The Drug War, Just Say No to it.
Give peace a chance. Forget the war on drugs | Anatole Kaletsky - Times Online
The fact is that many complex problems do have simple answers. What politicians mean when they say “there are no simple answers” is that the simple answers are not the same as easy ones. The easy answer to almost any political problem is to highlight its complexity, plead for patience, appoint a policy czar and set up a Royal Commission. The simple answer is often to do something bold and previously unthinkable. In other words, to cut the Gordian knot instead of trying to untie it.....
...there is a common thread linking the British Army’s failure to bring order to large parts of Afghanistan controlled by the Taleban and the British police’s failure to bring order to large parts of our inner cities controlled by gangs of gun-toting youths. That common thread is drugs....
what if, instead of looking for the root causes of crime and social breakdown, we consider what might have changed in recent years to encourage more teenagers to carry weapons? The answer then becomes much simpler. As in Helmand, many inner-city estates have created an alternative social order where the economics of the hugely profitable drug trade are far more attractive than any other choice.
And just as in Helmand, the efforts to suppress drug-use and trading have distracted the police and the courts from the infinitely more important tasks of preventing violence and keeping control of the streets. For example, tougher sentences for carrying knives or guns are pointless when the law already imposes even longer prison terms — up to life for large quantities — on people who carry drugs, which many of the teenage gangs habitually do. Similarly, zero-tolerance policing, which could certainly help to get weapons off the streets in the right conditions, is of little use if prisons are so overcrowded with drug offenders that there is no room for violent criminals carrying knives and even guns.
All these observations point to a simple conclusion: simple, though not easy. The global war against drugs is in contradiction to the war against violent crime at home and the war against terrorism internationally. Legalising, or at least decriminalising, drugs would, not on its own, end terrorism or gang violence — and it is no substitute for long-term measures to promote development abroad or improve education at home. But a ceasefire in the war against drugs would at least give peace a chance — not only in Afghanistan, but also in the streets of Britain.
And the chances of any of Gordon's ministers recognising that? As likely as Cherie Blair retiring to a nunnery.