Saturday, 3 April 2010

The arrogance and idiocy of politicians

This eloquent letter sums up so much that is wrong with the way that the government creates policy. Obviously this letter refers only to the ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) but the same problems are present across the board. The government's policy should be crafted in the best interests of the general public, when one sees what has happened as regards drug policy one can see that policy is created to satisfy political expediency and not the long term best interests of the public.

The same is true on health, policy is not based on the evidence or on the best expert advice, it is created by politicians and government cronies who have no proper education or knowledge of that particular area, and it is created to satisfy the short term needs of politicians and the Daily Mail, not the best long term interests of our country. Anyway the letter is an excellent insight into the disastrous way in which our stupid politicians create useless policy:

"Dear Home Secretary
Resignation from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs [ACMD]
With regret and sadness, I am tendering my resignation as a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
I was honoured to be appointed to this position and I had hoped that my substantial experience of managing drug prevention and treatment services might help influence the committee, and thereby the government, to think about drugs as more of a public health issue rather than focusing narrowly on the criminal justice aspects. This has not been the case.
My main interest and competence is in the field of prevention and early intervention with young people. I have grown increasingly disillusioned not only with the lack of attention paid to this by politicians and the media but also by the ACMD's apparent lack of interest in the subject (with a few individual exceptions).
At our meeting earlier this week, the update report on Pathways to Problems, published on the same day, received scant attention. Indeed, there was no time for questions on the report due to the haste with which we were being pushed to make a decision about classifying Mephedrone; this so that the chair could come to meet with you later in the day and you could do a round of press announcements.
Re: Mephedrone; we had little or no discussion about how our recommendation to classify this drug would be likely to impact on young people's behaviour.
Our decision was unduly based on media and political pressure. The report was tabled to the whole council for the first time on Monday; the chair came to brief you before the whole council had even discussed all of the report. In fact, I still haven't seen the final version.
When, as home secretary, [Charles Clarke] announced that the entire classification system would be reviewed, I welcomed it and was disappointed when the idea was shelved. This needs urgently to be revisited.
We need to review our entire approach to drugs, dumping the idea that legally sanctioned punishments for drug users should constitute a main part of the armoury in helping to solve our country's drug problems. We need to stop harming people who need help and support.
At the end of last year, I decided not to resign over the sacking of David Nutt, preferring instead to see how things panned out and to hope that the ACMD could develop a work programme which would help prevent and reduce harm, particularly to young people.
I have no confidence that this will now happen, largely though not totally due to the lack of logic of the context within which the council is constrained to operate by the Misuse of Drugs Act.
As well as being extremely unhappy with how the ACMD operates, I am not prepared to continue to be part of a body which, as its main activity, works to facilitate the potential criminalisation of increasing numbers of young people.
Yours sincerely,
Eric Carlin"

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