How 10 joints could lead to 14 years for dealing
When John Reid took over the job of Home Secretary he described his new department as "unfit for purpose". He was, I think, refering to its communication and organisational abilities - but if this piece above from today's Guardian is anything to go by, I think we can consider the description equally appropriate to its policy-making arm.
A couple of years back, the decision to re-classify marijuana as a "Class C" drug was widely considered a commendable, if not wholly adequate, move. The quantities considered to equate with "possession" were even more liberal than expected - a crucial point given that the measure of the herb involved would most likely mean the difference between a caution and an arrest for those found with it. Yet today it seems this malfunctioning ediface has come up with the idea of re-adjusting the "possession" guidelines to a microscopic amount.
This effectively wipes out the progress made by the legislative change. Casual users could once again find themselves incarcerated in already over-crowded prisons and the issue of "possession" versus "trafficking" will again become blurred and unworkable. More law enforcement time and manpower will have to be diverted from more important issues to pursue an antiquated civil rights assault that benefits nobody except possibly Blair's spin doctors. Or maybe the coffers of pharmaceutical giants anxious to experiment on human guinea-pigs with an increasing range of psychoactive products supposedly tailored to individual requirements?
Of course there could be another agenda. Four decades ago, drug legislation began to be used for the supression of and interference with prevailing social undercurrents. It was, if you like, the "excuse" under which government could conduct civil rights abuses which would otherwise have been unacceptable to a libertarian society.
This inevitably brings me back to the meddling architecture of the surveillance state. As so often in recent decades, propaganda and misinformation are being used to hide the real issues.
On Monday night I attended a meeting of the London group of the "911 Truth" campaign. Highly interesting and attended by a very diverse range of people, it brought home one essential point. If the evidence about the true nature of the "terror" attacks on Amerika were made widely available, the cultural shock on the innocent masses would possibly be far greater than the original event itself. Certainly, five years of draconian legislation and illegal government behaviour both here and elsewhere across the world would be brought into question were a mammoth "sham" exposed. The likes of "No-2-ID" and the "anti-war" campaigns would become more justified than ever, yet were the intent of global governance revealed as a "masquerade" the world would probably end up facing more unrest than we have at present.
In the music world, we have sadly lost Billy Preston aged just 59. In Art, do check out a new online graphic novel - "Shooting War" is set in the Iraq War but sometime in the near future.
Lots more in "Latest Clicks".