When will Labour’s leadership legalise free thought?
Bob Ainsworth deserves nothing but praise for his actions today. Conversely, Labour’s leadership in general and Ed Miliband in particular deserve nothing but contempt for how they have behaved. Ainsworth’s bold admission that the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed is a welcome contribution to a debate that needs bravery to challenge the dominant atmosphere of irrational ‘moral panic’ that governs its contours. I feel sorry for him; his testimony about his efforts in the Home Office show quite clearly why he was moved across to Defence. Lesser Ministers who had nothing original to contribute couldn’t very well allow Ainsworth to guide policy in a direction which may well have been successful but met with the disdain of Daily Mail leader writers.
His testimony that the classification of cannabis was changed because Labour was ‘told too’ by the Daily Mail shames this Party:
We reclassified cannabis back to B. Why? Because the Daily Mail told us that we had to – for no reason other than that.
We became in government the Party of ignorance and reaction on this issue. We used to about improving lives and society but now it seems we are still about improving only our image on Fleet Street. The ignorant dismissal of Professor David Nutt by Alan Johnson in his former role says it all. Ainsworth has done this Party a great service by speaking out, unlike Johnson who abuses his position to snipe at the leadership and is subject to a collective discipline Ainsworth is not, he has done his best to open a serious debate.
Sadly, this leadership is just as close minded and subservient to the media agenda as recent previous incarnations. Behind his back, Ainsworth was today subjected to briefing against him from his own comrades and condemnation from the leaders office for being ‘irresponsible’. Note the sheer mind-bending arrogance of his office claiming to speak for the wider Party and the public. How can we possibly know what the Party thinks since we didn’t even have chance to discuss before his office leapt into action, Rambo-style?
I thought Mr Miliband had pledged to end negative, behind-backs, briefing? Yet another broken promise from a leader who is playing just as fast and loose with his ‘values’ as any predecessor. His response today has been cowardly and reprehensible. As it was put to me on Twitter today (by a Labour member) we are running scared from Fleet Street and have a leader ‘with nothing to say’. Ed is in danger of becoming a ‘blank sheet of paper’ that you simply write in what you want in the blank space and taking the Labour Party in a similar direction. On today’s showing we need more Bob Ainsworth’s within our leadership and less Ed Miliband’s….