Why is the UK government making khat illegal?

05/10/2013

Khat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a “drug of abuse” that can produce “mild to moderate psychological addiction” but less so than alcohol or tobacco. Khat chewing is a social custom that has gone on for thousands of years in the regions where it is grown, and no problems were ever identified. But because it can cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria, it has become a “problem drug” that is being made illegal in the so-called “developed” world. The plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations such as the DEA and is already a controlled substance in some countries, such as the United States, Canada and Germany.

Because khat was being looked at so hardly, the British government commissioned an investigation by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. After a review of the evidence, the expert committee recommended in January 2006 that khat should remain legal. But the Conservatives weren’t happy with that. On 3 July 2013, the British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that khat was to be banned, designating it a Class C substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Accordingly, the Frank drug advice site says:

Khat and the law
Khat will shortly become a Class C drug which means it will be illegal. If you are caught with the drug (possession) you could go to prison for two years and get an unlimited fine. If you are caught dealing or supplying (and that could just mean giving some to your mates) you could get 14 years in jail. It will also be an offence to bring Khat in and/or out of the country, so if you’ve been abroad you cannot bring it back to the UK with you.

Khat is an illegal substance in many other countries like the US and taking khat into the US could attract a heavy prison sentence.

So, Khat is pretty harmless, its use has gone on for thousands of years… and the UK government is banning it anyway. Why?

Because its use is fun! British (and many other) governments love to ban drugs that have a side-effect of euphoria. Look here for the proof! The British government (amongst many others) hate the idea of us enjoying ourselves. Alcohol, tobacco, refined sugar, and caffeine would be illegal if they didn’t have such a long tradition.

Unfortunately, voting for a different party won’t make much difference. The Lib Dems claim to want drugs to be decriminalised and the market regulated, but I think we all know by now that they are a bunch of liars. Maybe the Pirate Party UK would do something positive if they ever got the chance… but I can’t see them getting into government any time soon.

I hate hate. The government hates fun. So I hate the government. If you like fun, maybe you should start hating the government too?

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Lib Dem MP accused of “casual antisemitism”

26/01/2013

The Liberal Democrat David Ward faces disciplinary action over a comment he wrote on his website concerning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Apparently he wrote about honouring those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust but also accusing “the Jews” of “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians … on a daily basis”. Th is is in the run-up to Holocaust Memorial Day. He wrote:

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Ward’s use of the expression “the Jews” was unfortunate, as it appears to suggest that repression of the Palestinians is something that involves all Jews. But he has tried to explain what he meant. In an interview with Sky News he was asked if he accepted that he was accusing Jews, rather than the Israeli state, of inflicting persection on the Palestinians, to which he replied:

I’m accusing the Jews who did it, so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and you do not do those things and have never done those things then I am of course not criticising you.

So, did Ward do anything wrong? Well, apart from the stupid use of the word “Jews” and “Israelis”, I would contend that he did nothing other than speak the truth. It is a fact that the state of Israel was founded on terrorism (for example by the Irgun terrorist group that later became an official arm of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces), that it fought wars of expansionism and forcibly removed Palestinians from their ancestral homes (which were then given to Israeli “settlers”) and that Israel continues to impose an apartheid regime that treats Palestinians as second class citizens. The siege of Gaza clearly demonstrates Israel’s policy concerning its opponents: the civilians of the Gaza Strip will continue to live in Israeli-imposed hellish conditions for the “crime” of democratically electing a government which doesn’t accept Israel’s “right” to steal Palestinian territories.

Unfortunately, we live in a bizarre system which equates anti-Israeli rhetoric with anti-semitism. I wish David Ward luck in defending himself against the ridiculous charges levelled against him. But I fear that all the luck in the world won’t save him from the Israeli-apologists who rule the Western world.

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And party politics become as irrelevant as…

29/12/2012

… oh, I dunno.  Think of the most irrelevant thing you can imagine.  UK party politics is even more irrelevant.   Tory, Labour, Lib Dumb (sorry, that should have been “Lib Damn”… wasn’t it?) are all the bloody same.  The only party that is actually attracting new members is that bunch of crazy Nazis called Ukip.  And please, please, don’t even think of them as a serious party, they’re like the Monster Raving Loony Party being led by Mussolini!

Funny comment on this in the Guardian: “It increasingly seems like making the decision between the mainstream parties is like judging the merits of dog crap vs cat crap”.  What, you don’t think it’s funny?  Bloody heck, I’m doing my best!


 
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UK shops to sell cigarettes in plain packaging… whose stupid idea was *that*?

09/03/2011

It was UK health secretary Andrew Lansley’s idea, apparently. He has announced his intention over the next 5 years to reduce the number of smokers in Britain by a greater number than was reduced in the past 5 years. And he has identified cigarettes’ allegedly gaudy, inviting packaging as a chief reason why people take up the habit in the first place. He has also announced a “consultation” into the idea of banning cigarette displays entirely, so tobacco products will have to be sold from “under the counter”.

Obviously, Lansley is a massive tit. Plain packaging and discreet under-the-counter sales will make cigarettes seem very illicit… and we all know what teenagers in general think of illicit activities. I predict that these measures will not reduce the number of smokers at all. Maybe it’ll even increase the number of smokers. Which is, of course, no bad thing for a political party that counts amongst its members the very tobacco barons the government claims it wants to destroy.

The other day I was waiting in the queue for the tobacco counter at my local Sainsbury’s, and I was struck by the current packaging of cigarettes. Every single pack has emblazoned across its front in bold letters sentences like SMOKING KILLS and SMOKING WILL TURN YOUR UNBORN CHILD INTO A STUMP-HEADED MUTANT. If that hasn’t reduced the number of smokers by the “desired” amount, what in hell makes Lansley think his stupid idea will do any better? The answer, of course, is stupidity. And hypocrisy. We must never forget the hypocrisy factor when trying to figure out our Con-Dem government’s motives.

Incidentally, that same Guardian story says that 21.2% of adults in Britain are smokers. It’s a minority, for sure, but it’s one heck of a big minority. Who the hell do the government think they are, messing with more than 8 million people’s right to choose what they do? Plus the government makes a lot of money by taxing tobacco products. What are they going to do if we all stop smoking – increase the tax on road fuel (which, incidentally, is far more harmful to the general population’s health than a damn cigarette)? These pin-headed ministers really do need to think these things through…

Cigarette displays like this may soon be outlawed if the UK govt gets its way

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