Another adviser bites the dust….
Watching Question Time last night was quite cringe worthy from a Labour prospective. Alan Johnson made a decent effort to defend the tax policy but it amounted to a collective hour of hoping that Johnson would not have to face questions about his actual brief as Home Secretary. On a cynical level, Gordon Brown is perhaps pleased that Johnson’s star has waned so dramatically however from a wider Party viewpoint there is little to be pleased about. ‘AJ’ badly mishandled the Gary McKinnon affair; not only were his actions totally wrong but he displayed such an obvious lack of compassion that salt was rubbed into gaping wounds.
Then we had the Nutt fiasco and not content with this disaster Johnson thought he would make a last-minute kamikaze bid for glory or in other words a good headline in the days press by banning mephedrone. Cue the exit of a another adviser from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs; Eric Carlin paints a grim picture of what is going on at the Home Office which under Johnson seems to positively wallow in its ignorance:
“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 … 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.”
When it comes to drugs; prohibition doesn’t work, something that should be blindingly obvious. In this case it’s far from clear how many deaths ‘Meow-Meow’ can actually be blamed for probably because the science and fact inevitably become lost in the media maelstrom. If it’s not mephedrone then it will be another drug, which will create a media panic and then it will be banned then another one will emerge and the whole sorry circle will continue ad infinitum with nothing meaningful having been achieved. Nothing may change in that context but its clear that there is a desperate need for Labour to change its Home Secretary because Johnson is a totem of everything that is wrong with its current approach to these issues.