Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html en-gb 30 Fri 18 Apr 2014 15:22:42 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=98#comment73 Two things: The Reality, and the Government's ideals; and what a surprise: They don't match up. It is a well-established fact that marajuana is less harmfull than alcohol or nicotine etc; as are other drugs, yet the government thinks that one is far worse than the other.Governments always think that 'control' or 'regulation' is the answer to everything, but the reality is you can't control people. Obviously government will never grasp this fact as power is entirely too enticing for them, but something that has been around for the entirety of human history is not about to disappear just because they introduce some new initiative. Free it, then tax it. At the very worst all you could be accused of doing is benefiting from human nature, but hey, there's nothing stopping you from investing the money in the pharmacutical companies to ensure the drugs themselves do not become stronger than they aught naturally to be (as in the case of weed for instance and its stronger variants) but ultimately, trying to control people is futile. Wake up. Sun 15 Nov 2009 01:09:22 GMT+1 stevekimberley http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=97#comment72 The scientific evidence is that cannabis causes less harm, to individuals and to society, than alcohol or tobacco. Alan Johnson has chosen to reject the scientific evidence.I don't know what expertise he has in the field but I doubt that it is even a small precentage of the expertise of the ACMD. So we're being governed, in part, by someone who rejects the best available scientific evidence on the subject in favour of some unsubstantiated belief on his part that he knows best.I look forward to the day when Alan Johnson decides that, contrary to all the scientific evidence, gravity is a myth and therefore he can safely jump off London Bridge in the certain belief that he will fly. Sun 15 Nov 2009 00:39:09 GMT+1 Matt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=95#comment71 The government has good reason to keep the drug classed as it is. What do you think would happen to UK society if cannabis was made legal? We already have major problems with alcohol and cigarettes, adding a third to that list is a joke. Professor Nutt is an idiot for even trying to making cannabis apart of society again. Sat 14 Nov 2009 09:39:09 GMT+1 Jonathan Day http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=94#comment70 To the question "What does the phrase "the discussions were very constructive" mean?", the answer is "the Home Office is constructing a plush toy they can discuss things with". Thought that was obvious.To the issue of whether or not such-and-such a substance is harmful - everyone's going to have an opinion on something like that. My opinion is that I don't know enough biochemistry or neurology to even sensibly read the studies of the effects, never mind interpret the results. In fact, since the experts seem to talk mostly in statistics rather than the mechanics of what does what to what part of a brain, I'm inclined to doubt the experts know a vast amount. But they certainly know more than me and they absolutely know more than the politicians.Personally, I'd rather the scientists did more fundamental research, but I'm not sure if they'd legally be allowed to. What's more, if you're not looking at statistical samples or surveys but at chemical pathways and changes within individual cells, you are looking at something that is very difficult, very expensive and very time-consuming. Oh, it can be done. This is well within the limits of what we're capable of and, arguably, it's really the only way to know for certain what a given chemical will do to a human brain.But if you think any Government - even one set on science - would fork out the tens of billions needed to mass-produce the 9T MRIs needed to be certain, or if you can even imagine the taxpayers being willing to fork over the cash, you need help now. Here, you don't need science to tell you anything - it's just not human nature to pay to be sure when guessing is cheaper and won't be wrong more than half the time. Besides, even if we did know exactly what happened, would it make any difference? The other responses to this blog all talk of the social impact, a few give quotes of X being "more harmful" than Y, but not one asks "why" any of these things would be true. They're assumed to be true or assumed to be false and that's the end of it. How's this any different from Alan Johnson's attitude? His assumptions differ from yours, and so he reaches a different conclusion, but how can one opinion be better than another if neither is based on anything solid?(The one exception I'll make is for those posters who mention the experience of other countries, but I'd point out that different societies may react in different ways to the same thing, so you're still making some assumptions for which you've no basis.) Fri 13 Nov 2009 05:25:51 GMT+1 ground engineer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=93#comment69 What happened to open government? If a government wants to choose a policy that is not supported by objective scientific advice then it should make it clear that this is what they are doing, should not suppress the publication of scientific data and advice, and should explain why they are not doing as advised by experts. To borrow the arabic terminology, any other action is taqqiya and kitman. The government has of course chosen not to follow expert advice in the past (such as the Attorney General's advice on legality of going to war) without concealing anything that they have done, haven't they? Wed 11 Nov 2009 20:08:46 GMT+1 slightlyallthetime http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=91#comment68 Here's a thought....and a hypothetical one,David Nutt the chief drugs advisor to the government announces on television,that evidence shows that smoking cannabis is more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol...does anyone out there honestly think he would have been sacked for "overstepping the mark" following a comment like that...no,he'd still be in his job,albeit an unpaid and thankless one. Wed 11 Nov 2009 18:41:29 GMT+1 Ian Glossop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=90#comment67 > snobbery? no, don't want to elaborate. ;)> "How did Labour (and Labour voters) imagine that a postman, a merchant > seaman, some housewives etc... were going to be able to run a country?"> I do think that every person, irrespective of their background, can > educate and 'improve' themselves.An ex-Postman could, in principle, have made a good Home Secretary. All he had to do was:1. Acknowledge his own ignorance and listen to the expert advice - ie show the political ability to listen and take advice. But no, Alan Johnson is too arrogant for that - he 'knows' better than the experts and doesn't need to listen.2. Demonstrate rational judgement by weighing the advice, factoring in the political factors, producing a rational argument for the Government's drug policy and convincing the ACMD that this was the right policy given the scientific data. But no, Alan Johnson is too intellectually lazy for that - he knows what the policy should be on the basis of the opinions of his political mates and will follow their (poor) judgement rather than using any proper judgement.3. Show political leadership and demonstrate to the people of this country that his experts and the policy based on this expert advice is right and in the best interests of the country as a whole as a matter of principle. But no Alan Johnson would rather pander to popular ignorance and prejudice and seek to advance his own narrow personal and party political interests.That is why Alan Johnson has shown himself to be not up to the job - he lacks the ability to listen, jugement and leadership, not because he is an ex-Postie. "Miscalculation" indeed.Message to Labour Party: You need to find some good candidates to replace Gordon Brown after you lose the next election (you have lost it already - it is just some in your crowd don't want to face it yet.) If Alan Johnson is the best you can do - well you face a good many years in Opposition where you will not be very effective. That is bad for democracy and I don't particularly want to see it.Message to the Conservative Party: if you think Alan Johnson was right and that he is a good model for how politicians should treat expert advice. Well then you will be no better than the current Government - and peoples' alienation with politics will continue and politicians will be held in ever lower esteem until some real crisis point is reached.All politicians need to show the ability to listen and learn, good and rational and justified judgement, and integrity, principle and leadership.Not Broken Britain, not Broken Government (although this one is) but Broken Politics. Broken because it is based on an assumption that the British Public is a dumbed-down as the British Media and British Politics.We are not as dumb as you think.BTW: Why did the three resign after the "constructive discussions"? Because they were not taken-in by Alan Johnson's political flannel - they're not that dumb either. Wed 11 Nov 2009 15:28:45 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=89#comment66 SHLA2UK #66.thank you for this post; my own, light-hearted way of addressing this point ("...what are they going to do, arrest all 3 or 4 million of us...") in #62 has, apparently, not met with approval. Wed 11 Nov 2009 15:25:47 GMT+1 Steve - Iver http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=87#comment65 59. At 1:34pm on 11 Nov 2009, slightlyallthetime wrote:"...what are they going to do, arrest all 3 or 4 million of us..."You remind me of the stories that came out of New York during the Stonewall Riots. That was the thinking then and you've captured it well in just a few words. I'd say that 3 or 4 million cannabis smokers is a little conservative. I have many friends who smoke once or twice a month, once or twice a week or daily. Without any evidence, I imagine there are more than 4 million but no matter, the point remains. In New York City, the Stonewall Tavern was raided by police because the politicians 'thought' the homosexuals inside were being lude, crude and downright rude, but after the raid, it was soon discovered not to be the case. The fight spilled into the street and 'innocent' people were carted off in paddy-wagons. So began the gay-rights movement. In the UK, our home-lives are being put under scrutiny, because the politicians 'think' that cannabis smokers are immoral, unjust and with criminal intent. The only immorality comes from the fact that Government tells us it's immoral. The only injustice comes from the fact that free-will is being suppressed and the only criminal intent is our want to replenish our supply and therefore commit another criminal act by purchasing the stuff. UK Government, has, for years attempted to change behaviour by legislation. 'Please don't play football on this green' has become, 'No Ball Games, by order of the council'. 'No Smoking on this Platform' has become, 'it is illegal to smoke on this platform', 'Please don't swear' is probably subject to some ASBO regulation somewhere and 'Keep Britain Tidy' has become an on-the-spot fine for littering. I'm in favour of rule and regulation to set standards but not legislation to control down to this level of civil-micromanagement. LEGISLATE WHEN YOU NEED TOREGULATE WHEN YOU CANPROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK Wed 11 Nov 2009 14:52:56 GMT+1 Donald J Williamson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=86#comment64 Bruiser John Prescott's heir and successor Alan Johnson has neither the charm nor the effectiveness of his fellow Hull MP. Mr Johnson is behaving almost like some tin-pot dictator in ignoring expert opinion. He himself is no scientist and has to rely on the sound advice of various advisory bodies to guide his policy decisions. As the drip-drip resignations from the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs clearly show, advisors have as much power in resigning as they have in remaining members of this committee. I think Alan Johnson needs to learn that politics at the big table needs big players, by which I mean he needs to learn a subtler and possibly a humbler approach to working with his advisors. When eventually Gordon Brown is ready to hand on power to a successor, I hope for all our sakes that Alan Johnson is not the chosen heir. Wed 11 Nov 2009 14:13:06 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=85#comment63 THIS IS THE FRONT LINE ON THE WAR ON DRUGS!!!!(Taken from newspaper report today)'Police using high-tech heat-seeking equipment raided a suspected cannabis farm - but found a pensioner with no loft insulation. The 81 year old got the fright of her life when officers arrived at her home and told here they suspected she was growing the Class B drug. They showed her an infra-red image taken earlier by officers in a police helicopter, which revealed high levels of heat escaping from her loft. The technology is used to detect heat given off by lights used in growing cannabis. The unnamed woman, from Childwall, Liverpool, said. "It was terrifying. It could happen to another poor soul with a bad heart." Yesterday, Supt XXXX XXXXXX apologised and said their "intelligence" was wrong.'You just couldn't make this nonsense up. What a waste of tax payers money. As Jim Royale from the Royale Family would say, "War on Drugs - my a***". Wed 11 Nov 2009 14:05:01 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=83#comment62 # 60. chris911tDid you watch the Panorama programme aired the other year about the 20 most used drugs in Britian. In it Prof Nutt and his colleagues listed the most 'popular' drugs in Britain on the basis of harm. This involved not only all the science stuff, but also the social aspects, like effect on society in general and family etc. So sorry to disagree with you. I agree, Johnson could have stood purely by the 'science bit' but that didn't agree with Govt policy. The man is a hypocrite of the worst kind and should not be in such a position. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:53:21 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=82#comment61 slightlyallthetime #59."If all of us users,and there's enough of us,just did it openly there is very little they could do,what are they going to do,arrest all 3 or 4 million of us.."I can see it now, organised smoke-in's where people congregate in front of police stations and smoke a spliff or two, every week, until the system caves in. :-))) Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:50:36 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=81#comment60 chris911t #56.snobbery? no, don't want to elaborate. ;)"How did Labour (and Labour voters) imagine that a postman, a merchant seaman, some housewives etc... were going to be able to run a country?"I do think that every person, irrespective of their background, can educate and 'improve' themselves.unfortunately, big money talks and most career politicians are too eager to forget their good intentions and principles the moment they can put their 'snouts in the trough'. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:41:46 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=79#comment59 neebols456 #50Actually you will find that the scientists also factor in the other issues before proffering (sic) their advice. -------------------------------------------------I'm certain that you would find no such thing. That would not be science but opinion.There is a world of difference between "advisers" who are asked for a subjective opinion or where the science is inconclusive and those who provide conclusive scientific analysis.In the latter case, it doesn't need politics, nor even a politician with a backbone. All he had to do was stand by the scientific data and he was home free, but he had to go and try to second-guess public opinion and pander to the voters - and he came a well-deserved cropper for it.Good riddance I say (slightly pre-empting his expected resignation one day soon). Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:39:12 GMT+1 slightlyallthetime http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=78#comment58 Lets face it,cannabis is more or less legal now,it's just that all us users are fed up with having to sneak around buying the stuff,and I've been "sneaking around" buying it for 40 years,we dont need the stamp of approval from this or any other government,they are idiots,all of them,past and present,take a look at them,Thatcher and Regan,the phoney 60's wallflower and the B movie actor,Blair and Bush,the "we dont do religion" catholic and the "chimp",apologies to chimps!and what have we got now,Brown,who presided over and contributed to the biggest financial collapse we've seen in modern times,and Obama,who I dont know enough about to pass comment,all these modern "leaders",put into office with donations from multi national corporate thugs,the arms industry,pharmaceutical companies,oil companies,the drinks industry, etc,they have no credibility whatsoever. If all of us users,and there's enough of us,just did it openly there is very little they could do,what are they going to do,arrest all 3 or 4 million of us,take us all to court and fine us for sitting in our own homes,smoking a joint and bothering no one,give us all a criminal record for smoking a plant.Power to the people....Man!! Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:34:42 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=77#comment57 # 56 - chris911tTotally agree with what you say. In my last post I end with the sentence 'At the moment we are being led by the mediocre.' We are being led by people who just haven't the wit or intellect to do the job properly. The Tories aren't great shakes either in the intelligence stakes. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:32:33 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=75#comment56 # 52 - jr4412that's the nub, isn't it? ministers/governments act capriciously and the civil service (the 'state') has become so involved in party-politics over the last 30 years or so that they cannot fulfill their safe-guarding role anymore.=============================================================So what do we do with something that is no longer fit for purpose? Bin it? It's the arrogance of Govt that makes my blood boil. They must think that the majority of people are from the very shallow end of the gene pool going by some of the stupendous lies they try to force feed us with. We need a complete change in the way we are governed in this country. At the moment we are being led by the mediocre. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:26:59 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=74#comment55 I suppose I'll get a lot of comments accusing me of some form of snobbery or something, but it has to be said:How did Labour (and Labour voters) imagine that a postman, a merchant seaman, some housewives etc... were going to be able to run a country? Just exactly what qualifies them to do that in terms of training or experience? And, it must be said, also in terms of intellect for most of the Labour MPs, many of whom have shown themselves to be totally lacking in all three and yet those most lacking in these qualities are the ones that end up as ministers and even, God help us, on the Privy Council where decisions are made in secret and even Parliament doesn't have a say, let alone a vote.You can see what happens when people with no idea are let loose for a long time if you look at places like Zimbabwe, which shows that it is possible to turn the "breadbasket of Africa" into a total shambles in less than the lifetime of one person.While we have 99% of the people voting for what's best for their short-term gain we will see the like of these again, sadly. Let's just hope that the electorate wake up after the traditional one term of mis-managed office rather than the three terms that have led to the current crisis.You can call this snobbery if you like, but it's also right and someone has to say it. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:26:31 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=72#comment54 51. At 12:50pm on 11 Nov 2009, badgercourage wrote:# 49Prof Nutt did not "publicly campaign against the [government's] decision. He gave a lecture and wrote a paper which the media later picked up on.============================================A public lecture and a published paper is going public for someone who is acting as a government adviser and is in conflict with the government.Would the letter you suggest have ended this? Or would he have continued to push his opinion? Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:22:25 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=71#comment53 50. At 12:28pm on 11 Nov 2009, neebols456 wrote:The decision by Johnson etc was made entirely for political reasons and had nothing to do with safeguarding/or informing the general public.==============================='Political reasons' - well, well, well, I would never have expected that of a politician. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:17:55 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=70#comment52 Please - can we get one thing straight here. The council don't just put scientific facts forward. They consider the wider picture e.g. the wider social consequences of drug use, not just the physical/mental harm they might cause. The committee is made up of police, health workers, people who work in drug programmes, they all have input into the advice which is finally put to the Govt. Therefore Johnson doesn't have to wrestle with the wider implications of 'cannabis being less harmful than tobacco or alcohol', its all there in the report. I say again, his decision was purely political and his insistence that Prof Nutt stand down disgraceful and undemocratic. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:15:49 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=68#comment51 jon112uk #49.neebols456 #50.re. (ir)responsible politicians.that's the nub, isn't it? ministers/governments act capriciously and the civil service (the 'state') has become so involved in party-politics over the last 30 years or so that they cannot fulfill their safe-guarding role anymore. Wed 11 Nov 2009 13:14:17 GMT+1 badgercourage http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=67#comment50 # 49Prof Nutt did not "publicly campaign against the [government's] decision. He gave a lecture and wrote a paper which the media later picked up on.Read Evan Harris's dissection of the Home Secretary's excuses - the link is already posted at #22.And to repeat, the ACMD is a statutory body established by a 1971 Act of Parliament with pretty independent Terms of Reference.The reality is that the HS dug himself a hole, then proceeded to enlarge it.All he needed to say was something like:"Dear Professor Nutt, While I respect the sincerity of the advice you and your Council give, and don't question the eminence of medical and scienctific analysis you provided, I have to consider wider social and political implications as well.I have formed the judgement that the advantages of doing what your Council recommend are outweighed by the disadvantages in the wider policy context, so after careful consideration I have decided to leave cannabis at Class B and Ecstasy at Class A.And while I accept that you disagree with this decision, and that you have the right to state your views publicly, I would rather you avoided the impression of straying into the political domain. I am the one who is ultimately responsible for the political decisions, and have to justify and explain these to Parliament and the public.We will of course keep this under review and I suggest I meet with your Counil in six months to discuss this again, when the current fevered media debate will have died down.I am sure we can continue to work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect.etc. etc" Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:50:37 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=66#comment49 # 49That's the whole point - the advice should be on the science, it is up to the politicians or officials to factor in other issues - and then take responsibility for it.================================================================Actually you will find that the scientists also factor in the other issues before proffering their advice. The committee is made up of a wide range of people from different backgrounds. The decision by Johnson etc was made entirely for political reasons and had nothing to do with safeguarding/or informing the general public.PS. When has a politician every taken responsibility for anything - get real. Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:28:59 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=64#comment48 47. At 11:42am on 11 Nov 2009, jr4412they resign because politicians actions (this gov't or next) threaten the independence of scientists==============================No they don't.The advisers can remain independent - I'm not suggesting anyone should change their advice just because senior people don't accept it.What you can't do while working in an official capacity is to publicly campaign against the decision. I don't think you can do that whilst still working as an adviser - if you feel that strongly then you need to resign. This is not the main source of income for them. It's not like if most people resign and then can't pay their mortgage.(My politics? I don't care which government it is - I have worked for this one and the last. Probably will for the next. That's the whole point - the advice should be on the science, it is up to the politicians or officials to factor in other issues - and then take responsibility for it. Advisers only take responsibility for the advice.) Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:06:01 GMT+1 pandatank http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=63#comment47 the problem is that the druggies try to make everyone else look stupid ...one in three crimes committed in this country are by drug users needing money to feed their habit.. it is the duty of government to ...protect the rest of us from the results of the misuse of drugs..not any one of us knows of the long term effects of any drug use but if alcohol is anything to go by then use of drugs will either severely restrict your length of life or the quality of life in later yearsYou've made yourself look stupid and prejudiced. By calling cannabis smokers "druggies" and then ascribing to them the crimes commited by physically addicted Class A users shows you're not even qualified to talk about drug use, never mind misuse (and the categories thereof). How does prohibition protect us from the results of misuse when the 'criminals' you are already punishing commit 1 in 3 crimes, and the Netherlands, Portugal and even our own temporary dabbling with Class C, show downturns in aqcuisitive crime figures?There are plenty of long term studies of cannabis use. In fact the flawed links to "cannabis psychosis" are based on long term studies where the conclusions have been "pick & mixed" to be "on song" with the Govt. message. There has also been the censoring(in the US) of all Cannabis research data pre - 1984 (of which there are 1000's of papers, mostly proving its lack of harm) by disallowing it as evidence for constitutional and legal argument. (Note. post 1984 research has been funded by the "anti-cannabis lobby" using alcohol & tobacco money to 'prove harm'. Impartial or pro-cannabis studies are not funded or even illegal thanks to the more rcent "War on Drugs" legislation.The A.M.A. actually tried (too late) to get the Anti-Marijuana Bill of the 30's repealed, on the grounds that they didn't realise that the "Marijuana" they were making illegal was actually the same as the Cannabis they were prescribing. This was media -inspired "knee jerk" legislation pushed through in response to a concerted media campaign by W.R.Hearst (who didn't want to pay his newly unionised mexican labour force the going rate)and funded by Du Pont whose patented processes for bleaching lumber pulp (paper) and their formula for nylon (Rope & textiles) were threatened by an established market using Hemp-based products. Wed 11 Nov 2009 12:04:58 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=62#comment46 jon112uk #43, #45."Let's be clear - I'm no supporter of this government."but perhaps of the next?"..if these academics feel they can not accept the role of an ADVISER then it is apropriate for them to resign."they resign because politicians actions (this gov't or next) threaten the independence of scientists -- and arguably, the fabric of society --, and politicians ignore the framework within which advise is to be given, ie. Professor Nutt was sacked ispite of his having adhered to his ACMD remit, five of his colleagues have shown they have a 'backbone'."Mostly they think about the consequences for their own career (cynical, but I think it's true)."may well be true, doesn't make it defensible."..would suggest they should take a certain course of action but we all know they will never do it."'Events, dear boy, events'(H Macmillan) Wed 11 Nov 2009 11:42:10 GMT+1 Eric http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=60#comment45 I suppose the government thought it ought to be able to 'amend' a report from the drugs advisory committee in the same dodgy way that it did that famous dossier about those Weapons of Mass Destruction that could hit us in a matter of minutes. Experts who provide their professional advice free don't seem to appreciate that the ministers they advise need to say things that the public prints will support if they are to keep their jobs with salaries - and expenses.Ministers know they ended boom and bust. They know we were the country that would come out of recession first. What right have experts to bother ministers with facts? Especially facts that will upset USA arms or tobacco companies. Wed 11 Nov 2009 11:36:43 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=59#comment44 40. At 09:45am on 11 Nov 2009, BobRocket wrote:We assume that Ministers put their vested interests to one side when they are taking advice and creating policies, instead relying on sound evidence and good judgement. ======================================Bob - I don't think you should rely on that.The politicians, civil servants, qango bureaucrats etc all listen but then think first and foremost about what the consequences of their decision will be. Mostly they think about the consequences for their own career (cynical, but I think it's true).There are lots of things where cold hard logic, or 'doing the right thing,' would suggest they should take a certain course of action but we all know they will never do it. Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:48:00 GMT+1 swoopster25 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=58#comment43 Really went off Johnson when he he was a awful on question time a few months agoCouldn't bring himself to critisice postmen because of his background showed him up as pretty shallowNow he's in a real job with real exposure he's looking pretty lightweight I'd say. Certainly no leader in waiting Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:47:55 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=56#comment42 Let's be clear - I'm no supporter of this government.However, if these academics feel they can not accept the role of an ADVISER then it is apropriate for them to resign.Advisers advise. Decision makers (managers, executives, politicians) make the decision. They can accept the advice, reject it entirely or take it into account but also factor in other issues. No one is obliged to accept and act on ADVICE.(I write this as someone who has and still does give advice to government departments on very specialist topics. Some they accept, some they don't. If I'm not happy I walk away. No problem.) Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:40:41 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=55#comment41 BobRocket #40.re. D Miliband interview, given the last few sentences of #28, am I alone in thinking that "We can deal with the fears that people have" sounds extremely sinister? Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:08:19 GMT+1 Tim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=54#comment40 @ 33. Sadly, the chocolate teapot to replace Alan Johnson will be Chris Grayling, heaven help us. They may not have too much in common personally, but you couldn't fit a cigarette paper between them politically. Wed 11 Nov 2009 10:03:17 GMT+1 BobRocket http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=52#comment39 It's not just about drugs policy, Alan Johnson is bringing the whole advisor system into disrepute. This has serious knock-on effects on other departments and Ministers. For example Ed Miliband has recently announced a fast track building proposal for new nuclear power stations, reported in the Telegraph 9/11/09 he said 'I think it is right that we go ahead with this. It has a good safety record. There is no evidence that people’s fears about nuclear are grounded, in my view. We can deal with the fears that people have.'OK Ed, where is the evidence ?, who are your advisors ?, is that what they told you or are you selectively using some of their evidence to back up your views ?Or Caroline Flint as Europe Minister not bothering to read the evidence (the Lisbon Treaty) before making pronouncements on it.When Ministers do this kind of thing it only casts doubt upon the veracity of the arguments of their fellow Ministers.We assume that Ministers put their vested interests to one side when they are taking advice and creating policies, instead relying on sound evidence and good judgement. It seems that this faith is mis-placed.Politicians cannot be trusted to run their expense system in a fair and proportionate way, it has been amply demonstrated that they cannot also to be trusted with running the government.It's not Broken Britain, it is Broken Government Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:45:28 GMT+1 Peter David Jones http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=51#comment38 Alan Johnson has got himself in a mess over this. I would imagine that those who have been pushing him forward as a prospective Labour leader are quiet at the moment.There was some truth in what Mr. Nutt said and yet he got sacked,this will hardly encourage scientists in the future will it? What we need is a proper debate on drug issues and Alan Johnson's desparate spinning hinders any real debate. Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:22:08 GMT+1 Richard Savary http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=50#comment37 Mr. Johnson is not the only big shot with his head in the sand, of course. Most notably our President Obama, who once flatly promised that he would respect science and the will of the people, with regard to policy, now ignores science completely and sneers at the largest single block Americans who contact him, regarding the legalization of marijuana. Who says we're slackers?!Normally, that should bring about an appropriate response, i.e. movements in the direction of legalization, but Mr. Obama is prejudiced against marijuana. He won't consider the science because then he'd have to support legalization, and THAT wouldn't be politic, now would it? It might earn him some grief? It might upset some well-placed constituents? Notably, it WOULD also and finally be honest and just. Legalization WOULD eliminate most of the problems the government blames on drugs, and the science DOES back that up. Isn't it about time we gave it a chance? Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:07:20 GMT+1 Have your say Rejected http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=48#comment36 If the point of drug policy is too minimise harm to the wider society then it has failed and Prof. Nutt is right too advise ministers and the public as he is suppose to do about the actual dangers of the various drugs. If as a scientist he feels the drug law is failing, as (ex-)head of the ACMD it is his duty to make his feeling known. The information and advice the ACMD give isn't just scientific as MP's keep saying, the ACMD are there too advise on many social harms drugs may cause not just scientific. That is why there isn't just scientists on the board. Wed 11 Nov 2009 09:02:54 GMT+1 slightlyallthetime http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=47#comment35 There is a simple way of removing these stupid politicians from our lives and that is not to vote for them.The truth is that governments get into power on a minority vote,most people vote against the incoming government or dont vote at all,and those that do vote are influenced by The Sun or The Telegraph,and there is the root of the problem,we all have a Sun reader mentality government,dumbed down,celebrity obsessed,simple minded with a blinkered vision of the U.K's future.Anything that threatens their vision of Britain,and cannabis is one of their perceived threats,is discounted regardless of the evidence to the contrary,so deep is their fear of cannabis that they'll do and say anything to stop people using it.Far better that we promote the use of alcohol and watch our young people staggering around the streets at closing time,throwing up and falling over,getting into altercations and starting fights,van loads of cops and ambulances in attendance to deal with useless and incoherent drunks.I'll bet that not one of these politicians takes a walk around any British city centre at closing time on a Saturday night.So this is U.K 2009,30 years on from when the rot really set in,with the policies of greed and "no such thing as society",and not much has changed since then,this lot in power are just a continuation of that with the only difference being the name of the party. Wed 11 Nov 2009 08:51:34 GMT+1 Richard Savary http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=45#comment34 One thing should be clear: science advisers are not there to be ignored! And they are not flunkies of politicians, either. Stating conclusions is a proper part of every scientist's role. Adding insult to injury, these guys are unpaid volunteers. The government has no right to silence them, and as a citizen (albeit of the US), I don't want them silenced. Sound policy will always be based on scientific facts, where they apply, NOT on the demands of private interests, prejudice, propaganda and fear, as is sometimes the case today, e.g. marijuana prohibition. Wed 11 Nov 2009 08:41:18 GMT+1 BobRocket http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=44#comment33 It is not just the ACMD that is being ignored by the government, it seems to be endemic Time limits for DNA Wed 11 Nov 2009 08:36:35 GMT+1 Briantist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=43#comment32 I wonder which other chocolate teapot will replace Alan Johnson? They can't be many left to try. Wed 11 Nov 2009 08:07:15 GMT+1 John1948 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=41#comment31 Quote from LibDem Dr Evan Harris"The fact the resignations come after Alan Johnson met the ACMD demonstrates he just doesn't get it when it comes to the importance of respecting the academic freedom and integrity of independent, unpaid, science advisers." Has Alan Johnson said that Prof Nutt should not say what he has said about drugs? No, he hasn't. If Prof Nutt has academic authority to back his statements they should be respected by the public at large even if he is no longer the Chair of the ACMD. His academic freedom is unaffected. So Alan Johnson is not trying to become part of the thought police in this case.The question is whether his integrity has been respected. That's more difficult to judge. The nature of the politician/adviser relationship is about defining boundaries and where there are boundaries there are always going to be arguments about where they should be. However if an adviser wants to be in a position of making decisions they have to become politicians otherwise they have to accept that their advice may not be put into action.What is clear is that Prof Nutt overstepped the boundary as far as Alan Johnson was concerned. The problem seems to be that this has caused a rift in the 'drugs advice community' which does not serve the development of policy well. Prof Nutt must have known that this would be a consequence of his pushing a politician too far and puts into question his integrity.Those who would defend him by saying that he is a scientist and not a poltician understand very little about how you become the chair of a government advisory committee. Wed 11 Nov 2009 07:56:45 GMT+1 Briantist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=40#comment30 It is only under the illumination of these scientists that the true dimness of our politicians can really be seen.I know it's democracy, but it seems very odd to put a postman in charge of the Home Office. Wed 11 Nov 2009 07:36:28 GMT+1 calmandhope http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=39#comment29 Ah if only a minister could admit that they had made a mistake here, it won't happen though. Darren at 29, its not even a case of being able to have fun in my opinion, its a case that while yes the government may know best in some areas (although probably not with the current lot in there), its a case that this is a nation of adults who can take responsibility for their own actions. They don't need to be punished simply because they smoke something that was outlawed because of pressure from other groups, and from people with vested interests. And now because of years of lies telling us exactly how harmful this drug is supposed to be, we're in this position now where the main parties are to afraid to try and sort it for fear of angering their sponsors and the papers that put them in power. This country desperately needs a reshuffle from the top to the bottom, and in my opinion a whole new parliamentary system, as this one is supposed to be the best in the world and we get people ignoring their advisers and firing them? What kind of example are we setting? To be honest I can see why they people of Afghanistan don't want a government if its going to be based on ours (not saying the tale-ban have the right idea by the way). Sorry to start ranting so early in the morning but this has just really got to me recently. Wed 11 Nov 2009 07:23:58 GMT+1 Darren http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=37#comment28 I really am sick and tired of the political system in this country. The politicians just dont listen to the will of the people. They treat us like kids or idiots. Well i think its time for change. I would like to see the same system employed in this country as the one they've got in Amsterdam, not just with regard to the legalisation/decriminalisation of drugs but also covering prostitution. I've been to Amsterdam a few times, and i was amazed because i felt like i was being treated as an adult. Whats wrong with being allowed to have some fun? I dont know why the parties dont offer to legalise/decriminalise drugs as a new policy for the next election, and do something radical for a change, what a vote winner it would be! Perhaps if more people were on drugs they would be less inclined towards fascism and the BNP.I hope that the issues around Proffesor Nutt and drugs, continue to smoulder and damage the political system, and that, with the help of people like Proffesor Nutt, we may slowly begin drifting towards a more sensible approach to drugs etc in this country. Wed 11 Nov 2009 02:14:54 GMT+1 Doctuer_Eiffel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=36#comment27 "What does the phrase "the discussions were very constructive" mean? "It means they said hello. But they are not prepared to publicly admit they said hello. Which may, for all anyone knows, be a political euphemism for they rolled a few joints for later after the meeting.I think professor Nutt was only doing what any professional does when an abusive employer bases a decision on simpleton morality and not on the whole picture with a coherent analysis of the circumstances both personal and societal. He was merely distancing himself and the organisation he worked for from politicians who have no ethical responsibility and continually massage their own careers and pockets.Good luck Professor, a very large percentage of the population including people from all walks of life see the legal pursuit of cannabis users illogical, absurd, and a complete waste of police time.Holland is closing many prisons due to lack of prisoners. A saving of police time and a large chunk of tax payers money with a reduction in crime because less people are being pushed into harder drugs which do not remain in the body after testing. The British government by its action is effectively pushing heroin. The same heroin that finances terrorists in Afghanistan. Not very bright of our politicians. In fact they look utterly stupid and un-vote-worthy. But then what does anyone expect from the Conservative or Labour Parties really?...Oh yes! more CCTV more ID cards more... yes the list goes on... and let me guess there have been no studies on how many people have been driven paranoid by being watched continually by the British government which operates more surveillance than the former Stalinist DDR(East Germany) ever had. Wed 11 Nov 2009 01:24:14 GMT+1 David B http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=35#comment26 It now seems that there were lies told to parliamentFrom timesonline'The Home Secretary, who will meet the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) told the House of Commons last week that Professor Nutt had failed to notify his department before starting a public debate on drugs policy.Professor Nutt, however, confirmed to The Times last night that the Home Office had known in advance of the lecture that Mr Johnson cited as the reason for his dismissal.He consulted Paul Wiles, the department’s chief scientist, and the ACMD secretariat while preparing it, and it was even publicised on the Home Office website.Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat science spokesman, has written to Mr Johnson and the Speaker asking him to apologise for misleading the House, and to correct factual errors in his Commons statement.'If this is the case, the Home Sec really has to go. Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:45:31 GMT+1 paul http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=33#comment25 I think Johnson was right to sack Nutt his work on synthetic so called harmless alcohol is a clear conflict of interest Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:42:22 GMT+1 John Ellis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=32#comment24 #8 agree that tobacco and alcohol should be added to the list.harass your MP to vote Science for drug policy.http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=39505&SESSION=899Its Sad to see a well established body now go through these tribulations over the writes and wrongs of voicing concern that we are doing more harm than good with our current outlook on drugs.Worldwide drug trade has existed since man has been able to travel to the next village. Drugs are as freely available to those that want them as never before the choice wider and in most cases more addictive, to continue to hide our heads in the sand over them is a road to our own ruin both for the health and social well being of the public and political thought and motivation. How can a government accuse 3.5 million of its subjects whom use cannabis criminals and combatants in this argument, there not they are mostly hard working people who through social injustice and Hate propaganda are forced to live secret lives much like gay men were made to pre 50's when loving someone of the same sex was a crime punishable with prison.We are taught via our social policies that we must accept all race all belief, same sex couples that we are not to discriminate from one another for any reason... but its okay for people to be criminalised for not choosing alcohol to relax to enjoy ones self. The Science is sweeping away the Myths of the Past the truth is uncomfortable for a lot of people educated on the propaganda of Myth. Yes there are great social harms to drugs for people in all walks of life but not so many when they are controlled and regulated. What strikes me as funny in all this is you wouldn't leave a pedophile in charge of a school the greatest of precaution is taken to make sure a child can not be harmed, well the same is true for drug dealers but for some strange reason the government and the public think its fine to have these Random People Living in Random Places to sell Drugs To Random Children for PROFFIT.I hope the rest of the council follows and any MP who doesn't call for evidence based policy is only out for themselves and brownie points of Mr Brown. Wed 11 Nov 2009 00:09:05 GMT+1 ls1487 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=31#comment23 > What does the phrase "the discussions were very constructive" mean? The only thing I can think of is that it that it meant that they spent the meeting discussing whether or not the upcoming resignations would count as constructive dismissal. Tue 10 Nov 2009 23:53:16 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=29#comment22 furball #21.given that many of us know that the problem is political, rather than one of public health concerns, perhaps it is time to assemble an information pack that collates references such as the documents referred to in the (excellent) link you gave in #15 and then use this when engaging the local MP?they won't like it, and they'll continue to squirm and prevaricate, but at least they wouldn't be able to hide behind their (supposed) ignorance any longer. Tue 10 Nov 2009 23:45:17 GMT+1 grumpynotoldman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=28#comment21 http://drevanharrismp.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/nutt-sacking-johnson-responds-and-is-still-wrong This tells us what lengths Home Office will go to get their tame & ignorant politicians to distort the facts, the evidence and the information, in front of parliament where, as mentioned, it cannot be "actioned" and questioned in a court. I hate these people and the way their lies eat at our society.I just watched another episode of the "The Thick of it" on the BBC iplayer.Armando Ianucci gets it, why can't anyone else? Oh they do!http://page.politicshome.com/uk/majority_of_voters_would_welcome_drug_legalisation.htmlself selecting........ but hey!!!!Government ignores this at their peril. Tue 10 Nov 2009 23:32:53 GMT+1 furball http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=27#comment20 @jr4412Oh yeah - the entire "Ecstasy is no more dangerous than Horse-riding" does _not_ mean "Ecstasy is no worse than riding a horse" fiasco.. Typical polictical restatement. Move the argument from the quantifiable to the moral and you can't lose .. *sigh* Tue 10 Nov 2009 23:20:20 GMT+1 Dave Manchester http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=25#comment19 "No government has done more for the scientific community than this government."I'm sure Dr David Kelly would have some comment on that, were he still breathing...@oldsitkaspruceNutt kept within his remit, which was to advise. The government is of course under no obligation to follow that advice, but then Dr Nutt wasn't under any obligation to keep quiet when a series of Home Secretaries not only ignored the science - despite protestations of "science-based policy" - but actively lied.The bald facts are the war on drugs we've been pursuing relentlessly has been one hell of an expensive failure, the market has increased year-on-year, the number of addicts has increased and crime gangs have gotten to the point they practically run parts of, not only some cities, but actual nations.Now we can continue doing the same failed routine - one definition of insanity - or we can adopt a policy that has actually demonstrably succeeded, like Portugal, where decriminalization has lead to a reduction of drug use, overdoses, HIV infections and deaths.Now the Daily Mail crowd may hate that little fact, but then their readership has a more tenuous grasp of reality than most druggies. Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:33:08 GMT+1 watriler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=24#comment18 Perhaps if Alan Johnson sent a hand written note to Professor Nutt to patch things up then maybe...... Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:18:42 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=22#comment17 badgercourage #12."..a backbencher all his time as an MP, is not an official spokesman for the Tories."agree, still, sort of an indicator/weather vane of things to come.furball #13."I find it remarkable that he was removed for expressing opinions he had publicly stated before his appointment.."apparently it was Jaqui Smith whom he 'offended' earlier this year, Alan Johnson seems not to have been given a choice. ;) Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:09:59 GMT+1 badgercourage http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=21#comment16 #10It is not true that Prof.(not Mr.) "Nutt was sacked for speaking outside the remit he was given end of story".The Advisory Council of the Misuse of Drugs is an independent body set up by the the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act and has a statutory duty to give its views on matters of drug policy including classification - whether Ministers ask them or not.Just look it up on the internet if you want to read the detail. But I'll quote briefly from its Terms of Reference:"to keep under review the situation in the United Kingdom with respect to drugs...and to give to any one or more of the Ministers, where either Council consider it expedient to do so or they are consulted by the Minister or Ministers in question, advice on measures (whether or not involving alteration of the law) which in the opinion of the Council ought to be taken for preventing the misuse of such drugs or dealing with social problems connected with their misuse, and in particular on measures which in the opinion of the Council, ought to be taken."I would say that as Chair of the Council and its spokesperson Prof. Nutt was only doing what he was supposed to do, and presumably with the consent of the other members of the Council otherwise they would have said so at the time.He wasn't a paid Government adviser, just a scientist telling it as he saw it. Tue 10 Nov 2009 22:02:04 GMT+1 Calaba http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=20#comment15 Again, the trouble is that politicians don't understand Science. First, Science doesn't magically stop where politics begins, which is what you'd imagine if you started listening to the politician's side of things. Sorry, but Prof. Nutt stayed SQUARELY within his well-defined remit. If he didn't, they'd better specify how, and provide EVIDENCE for this. Imaginary lines in the sand and un-written rules don't count for much - these "rules" need to be clearly written down if they're to be taken seriously. Secondly, they don't understand the peer review process - a system that most/all scientists on this board will be submitting their work to. This is a slow process, and at the end of it, their work WILL be published. Sending out "messages" while the scientist's work is in peer review does NOT magically override the peer review process. If politicians don't like it, tough luck. Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:55:06 GMT+1 furball http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=18#comment14 oldsitkaspruce:(Interesting name, btw)Do you drink at all ? Smoke ? Perhaps overindulge in neurofen or cocodamol ? ( common amongst the "ladies who lunch", I have found)Perhaps you might like to take a look at Portugal.They effectively decriminalised ( not legalised ) all recreational pharmeceuticals in 2001. And, remarkable as it may seem, that appears to have had a more benficial effect on society in general than the previously Draconian treatment.Drugs policy is only that : policy.. It is not based on any fact or quantifiable harm. If you're looking for further proof , examine the United States' behaviour over the schedule 1 definition of ecstasy in the 80s.. Or, more recently, the threats that were presented to the WHO if their review of Cocaine was ever published..http://transform-drugs.blogspot.com/2009/06/report-they-didnt-want-you-to-see.html Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:52:07 GMT+1 Harry178 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=17#comment13 Seems clear to me. Get the scientist to go away and research a problem in a scientific way, then when they report their findings tell them that they are not in line with what the Government wants to hear. Scientists rightly get the raving hump that their researched and considered views are not just ignored but had been prejudiced before hand, speak up on this and are then sacked.Message sent from Government says you may be independant but you are not allowed to think for yourself (take note Bank of England and FSA) or else we will sack you.Not rocket science is it.......unless that's what the Government wanted! Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:51:21 GMT+1 furball http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=16#comment12 Hrmm.I find it remarkable that he was removed for expressing opinions he had publicly stated before his appointment.. The horizon program "Is Ecstasy worse than Alcohol" is a point in fact.. Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:41:48 GMT+1 badgercourage http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=14#comment11 # 8Interesting.But I suspect Sir John Butterfill, who has been a backbencher all his time as an MP, is not an official spokesman for the Tories. After this fiasco they will presumably learn the lesson, although it's depressing that Christopher Grayling (the Shadow Home Secretary) rushed to agree with Alan Johnson before he realised what a hole Johnson was digging. They have been very quiet on the subject in the last few days... Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:39:38 GMT+1 curiousman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=13#comment10 It's a pity the politicians don't understand science. Scientists deduce results in accordance with the available data. What Professor Nutt did was just that. Two points:1) The reason the government wishes to retain consumption of alcohol and tobacco is that these provide revenue through taxation (and of course are enjoyed by many). If Alan Johnson had said this there would be no furore, and; 2) If more politicians understood science instead of being classicists, lawyers or similar they would understand the problem (as they do in France AND they've got viable nuclear power, haven't they? But that's another story!) Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:34:53 GMT+1 oldsitkaspruce http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=12#comment9 Mr Nutt was sacked for speaking outside the remit he was given end of story ...if he did not like the job and the remit he should have resigned and that would have given him a clear line to say what he wants ...once you take any responsible job you are constrained by the remit to control your output Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:32:04 GMT+1 oldsitkaspruce http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=10#comment8 I think we all understand the problem and the problem is that the druggies try to make everyone else look stupid when in fact they are the idiots for taking drugs in the first place ...so do not pass the buck ..sort yourselves out and get on with your lives,,,one in three crimes committed in this country are by drug users needing money to feed their habit..no doubt there are people who can afford their habit but it is the duty of government to protect those who cannot and protect the rest of us from the results of the misuse of drugs..not any one of us knows of the long term effects of any drug use but if alcohol is anything to go by then use of drugs will either severely restrict your length of life or the quality of life in later years Tue 10 Nov 2009 21:28:42 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=9#comment7 Gurubear #4.continuing #6."Indeed, one scientist interviewed by the BBC on the News Channel was very critical of Nutt and felt the committee was out of touch.In his 2007 article on ecstasy in the Lancet he claimed that it generated less pleasure than smoking a cigarette - which would make one question its popularity!When you look at the record, you wonder that he had not been kicked out of the job ages ago."I understand you work in advertising (or so you said in another blog), how does that qualify you to question the records of scientists?badgercourage #5."And the next government will be no better, though perhaps cleverer at the public relations..."on the evidence of an email I received from Sir John Butterfill (Con.), I doubt it. quote:"A future Conservative Government would tackle drug abuse that blights communities up and down the country. We will ensure drug offenders are properly punished, introduce abstinence-based treatment orders to tackle addiction and set up a proper Border Police Force to stem the flow of drugs onto our streets."Mark Easton.regarding the 'Drugs: the facts' table published on the BBC, do you think you could persuade your colleagues to include alcohol and tobacco, if only for completeness? Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:53:34 GMT+1 Matt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=8#comment6 "If the scientific community believes that what happened to Professor Nutt was in any way indicative of the government not respecting scientific advice, we will seek to reassure them that is not the case."No, I'm sure ignoring the evidence and advice proferred by said council in place of break-neck politicking for votes and favour did that just fine. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:42:28 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=6#comment5 Gurubear #4."The trouble is that a lot of people who are at the sharp end of the drugs war think that this committee was living in the past, had no concept of the social impact of drug taking, and basically had been talking rubbish for the last 10 years."who are these people you mention? shareholders in breweries and distilleries? can you give names and examples?the statistics do not bear out your assertion; see for instance reports from the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland. even in the UK statistics showed a decrease of new users following re-classification to 'C'. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:41:27 GMT+1 badgercourage http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=5#comment4 I'm not sure that the problem is that the politicians don't understand the science.In fact I'm sure they do, or at least enough of it for decision-making purposes..I would risk a small wager that Alan Johnson understands perfectly well that cannabis, though harmful, is less harmful than booze and cigs. And I'm sure he realises that, statistically, Prof. Nutt is right about "equasy".But he and his colleagues and political advisers just don't like what it's telling them, as they fear the political implications. So they (metaphorically, at least in the UK) shoot the messenger.What they ideally would like is another lot of scientists who will tell them that their policies are justfied. Policy-based evidence,as the jargon goes.And the next government will be no better, though perhaps cleverer at the public relations... Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:37:19 GMT+1 Hastings http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=4#comment3 The trouble is that a lot of people who are at the sharp end of the drugs war think that this committee was living in the past, had no concept of the social impact of drug taking, and basically had been talking rubbish for the last 10 years.Indeed, one scientist interviewed by the BBC on the News Channel was very critical of Nutt and felt the committee was out of touch.In his 2007 article on ecstasy in the Lancet he claimed that it generated less pleasure than smoking a cigarette - which would make one question its popularity!When you look at the record, you wonder that he had not been kicked out of the job ages ago. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:31:06 GMT+1 telecasterdave http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=2#comment2 Whenever a politician speaks on a subject such as global warming, drugs, alternative energy, carbon capture etc. you know they do not understand that particular subject. They only understand fact manipulation to suit their own agenda. Alan Johnson is a union rep that went into politics and is in way too deep. He would be a joke as Prime Minister just like Brown. Dumb down Britain inhabits Westminster. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:18:51 GMT+1 grumpynotoldman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=1#comment1 Miscalculated! As in; he (Johnson & all his Home Secreatarial predeccessors except Blunkett, who while blind seems actually to be a bight more insightful)) has no idea what it means to add up, subtract, or divide (except perhaps to rule) as in; poor management practice."Only one advisory committee.."!?The one where a sizeable chunk of society get marginalised,criminalised & imprisoned for a relatively harmless activity / behaviour which if decriminalised, might actually give this Govt some credibility with the floating voters who accepted their (wrong) view that 24 hour drinking would give us a continental style drinking culture.Remember the texts to all the 18 year olds before the '97 vote.We are all 12 years older and a great deal wiser.The Home Office wants to keep as much CRIMINAL JUSTICE in everyday life as it can, otherwise the Power and Money fade away to Health and Social Care.How did I get this cynical and sceptical? Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:14:02 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/11/more_scientists_quit_as_nutt_r.html?page=0#comment0 Mark Easton."..it seems clear that Mr Johnson has miscalculated the strength of feeling."well, we can hope that the pressure from the scientific community, together with the evidence from various EU countries, will force this government (and the next) to frame policies that are beneficial for the public health and the wider society. Tue 10 Nov 2009 20:11:21 GMT+1