Media Savvy

Who’s been saying what…?

As the world’s drug habit shows, governments are failing in their quest to monitor every London window box and Andean hillside for banned plants. But even that Sisyphean task looks easy next to the fight against synthetic drugs… The arguments for legalisation – that it protects consumers, shuts out criminals and saves money while raising tax – are familiar to readers of this newspaper. Yet it requires careful regulation to ensure that its outcome is not worse than widely ignored prohibition.

Economist editorial, 10 August

We may be approaching a tipping point. And yet, with unforgivable ignorance and myopia, our prime minister uttered the following words last year: ‘We have a drugs policy that actually is working in Britain.’ This is self-delusion, and beyond parody. For such vanities are children murdered, landscapes destroyed and whole cities run according to the whim of barons and barbarians.

Amol Rajan, London Evening Standard, 5 August

At the very least, the Home Office should hand over responsibility for drugs policy to the Department for Health. And if even that feels too risky, then start developing policy based on evidence rather than emotion.

Guardian editorial, 20 August

Barack Obama would be hard pressed to end the war on drugs before 2016, but his administration at least appears prepared to draw it down.

Tim Walker, Independent, 13 August

[Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum Connolly, charged with drug smuggling in Peru] are young but so are many who die in gutters degraded by drugs, who suffer long term and unpleasant psychological problems as a result of substance misuse, who prostitute themselves or steal to maintain their habit, who sacrifice families and prospects upon the altar of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin, who keep the dealers in business including those at the school gates.

Ann Widdecombe, Express, 21 August

If you hit hard times, the system will support you. But for Ed Miliband and those eyeballing benefits as a one-way ticket to easy street, I have a wake-up call for you: those days are over. Universal credit has started and the benefits cap roll-out is in its final stages. Together they will build a welfare state we can all, once again, be proud of.

Iain Duncan Smith, Mail on Sunday, 11 August

Politicians have saddled the NHS and other public services with impossible expectations. They promise perfection and, when it is not achieved, decide that more reorganisation, more competition, more centrally determined targets, more consumer choice and more private-sector input are required.

Peter Wilby, Guardian, 8 August

Not only do we drink at too high a level, we know that the nature of that drinking is also frequently damaging, with binge drinking still far too common. Meanwhile, attitudes to drinking to excess need to change, with less trivialisation, less jokey acceptance of hazardous drinking in peer groups and social settings.

Herald Scotland editorial, 20 August

Many employers, whose commitment to diversity and equality is otherwise impeccable, will simply not countenance hiring ex-offenders. They have become, if you like, the equivalent of HIV-Aids sufferers in the 1980s. And the discrimination they face is similarly illogical and misconceived.

Jocelyn Hillman, Guardian, 13 August

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