Don’t mention the “A” word.

by robertmcnicol

And no, I don’t mean “anthropomorphism” or even “abstinence”, though I loathe both with a passion. This is an architecture-free post, so sorry if you came looking my learned comment upon the self-serving ramblings of Andres Duany and his wholescale dismissal of post-War Modernism, or to share my dismay at hearing of the recent death of the brilliant Jørn Utzon, because it won’t happen here. Nosiree.

Instead we’re going to discuss other matters. Because I have other concerns. One of which is that I appear to have dangerously limited my news intake to the one source, but the Graun does have the best online presence. Yeah, alright. I’ll sort it out soon. Still, this (in a Have I Got News for You style) is the story of how the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is to consider entreating the Government to abdicate its responsibility for classifying drugs in favour of an independent committee of experts, a la the MPC at the Bank of England.

Now, as you probably don’t know, I’m desperately torn on the issue of legalisation of intoxicating substances; on the one hand I really don’t think it’s the Government’s place to tell the people of this fair land what mind-altering substances they consume. On the other hand I really don’t want to see our terribly over-powerful pharmaceutical companies getting their grubby hands into the world of recreational drugs. But generally I’m very much against such behaviour should be considered illegal and therefore I strongly disagree with the Government’s recent decision to reclassify Cannabis back to a class B drug. It was the only recommendation of the ACMD’s report on the matter that the Government rejected and, as far as I can tell, was a decision based on bad science (or at least a stobburn unwillingness to hear the good science) and the usual over-riding necessity of pleasing our scare-mongering scientifically-illiterate print media.

So back to the thing. What was the thing? Oh yes, the ACMD thinking about thinking about having an independent apolitical classification-setting body. Oh how sensible! How very pragmatic! How wonderfully scientific! How proto-dictatorial! How anti-democratic! How undermining of the rule of Law!

You see, of course, we really can’t have this sort of thing. Like you I’ve read my Plato and dreamed of the glorious rule of the disinterested philosopher kings. But until the Platonic revolution we have a democratic country in which the representatives of the people decide the legal tarrifs for the crimes we commit. I strongly believe in pragmatism in politics and having experts at the heart of, and giving the best advise to, Government; but when it comes to the decisions over who we allow the state to lock away it must be those elected officials who are ultimately answerable to us that decide.

The next story is this, in which some fine fellows persue justice to the ends of the Earth. Well, Strasbourg. There isn’t much to say about this except that (a) we can but hope that our police do the right thing and that (b) it’s good to see the European Convention on Human Rights flexing its beautiful muscles again. If you haven’t read it recently (and I certainly haven’t) then why not give it a whirl this weekend? I will if you will.

And finally, one that may have passed you by. I like Rugby as much as the next fellow, not least for that Warwickshire town’s generous contribution of the ineffably handsome Rupert Brooke to the war poetry canon. But that odd ball game, with the tall poles and the mud and the ear-biting isn’t really my sort of thing. Still, hats off to their governing body who have, uniquely, come out [sorry] against homophobia. Top notch.

That’s it for me. Except to say that the Flying Butress makes a mean hot chocolate. And by mean I mean really dreadfully undrinkable.