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Isn’t the world full of surprises – we agree with Owen Jones

Summary:
Presumably it had to happen at sometime, Owen Jones stumbling onto a good idea:Denver’s move is just the latest outbreak of common sense on drugs – how depressing, then, that Britain remains so backward on the issue. That is mostly the fault, I’m sorry to say, of the Labour party. You’d expect the Tories to take a punitive, snub-the-evidence approach (even though, before assuming the Tory leadership, David Cameron accepted that drugs policy was a failure). But where is the leadership from Labour? The so-called war on drugs is a catastrophic failure, and it hurts many vulnerable people Labour was founded to represent. Drugs should be treated as a public health issue, not a part of the criminal system.Actually, it’s largely the free market right, the libertarians and classical liberals, who

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Presumably it had to happen at sometime, Owen Jones stumbling onto a good idea:

Denver’s move is just the latest outbreak of common sense on drugs – how depressing, then, that Britain remains so backward on the issue. That is mostly the fault, I’m sorry to say, of the Labour party. You’d expect the Tories to take a punitive, snub-the-evidence approach (even though, before assuming the Tory leadership, David Cameron accepted that drugs policy was a failure). But where is the leadership from Labour? The so-called war on drugs is a catastrophic failure, and it hurts many vulnerable people Labour was founded to represent. Drugs should be treated as a public health issue, not a part of the criminal system.

Actually, it’s largely the free market right, the libertarians and classical liberals, who support that decriminalisation. We are obviously at the extreme end and have been for some decades, arguing for full legalisation of course. But Portugal’s decriminalisation, mentioned by Jones, has received full throated approval from the Cato Institute over in the US.

There being two drivers of this - one being the harm reduction, just the greater sense of learning the lessons of Prohibition and so on. But also that basic idea of freedom and liberty. In the absence of third party harm consenting adults should be left to get on with life as consenting adults wish. Yes, this includes the liberty to ingest to choice even when others disapprove of said choice. You know, as with the deployment of gonads and any other choice on how to spend our all too brief time upon this Earth.

There is no hope of the Conservatives showing any leadership on this. Labour’s refusal to commit to decriminalisation is weak: if Britain committed to a sensible, humane approach, it would represent a devastating blow to this most catastrophic of global policies. For the sake of common sense and basic humanity, Labour should say enough is enough – and publicly declare the death rites for the “war on drugs” once and for all.

If it turns out to be Labour that brings in sensible policy then we don’t mind. Won’t be the first time we’ve advocated good policy that they have instituted - that London Congestion Charge started with Alan Walters here on this classical liberal, free market, right long before Red Ken brought it in. Good policy is good policy and so why not bring it in whoever claims the credit for it?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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