Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Councillor Ian Driver and Johnny Rotten disagree on taxing drugs videos.

Thanet Watch have just released a video of Ian driver explaining his plans if he gets elected as police commissioner, here it is.   

Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten also appeared recently in an interview on the main subject here, the legalisation or decriminalisation of drugs, here it is.

Obviously a major factor here is if Mr Driver has his way and more drugs are legalised and taxed them Mr Rotten will be displeased.  

Personally I don’t really have the answers to this one, I have doubts about overall decriminalisation, certainly the classification of drugs in this country is wrong and sends out completely the wrong message to people.

I guess the situation is that most adults now have some experience of drugs even people as old as I am do, unless of course they slept though the 1960s.

In terms of impact on my day to day life goes, the drug that has the most significant impact is alcohol, and I would like to see more of the massive amount of taxation generated by its sale spent on dealing with drunks, but then I live in the town centre and I would say that. When society reaches the point that people are reluctant to venture into their town centres in the evening because of this problem, then it needs solving for social and economic reasons.   

Obviously the problems I am talking about in terms of classification and harm need justifying, this chart is from the Home Office website. 

Penalties for possession and dealing

Class AEcstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, amphetamines (if prepared for injection).Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine or both.
Class BAmphetamines, Cannabis, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Pholcodine.Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.
Class CTranquilisers, some painkillers, Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine.Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

And this one from the Wikipidia article on recreational drugs.

I am not saying that the Wikipedia chart is exactly right, but I don’t think it is that far off.  

I think one of the main web resources is the American National Association on Drug abuse, see as 29 million Americans over 12 had a spliff last year and more American students use cannabis than smoke tobacco it is an interesting site. 

The UK figures taken from The National Health website are difficult to decipher, here is an example.

Smoking, drinking and drug use

Pupils aged 11 to 15 were more likely to have ever drunk alcohol (45%), than to have smoked (27%) or tried drugs (18%). By the age of 15, 83% of pupils had done at least one of these.

One in five pupils who had ever smoked or drunk alcohol or taken drugs had done so recently; 13% of pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week, 7% had smoked in the last week and 7% had taken drugs in the last month. 

This from The Guardian.

“It is estimated that the number of young adults in Britain who had tried an illegal drug in the 1960s was fewer than 5%. This reached roughly 10% in the 1970s, and 15-20% in the 1980s. By 1995, nearly half of all young people said they had taken drugs. If you ever wondered how successful the Grange Hill kids' Just Say No campaign of 1986 turned out to be, then you have just read the answer.”

Here is the link to one of the main recent surveys

I guess when one reaches a point where about half the population including the prime minister admit to having done something that carries a 5 year prison sentence the law needs modifying in some way.

I will ramble on here if I get time during cooking.

Here is a list of people who have confirmed an interest in running, sorry about the formatting

Ian Learmonth

Craig Mackinlay
‘Craig Mackinlay has been selected to be the Conservative candidate for the upcoming police and Crime Commissioner election’
Yes – has secured the Conservative nomination
Mentioned 18/06/12

Harriet Yeo
@KentPCC or
‘I won’t stand by and let Tories become cheerleaders for police cuts in Kent…[I will do what I] can to support the police in the fight against crime’
Yes – has secured the Labour nomination
Quoted 18/06/12

Fran Croucher
‘Through me I will deliver your concerns and priorities to the Chief Constable’
Quoted 02/07/12

Ian Driver
‘[I] want Kent Police to take a much tougher stance on domestic abuse, hate crime and dangerous driving’
Quoted 02/07/12

Ken Little
‘The public must be heard and, more importantly, listened to’
Quoted 23/02/12
Dai Liyanage
‘We need an independent, experienced and cool look at what’s best for the police and the community.’
Quoted 13/06/12

Fergus Wilson
‘I think I can make a difference’
Quoted 11/02/12
Steve Bates
‘Steve Bates, who was a special advisor to former Home Secretary John Reid [is seeking candidacy]’
Yes – reportedly on the Labour shortlist but not selected
Mentioned 25/05/12

Jan Berry
‘Want to use my unique experience to support the people of Kent’
Yes – reportedly on the Conservative shortlist but not selected
On Twitter 27/05/12

Francois Gordon
One of the three who made the shortlist is ‘Foreign Office man, Fancois Gordon…’European Strategy Adviser’ to Kent Police’
Yes – reportedly on the Conservative shortlist but not selected
Mentioned 27/05/12

Jacques Arnold
‘I am very keen on the concept that the priorities of the police match the priorities the public have’
Yes – but reportedly not on the Conservative shortlist
Quoted 21/05/12

Jo Gideon
‘If done right, this could deliver really great opportunities for local communities’
Yes – but reportedly not on the Conservative shortlist
Quoted 25/05/12

Mike O’Brien
‘Cllr O’Brien confirmed… he had put his name forward ‘
Yes – but reportedly not on the Conservative shortlist
Mentioned 23/04/12

Brian Sweetland
‘Cutting out red tape… will be a key priority’
Yes – but reportedly not on the Conservative shortlist
Quoted 03/05/12

Col Tim Collins
‘This is a job for someone energetic and who is willing to work with the chief constable’
Reportedly not running
Quoted 01/10/11


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a very good reason to tax as many drugs as possible, and at the highest possible rates. Only a complete smackhead would disagree.

Michael Child said...

I think the rub here is no taxation without legalisation, combined with the problem that if there was legalisation and taxation I doubt much of the money would be spent on drug rehabilitation.

Peter Checksfield said...

Another big problem I see is that people from other countries where it's still illegal will come here to buy it... and then sell it in their own country! This won't exactly make us popular.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the banksters want a corporate monopoly, with state tax and regulation, (similar to the tobacco racket), rather than the clandestine networks they are running now, and that they are predicting a boom in sales, what with all the misery that austerity brings, and generations of kids raised on psychotropics reaching adulthood.

Aldous Huxley's 'soma' perhaps? Or something to soften us up, as happened in China, as we are herded into the NWO.

I'm all for an end to drug prohibition, but a corporate/state monopoly is not the answer; I believe only a completely free market would end society's drug-related problems, because it would take the big money out of the equation.

Anonymous said...

What is needed is a proper war against drugs. Don`t treat users as victims - lock them up - they are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

That will never happen, 10.10, those junkie burglars and muggers are unofficial revenue collectors.

RossM said...

My opinion on alcohol is that it's taxed too heavy already and this is the cause of many problems. Allow me to explain. Due to the high tax on alcohol, people are unable to afford to go out drinking anymore, therefore when they do, they tend to go over the top and make a special night of it - hence the problems that Michael sees (or hears) in the town centre. If it was cheaper for people to drink in pubs, it would become less "special" and people could afford to pop out for a couple whenever they feel like it. Dads could afford to take their sons out when they're young so they get used to being in pubs and they learn how to behave in pubs and in public and the attitude towards drinking changes from there.

Sometimes, a different approach is needed rather than the "tax everything more, that'll solve the problems" attitude.

Just my opinion of course....

Michael Child said...

10.10 can you clarify this a bit, are you intending that we lock up half the population including senior members of the government?

John Holyer said...

On Ian Driver: A somewhat rambling and nebulous policy statement that I found bland, superficial and boring. His name is new to me. Who is he? He sounds as though he comes from up t' north.

John Holyer said...

Drug taking is not new. It has been present in this country for centuries. It only became a real danger when modern marketing methods were applied to its sale and distribution by organised crime. Legalising all drugs would wipe out organised crime. Also the Government could tax the sale and ensure the quality of the substances. On the downside the UK would be invaded by druggies from abroad seeking to take advantage; we would have to tread carefully to avoid the needles on the ground. Also it would introduce the very real danger of your pilot or surgeon being high on something or other.

Tom Clarke said...

He will be mortified you have not heard of him, John, having jumped on every bandwagon going over the past year plus from animal exports to gay marriage. He walks around with a megaphone generally offending the Noise Abatement Society. Must say though that he and Johnny Rotten make a charming couple. Surprised Hello or Tatler magazines have not snapped them up as a double act.

John Holyer said...

A user is desperate to the point of insanity for his next fix. The prospect of being locked up will not deter him.

[Yes, anonoymous, I do know that there also female adicts.]

John Holyer said...

Thank you Tom,

I had truly never heard of Ian Driver until today. I saw Johnny Rotten on Question Time. I found Johnny Rotten to be the more articulate of the two.

In the, I hope unlikely, event of Mr Driver being elected he will soon discover that the Police are able run rings around him. He will be dealing with harden profesionals, perhaps for the first time in his career.

Anonymous said...

So we should elect someone who doesn't intend to make a difference and will just collect their pay cheque for maintaining the status quo? Sorry John, but those days are over. It's time for a revolution and you can't have a revolution if you elect the same tired old suits who have got us into this mess. It might be a risk to elect Driver but he is active and has demonstrated that he wants to make a real difference. As for the hardened professional police force, these would be the same people who allowed the country to descend into chaos last year when they failed to act quickly enough to stamp on the rioters in London. We need elected officials who will hold these highly-paid people to account.

Anonymous said...

P.S. ...being articulate isn't the same things as being right.

John Holyer said...

Anonymous @17:13

I did not say that we should elect someone who doesn't intend to make a difference and will collect their pay for maintaining the status quo. Those are your words - not mine.

Whatever you personally think about police performance, it cannot be denied that they are hardened professionals. Being a hardened professional does not imply that they get everything right. I can only judge Ian Driver from his video. He does not come across to me as a man who can lead hardened professionals. Consequently, under his administration the police would carry on as they please.

Your PS is gratuitous. You should know that neither is being inarticulate and strident the same thing as being right, innit. At the risk of being patronising and to avoid future misunderstandings, I suggest that you look up the definition of the words 'hardened' & 'professional'. You will see that they have nothing to do with being right.

John Holyer said...


Your PS is gratuitous. You should know that neither is being articulate the same thing as being wrong. Continuing with your reasoning: neither is being inarticulate and strident the same thing as being right, innit.

At the risk of being patronising and to avoid future misunderstandings, I suggest that you look up the definition of the words 'hardened' & 'professional'. You will notice that neither has anything to do with being right or wrong.

Anonymous said...

"At the risk of being patronising..."

Well you took a risk and you achieved what you set out to achieve. You suggested that I look up some words in a dictionary, thereby implying that I don't know the meanings of those words. I'm afraid that this is about your level. You can't justify the tosh you post and, when challenged, you resort to patronising abuse. Why not tell us who you would elect instead of Driver and why they would be better?

John Holyer said...

Well anonymous, whoever you are, you have yet to tell us why Ian Driver is the man for the job. For my part, I had never heard of Ian Driver until today. I watched his video. He was unconvincing. Please explain to me why I and others should vote for him. What are his qualifications and qualities that make him the candidate of choice. For example, what knowledge does he have of police work?

I have had another look at your earlier post @17:14. You seem to be adorning Ian Driver with the mantle of a class warrior.

By the way, if you are canvassing for Mr Driver then you would be wise to control your anger and not insult the punters. However, if you are not canvassing for Mr Driver then I suppose you are free to say whatever you like, reckless as to whether it will damage his cause.

I am not supporting any other candidate for the simple reason that I do not know of anyone else who is standing. If you know then perhaps you would be kind enough to give me their names in order to help me make an informed choice. Anonymous, I look forward to hearing about your support for Mr Driver in detail.

Tom Clarke said...

John, the Anonymous one is very probably Ian Driver or, if not him, his mate John Worrow. They, and particularly JW, have previous for anonymously supporting their own rather bizarre view of how the world should be.

Ian Driver, for your enlightenment, was elected in 2010 as a Labour District Councillor, but very quickly crossed the floor and joined the Thanet Indepedent Group. He was previously a member on Ian Scargill's Real Labour Party, he is an atheist, a republican (but militantly anti-royalist with it) and is a declared bisexual who supports gay marriage. Since coming to notice he has supported publicly and noisily a range of campaigns from stopping animal exports through to perceived, but as yet unconfirmed, losses of departments at the QEQM. Basically he is an anti.

On the police commissioner role, there is a shortage of public information here and this is something rather wished upon us by the present government. Whereas in principle they are destined to replace the old police authorities, basically the strategic overview job of holding the police to account, they seem to have been hijacked by politicians as another potential gravy train in later life like the EU Commissioners of even the Lords.
Would have been good to have seen these jobs go to seniour experienced citizens from other walks of life like the military, judiciary or even retired senior coppers, but, no, what do you see popping up around the country. Noisy political types like John Prescott (he who thumps members of the public) and Ian Driver (he who shouts at them through a magaphone). Is this really what we need to sensibly oversee and scrutinise policing.

Anonymous said...

I told you what I think and I asked you to respond to a simple question:

"Why not tell us who you would elect instead of Driver and why they would be better?"

Despite the length of your response I don't think you addressed this. If not Driver, then who?

Michael Child said...

I have added a list of the candidates who have expressed an interest in standing to the bottom of the post, above.

In response to the comments here, what none of you seem to be getting to grips with some sort of viable solution to the drugs problem.

The suggestion that use of all of the illegal drugs produces quivering junkies, that are of no use to society, is just preposterous and would have to include Lord Nelson, Marcus Aurelius, Lewis Carrol, Winston Churchill, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sigmund Freud, Pablo Picasso, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Wilberforce, well the list goes on.

Tim Clark said...

In the case of at least half of those names, the chemicals were not illegal when they were using them

Anonymous said...

One simple answer would be because he quite obviously has no idea what the position involves. It is to act in a overview role getting the police to achieve their objectives. Rather like school governors who do not tell head teazchers what to do, but work with them to achieve targets and objectives.

Ian Driver would seem to view the position as one from which to launch still more of his own pet crusades. What is needed is someone to hold the police to task not someone wasting his time campaigning for things well outside his remit.

Michael Child said...

Tim I don’t really follow your reasoning here, are you saying that the drugs only became harmful after they were made illegal?

I think the whole point here is about what should and shouldn’t be illegal, i.e a matter for the police, the courts and prisons and what falls into the bracket of requiring medical treatment compared to what is pretty much harmless.

I also think the differentiation between harmful to the user and harmful to other people is an important one, how a crime which is pretty much only harmful to the person committing it can carry a seven year prison sentence is of interest to me as a taxpayer, as I am paying for this type of criminal to be imprisoned.

You have to appreciate that I am not arguing for overall decriminalisation, but I do think that crime should relate in some way to policing punishment, particularly when I am paying for that policing and punishment.

Tom Clarke said...

All very fine, Michael, but will the police commissioner role really include any legislative authority, or even influence, and should the holder of such an appointment do the job of holding the police to account or do you see it as one from which to launch a series of campaigns about the liberalisation of laws. What always worries me with these campaigns is where do you draw the final line in the sand if you keep moving it. Drugs today, prostitution tomorrow and maybe lowering the age of consent to, what shall we say, eight the day after.

Tim Clark said...

Not in the least. I was just pointing out what you had said in your previous comment "use of all of the illegal drugs". You used the word illegal. not me.
For someone who started off "Personally I don’t really have the answers to this one" you've spent a lot of time telling us the answers. Oh, and he hasn't been Johnny Rotten for many years.
I agree about your discrimination between harmful to the perp and harmful to the victim. Your inference is that alcohol abuse is the major problem; I suspect the burglar who broke into my house was likely to have been after money for drugs rather than alcohol, but of course that doesn't matter because I am clearly of Tory persuasion and therefore (1) filthy rich and (2) not worth talking to anyway.

Tim Clark said...

Using the "we're not winning the war against ...." argument. Still lots of people being the victims of homicide so using this rather facile argument maybe we should make murder legal.

Michael Child said...

Tom, different argument altogether, but I guess any change in this particular legislation will ultimately come from the police and probably via police commissioners.

Successive governments seem to have ignored their own scientists and frankly lumping the virtually harmless and hardly addictive in with the very harmful and highly addictive sends out the wrong message, particularly to the young and inexperienced.

There is also a problem where one is asking the police to treat something that many of the have done with out ill effect to themselves or anyone else, when they were younger, as a serious crime.

The lowest the age of consent has been lowered to in England was ten with the support of church and state, at about the same time as the buggery act came in, my guess is that both of these decisions were made not for any moral reason but simply to increase the population. But it is a very good example of what I mean if you break the law of consent it carries a two to ten year prison sentence depending on what you actually did, this makes sense mainly because of the victim being another person, what worries me here is that sending out the message that taking some recreational drugs is as harmful as paedophilia.

Michael Child said...

Tim Sorry about that, I couldn’t resist “Mr Rotten.”

As far as taking sides on this issue goes, that isn’t what I am trying to do, what I am trying to do is to make people think about the issue.

Bit of an irony on the burglary front here as the Labour candidate Harriet Yeo had her Kensington home burgled on the day she was selected as candidate. All right for some, we had to give up our London house, given to my family for valour at Trafalgar, because of death duties.

But we do come back to this issue that sending out the message, particularly to young people, that a highly addictive drug that is likely to make people commit crimes to feed their addiction, is in a similar bracket to fairly harmless stuff that about half of young people are experimenting with, mainly based on the other young people around them not coming to much harm.

There is also the problem that the harder and more addictive drugs are physically smaller and more difficult to detect with testing, making them more readily available in prison.

I would say my views on this issue concur with those of Jeffrey Archer as expressed in his book Prison Diary.

I guess that going down the road of assuming that because I am a local businessman I must also be some sort of socialist agitator, puts me at a bit of a disadvantage, when tying to have a reasoned debate with you.

John Holyer said...

Thank you Tom,

I am at one with your final paragraph.

It had occurred to me that the anonymous one could be Ian Driver or a close supporter. However I dismissed the idea on the grounds of common sense. I asked my self why would the candidate or a close supporter seek to antagonise and thereby drive away a potential voter? This would be crass stupidity. Or have I just answered my own question.

John Holyer said...

Anonymous @ 3:37pm,

This is exactly my opinion formed from watching Mr Driver's rambling video.

John Holyer said...

Drug taking is not new. It has been present in this country for centuries. It only became a real danger when modern marketing methods were applied to its sale and distribution by organised crime. Legalising all drugs would wipe out organised crime. Also the Government could tax the sale and ensure the quality of the substances. On the downside the UK would be invaded by druggies from abroad seeking to take advantage; we would have to tread carefully to avoid the needles on the ground. Also it would introduce the very real danger of your pilot or surgeon being high on something or other.

Tom Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Clarke said...

In a nutshell, John. Would you believe I managed to work two spelling mistakes into that first time.

Tim Clark said...

Unlikely to be Cllr Driver - he has selective problems with spelling. Probably Ms Mendelsohn or the Man of Constant Sorrows in Birchington

Tim Clark said...

John has hit the nail on the head. Doubt if Cllr Driver expects to win but this gives him another platform to spout his curious anarchist views. I suspect he fully understands the job description but the point of the exercise is not to win but to make a lot of noise and promote Ian Driver plc.
Michael. You really missed your vocation. You should have stuck it out and become an Anglican vicar.

Tom Clarke said...

Quite right, Tim, and with Michael's views he could well have got on famously with Rowan Williams.

John Holyer said...

Tim, You are right. I tried to take Mr Driver seriously. I now realise this was a mistake. Middle aged half educated pygmy polticians with student political views can be obnoxious, but they are rarley if ever dangerous. We should look for the humour in their antics. Perhaps Mr Driver is a big fish in a little pond. Our task must surely be to make that pond larger.

Anonymous said...

Sorry John, I have to disagree on a number of points you make. If the pharma corporations get a monopoly; the quality will be reasonable to begin with then quickly deteriorate to the point of being toxic; marketing will be stepped up; and general mafia style sharp-practices will ensue. This I am sure is the plan of the banksters/establishment.

A simple end to prohibition is all that is required, world-wide. Let the free market take care of it, that is the natural solution. Unfortunately in the current political climate, it would create a lot of transitional problems, and will never happen.

The big problem is that the majority are asleep to the fact that the world is being run by hard-core criminals.

John Holyer said...

Anonymous @ 12:18,

I have seen no evidence to substantiate your claim that the world is being run by hardcore criminals. Most people are honest, just a few are dishonest, it has always been so.

Anonymous said...

Your inability to draw a logical conclusion from the clear information provided by the article, suggests that you are a moron. We should lock up individuals such as yourself, who spread intolerance and ignorance.

1) Drug use is a health issue, not a criminal issue.

2) In the UK, to jail a prisoner for a year costs tax payers about the same amount of money as an average household income.

3) Giving more people criminal records will undoubtedly result in higher rates of unemployment, and more people with lower paying jobs. Consequently, society would then have to deal with higher rates of poverty and crime.

Anonymous said...

Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere,
when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant piece of writing.
My blog post ; slow computer

Anonymous said...

Wow, this paragraph is nice, my sister is analyzing these
things, therefore I am going to convey her.
Also visit my site - how to download movies