Sunday, 25 August 2013

Stand Up For Civilisation

Ever since poor old  Ann Widdecombe tried to tighten the dope  laws rather mildly a dozen years ago, lofty Establishment figures have taken to confessing that they took drugs at university.

Half of William Hague’s Shadow Cabinet did so, in what looked like a well organised scheme to destroy Miss Widdecombe’s plan.

 These confessions are rarely coupled with any expressions of shame. They ignore the growing correlation between cannabis use and incurable mental illness, and the thousands of quiet personal tragedies that have resulted, and will result, from this.

Any intelligent person must surely see what the effect will be when a prominent figure reveals such a past crime and does not condemn it.

 It will weaken the enforcement of the anti-cannabis law (already feeble), and fuel the potent and well-funded international campaign to make this frightening poison legal.

 So what should we make of the behaviour of Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer of England?

She went on to BBC Radio 3 (so civilised!) to discuss her taste in music.

 In the course of this, Dame Sally admitted she was shy of giving interviews. Yet it was clear from the conversation  that Michael Berkeley, the presenter of the programme Private Passions, knew she was going to talk about drugs. In fact, about halfway through the discussion, he made it clear that the subject would come up later.

Is it possible that this had actually been negotiated? Who can say? Dame Sally, a member of the 1960s campus radical generation, also revealed that she had been ‘very lively’ in student politics. Tell us more, Dame Sally. And then it came – the confession that Dame Sally, a virtuous non-smoker of tobacco, had guzzled a number of hash cookies, until, rightly alarmed by hallucinations, she ceased.

What conclusions did she draw from this? That drugs are a medical problem rather than a legal one, together with some excuse-making guff about ‘addiction’, something for which there is no scientific evidence at all.

This just happens to chime with the line being taken by every lobbyist for weakening what’s left of our laws against drugs, especially the unpleasant alleged comedian Russell Brand.

 This is the sort of company the opera-going, fine-wine-loving, smoke-free Dame Sally is keeping (though she says she is careful not to be photographed holding a glass of wine, lest she sets a bad example).

She did accidentally manage to say one genuinely moving and powerful thing, quoting  her late father, an ordained minister of the Church and Professor of Theology at Birmingham University for 26 years, who warned her: ‘Drugs decivilise you. You stop being a civilised person.’

They also decivilise those societies that allow them to spread, as we see every day.

 If people like Dame Sally won’t stand up for civilisation, who will?

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