Media savvy

Who’s been saying what..? DDN’s round-up of what’s being said in the national papers

The ONS advises a certain degree of caution when it comes to [alcohol consumption] numbers: not surprisingly, there tend to be discrepancies between how much people say they drink, and the quantities they actually put away. It should also be noted that medical problems caused by alcohol are at an all-time high, and all those headlines about rising middle-aged dependency do not come out of nowhere. The 2007-8 crash and subsequent downturn seem to be a factor in reduced consumption, which might undermine claims that Britain has started to see the error of its bacchanalian ways: could it be that we are as thirsty and dependent as ever, but just a bit more strapped for cash?

John Harris, Guardian, 21 March

Shaming girls on a boozy night out will not fix Britain’s troubles with excess indulgence of alcohol. Education, eradication of poverty, and the minimum unit alcohol pricing are the proper routes. Attacking women for drinking is just as wrong as it for right-wing newspapers to pick on women for wanting careers or for not staying at home to raise children. It’s simple, brutal propaganda.

Anna McKie, Guardian, 25 March

I’ve never been randomly stopped and searched by a police officer, but I’ve met plenty of young black men who have. The experience varies: sometimes officers are almost apologetic, other times full of intimidation and aggression. The evidence shows that black people are significantly less likely to use drugs, and yet black Londoners are six times more likely to be stopped on suspicion of possession. It is difficult to conclude that this is anything but racism.

Owen Jones, Observer, 9 March

What is legal now in Uruguay and parts of the US – cannabis production and sales – can still get you sentenced to death in Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere, or beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Between these polar opposites there can be no consensus and everybody knows it… The death penalty shows that states are now taking sides in the war on drugs; those that respect basic human rights and those that do not. And they cannot work together anymore.

Damon Barrett, Huffington Post, 14 March

There is a cat-and-mouse game being played here. As soon as one pharmaceutical compound is identified, catalogued and placed on a schedule of banned drugs, the makeshift labs create another, barely altered but strictly legal. Such activities only make a further mockery of a system already long since discredited.

Independent editorial, 14 March

There is no gang or organised crime currently associated with khat use. When criminalised in other countries, organised crime has, for obvious reasons, stepped in to provide the supply; there’s no evidence that demand reduces. In addition, we would be asking the police to enforce a ban that only affects specific ethnic groups – hardly a recipe for good race relations.

Julian Huppert MP, Guardian, 31 March

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