The UK’s chief drugs adviser has been sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson, after criticising government policies.
Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C.
What I really love is the reason given by the home secretary:
“I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy and have therefore lost confidence in your ability to advise me as chair of the ACMD.
“I would therefore ask you to step down from the Council with immediate effect.”
Got that? Can’t have “science” mucking up the policy we’ve decided we want. Those pesky facts keep getting in the way of our bad policy.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the decision to sack the adviser had been “disgraceful”.
“What is the point of having independent scientific advice if as soon as you get some advice that you don’t like, you sack the person who has given it to you?” he said.
Mr Huhne said if the government did not want to take expert scientific advice, it might as well have “a committee of tabloid newspaper editors to advise on drugs policy”.
I thought that’s what they had â€” although it seemed to me like there was just one: the editor of the Daily Mail.
In other news across the pond (and yes, this is actually reported in the Mail), it seems that British police got themselves a pretty new asset forfeiture law a few years back, and, wanting to cash in like their American counterparts have been doing regularly in the war on drugs, decided to take this law to lengths undreamt of…
After being turned down at least once by a judge and shopping around for one that didn’t know enough about the law and would give them the warrant, they raided a series of public safe deposit vaults at once, and broke open all 6,717 safe deposit boxes, taking all the cash (53 million pounds), jewelry, and lots of other valuables. They then assumed that all were the result of illegal activities and required the owners to prove otherwise.
Some of the contents just vanished in the procedural maze, never to be seen again.
One goldsmith from north London fought for over a year to get his Â£40,000 cash and valuables back, then claimed it was not all there. He has now filed an official complaint.
‘The police kept saying, “Why have you got all this cash?” and I showed them my books.’
His premises were raided twice, the second time by 20 officers.
‘They found nothing because I had done nothing and eventually this summer, everything was returned to me. But Â£10,000 was gone – and my wife’s diamond earrings.’
Sure, there were definitely illegal items in some of the boxes (cocaine, etc.) But it’s now looking like the vast majority was seized from innocent victims of the police raid.
Of the 6,717 boxes targeted by detectives in the biggest raid in the Met’s history, just over half were occupied. And of those that were full, 2,838 boxes were now handed back, a figure that represents 80 per cent of the number of boxes seized.
Eight out of ten box owners were provably innocent. Taylor said: ‘Of the Â£53 million in cash that the police took, Â£20 million has also been given back and Â£33 million is now being referred to as “under investigation”, of which only Â£2.83 million has been confiscated or forfeited by the courts.
Many of the innocent victims had the resources to retain very good lawyers.
In fact, the operation may end up costing the taxpayer a fortune. Rize has certainly helped put a number of hard-line criminals behind bars, but at what cost?
And, of course, it’s not just a financial cost. There is the huge cost in the lack of confidence in a government that can step in and steal your stuff whenever they want.