Posts Tagged ‘Authoritarianism’

Pro-Tibet Rally

Apparently, it’s been ruffling a few feathers. Tough Shit.

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Astonishing…

Apparently, girls in Scotland WILL NOT be given contraception information when they are vaccinated against HPV for Cervical Cancer. WHAT. THE. FUCK? Why are we even discussing this with these people. Apparently the Church had raised objections to the vaccination on the grounds that it could increase promiscuity (yeah, ‘cos I’d rather any daughter of mine had freakin’ cancer than more than one sexual partner) but a deal has been struck to allow the vaccinations to go ahead as long as they ARE NOT given the contraception advice. Fucking. Ridiculous. We should have just told them to go and boil their stupid, backwards evil heads.

More from Critchley on UK Drugs Policy

Further to my earlier post on this, Julian Critchley has written a brief article at Counterpunch.

And he talks a lot of sense:

Eight years ago, I left my civil service job as director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-Ordination Unit. I went partly because I was sick of having to implement policies that I knew, and my political masters knew, were unsupported by evidence. Yesterday, after a surreal flurry of media requests referring to a blog I wrote that questioned the wisdom of the UK’s drug policies, I found myself in the thick of the debate again, and I was sorry to discover that the terms hadn’t changed a bit.

I was being interviewed on the BBC World Service, and after I tried to explain why I believe that drugs should be decriminalised, the person representing the other side of the argument pointed out that drugs are terrible, that they destroy lives. Now, I am a deeply boring, undruggy person myself, and I think the world would be a better place without drugs. But I think that we must live in the world as it is, and not as we want it to be. And so my answer was, yes, I know that drugs are terrible. I’m not saying that drugs should be decriminalised because it would be fun if we could all get stoned with impunity. I’m saying that we’ve tried minimising harm through a draconian legal policy. It is now clear that enforcement and supply-side interventions are largely pointless. They haven’t worked. There is evidence that this works.

On Gordon Brown’s mentalist policy of reclassifying cannabis from C to B:

Unfortunately, evidence is still not a major component in our policy. Take cannabis. When I was in the Anti-Drug Unit, the moves towards making it a class C drug began, and I hoped that our position on drugs was finally moving in a rational direction. But then Gordon Brown ignored his scientific advisers to make it a class B again. It was a decision that pandered to the instincts of the tabloids, and it made no sense whatsoever.

Yes, and just about everyone said so at the time. A ridiculously ill-thought out policy with not one iota of real peer-reviewed Science saying that the risks outweighed the benefits.

The case [for legalisation] is overwhelming. But I fear that policy will not catch up with the facts any time soon. It would take a mature society to accept that some individuals may hurt, or even kill themselves, as a result of a policy change, even if the evidence suggested that fewer people died or were harmed as a result. It would take a brave government to face down the tabloid fury in the face of anecdotes about middle-class children who bought drugs legally and came to grief, and this is not a brave government.

I think what was truly depressing about my time in the civil service was that the professionals I met from every sector held the same view: the illegality of drugs causes far more problems for society and the individual than it solves. Yet publicly, all those people were forced to repeat the mantra that the Government would be “tough on drugs”, even though they all knew that the policy was causing harm.

This just about sums up the nonsense involved here:

I recall a conversation I had with a Number 10 policy advisor about a series of announcements in which we were to emphasise the shift of resources to treatment and highlight successes in prevention and education. She asked me whether we couldn’t arrange for “a drugs bust in Brighton” at the same time, or “a boat speeding down the Thames to catch smugglers”. For that advisor, what worked mattered considerably less than what would play well in the right-wing press. The tragedy of our drugs policy is that it is dictated by tabloid irrationality, and not by evidence.

For fucks sake, people make decisions about risks in their real lives all the time. Drinking, smoking, not exercising – these are all things, that as adults, we are entitled (and should be supported) to make. The idea that I as an individual should not be able to decide what to imbibe, smoke or if I really want to go guns blazing, inject, is a nonsense. Legalise, Educate, Tax, Support. LETS do it now!. You can even have the slogan for free.

Guy Herbert on Freedom

Guy Herbert of Samizdata fame on Freedom, in today’s Guardian, here.

A taster:

The Home Office is taking the maximum powers allowed under the directive – which shouldn’t be a surprise, as the directive itself was inspired by lobbying from Charles Clarke in the council of ministers when he was home secretary. The minimum six months’ retention is probably what we will see in Germany, which resisted the exercise; the Home Office is taking powers for four times as long.

All this is the logical pursuit of the path set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and most of the debate is founded on the false premise that this was a special anti-terrorist power that somehow got out of hand when councils started using it to pursue litterers. It just isn’t true. RIPA was always a snooper’s charter, as the Guardian noted at the time. Its function is to provide a bureaucratic mechanism by which hundreds of different official bodies from MI5 to Ofcom can authorise their staff to use surveillance. It is purposely obscure and hard to challenge.

Snoopers Charter

Why is it this Government is so interminably bent on prying into every corner of our lives? At first the excuse was always “terrorism” – now it seems, they just want to create a culture where everyone is constantly seen as a suspect, until they check your records and confirm you are not.

Ministers want to make it mandatory for telephone and internet companies to keep details of all personal internet traffic for at least 12 months so it can be accessed for investigations into crime or other threats to public safety.

The Home Office last night admitted that the measure will mean companies have to store “a billion incidents of data exchange a day”. As the measure is the result of an EU directive, the data will be made available to public investigators across Europe.

The consultation paper published yesterday estimates that it will cost the internet industry over £50m to store the mountain of data.

Apparently both the Libs and the Tories have branded it the “Snoopers Charter” – can’t say much for the Libs, but the Tories can fuck right off, they are just as much snooping busybodies as Labour. Again, I say, it feels like they are conspiring to create a culture of suspicion – where only the State may decide your “status” as an innocent.

They want to create a super-database containing all the local information. How that will work is anybody’s guess – the amount of data it would contain would be enormous. How would they even make the thing searchable in anything like an acceptable timescale?

This Government has had some MAJOR shortcomings when it comes to IT systems – it doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence.

Seven in 10 government IT projects in the United Kingdom have failed, according to the chief information officer of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Joe Harley called for projects to be completed at a lower cost to the taxpayer, and said the government wanted to reduce the number of project failures to just one in 10.

Speaking at the Government IT Summit this week, Harley said: “Today, only 30 percent of government IT projects and programs are successful. We want 90 percent by 2010/11. We want to achieve a 20 percent overall reduction on IT spend in government, including reducing the total cost of a government laptop by 40 percent [in the same timescale].”

Remember EDS and the Child Support Agency fiasco or Siemens and the Passport Agency, perhaps and lets not even get into The Spine. It’s not difficult to see this whole thing heading down the plughole and at what cost the taxpayer?

This Government seems determined to drive itself from Office, and these types of issues (and ID cards) are the very thing doing it. The People don’t want the damn thing; but we are forced by these authoritarian twats to not only have it, but to pay for it to boot. Bastards.