Drugs again

The Daily Mail today raised my hopes that it had had a Damascene conversion on the subject of drugs – and then dashed them. Below a letter to the editor that is certain not to get published.

Dear Sir

The Mail is often given credit for making the political weather. Certainly many politicians claim to believe it. Fear of what the Mail might say has been a major impediment to a serious engagement by politicians in a public debate about drugs.

I was therefore delighted to read Andrew Alexander’s article (How legalising drugs would deal with the local baron[1]) in the Mail today. He advanced no new arguments but put persuasively what sensible people who have studied the subject have been have been saying for many years.

My delight was short-lived. You carefully counter-balanced Alexander’s article with an ill-informed rant by Stephen Glover (Why doesn’t this dangerous man come clean and admit he wants to legalise drugs?[2]). Glover says “I believe that legalising drugs, or even just taking them less seriously than alcohol, would be a social disaster in which the poor and disadvantaged would suffer most.” This is a belief without evidential support. It is an “argument” worthy of Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell. But in giving it prominent exposure you will have restored the fear of sensible politicians that saying anything sensible on the subject will result in a savaging by the Mail.

Yours sincerely

John Adams

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1326030/How-legalising-drugs-deal-local-baron.html#ixzz14EgrklOg

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1325788/Why-doesnt-Prof-David-Nutt-come-clean-admit-wants-legalise-drugs.html#ixzz14EjGfQBW

Previous postings on this theme at http://john-adams.co.uk/category/drugs/ and http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/000195.php

PS My letter unsurprisingly did not get published. But I take some encouragement from the numerous comments posted in response to the Alexander and Glover articles. I looked at the first 20 responses to both articles. The comments on the Alexander (pro-legalization) article were overwhelmingly favorable: 17 to 3. The comments on the Glover (anti-legalization) article were overwhelmingly negative: 18 to 2. Can it be that most Mail readers buy it to stoke up their indignation? JA 13.25, 4/11/2010.

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