Monday, October 12, 2009

The Hypocritical War on Some Drugs

Originally witten for publication in the letter pages of my local rag, Nottingham's Evening Post. Needless to say they never published it! So, I posted it at The Bastard where I am also blogging under a psuedonym. Points for anybody who knows who Henry Seymour was without checking on wikipedia!

I read with amusement your report (Evening Post Sept 17th, p6) of three arrests after drugs were found... in a pub! A pub is, of course, a place where sale and consumption of drugs is normal practice - the only difference being that alcohol and tobacco and caffeine are legal drugs. Nothing else could the hypocrisy of the state's "war on drugs" better than arresting people for having illegal drugs in a place where legal drugs are regularly sold and consumed! Or should that be the "war on some drugs"?

This War on Drugs is a war that has provided the government with an ever greater pretext for invading the liberty of the British people, and yet seems to be a war with very few victories. If the goal of the War on Drugs is to reduce drug use then it has been an abject failure. In 1955 The Times reported that there were only 317 addicts to "manufactured" drugs in the whole of Britain, and that only 15% were dependent on heroin. That is a national total of just 47.5 heroin addicts! Yet after more than 50 and billions of taxpayers' pounds, this year the Serious Organised Crime Agency reported that there are 74,000 "problem drug users" in London - one person in every 100 people has a drug problem in the capital - and an estimated million users of cocaine alone in the whole country. The War on Drugs has not reduced drug usage, and therefore not reduced drug dealing, then. On the contrary, these things occur more than ever, So criminalisation has been a total failure.

As a Libertarian I believe that adults should be at liberty to do as they choose with their persons and property, or that of consenting others - the only legitimate role that the government has, if any at all, is to protect this liberty by enforcing laws against force, fraud and theft. It is not the government's job to prosecute people for crimes in which the only victim is the criminal himself, so the Libertarian Party would decriminalise drugs so they can be provided on the same basis as alcohol now is. Before labelling this policy ridiculous, let me leave you with a thought on Nottingham's recent history: This year, over the May bank holiday weekend, a father of two was shot dead in an Alley in the Lace Market. The victim was identified (Evening Post 26th of May) as Bernard Langton, 27. According to Hoods author Carl Fellstrom, criminal gangs seem to think of pubs and clubs in the Lace Market almost as their own offices. Bernard Langton, Fellstrom tells us in Nottingham Magazine LeftLion, was originally from Liverpool, but moved to Nottingham "some years ago where he had become involved in the highly profitable distribution of drugs across the city." Sometime in the first couple of hours of the 26th of May he entered a club. A fight broke out. Gunshots rang out. The gun men pursued him down the Lace market streets, and shot him in the back.

The relevance of this? Well, just ask yourselves, would Gangs be using Lace Market pubs and clubs as offices, would Bernard Langton have been lying, dying in an alley at two in the morning, would his children be orphans, if becoming "involved in the highly profitable distribution of drugs across the city" meant getting a job on the counters at Boots, a company that was selling heroin legally in the early years of the last century?


Blogger Martin said...

Well said.
Prohibition has always lead to the prohibited good being sold by people who have no problem with breaking the law to begin with; no wonder drugs are so closely associated with violent crime!

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