Tag Archives: war on drugs

Roll up, roll up…

… we haven’t had a good drug panic for a few years*, so it was obviously slightly overdue. Hearing the calls for a ban on mephedrone instantly recalled the Simpson’s Maude Flanders:

There is also a delicious irony, which you should join me in enjoying immensely, as the report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs into the banning of legal highs such as mephedrone has been delayed by the resignation of an advisor, Dr Les King, in support of Prof David Nutt, forced out of his job by imbeciles for the crime of saying something sensible about drugs for a change.

Calls for a ban seem to be mounting and it will be a brave government that manages to resist the temptation to be seen to be doing something about such a tabloid front-page-friendly story this close to an election.  Once again, it seems we will miss an opportunity to sensibly consider our drugs policy and its effects, intended and otherwise, on our safety and security.

Banning mephedrone, as with other substances, will do anything but make it safer.  Production will then pass into the hands of unscrupulous people, outside of any regulatory framework and with no control over potency or contamination.  There is a suspicion that the batch of the drug taken by those who died in the Scunthorpe case was contaminated.  Instead, we would be better to focus our attention on education for users and the treatment of addicts.

If we are mature enough to accept that human beings will always seek out ways to escape reality, be it by heroin, khat or a caramel macchiato, then we can try to lessen the harm.  Leah Betts’ name will always be connected to ecstasy, but she arguably might be alive today if she had known about water intoxication.  It is too early to say, but it could be that drinking heavily in combination with the stimulant mephedrone puts the heart under excess strain.  Regardless, deaths this year from miaow miaow, and from E, will be dwarfed by the numbers of us dying because of over-indulging in our favourite tipples.  Yet we won’t be seeing too many calls for the banning of gin and tonics across the front pages.

* Of course, we did drug panics much better when I were a young ‘un.  I think we will be waiting a long time until mephedrone spawns something as amazing as the ‘Inspector Morse ecstasy episode‘:

[the doctor offers first Morse and then Lewis an ecstasy tablet]
Dr. Hallett: Lewis?
Detective Sergeant Lewis: No thanks, Sir. Not in front of the Chief Inspector.

Well quite.

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Everywhere you look

Everywhere you look, on all fronts, the cunts appear to be winning.  We, the right thinking people of this land, are being out manoeuvred and out gunned at every turn.

It used to be the case that you could rely on a core of people in the world to instinctively know the right side of an argument, who you could use as a litmus test to demonstrate that all was well.  I think here of Hunter S. Thompson and George Orwell, there are other examples, about whom it could easily be said: ‘if he/she agrees/disagrees with it, it must be correct’ as you went about your daily business.  Now all you can rely on is that everybody with a voice today uses it to come out with statements that no one in their right mind could hold to be correct.  The well publicised ‘death of ideology’ at the end of the Cold War seems to have mutated into a less well publicised murder of dissent.  To the extent that you have to ask…

“Where are the punks?”

Punk is the same age as me, but only one of us survived to celebrate our 30th.  The aesthetic got co opted; the ethos lost in a cloud of hepatitis-infected spit, safety pins and Sex Pistols reunions.  The hip young gunslingers now move closer to their first hip replacements, jostling the Zimmers for position in the establishment they once deluded themselves could be eviscerated with nothing more than razor sharp wit and a razor trimmed haircut.  The past is eating itself, as drama school rejects compete to replace the easy listening singers that the Beatles kicked out of the charts; The Kinks inspired Blur are replaced by the Blur inspired Kaiser Chiefs, in an ever decreasing circle of hell populated by careerist knock off merchants and rampant self-publicists.  Mika, Lily Allen and Kate Nash are not only allowed to live but to describe themselves as ‘musicians’ and be hailed as some kind of dynamic new voice in rock because their publicists set up MySpace pages.

Where is the anger?  Where is the outrage?
Why should you care?

Get another round of tequilas in.  Fight for your right to party, duuuuuuude.  The old battles have been fought and lost, you’re free to get on with your true vocation: drinking, shopping and fucking, all to a soundtrack of bland ooooohs and aaaaahs, hits of Soma provided by our sponsor for when the screaming in your brain becomes too loud….

Because it is not cool to care.  The last youth movement with a touch of the small ‘p’ politics about it was the loose gathering of nut jars that came together to try to fight the Criminal Justice Bill.  Once that motley crew of Loadsamoney style entrepreneurs, Do-It-Yourself-ers and Spiral Tribesmen had been overcome by surveillance, brutality and trumped up charges, it was understandable that few others would try to stick their heads above the parapet.  So we left the fields that should have been ours to party and protest in whenever we fancied and headed back to legality.  The baggy trousered philanthropists allowed themselves to be meekly herded into club nights with door policies more exclusive than Garden Parties at Buck House, where the big name, millionaire DJs turned the booths into altars for their own ego worship.  Music events became ‘brand dissemination opportunities’, sponsored by beer makers, a fantastic entrée to the youth market for the breweries who were starting to worry that their wares were going to appear like yesterday’s news next to the bright shiny ecstasy pills that the kids seemed so keen on.

They need not have worried.  For this is now a generation drunk on hedonism itself, not caring if the poison that it imbibes to get to that location has been bought in a wrap or over a bar.  Just get trashed, wasted, battered, fucked up.  This is the only goal worth pursuing.  The age old need to prove how much liquor you could hold has been surpassed by the urge to globally publicise pictures of you laying in the gutter in a pool of vomit.  Your politics is something you show with a coloured wristband, not something you FEEL.  Feelings themselves are messy things that can be treated with a kind of emotional Domestos, that kills all original thought dead.

God, how 70s, didn’t we leave all that embarrassing posturing behind with the three day week and footballer’s perms?  Just keep dancing, snorting, screwing – poking and preening at each other like a heaving mass of baby mice in a testing laboratory’s cage.  No need for any of that scary commitment stuff – why commit to an opinion when another one will come along in a minute?  How shameful to take a position when opinions are reduced to the status of a trend, something that can quickly become out of date.  Could you really be seen dead in last season’s trousers…?

Orwell believed with The Lion and the Unicorn that if he could speak over the heads of the self appointed intelligentsia, the ordinary men and women of Britain would hear his call to arms and right would prevail.  Joe Strummer tried the same thing: ‘London Calling… to the far away towns… war is declared and battle come down…’  And I would do the same, attempt to reach some mythical, silent majority if I had any faith in their existence.  But how can I have when I know, deep down, that they have been killed off by a real majority who voted for Hitler, loved Thatcher and who encourage their daughters to read Jordan’s ‘auto’ biographies because fucking a footballer is the best career path open to them?  The only thing that truly moves England’s dreamers is the relative upward or downward movement of the value of the pile of bricks that they rot their lives away in, drowning the regret in a vat of cheap wine, abdicating responsibility for righting the ills they created by delegating all control to a focus group version of benign fascism that rules us.

First published March 2008 in issue one of whaaat?

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