Monday, 2 November 2009

Phew, What a Nutter!

Professor Nutt's sensible and measured description of the harm that various recreational drugs do has caused an entirely predictable storm of indignation from the knee-jerk prohibitionists. This is just as last time he questioned Government policy. Except for one crucial factor. The press is starting to see through the prohibitionists' case, based as it is on willful prejudice and habit and is broadly supportive of the sacked scientist. Obviously there is no sense from the ususal suspects, but Just as the Tabloids were still (and still are) puff bashing long after homosexuality was made legal, they will lag society and the law on this issue too. Now that even the Daily Mail carries an article supporting Professor Nutt, it is clear which way the wind is blowing.

Drug policy is my political weathervane. Anyone who cannot see the logic of freedom on this issue where the limits of state power over the individual are so starkly demonstrated, is an idiot who shouldn't be listened to on anything else.

The scientists who advise the Government, not just on this issue, but on others too are considering their positions, and a raft of resignations may yet follow, as professor Nutt was not criticising Government policy but setting out the Harm done by various drugs. Legal drugs were included, to put the harm in perspective. This is something the British people can see, and the press coverage is backing him up. Guido's post is worth reading in full:

The sacked Professor David Nutt has turned the tables on Alan Johnson. Johnson keeps repeating angrily that the professor should stay out of politics, the professor is squarely saying that politicians should stay out of the science.
Professor Nutt opposed the re-up-grading of Cannabis to class B, and opposed the 'clarification' of the law which saw Magic mushrooms in their fresh state classified as class A, as neither move reflected the harm to individuals and society from their use, and brought the law into disrepute. I would like to see the Conservatives make some party political capital out of this, but I suspect they're still afraid of the Daily Mail tendency, even though most of the public (though not, crucially, the majority of Conservative voters) are in favour of some relaxation of the law. Chris Dillow sums it up beautifully:
It seems that when public opinion is wrong - for example on immigration - politicians pander to it, but when it is right they ignore it. The function of representatives in representative democracy, it seems, is take all the idiocies of public opinion, and when these are insufficient, to then add some of their own.



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