Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs


8:00 am - December 14th 2012

by Newswire    


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Nick Clegg has written a comment piece in The Sun newspaper today saying “it’s time to re-think drugs”.

It will be interesting to see if it affects policy.

He declared the war on drugs a disastrous failure last night — and demanded that David Cameron plucks up the “courage” to order a major review of Britain’s ageing narcotics laws. In an explosive intervention that will rock the Coalition, Mr Clegg insisted: “It’s time we told the truth.”

And he threw his weight behind a controversial report by MPs this week that called on ministers to consider legalising cannabis and stop prosecuting even cocaine and heroin users.

The Lib Dem leader said: “We are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale. In politics, as in life, you can’t keep on doing something that doesn’t work. You can’t keep repeating the same mistakes.”

Mr Clegg explained: “If you were waging any other war where you have 2,000 fatalities a year, your enemies are making billions in profits, constantly throwing new weapons at you and targeting more young people — you’d have to say you are losing and it’s time to do something different.

“I’m anti-drugs — it’s for that reason I’m pro reform.”

The Sun also commissioned a poll from YouGov to ask their views on drug legalisation

Sun poll

In the article Clegg insists he is not for full legalisation, but feels decriminalising possession while cracking down on traffickers and dealers “may be a solution”.

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Reader comments


This is welcome. Clegg is now more progressive than New Labour were on this.

The British public won the war on drugs a long time ago. We wanted drugs and we have them available to us, tax-free, whenever and wherever we want.

And if government makes drugs legal, we’ll start to lose because they’ll be able to restrict access to over-18s only, and they’ll start taxing drugs to high heaven.

So I quite like existing drugs policy. Of course putting money in the hands of terrorists and criminals is not ideal. But are they that much worse than governments?

The war on drugs has achieved everything it was designed to achieve, which is why it persists to this day.

The Lib Dem leader said: “We are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale. In politics, as in life, you can’t keep on doing something that doesn’t work. You can’t keep repeating the same mistakes.”

Politics is the art of repeating the mistakes of the past.

Or maybe I’m thinking of the definition of insanity.

This is welcome. Clegg is now more progressive than New Labour were on this.

I don’t understand your use of the word ‘now’ in this sentence.

Actually – do Labour even have a policy on drugs at present?

Clegg, as deputy PM, has done sod all to indicate any interest in a more liberal drugs policy for two and a half years sadly – and I suspect even this late realisation that we spend a fortune of taxpayers money trying to stop taxpayers doing things that they want and should be free to do, is just “differentiation” tactics from a party struggling in the polls.

But has Ed M actually come out with anything much on drugs policy that we can compare this to?

@margin4error

As it happens I think you’ll find this announcement by Clegg comes on the back of Lib Dem party conference making it party policy earlier this year.

George

So a bit like when Lib Dem conference made scrapping tuition fees party policy? Useful for differentiation but completely worthless in every other regard?

Clegg , shut up. This issue lacks the urgency of the privatization of the NHS, benefit cuts, the closure of Remploy, workfare, war-mongering against Iran and Syria, the genocide taking place in Palestine, Congo and other countries, corruption in parliament, the police and the press, the ongoing robbery of our money by banks, child abuse by MPs, global warming, fracking among other things which you have very little or nothing to say about. Is this a feeble attempt to appear to be opposing the Tories?

@ Summerhead

This issue lacks the urgency of the privatization of the NHS, benefit cuts, the closure of Remploy, workfare, war-mongering against Iran and Syria, the genocide taking place in Palestine, Congo and other countries, corruption in parliament, the police and the press, the ongoing robbery of our money by banks, child abuse by MPs, global warming, fracking among other things which you have very little or nothing to say about.

No, it really doesn’t.

10. douglasclark

I have no idea whether anyone will ever read this or not.

This site has Uncle Ben completely overwriting my details.

WTF?

11. Chaise Guevara

@ 8 Summerhead

” Is this a feeble attempt to appear to be opposing the Tories?”

Is this a feeble attempt at whataboutery? (Yes – ed)

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 5 M4E

“But has Ed M actually come out with anything much on drugs policy that we can compare this to?”

Not sure, but I have difficulty imagining him being honestly in favour of the status quo. He might be keeping quiet so as not to enrage the illiberal, poorly informed beast that is much of the British public.

Ed Miliband has said today that he is opposed to decriminalisation.

14. margin4error

Chaise. It is, but what he believes is a bit irrelevant I guess. It is plausible labour have simply formed no policy on this issue as they are going through their wide ranging policy review process. But with Clegg only saying this as a cheap differentiation stunt, it would be interesting to compare such a policy to a labour position as well as the Tory position it is designed to contrast.

Ffhfhffh

Where has he said that? I can’t even find a reference to it on google news.

I actually really appreciate Clegg on this. Of course I have been disappointed and joined in the jeering, but in reality Coalition politics has also been quite a fascinating new departure. I sort of get that if the result means he gets to shoe horn a bit of Liberal into a Conservative agenda- that is what people voted for. I am in the minority.

I think we on the left should actually step outside of party politics and attempt something on a grander scale.

I think we could put massive pressure on all of politics in this country simply by doing the right thing.

I think we should look for international unity and look for genuine leadership which seems to be coming from South America at the moment, and from people like these guys from the Coconut revolution-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDpvxQe_Jhg

I think they could have the whole place sorted in a short time.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs http://t.co/7K068wwt

  2. Jason Brickley

    Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs http://t.co/9sQapH3O

  3. Sunny Hundal

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  4. YG

    Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs http://t.co/7K068wwt

  5. Adam Preston

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  6. Paul Trembath

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  7. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs http://t.co/6dv5KW8a

  8. Mohammed A

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  9. Rory dan

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  10. Ravi Kumar

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  11. Regulate Cannabis UK

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  12. Mark

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  13. John Finucane

    Liberal Conspiracy – Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs http://t.co/6dv5KW8a

  14. Ted Bunndy

    Nick Clegg says today that the 'war on drugs' has failed. He is right about that, at least http://t.co/L49YxHaI

  15. Warren Niblock

    Nick Clegg with more meaningless platitudes to pretend he's not a Tory whipping boy: http://t.co/4BQqTAB7

  16. miguel garcía

    Nick Clegg: time to re-think war on drugs | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Pw6mot7l via @libcon





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