The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, February 13, 2005
 

War on Drugs: now its moral blackmail for the toffs!


In sophisticated Metropolitan circles, it's perfectly comme il faut to take a line or two of cocaine rather than a liqueur after dinner. And no danger of Plod poking his nose in either!

The new line from HMG is an attack on social consciences:
Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell has called for people to reject cocaine in the same way they snubbed South African wine during apartheid.

An analogy faulty on its face: the bien-pensant who shunned the Cape grape had a world of substitutes available. Whereas the cokehead has no idea of the provenance of his powder, and there cannot exercise consumer choice to the desired end.

And - that South African wine was a legal purchase. Whereas mere possession of cocaine rates a maximum seven year jail term [1].

(Clearly, the suggestion is that users change their source, rather than desist from their habit. A striking Realpolitik going a good deal further than Bonker Blunkett's reclassification of cannibis as a Class C drug.)

Rammell's scheme seems foredoomed; but at least it's cheaper and a lot less embarrassing for the gringo than Plan Colombia.

  1. The CPS guidelines for prosecutors dealing with drugs offences. It says
    A prosecution is usual when a case involves the possession of a Class A drug.
    - which cocaine is.

    A Home Office report (PDF) Drug seizure and offender statistics, United Kingdom 2001 and 2002 details (para 7.10) the outcome for prosecutions for those convicted of cocaine possession (as opposed to dealing):

    There was a considerable difference in the use of cautioning for cocaine offenders, increasing from 11 per cent in 2001 to 27 per cent in 2002. A third of cocaine offenders were fined in both years and 11 per cent were sentenced to immediate custody in 2002.


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