that "expert class" is ready to bite Conservatives, Chris Grayling backs dismissal of Government drugs adviser

The Independent is in no doubt that Professor David Nutt was sacked for telling the truth about drugs.  The newspaper calls it an "unfair dismissal".

Ministers decide and advisers advise but what happens when advisers start campaigning publicly for a change in policy and when they start attacking ministers?

Home Secretary Alan Johnson decided that recent remarks by Professor David Nutt, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, overstepped the line.

He had said that ecstasy was no more dangerous than riding a horse and accused former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of "distorting and devaluing" his Council's scientific research with her decision to toughen the classification of cannabis.

After his sacking Professor Nutt described Government policy as "Luddite" and has warned that Council members will resign because of his treatment. 

The Conservatives - who also disagree with the ACMD position on cannabis - backed the decision to sack Professor Nutt.  Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling issued this statement:

“This was an inevitable decision after his latest ill-judged contribution to the debate but it is a sign of lack of focus at the Home Office that it didn’t act sooner given that he has done this before.”

As faith in politicians declines there are many who will transfer their trust to independent voices or to an "expert class". This is understandable but independent voices are not always what they appear. The Conservative government will inherit a quangocracy stuffed with Labour appointees. A sensible Tory Party will want to replace many of these appointees before they cause trouble and block policy. Careful distinctions will need to be made between genuine experts and, for example, the educational establishment and its bias against traditional teaching methods.

Tim Montgomerie

PS Amanda Platell adopts the irresistable headline about the "Nutty Professor".


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