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« Q2: Economy-boosting tax relief | Main | Q4: Marriage and the family »

Comments

Gareth

The immnesity of your self-righteousness never fails to amaze Ed. How dare you tell me, or any other adult, what is in my best interests. I'll make that decision for myself thank you. Most us are sick of the Blair-Jowell bossy brigade telling us how to live our lives and want a government that treats us like the grown ups we are.

This whole cannabis debate is pure fantasy in any event. There are millions of people smoking dope every week. You can't lock them all up even if the police were interested in doing so, which they're not. Only on an authoritarian conservative web site like this one would there even be a debate about cannabis. It's as quaint as the listen-with-Mother world half of you want to send us back to.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"What right does the state have to interfere with my biochemistry? I don't "do" drugs but if I wanted to smoke, drink excessively or consume so-called illegal substances then as long as I am not harming others the state should not have the right to intervene."

The words of a true Liberal Democrat. Obviously no consideration for the costs of treating/rehabilitating those whose health/lives are severely damaged by drugs, or the psychological/emotional effects on those who are close to drug abusers, or the physical and mental damage wrought on the victims of drug-related crime. What a thoroughly selfish point of view.

a-tracy

"If you think the voters want their little darlings to go to prison for toting on a joint at university, think again."

There are other wake up calls I would prefer Gareth. Personally whether the law dealt with my darlings or not, I would find and take them to visit with people struggling with the effects, I would make them volunteer their help in hospitals/hospices/clinics.

My teenage son says he wouldn't do drugs because a) he'd be the one who nearly killed himself from his first experiment and b) the secondary effects, i.e. what his mother would do to him, wouldn't be worth it!

Gareth

No, I wouldn't legalise cannabis. On the whole, I prefer not to see it traded without any restriction (although the reality is we're not far from that position). It's also bad politics. Every maiden aunt in the country would have heart failure and it's not worth the aggro.

Andrew

You can't lock them all up even if the police were interested in doing so, which they're not.

No-one wants to lock up cannabis users. A lot of us want tighter controls and proper enforcement around dealing.

Jonathan Sheppard

Gareth - very libertarian. An advocate of no taxes? Pay for what you use? Survival of the fittest? And I thought I was on the "right wing of the party?

Its back to the test of is it good for me and good for my neighbour. Smoking cannabis isn't good for me or my neighbour.

malcolm

Daniel Vince -Archer, hear hear.

Editor

Gareth: "The immnesity of your self-righteousness never fails to amaze Ed. How dare you tell me, or any other adult, what is in my best interests. I'll make that decision for myself thank you."

Q. And when you've made that decision and it's gone wrong - you're doing badly at school, are out-of-work, or have mental health problems - who will look after you?

A. Me and other taxpayers.

As DC says "we're all in this together" - shared responsibility means trying to stop people harming themselves but being there to help if they still do.

Gareth

Jonathan - Tory in libertarian shocker! There was this woman called Margaret Thatcher you see, she persuaded me and millions like me, that I should stand on my own two feet, be deeply suspicious of governments that promised to intervene in my affairs and to take responsibility for my own actions. I'm just an old-fashioned Thatcherite you see.

Jonathan Sheppard

A Thatcherite eh? Glad to hear it. So you are now backing Davis's policy on tax I assume.

Mike Smithson

Re Daniel Vince -Archer. If you are serious about people doing things to their bodies which are harmful why not start with tobacco and then alcohol?

Why not also make everybody walk or cycle for trips up to five milesrather than allow them to drive. This would improve people's health enormously.

Why not ban salt - which is probably a killer on the same level as tobacco.

Why not ban Big macs or sausages or anything else that is fatty?

Why just pick on drugs?

I did qualify my libertarian statement woith the words "as long as I am not harming others".

Jonathan Sheppard

Mike - take a look at what the Libs support in Europe. I was under the assumption you would be going down the line of cutting salt, fat, calorific intake - traffic lighting of food and so on.

Sean Fear


Personally, I've no objection to the view you've expressed Mike, but would you be willing to pursue it to its logical conclusion - that those who do suffer as a result of the choices they make should have no entitlement to help from their fellow citizens?

Gareth

Assign each of us a nanny and be done with it Ed. She/he can stop us from not concentrating at school/getting mixed up with the 'wrong sort'/missing Church on Sundays.

Life is all about making choices, good and bad, and living with the consequences. Part of the deal of our society is that we all pick up the tab when some people's choices go wrong. I'd far rather that than have the government bossing me around the whole time.

Ian Sider

In libertarian la-la land everyone bears the consequences of their screw-ups. Back on planet earth the state picks up the pieces, and we pick up the bill.

Sean Fear


The problem with that viewpoint Gareth is that it's unfair on those who make wise choices (but who have to foot the bill for those who don't), and by relieving people of responsibility for their own choices, it ensures that substantial numbers of people will make unwise choices.

Social liberalism does not coexist very well with a welfare state.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Re Daniel Vince -Archer. If you are serious about people doing things to their bodies which are harmful why not start with tobacco and then alcohol?"

Both these things are currently legal Mike Smithson. Not really comparable to turning a blind eye to drug abuse.

"Why not also make everybody walk or cycle for trips up to five milesrather than allow them to drive. This would improve people's health enormously."

I daresay it would. But taking such an extreme measure to improve people's health is not the same as keep something which can be extremely damaging to health and have devastating effects on other people illegal.

"Why not ban salt - which is probably a killer on the same level as tobacco."

Pretty fatuous point - tobacco isn't banned. But anyway, I do think salt content in food should be reduced, although not banned as humans do require a certain amount of salt to live.

"Why not ban Big macs or sausages or anything else that is fatty?"

I'm sorry - I must have missed all those news stories about a crime epidemic funding people's addiction to sausages.

"Why just pick on drugs?"

Drugs are illegal. Just because other things which can be harmful are legal is not an argument for the legalisation of drugs.

"I did qualify my libertarian statement woith the words "as long as I am not harming others"."

Yes, but drug usage is harmful to others, so your qualification is pointless.

buxtehude

Cameron is dreadful on this. Doesn't he realise it's not about what a few middle class kids get up to for recreation, its the awful effect of the whole drug culture on poor communities that really matters?

Sam

Some of you really are terribly ignorant. Its been a fine tradition of our party from the days of Burke, to focus upon the freedom of the individual. To equate old-fashioned Tory Libertarianism with the populist Lib-dem's is quite frankly beggars-belief. The authoritarianism that many of you are seemingly comfortable in preaching is the REAL perversion of conservatism

Authoritarianism, in the way the Labour Party practise has always been a socialist tendancy. Observe them wanting to ban everything from junk food advertising, ditching habeus corpus, and turning the UK into a country where agents of the state can approach us demanding to see our papers.

Socialist regimes' authoritarian instincts stem from the belief evident from Mao, Pol Pot through to Stalin, that mankind, suseptable to being conditioned and enslaved by the Capitalism system, is desperately fallible. The conclusion they draw is that the revolutionairy state, under an "infallible" demagogue or ideology is man's only salvation, by determining every aspect of their lives for them. The level of control the practise is vital, for leaving citizens to exercise free choice results in humans reverting to greed, selfishness, and the exploitation of one another for personal gain.

Jonathan Sheppard

Thank you for the political history and philosophy lesson Sam.

"The authoritarianism that many of you are seemingly comfortable in preaching..."

Excuse me, but who is doing the preaching here? The people arguing for a tough line on drugs have for the most part, advanced reasoned arguments based on everyday reality. Some of those in favour a softer line have responded with reasoned arguments of their own, others, however, have resorted to fingerwagging abuse.

Peregrine

Where on earth did anyone get the idea that salt is as dangerous as tobacco?
Most studies only show harmful effects in hypertensives over 55, so the present government campaign is more precautionary than based on conclusive science.

Mike Smithson

The first thing they ought to ban is authoritarianism.

Re Peregrine - so the over-55s don't matter? Thanks a lot.

Peregrine

Mike
Of course the over 55s matter, I hope to be one of them myself one day, although current government guidelines seem to imply that my lifestyle means that I should have died many years ago.
My point is that it is for the medical profession to advise individuals on what threats they have to their health rather than broad governmental advertising programmes. I suppose this where I agree that human to human contact and advice is superior to the generalisations that the state offers.

Andrew

"As DC says "we're all in this together" - shared responsibility means trying to stop people harming themselves but being there to help if they still do."

Absolutely. Although I'm a fully signed-up social libertarian, I accept the case that drug prohibition is worthwhile if it reduces overall harm to society. Even JS Mill would accept that premise (pre-empting the obvious pol-sci riposte: "Util..." trumps "On Liberty").

The problem is that the premise is flawed - the exact opposite is true. Every form of prohibition of addictive substances ever tried has resulted in death rates and other serious health/social consequences skyrocketing - eg the Swedish drug crackdown over the last decade, alcohol prohibition 1885ish-1933 (dates deliberate), the British/US crackdowns in the mid 80s etc etc etc. Complete failures, one and all.

Drug abuse is serious and shouldn't be downplayed, but the DD method is nothing more than a continuation of the last 30 years - ie our continued unchallenged lead of the EU drug death tables.

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