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Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan is Assistant Editor on the Comment desk at The Independent. He was previously a news reporter and Sports News Correspondent, and writes columns for The Liberal and The Salisbury Review.

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A proposal to Iain Dale in relation to drugs

Posted by Amol Rajan
  • Monday, 27 July 2009 at 07:07 pm
I have a lot of respect for Iain Dale who, apart from being a very decent and industrious bloke, is probably as close to a revolutionary as a conservative is allowed to be without venturing into the realm of apostasy.

I have a question for him.
 
Would he legalise drugs?  With provisos, and all the rest of it, sure, but does he accept that prohibition has failed, and that it should be reversed?
 
I ask because Iain is shocked at the scale of drug use in Britain.  Frankly, I am shocked that he is shocked. I was surprised that the figures are as low as they are, albeit they represent a huge increase in consumption.
 
He almost brings himself to endorse Alan Duncan's view that drugs should be legalised but then stops short, saying "Whatever the merits of that view...".  He later compares it to legalisation of homosexual marriages, a law from which he profited very personally last year.  And in his update, he seems to approve of two bloggers who support decriminalisation (which is slightly different).
 
Now, I only pursue this because there a lot of very intelligent people, like Iain, who know, when they think about it, that the laws of economics, let alone any principles of decency, argue against the present law and expose the lunacy of the war on drugs.  

They know, if they care to follow the argument to its conclusions, that the chief consequence of prohibition is to inflate indefinitely the salaries of the most vicious, brutal, and murderous people on earth, namely drug barons, and that it's not just individuals who die at their hands but now, as in the case of Afghanistan, potentially civilisations too.  
 
No Western policy has ever caused more harm than the co-ordinated policy on prohibition of drugs. The harms don't accrue just to the children of middle class people in the West.  They accrue mostly to the poor and wretched of the earth.

You don't have to be a sandal-wearing Lefty understand this. Lord Ramsbotham, the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, and John Gray, the high priest of modern conservative realism, are very strong supporters of legalising drugs.
 
You just have to be brave enough to endorse a policy that is politically unacceptable.  There is something disgusting about the refusal of people with political ambitions to come off the fence, for fear of upsetting colleagues or parts of the media.  It is unprincipled of them, and helps to ensure that current laws will continue to be in force, despite their murderous consequences.  
 
I don't like being rude about people who write for The Independent at the best of times, but when John Heyworth, President of the College of Emergency Medicine said, in a mini commentary for us last week, that "the justice system may need to 'adopt a 'zero tolerance' approach to cocaine", it read pathetically.  I really did feel in the company of someone with a disgraceful shortage of common sense or experience.
 
The argument for legalisation has been made very powerfully in recent times, and those of you who are wavering may wish to be reacquainted with it.  

We had The Economist earlier this year.  And the brilliant Jamie Whyte has cut through the prohibitionist's logic marvellously too, suggesting the present law combines hypocrisy with bigotry.
 
My friend Alex Deane outlined the case against with typical gusto on ConservativeHome here.

So Iain, are you in favour of legalisation?  If not, why not?  You were brave in coming off the fence to support Barack Obama.  Will you be brave enough to put yourself to a post with the headline: "Off the fence - why we should legalise some Class A drugs"?

Comments

bothwill wrote:
Monday, 2 August 2010 at 08:47 pm (UTC)
If all the people knew what would happen after we legalize drugs then I think this matter wouldn't be in our attention now. We cannot know for sure, we can only deduce or intuit. What we know for sure is how the world with illegal drugs looks like and it doesn't look too good. What could happen to make things worse after drug legalization.
B., Drug Rehab Los Angeles
Legalization
ext_310051 wrote:
Thursday, 4 November 2010 at 11:44 pm (UTC)
Legalization, or at the very least decriminalization of drugs that also have a use for a healthy body should be called for. By going to the doctor for steroid cycles (“http://www.steroidsources.com/steroid-cycles.php”) a bodybuilder will avoid misuse and abuse while keeping the body healthier.
Rehab
maries1980 wrote:
Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 08:30 pm (UTC)
Legalization of drugs is not going to make any difference I think. People are going to get the drugs no matter if it is legal or not. I think that people that turn to drugs are needing help for one reason or another. Rehab best may be the only solution for them.
Rehab Centers
don72 wrote:
Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 09:04 pm (UTC)
I just got out of a drug rehab in Washington and it helped me out a ton threw my addiction process. I think that after getting out of there I realized no matter if they make it legal or not that it was available me to get my fix. The availability of the drugs are not the problem. The problem wasn't the drugs it was me. I needed to work on me and it will not matter if they are there or not. I will not do drugs anymore.
Faith based rehab
mariemae wrote:
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 10:55 pm (UTC)
If we do not legalize drugs what is going to stop you from getting them. I have been in a faith based drug rehab center trying to get the help I need. I think this is going to just open doors that do not need to be open for the people that already have drug issues in their life.
Drugs are bad !!!
mae80 wrote:
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 11:27 pm (UTC)
If they legalize drugs and everyone starts taking them. Then people who do not need to be taking them, I think will start taking them to help with problems that do not need drugs. Well, thank goodness there is nice drug rehabilitation like narconon out there because we are going to need them.
The Benefits Outweight the Costs
petegetz wrote:
Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 05:58 pm (UTC)
I do believe that we should legalize drugs. I work for Springfield Armory and a coworker and I hash it out about this all the time.

Prohibition simply doesn't work. It's not the will of the people but an example of the powers that be using that power against the voters "for their own good". The elites need to be stopped.

The drug issue is a huge source of revenue for the Federal Government in America. It needs to stop. If drugs were legal, would the number of addicts rise? Yes...but the police forces would be cut in half and so would the prisons. All that money could then go to fund national health care without a hitch and then, guess what, we could pay for the treatment and rehab of the slight increase in the number of addicts.

The benefits outweigh the costs.
Drugs
evewalston wrote:
Friday, 12 November 2010 at 02:07 am (UTC)
I don't know why everybody ask this question:would you legalize drugs? The outcome, no matter what that will be, can not be a good one.Legalize marijuana, a drug that doesn't induce dependence to it's consumer, and it will become a bigger problem. It's not addictive physically but it does have other effects. Eve, Narconon volunteer
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