Wednesday, 6 May 2009

"Legalise It!" was right

My natural inclination is to feel that laws create crime. Not just in the trivial sense that without laws there is no crime, but a more complex way. It would seem that stopping it being a crime to use drugs really does reduce drug use - as shown in this report on the Portuguese experience.

As I noted recently, there is in excess of £3B to be made and saved by legalising drugs, so why won't our politicians do it? Well, applying the cockspiracy principle it is fairly easy to understand.

Tough on crime and the causes of crime

All UK governments are worried about being seen to be weak on crime. Note, they don't really care about crime unless it becomes obvious in the press or on the streets. Thus knife crime became an issue - not because it was escalating, but because the press kept reporting cases. One upshot of this is the debacle that has occured over the classification of cannabis. Brown decided to ignore the advice and reclassify it anyway. This is an easily defensible position - drugs are bad, so making them more illegal is bound to make things better...

The real question is "How to make our leaders behave sensibly?"

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Elect more scientists and engineers; and few lawyers and economists.
  • Encourage an evidence led legislation programme, rather than one based on sound bites.
  • Support moves to devolve the legislation and management to expert committees, it might start with transport and energy.
  • Develop processes that are sceptical of the opinions of those with a commercial interest.
  • Create media that have memory. For example, where in the mainstream press is the ongoing reporting on the behaviour of the police at the G20 protest? How long before Swine Flu drops from the newspapers?
More suggestions and comment welcomed.

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