Friday, 23 March 2007

Drugs - Authoritarian rules are past their sell by date, and the British public know it

In the BBC news today is an article saying that "scientists want new drug rankings".

And as with any controversial topic, there is a "Have your say" on the topic.

Looking at people's comments, I'd say it is rather encouraging, as far as the British public recognising the failings of the existing authoritarian approach, and an approach that would be fair.

The most recommended comments can be found here

The top ranked one says:
"The results should be used to warn of dangers rather than to re-jig the criminal classification system.
All drugs should be legalised irrespective of the harm they cause.
I am not my brother's keeper. The only victim of taking drugs is the user. No (third party) victim no crime!
Prohibition fuels criminal gangs, inflates the price of drugs,leads to contamination of the product to increase profit and leads addicts to commit crime to feed the habit.
Am I alone in having this view?
, Cardiff"

and, in fifth place, a modern take on John Stuart Mill:
"Very harmful.
But people are entitled to live their lives they way they want, provided they do not interfere with others.
Neil Small, East Kilbride, United Kingdom"

Whether it's fuel protests, crime or drug abuse... one thing is clear: authoritarian approaches are past their sell by date, and the British public knows it!

Now. That's a liberal approach, and it seems that people want it, but, how can we know.

We can't. At least, we can't yet. We have liberal ideas, but, we also need democracy that works to allow people to explore those ideas.

If only all aspects of this weren't run from Westminster. In a democracy, surely a region of the country should be able to vote to try a different approach. The Liberal Democrats have been able to do this to a limited degree, as demonstrated in our success on cutting crime in places like Newcastle and Liverpool.

This country needs more localised democratic control. Until a region the size of a police force or health authority has the ability to choose policies that affect crime and health, then we cannot call ourselves a democracy.

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