On government advice

November 2nd, 2009 § 2 comments

Two more people have resigned from the drugs advisory council in solidarity for Professor Nutt…

Two members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs resigned todayin protest at Alan Johnson’s treatment of Professor David Nutt. Another member told the Guardian that the experts were “planning collective action” against Johnson, adding: “Everybody is devastated. We’re all considering our positions.”

Nutt said today that there was “no future” for the council in its present form and it is thought the group’s members may use a meeting next Monday to announce a mass resignation.

I would suggest that it needs to be swung on it’s head and it is not the councils’ present form that is at fault, but the governments attitude to it’s advice.

When the evidence is there for all to see that Nutt knew what he was talking about and some jumped up twat that wouldn’t know his arse from his elbow says ‘No, you’re wrong’ because the evidence conflicts with policy, then we’re all a little bit fucked, really.

What you make of it if Alan Johnson had made these decisions?

– Alan Johnson bans antibiotics saying ‘we must instead trust to the graces of Saint Dymphna and not confuse scientific advice with policy.’

– Alan Johnson says prospective female MPs are to be vetted with trial by drowning. ‘We must not confuse scientific advice with policy,’ he says.

– Alan Johnson announces the introduction of daily human sacrifices to ensure sun comes up. ‘We must not anger the Fire Gods or confuse scientific advice with policy,’ he says.

– Alan Johnson says he is to have Galileo exhumed so he can sack him because his scientific advice does not reflect policy.

Because that is what he has done. It is all well and good having a policy on something, but when the evidence shows something is not as bad, or as good, as was previously thought, then surely the only thing to do is modify that particular policy.

Lord Winston makes an obvious point…

I think that if governments appoint expert advice they shouldn’t dismiss it so lightly

Exactly. MPs’ deal with a huge range of subjects and can’t, and shouldn’t, be expected to know about everything. Alan Johnson is not an expert on the effects of drugs, just like David Cameron is not an expert on the problems of the working class. That is where the role of expert advisers come in, to tell politicians what is happening, so they can then figure out how to deal with it. It is one thing if the advice is a bit ambiguous, then fair enough, but in a case like this drugs one, where the expert says that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis, where is the justification for not lowering classification of cannabis? There is none. Johnson was either a) indulging in his own prejudices or b) unable to deviate from policy that it makes a mockery of the whole fucking system.

It could be Alan indulging himself, but then the policy is the American led pointless ‘War on Drugs’, which for twenty years or so has achieved fuck all except divert funds and effort away from areas that would help.

Kevolution says that this episode…

…highlights a bigger issue, that of the state of our democracy. In all the big decisions, the government either tell us we don’t know enough and that if we knew what they did we would understand (but they can’t show us the evidence as it is too sensitive), or they ignore the evidence and just do what they want. They are no longer representing us, they are just setting forth their own agenda’s

And there’s the nub of it. They no longer represent us.

How do we fix this? I dunno except that it won’t be sorted out by a general election*.

*That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother to vote. If I lived in the right place I would vote for D-Notice

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§ 2 Responses to On government advice"

  • D-Notice says:

    The War on Drugs goes back at least 40 years: Nixon started the current version and our own Misuse of Drugs Act was passed in 1971.

    My view is that a lot of the problems stem from dealing with a public health issue from a law ‘n’ order stance…
    .-= D-Notice´s last blog ..The Sun Lies: I saw the sign… =-.

    • Sim-O says:

      I was thinking off Reagan when I wrote that bit about the War on Drugs.

      I’d agree with you about drugs being a public health issue. I would argue that no one says no to drugs because they’re illegal.

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