A grown up conversation about drug use in Scotland

Lorna Slater,the co-leader of the Scottish Greens last week sparked off a bout of puritan pearl clutching from the usual Scottish Conservative suspects when she tried to make a perfectly sensible and grown up point about recreational drug use. Speaking on the Unitribal podcast the Green co-leader and minister remarked that recreational drugs are not “inherently dangerous” in and of themselves. However she added that drugs become dangerous because then users cannot get them safely and drug dealers operating illegally are incentivised to sell dangerous and adulterated product in order to maximise their profits as quickly as possible. It ought to be obvious that quality control does not figure high on the list of priorities of the criminal gangs who control the drug trade.

Naturally this sensible and adult contribution to the conversation about drug use provoked predictable outrage from right wing politicians and commentators who have zero concern for working class communities where there is an epidemic of drug use and who equally predictably refrained from the same paroxysms of condemnation when it came to the admitted use of Class A drugs by the likes of David Cameron, Boris Johnson, or Michael Gove. Murdo Fraser said that the Green co-leader was an embarrassment, and to be fair Murdo knows a lot about being an embarrassment to the extent that his name has become synonymous with politicians making arses of themselves in public. “There’s been a Murdo” has become a shorthand phrase to telegraph that the Scottish Tory MSP has yet again embarrassed himself and his party on social media. Impressively Murdo has managed to achieve this entirely without the use of mind bending drugs. His mind goes to a bizarre alternative reality with no need of any chemical assistance to get there.

The Green co-leader is in favour of decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. A few points of clarification are necessary here. Decriminalisation is not the same as legalisation. It does not mean that you’d be able to go into a shop and buy two ounces of cannabis and baggie of cocaine. The possession of drugs for personal use would remain unlawful, however the difference with decriminalisation is that the possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal use would become an offence without a criminal penalty.

Possession with intent to supply would remain an offence which is prosecuted, just as it is at the moment. The idea behind decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use is that drug use ought to be treated as a health issue not a criminal one, it doesn’t help a person struggling with a drug habit to enmesh them in the criminal justice system, it merely adds to the personal problems which drove them to inappropriate drug use in the first place, and compounds them by giving them a criminal record which makes it even harder for them to get a decent job and escape the criminal milieu of the illegal drug scene.

However when you are a politician in Scotland who attempts to initiate a serious and adult conversation about Scotland’s problematic record with drug use and the appalling number of deaths due to drugs in this country in the hope of finding a solution which works, because it ought to be self-evident that the current punitive policy of blanket criminalisation is failing badly, you immediately run into the hysterical opposition of those whose understanding of drug policy remains locked in the Just Say No or Go to Jail nostrums of the 1980s, a strategy which has not prevented an epidemic of drug use and a truly dreadful annual death toll. And for every soul added to the terrible toll of drug deaths there are dozens more eking out lives of despair and desperation on the margins, spending their days doing what they can, whether legal or illegal, to scrape together the cash to get them a hit which will get them through the night, until one day their lifeless body is found in the dingy close where they went to shoot up their last. It’s no way to live, and it’s no way to die.

Criminalisation makes drugs far more dangerous, it encourages criminal gangs to adulterate their product with dangerous substances in order to bulk up volume and weight. The gangs have no concern that these substances might be extremely dangerous when ingested or injected.

It’s not just Lorna Slater who believes that the current war on drugs is failing to prevent or reduce the use of recreational drugs, and failing to prevent far too many people in Scotland from dying before their time. In addition it is failing to prevent organised criminal gangs from becoming established in Scottish communities. The only winners here are the right wing politicians who like to pose as being tough on crime. Today the next Moderator of the Church of Scotland also spoke out, saying that, like Lorna Slater, he believes that the personal possession of drugs should be decriminalised and the issue of drugs treated as a public health problem not a criminal justice matter. The Rev. Iain Greenshields said that locking up people who are often “self-medicating” to cope with psychological challenges did not work and instead they should be treated in high-quality residential rehabilitation centres.

We can see whether Murdo Fraser also decries the Moderator of the Kirk as an embarrassment in an effort to depict him as a dangerous radical with dangerous views beyond the pale of decent society. Right wing British nationalists resorted to this tactic as part of their efforts to demonise and marginalise support for Scottish independence. They have no real interest in what really works to reduce the damage caused by drug use. Their attacks are hypocritical and self-serving. In doing so they merely contribute to th infantilisation of Scottish public discourse which is Anglo-British nationalism utilises as one of its methods of control.

With drug policy reserved to a Westminster which has no interest in increasing the powers of Holyrood,sadly there’s little prospect of the change in direction in drug policy which Scotland so badly needs until Scotland recovers the full powers of an independent state. Until then we will remain subject to Tory politicians trying to look tough on crime as they build their profiles on a mounting toll of deaths, broken lives, and shattered families.

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80 comments on “A grown up conversation about drug use in Scotland

  1. Hamish100 says:

    How many tories take drink and drugs, prescribed medication, or otherwise? Alcohol and cigars/ cigarettes permitted. Cannabis and the rest prohibited.

    The tories keep to the tried and tested ie failed system.

    They wish Scots to remain glued to Westminster failed policy. Any semblance of 21st century thinking is not permitted.

    Many drug deaths now are due to the poor souls who got addicted in the 80’s and 90’s. Their bodies have had enough.

    Now back to the 18th century, Where’s my snuff?

    • Stephen M says:

      Drug policy is reserved but health is devolved. A little imagination would go a long way in introducing de facto decriminalisation of drugs. It also presents a good opportunity to start separating off from this toxic tory Westminster. Make them challenge us and defend our actions, in court if necessary, on public health grounds. We really need to start fighting the tory scum that are set to remain in power in England for the foreseeable future.

      • Derek says:

        Perhaps if it’s funded from the health budget then it might not be seen as drug policy and might slip the net that way.
        I found myself doing a lot of repetitive, boring workshop tasks at various points in 2014 and did quite a lot of thinking on drugs and military things as a consequence.

  2. UncleBob says:

    If it was left up to the Tory Party anyone who had mental health issues, drug issues or who preferred a different life style to their idea of “normal” would be in the jail. I want to live in a compassionate Scotland who looks out for everyone, old or young, able or not, all shapes and sizes and above all else individuals with all of their imperfections.

    We need open minds and open hearts. And yes, more grown-up conversations.

  3. Capella says:

    Portugal decriminalised drugs in 2001. It has worked. We have to do the same.

    The opioid crisis soon stabilised, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates. HIV infection plummeted from an all-time high in 2000 of 104.2 new cases per million to 4.2 cases per million in 2015. The data behind these changes has been studied and cited as evidence by harm-reduction movements around the globe.

    https://archive.fo/U1Q0O

    IIRC the new Lord Advocate has relaxed the rules on prosecutions for possession?

    • grizebard says:

      That in a way is the worst aspect of the situation – a proven way forward that is ignored, chiefly because the approach is counter-intuitive and politicians in general are nervous of the predictable reactionary backlash whipped-up by self-appointed judgemental prudes. The lessons of prohibition America are ignored, as if repeating it all over again is somehow going to produce a different result. You might call it groupthink except that all the people most intimately involved (eg. police, doctors) know very well that the current situation is self-perpetuating and will never improve.

      Add to that yet another instance of the insidious Union Dividend, where London fixes the rules of the game but it’s we who are forced to live with the consequences and it’s we who get the blame for the ensuing failure.

  4. Capella says:

    The next paragraph of that Guardian article about Portugal from 2017 is also worth reading:

    Portugal’s remarkable recovery, and the fact that it has held steady through several changes in government – including conservative leaders who would have preferred to return to the US-style war on drugs – could not have happened without an enormous cultural shift, and a change in how the country viewed drugs, addiction – and itself. In many ways, the law was merely a reflection of transformations that were already happening in clinics, in pharmacies and around kitchen tables across the country. The official policy of decriminalisation made it far easier for a broad range of services (health, psychiatry, employment, housing etc) that had been struggling to pool their resources and expertise, to work together more effectively to serve their communities.

    The language began to shift, too. Those who had been referred to sneeringly as drogados (junkies) – became known more broadly, more sympathetically, and more accurately, as “people who use drugs” or “people with addiction disorders”. This, too, was crucial.

    https://archive.fo/U1Q0O

  5. Alex Clark says:

    You would like to think that finding a way to reduce harm through misuse of drugs is something that all political parties could get behind without party politics or ideology getting in the way.

    The politicians, with input from health experts and those working directly to help users with their problems as well as users themselves working together, might then find a better way of dealing with the issues.

    If decriminalisation of drugs has been shown to be successful in helping to alleviate the problems that drug users face then it absolutely should be trialed and politics should not be allowed to get in the way. Unfortunately, as this article makes clear, any Scottish government can only go so far because this is just another area in which Westminster can refuse to work with the Scottish government on this and simply rule it illegal.

    I believe there really is an awful lot more we can do about reducing drug misuse and deaths but only with the powers to change the law that then allow us to do so. It’s true that more money could be spent on residential treatment for addicts and there are plans to do so in Scotland.

    That means that the money must be found from elsewhere but even having the borrowing powers of a normal Independent country would allow so much more to be done without having to cut spending in other important areas from Scotland’s limited spending budget.

  6. James Mills says:

    ”Scotland’s drug deaths are appalling and something should be done about it ! ” Turdo Fraser or any one of the bland clones calling themselves Tories .

    Drug consumption rooms ? ”No ! ”, says the Turdo

    Decriminalise drugs ? ”No ! ” , says the Turdo .

    Devolve drug powers to the Scottish Government ? ”No ! ” , says the Turdo .

    ”What do you suggest we do to alleviate this drug problem , Turdo ?

    ”Hello, Turdo ? …. Turdo , what should we do ? …Turdo ?

  7. Alasdair Sutherland says:

    Many years ago a work colleague described the process for obtaining alcohol in the Muslim country where he once worked (Pakistan if memory serves).
    He registered as an alcoholic. He was then able to buy up to a certain number of bottles of alcoholic beverage every month completely legally, to be consumed in his home, alone or among other ex-pat alcoholics.
    The system worked perfectly well for the Muslim population who abstained, and for the ex-pat community who did not, but who could legally obtain proper, safe, imported alcoholic drinks rather than dangerous home-made brews.
    Surely we should learn from other countries. We could easily establish a system whereby the minority who wish to use certain drugs could register and obtain safe supplies to use at home, but the majority would not be inconvenienced.
    The only losers would be the greedy criminal gangs who make vast profits from their disgusting evil trade. I bet most of them support the Tory party, may even be donors, as the party is itself a cash hungry criminal gang, that would do anything to make money.

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      Surely we should learn from other countries.

      ________

      Agreed. And I’m not qualified one way or the other about the Scottish situation.

      But, I’m surely you’ll also agree, the reluctance, nay, the pig-headed stupidity of the Anglo-Brits in believing in their own exceptionalism, demonstrates that they will never lower themselves down (in their own eyes) to learning anything from Johnny Furriner – and that includes Jock McTavish and Taffy Jones on these islands, too. Consequently, they won’t let us ‘do it for ourselves’, either – Are we not programmed not to be able to make these big decisions by ourselves, and have to leave it to the ‘big boys’ in the ‘real’ Parliament to enlighten us?

  8. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Once again so sorry for the length…just scroll by if want….I won’t know will I …unless you tell me….

    According to Ian Dunt re UK labour’s position on Drug reforms…

    Ian Dunt has written the following in a column yesterday on iews :

    “Last month, Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s chief law officer announced changes to drug law enforcement north of the border. Under her plan, people caught with substances like heroin or cocaine for personal use could be given a police warning rather than face prosecution”.

    “Instead of dismissing it out of hand, Labour leader Keir Starmer looked like he was about to support it……”It was ‘probably’ the right thing to do” Starmer said.”

    “Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds spoke favourably about “non-court disposals for possession.”…..”

    “Their statements were vague, cautious and stuffed full of caveats – classic Labour, really – but there was an unmistakable hint of change. Half a century of cross-party consensus on the war on drugs seemed like it was beginning to fracture. The leader of the opposition was making supportive comments about a de-facto drug decriminalisation programme.

    The backlash was predictable and immediate. Home secretary Priti Patel tweeted that “under Keir Starmer, Labour is weak on crime and weak on the causes of crime”. Boris Johnson used his conference speech to say that only in “the powder rooms of North London” would people want to “decriminalise hard drugs” and “let the gangsters off with a caution”. ”

    “And now, Labour’s position appears to have hardened. “I do not think that what happens in Scotland should be of general application across the United Kingdom,” Starmer said last week.

    Starmer also said ““If I was prime minister of the United Kingdom, I would not be introducing that to the United Kingdom… I wouldn’t be changing the drugs law.”

    Ian Dunt also added that “Dame Carol Black’s review of Drugs for the Home Office found 3 million people took drugs in England and Wales in 2019. That alone, Ian Said, is testament to the utter uselessness of the prohibition model…..”

    Ian continues to argue “But there is an omerta on saying the obvious when it comes to drug policy in mainstream British political debate. Anyone who wants power, or holds it, is barred from admitting that the current system is a catastrophe. It doesn’t matter how demonstrably it has failed. No one can ever say the truth out loud……”

    And he then concludes that “It’s always the same story. They understand the truth away from power but are unable to articulate it when they are near it”.

    “They understand because the truth is inescapable. It is right in front of us, every day: on the streets and the courts and the prisons, in the county lines supply network, in the global smuggling routes, in the regular admission from politicians that they themselves have broken drugs law even though they continue to enforce them against others.

    Its failure is there for all to see, even as they pretend not to notice it. So instead, more users die from unregulated products, more money is pumped into criminal gangs, and more young people have their futures shattered by the criminal justice system. The ruinous farce continues. And it will rumble on, to disastrous effect, until we get a generation of politicians with the bravery to point out the truth of the matter”.

    Ian Dunt is a Labour party supporter however he headed this piece :

    “Keir Starmer’s cowardly stance on drugs flies in the face of the evidence”….

    Ian Dunt now surely knows that if one is to DECREASE/ELIMINATE a public Health problem like Drug use you need a strong , committed , responsive, insightful , brave , caring, supportive, emphatic and innovative government open to advice from experts and indeed via those with lived experience in order to make real change for the better for anyone who is suffering and in desperate need for a government to listen and then act accordingly……stop deaths and start treating this as a public Health matter not a criminal matter for the users…..stop the abusers…. as in the dealers, drug smugglers etc and prosecute THEM…and help the drug users by NOT criminalising them but instead IMPLEMENTING a public health treatment as an appropriate course of action and thus decriminalising the use of drugs for users…the SNP with the Greens seem to want to fulfil the role of competent governance that Unionist parties in the rest of the UK are choosing to leave as a void ( a gaping one)….( or rather avoid…. either works)…………….a void that is crying out to be filled by some conscientious, principled and competent politicians…….whose actions and commitments demonstrate these strengths and traits….sadly lacking in UK led parties.

    Walk the walk and not just talk the talk and pander to a part of society in the UK who seems not to care for anyone other than themselves and who fail to empathise with those less fortunate and in need …..and there are many in the UK who seem to come under this category …..by the Grace of God etc they’re alright….

    So to pander to the fear and priorities of those who lack compassion is perhaps who Ian Dunt refers to when he speaks of politicians and their ” failure” in “an omerta on saying the obvious when it comes to drug policy in mainstream British political debate. Anyone who wants power, or holds it, is barred from admitting that the current system is a catastrophe. It doesn’t matter how demonstrably it has failed. No one can ever say the truth out loud……”….

    So drug use is NOT considered by the Tory and Labour party as a VOTE WINNER thus tis not worth their time to consider possibilities to resolve and then act in a decisive and effective manner via introducing new policy……….and it seems also that one cannot admit the current system fails those in society who fall prey to those who sell these drugs and profit both financially and in the despair of those who buy their drugs….and then via addiction are then penalised by the justice system that is supposed to uphold…what ?

    Indeed it is only to be discussed by them, Labour & Tories, when THE drug stats are released for Scotland then they are both on their high horses and are most adamant of the disgrace of it all and how very upset but not really upset that they are…indeed not even upset enough to promote , support or endorse efforts/initiatives being made/taken by Scottish government or those within Scotland like Drug services, medical experts and in Paul’s article Lorna Slater of the Greens doing her bit to promote decriminalisation of drug possession……all who are seeking an alternate effective solution other than the existing one that solves nothing or helps no one with a drug addiction problem.

    Indeed they talk the talk Labour and Tory while ignoring HOW to walk the walk.(aka unable to)…..it’s votes that counts for them, old UK Boris and Keir , but not apparently the tragic issues experienced by ‘some’ citizens in their UK and how to help and solve the ongoing tragic drug problems of ‘some’ citizens……….crying out for help and seems no one in Politics south of Scotland is listening or caring enough to change their lives for the better………

    Ian must now also realise that to achieve the type of government I specified above as in ones who are willing to consider and respond to a potential and perhaps successful way to deal with the current drug problem via, as he says , by considering a “de-facto drug decriminalisation programme” then he must know that neither Labour or the Tory party ( with or without a Lib Dem coalition) will , via their attitudes , be that type of government especially on this particular issue …where both parties have failed to deliver their own initiatives on dealing with the Drug problem within the UK….other than Lock em UP….as in the wrong people …the TRUE victims of drugs…the drug users….and thus the cycle of abuse against those who are being abused, as in drug users, continues…………and more money is made by the abusers i.e. the dealers, drug smugglers etc…and also deaths….and more mothers in despair at the senseless loss of a son or daughter.

    I assume that Ian knows what holds Scotland back is many of the reserved powers currently being held and abused by the Tory party ( UK Govt.) to prevent progress for all the devolved governments in the UK on such issues , as say , the Drugs policy…..perhaps in the future he will be less inclined to support the notion Scotland is BT with the country he lives in…indeed also less inclined to believe Scots should also support, in the future, the party that he currently supports… i.e. Labour.

  9. Rowdy Yates says:

    A couple of points here. Not to detract from the central thrust of the argument which is well made but just a few technical points. Firstly, decriminalisation will not change the current practice of adulterating drugs. As long as drugs are illegal – and therefore not quality controlled – adulteration will remain an attractive way of making more money. However, it should be noted that this problem is often mischaracterised. Most dealers have no vested interest in seeing their regular clients die for obvious reasons. Most adulterants, therefore, are usually inert substances. Secondly, for clarification, drug policy is NOT reserved. Drug legislation IS. But this does leave the Scottish Government with a great deal of leeway regarding how it responds to the drug problem. I know this is controversial but I wonder whether it might be time to review our current policy of making opioid replacement “therapy” our first choice response. Long-term prescribing of methadone has been the dominant treatment response for the last 30 years. Over that period, both drug use and drug deaths have escalated. But we continue to assume doctors are the experts in this field simply because they are doctors!! Any other treatment response would have been subjected to root-and-branch review by now; particularly given the undeniably negative outcomes. And this IS an issue devolved to the Scottish Government.

    • Not-My-Real-Name says:

      Hi Rowdy

      Re “decriminalisation will not change the current practice of adulterating drugs” that is true and “Most dealers have no vested interest in seeing their regular clients die ” that is also true however die they do and most die because of overdoses and the practice of “adulterating drugs”….and in that the dealers et al care not a jot as know there will always be others unfortunately to buy what they sell……hence why we need to tackle the source of the problem…I see so called county lines and cuckooing as a big problem , especially the latter as usually involves vulnerable people being exploited ………decriminalise possession only or decriminalise drugs…God the second one is a BIG debate for sure…………

      Thanks anyway as you make clear the incorrect points in my argument re my failure to make the distinction being reserved drug policy and drug legislation ….me bad…again…you are quite right in doing so…..as better to put correct info out there as there is enough misinformation being touted to fill Loch Ness….Lol….. see if we were an independent country I nor you would not need to make any distinction such as that…..as all decisions and laws would be as per OUR Govt….and not those pesky kids at WM….

      You make a good point in an alternative possible review of current policy….as agree long term prescribing of methadone seems not to be working…indeed some users still take hard drugs while getting scripts for methadone.

      Anyway I welcome corrections especially when given as politely and informatively as yours….

      Have a nice evening Rowdy and hope to see you comment more on here

      • Rowdy Yates says:

        Hi – in fact, the majority of drug-related deaths over the past three years (I’ve not looked earlier than that) were from a combination of drugs (rather than adulteration). Most commonly found were opioids (including heroin and methadone – mostly prescribed); va lium (including etizolam – commonly called “street valium” although it is significantly stronger); and alcohol. Interestingly, it’s not common practice to estimate levels of alcohol in these cases. This might be a significant omission since there are a few studies where drug users in treatment have been surveyed for their alcohol intake and it has been found to be dramatically over recommended levels (despite those same drug users dismissing their use of alcohol as insignificant).

        • Not-My-Real-Name says:

          Hi Rowdy

          Your level of knowledge far exceeds mine in this area…..and is welcomed… as it is always good to have information that has been well researched……

          Cheers

    • Alex Clark says:

      Prescribing methadone has been controversial ever since it was introduced, other options must have been considered and not implemented. You appear to have a lot more knowledge than me in this so what are the realistic alterantive treatments that you are aware of and why might it be that they are not being implemented?

      • Not-My-Real-Name says:

        Hi Alex

        I take it that your question was for Rowdy not me……if not and was for me then I was only concurring with what Rowdy said based on methadone being used for years and years by some users and when he said “whether it might be time to review our current policy of making opioid replacement “therapy” our first choice response”

        I have no expert knowledge other than when I left home at a very very young age out of necessity ( I am not expanding on that obvs) …and I lived in squats and was friends with people who took hard drugs….I myself did not succumb or be tempted to try them…however my situation may have been a perfect storm of conditions to have become involved with drugs too.

        However you, like I, know that if we were an independent country we might pursue alternative methods other than “opioid replacement therapy” and that could be a good alternative and perhaps one that is worth exploring.

        Though one has to look at the bigger picture as to why people turn to drugs…poverty, neglect and for some an escape from the reality of the life they live……obviously too the vicious cycle, in some cases, of learnt habits via parents addictions etc.

        Have a nice evening

        • Alex Clark says:

          Yes, it was for Rowdy, misuse of drugs is a very real problem and I will not be alone among the people who read this blog that say they have first hand knowledge of the damage it does to individuals, their families and communities.

          This is why I say it is surely one issue that all political parties could work together on so as we may improve the lives of all those affected by drugs. Apparently not and I see that as an utter disgrace that certain politicians will put votes before lives.

      • Capella says:

        Heroin was developed a a substitute for morphine, which was itself a substitute for opium. It was “purer”. But it turned out to be much more addictive and then became the big problem.
        Methadone was developed as a substitute for heroin but it is more addictive and is a problem but it is under the control of the state. So people mix it with other more available street drugs.
        Opium was at least manageable.

        • Alex Clark says:

          What I’m hoping to learn is what other measures that are currently under the powers of the Scottish government can be used in place of methadone as a treatment for heroin addiction?

          If such a treatment exists then why hasn’t it been implemented?

          I suspect that I know the answer and it will be almost certainly to do with cost and the money required for the likes of fully funded drug treatment clinics and residential rehabilitation facilities, as usual, it all comes down to money and that, I believe, is the main reason the Tories are against it.

          • Capella says:

            Most of the American GIs who came back from Vietnam were able to come off heroin when they returned home. They had hope and something constructive to do. Most people come off drugs in their 20s. They want proper jobs, homes and families – a nice car.

            Of course, any mental health issues have to be treated via therapy. Army veterans need special support because of the trauma suffered. Ditto women who become prostitutes to fund a habit. Their children also need support. It does cost money.
            But what’s the alternative?

            The Guardian article I linked to above covers the many strands of Portugal’s policy.
            https://archive.fo/U1Q0O

      • Rowdy Yates says:

        Alex – prescribing substitute substances has been the UK response to addiction since at least the Rolleston Report in 1926. For many years, it was heroin that was prescribed. In the early 1970s with the new Drug Dependency Units, most turned to physeptone (a sort of injectable methadone – despite it’s NOT being recommended for intravenous injection!). Subsequently methadone took central stage. As others on this thread have pointed out, the problem with long-term prescribing of this kind is that it reduces illicit drug use (and criminal activity) but rarely eliminates it. The result is that drug treatment services are now seeing clients whose parents and even grandparents have preceded them in treatment. This is the real cost. By simply addressing the biological element of addiction (and effectively ignoring the sociological and psychological components) we ensure generational transference of addiction. On the other hand, we know that the children of recovered addicts fare better in psychological attitude and social integration than even children of non-addicted parents. Presumably this is because the qualities required to escape addiction and sustain recovery over the long-term are the same as those required to be a good parent.

        So whilst there is no easy answer, my own view would be that we need to invest significantly more in recovery-oriented interventions; particularly residential rehabilitation. Currently, this is seen as an intervention of last resort largely because it is considered to be too expensive for everyone to receive. But this is a very short-sighted view. Whilst substitute prescribing is considered to be cheaper, this is because other costs (housing, A&E, court appearances etc.) come from a variety of sources and are difficult to quantify. It’s also because most comparative studies have too short a time window to measure the whole cost. We know that residential rehabilitation results in significantly higher levels of long-term recovery than prescribing. Those successful outcomes cease to cost society and in fact begin to contribute to it. One long-term Norwegian study estimated that over a six-year post-rehabilitation period, the tax contribution of the successful completers had paid, not only for their own treatment but for the whole study cohort!!

        By contrast, long-term prescribing costs inexorably mount higher and higher over the years and become eye-watering. The only reason these costs are not crippling the health boards is that so many (up to 50% – no evidence that this is because of recovery though) drop out of treatment. I should say that when I describe “recovery”, I am not necessarily talking about abstinence. Rather, I am thinking about people escaping the clutches of a debilitating, self-harming behaviour and beginning to contribute meaningfully to society. I say this because in my view, drugs are NOT the problem. Rather, they are a sign that something is very wrong with the person. Change that and you take away the compulsion regardless of whether someone occasionally uses substances or recreationally drinks alcohol.

        One final point about methadone prescribing (sorry about the length of this but you did ask!!). What do we think Murdo’s response would be if the standard “go-to” treatment for alcoholism were the daily dispensing of whisky????

        • Alex Clark says:

          Rowdy thanks for that very informative response. You won’t be surprised to hear that I too believe that best results may be gained from residential rehabilitation for a great many users of drugs. Longer term of course the best results will come from preventing people from becoming involved with hard drugs in the first place by providing more opportunity for everyone and dealing with the poverty that totally surrounds the areas where drugs are most often used.

          Help for those most in need now and the goal of preventing people from turning to drugs in the first place by dealing with the other social issues that are primarily responsible in the first place. I think we’ll need Independence before we can deal with the latter but we also need to increase funding now to deal with the former, even with our hands tied behind our backs with the financial restraints that are a consequence of being a “dependent” country when it comes to spending our own money.

          • Rowdy Yates says:

            Alex – the thing that I didn’t mention about residential rehabilitation is the current pressure on providers to shorten the length of their treatment programmes. This too is a result of seeing it as an expensive option. In many cases, programmes have been cut to lengths that are unlikely to produce long-lasting results other than with those already strongly motivated. Early therapeutic communities in thew 1960s and 70s usually had programme lengths between 1 and 2 years. Their outcomes were significantly better than todays foreshortened programmes

        • Not-My-Real-Name says:

          Rowdy…

          “Rather, I am thinking about people escaping the clutches of a debilitating, self-harming behaviour and beginning to contribute meaningfully to society. I say this because in my view, drugs are NOT the problem. Rather, they are a sign that something is very wrong with the person. Change that and you take away the compulsion regardless of whether someone occasionally uses substances or recreationally drinks alcohol”

          I agree totally with that. Excellent point.

          If people feel that they are unable to face their perceived demons ( and real ones) and seek instead a self destructive way to blot them out by using either drugs or alcohol then perhaps it is better to determine why some decide to do this ….I mentioned to Alex some people who live in poverty are susceptible to addictions but on the other side of the spectrum are those who are wealthy/privileged and who also take hard drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol…..so what makes them susceptible to certain additive drugs and excessive alcohol as opposed to finding alternate ways to cope with their life and perhaps some past traumatic experiences or inner anguish they feel through some psychological issue they may have…….Some people may incorrectly assume those in a privileged position are immune to addictions especially hard drugs…yet it has been documented and well publicised that many have been addicts and alcoholics….I guess though they have the money to seek private help……but can they be cured ?

          Everyone has lived a life with different experiences …some less fortunate than others….but not everyone, who has endured bad things in their lives, take hard drugs or excessive drink to overcome their demons…….

          So perhaps we should be asking why do people feel drawn to solve their problems or current situation with substances that do the opposite….as in destroy their lives and prevent them functioning and living a so called normal life.

          Your knowledge exceeds mine…I’m only speaking from a human level ( as I know you are too) , where my take may be misinformed or simplistic but I do know about hardship, especially in my early life via a dysfunctional home life and there…thank goodness .. for the grace of God… I did not venture down the road of either taking hard drugs or alcohol…..to ease any pain I felt or to obliterate traumatic memories I experienced..

          Perhaps we should always have been , as a society, talking more about what causes some people to turn to addictive substances to try and prevent people turning to drugs and alcohol as a solution to blot out their pain…..or whatever reasons are determined for their respective journey into addiction.

          Anyways I will leave it to those with more relevant and informed knowledge, such as you, as on this I definitely am a layperson……but I do speak from the heart with good intention….as I know you do to.

          .

          • Golfnut says:

            The real issue here is quite simple, there is a proven method of dealing with the drug problem both in criminal and societal terms which the UK gov is preventing the Scottish gov from implementing.

  10. Alasdair Sutherland says:

    The vast majority of the population suffers from the illegal drug trade by being mugged, burgled and terrorised by the addicts and the criminals supplying them.
    Decriminalising some drugs would alleviate a huge amount of suffering among the general population, the victims of these muggers and other drug related criminals. It would save lives among drug users. It would save a vast amount of police time that would otherwise be used to combat many other types of crime. It’s a win, win, win for most of us.
    The only losers as I see it are the criminal gangs who make vast fortunes from these unfortunates. Why does Murdo Fraser side with the criminal gangs? Has anyone asked him? Or is it too obvious?

    • Derek says:

      I think that you have to allow licensed sales of drugs. The licence should be conditional on purity (in the case of opiates/powders) and, perhaps, a limit on strength in the case of cannabis. Unlicensed dealing will remain illegal; consumption will not.

  11. Dr Jim says:

    When America introduced prohibition on alcohol consumption went up because the people made it themselves from anything they could lay their hands on, I don’t have any figures on how many people burst their heads open or burst their livers apart from drinking the stuff because I don’t believe there are or ever were likely to be such figures because governments in general don’t care to publicise their horrendous mistakes on any level, but I’m willing to bet the numbers were huge

    I don’t suspect many of the drug dealing fraternity are that much different, if folk want it they’ll make it and why should they care a toss about what they make it from

    I’ve personally never consumed any kind of *illegal* drug and I grew up in the era when many of my friends did and some died and have continued to die prematurely from stuff they have not a Scooby where it came from or whether it’s cut with bleach or cement or who knows what the hell with just to spread it out for more profit by the guy at the end of the street who tells you it’s great

    I played in one band where three of the well known members are now all dead from drug use

    It can’t be that the current policy of hiding it or you’re jailed continues so folk will die in hiding because they’re hiding

  12. Gregory Nunn says:

    Cannabis. A plant that in recorded human history has not killed a single person.
    Ever.
    Cancer patients, such as my wife, find incomparable relief from nausea, lack of appetite, and pain.
    Mentally, it enhances mood, making chemo, radiation, and surgery worth the pain, cancer worth fighting, and life worth living.
    And, it grows happily just about anywhere.
    It has no side effects that require another medication, with side effects, that requires another…..
    There is no chemical or other manufacturing required that may cause environmental harm.
    It is damn near ideal, fool proof, and safe, from a medical use perspective or recreational one.
    Virtually all government research to date is seeking negatives, is directed, biased, and flat out bogus. Everywhere, all political persuasions, despotic and democratic, oppose “drugs”, with no honest reasons.
    Not one.
    This is what makes cannabis an easy target for legalisation and a benchmark.
    Something to target, because if we can’t find our way to make cannabis as legal as lawn grass, the Portuguese and other efforts are just fodder for pundits to debate ad nauseam.

    • Derek says:

      I agree…. up to a point. The trouble is that it’s been crossbred for strength, and that upsets the balance of what makes it such a useful plant. Some of the stronger variants have been linked with undesirable mental outcomes, and while this might also be the wrong people taking the wrong strain for them, it’s not for the best.

  13. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Off topic, I know, but I feel the need to tap something serious for a change – not least as some may get the impression I don’t ‘do’ serious. (Long-standing duggers of course know me well enough, I trust, to know that I can be less frivolous when the occasion demands it.

    This is just another peeve in the wall against that biased monolith the BBC.

    Today, the newsreader announced the death of some American TV star who played a character, Gunther, in a situation comedy called. Friends.

    Let’s leave aside the Hello! nature of this report and its importance to a ‘British’ [sic.] audience and why it was deemed of such importance to figure outwith the crises and calamities wished upon us by the Johnsonian regime. I also have no problem with anyone – including those here present – who enjoyed Friends. That is your prerogative, although not mine – and maybe that is my loss.

    No matter. What grated with me was the aside by the news presenter, “Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel, of course, in Friends, led the tributes.”

    You will have gathered that I had to google said Aniston to remind myself that she played this character called Rachel. Maybe I live under a rock. Maybe I frequent to many Scottish indy blogs, but this, ‘of course’, is so annoying. Why, ‘of course’? There are some of us who have never had any interest in Aniston or the shows she stars in. You’re suppose to educate me as to who this person is, not assume with a an almost regal wave, ‘of course we all know that Jennifer Aniston played Rachel in Friends’.

    There. I’m glad I got that off my chest. I can sleep sounder now knowing that fellow duggers will be sympathetic to my polemic.

    Tomorrow is another day.

    • Capella says:

      I have never seen Friends. I used to work regularly in the evenings and weekends and so I never got sucked into soaps and serials. At night on a Tuesday you could drive home through deserted streets where all the houses had an eerie violet glow from the front windows. Dallas was on. I never saw Dallas.

      What I find bizarre is when the tabloids run front page stories about characters in soaps. People who don’t even exist! 😱

  14. Alex Clark says:

    What we are talking about here is policy, it is just one policy in which an Independent Scotland could make a real difference for the lives of ordinary people. Imagine having the right to choose a government for Scotland whose policies you agreed with every time.

    You might not get the government you voted for but the people of Scotland would and I know we will do things a lot differently from what is practised by the Tory and Labour governments in Westminster.

    That’s the only reason needed to vote for Independence as far as I’m concerned.

    • Old Pete says:

      Totally agree with you, take back control and get the government Scottish voters vote for.
      Seems straightforward to me, can’t understand why so many Scottish prefer being under the thumb of a rich right wing Tory clique who don’t give a shit about them.

  15. James Mills says:

    Didn’t Nancy Reagan come up with a simple , effective and cheap remedy to all drug taking ?

    ”Just say No !”

    So , next time you are tempted to indulge in a little illegal drug taking ,Michael Gove – Yes , you guessed it – ”Just say No !”

    This could revolutionise addiction therapies in many fields :

    Alcohol , Gambling , Chocolate , Sex , Voting Tory …

  16. Capella says:

    Scotland didn’t have a drugs problem in the 60s. Yes there were some heroin addicts and marijuana and LSD were beginning to seep into the youth culture after the Beatles and the American Woodstock generation of anti Vietnam war protests spread hope for Love and Peace not War.

    Doctors used to prescribe the morphine that many people took. A great many became addicted after a hospital stay for surgery or similar. My dentist was rumoured to be sampling his own supply. Doctors also prescribed heroin substitutes such as diconal, DF118s, mandrax, amphetamines and many other pain killing and mind altering substances which were freely prescribed to the general population in the early 70s.

    Until the 60s cannabis was mainly used by sailors who brought it back from trips to North Africa and Lebanon. Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis by her doctor.
    (When the chemist in Braemar published their old records the quantity of drugs prescribed to residents and guests at Balmoral was a wonder to behold).

    But IMO the problems flooded into Scotland, in the NE particularly, after the oil wealth meant that there were vast profits to be made. That coincided with the Edward Heath Tory government in the early 70s banning the prescription of diconal. Addicts had nowhere else to go apart from street dealers. Enter the mafia and vast profits just as in Prohibition America. To get the money to buy from dealers, addicts have to be wealthy or steal, become prostitutes or recruit new users. In the USA addicts can also sell blood to blood banks.

    This vicious cycle has to be stopped. Good luck to Lorna Slater, Angela Constance and everyone else willing to take this on and do something constructive at last.

    • deelsdugs says:

      Wholeheartedly agree…and I believe, ‘little white doves’ were useful for the pilots, maybe even the trenchers, in the wars of old…

  17. Alastair Bryan says:

    Yeh, I never thought of that, the real reason the Tories think up all their Facist shit is that they are all as high as kites. It explains the grovee dad dancing and Tressa the teasers impression of ABBA. Dont you just think this country is wonderful. UK. Ok Brexit is just wonderful the Brits are so exceptional . Makes me all fuzzy inside being an aboriginal indigenous Scots subject ruled over by the master race of Eton spivs. The Tory thousand year reich the hammer horror movie for real. Is there not a Nelson Mandela, James Connolly or William Wallace out there that can get us out of this Rotten Corupt Union.

  18. Bob Lamont says:

    Well set down Paul, your “However when you are a politician in Scotland…” paragraph missed out (unless I missed it) one crucial aspect particular to Scotland’s politics – the knee jerk reaction to anything however tenuously connected to SG to score political points.

    I’d never heard of the “Unitribal podcast” let alone listened to it, so went to Google it, couldn’t find it, hence baffled how a few selected words spoken on it causing a media rumpus ?
    Dedicated staff must be trawling daily for nuggets to exploit by “Opposition”, with the ever willing media ready to amplify the latest “disaster”.
    Instead of the reasonable, reasoned and informed discussion in the public domain as exampled in the BTL comments here, all is drowned out by the contrived political furore in the media.
    It is not just right-wing myopia we have to contend with, but toxic political points scoring which then stifles honest public debate.

    Christopher Chope in WM was infamous for objecting to proposals for the sole purpose of them being a government proposal later, to which he then had no objection. Such examples how WM government politics is a cesspit of self-interest, that at Holyrood is even worse, yet from the SG’s Opposition.
    Were SG a Labour administration (humour me), and a Labour MSP had spoken Lorna Slater’s words, there would be no gnashing of teeth, but fulsome praise for insight.
    It’s not just drugs policy which needs drastic overhaul, but Scotland’s politics, and it’s media.

  19. Clydebuilt says:

    People vote Tory because they care about drug users!

  20. Addiction is a result of hopelessness.

    • Clydebuilt says:

      Closing down industries creats Bucketfuls of Hopelessness. . . . .

      Germany, France & Italy to name but 3 still have ship building industry.

  21. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Well, well … As we are discussing so-called ‘junkies’

    https://nation.cymru/news/uk-governments-view-wales-as-ungrateful-subsidy-junkies-says-drakeford/

    First Minister Drakeford is sounding more and more like a nationalist. I might even join the Welsh Labour Party at this rate – if he advocates independence! 😉

    • grizebard says:

      Given that Wales isn’t currently anywhere near independence, I guess he has sufficient room to be honest (and take some of the “wind out of the sails” of Pleid besides) without having any need to follow through on the outspokenness. A luxury of course that Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t have (besides of course belonging to the “wrong” party for the Labourite-infested Scottish media).

      • Welsh_Siôn says:

        True – but not as far off as you might think, Grizebard.

        We’re running at the mid 30’s in the opinion polls and over 50% of Labour supporters are for indy.

        Just think what Scottish indy will do – and when you come down to support us!

        • grizebard says:

          No offence intended, WS, (as I assume you realise), but the current degree of support you quoted provides exactly the “wriggle room” for Drakeford I mentioned. Needless to say, I hope that support continues to increase. Given also the degree of support for independence among members of his own party, maybe he is simply doing what he needs to be doing. Unlike some other Labour leaders that immediately spring to mind!

    • Clydebuilt says:

      WS. He’s just trying to hoover up Plaid Cymru votes. . . . . Don’t fall for it.

  22. Hamish100 says:

    I see Christine Jardine or jardeenn as is oft quoted is on BBC Politics Live. It must help a minority party politician when your used to work for the bbc just like Brown, Davidson.
    She was on bbc Scotland the other night. How does minority parties such as the Lib dems get so much airtime?
    Oh of course , they are Unionist.

  23. Alan C says:

    The brutal truth is that faced with two different realities of 1) Zero Scottish drug deaths, or 2) 1330 annual Scottish drug deaths, the Toraidhs would prefer option number 2), as it suits their SNP Govt baaad and Scotland baaad agenda.

    • Capella says:

      Corporate manslaughter IMO. Add on the unnecessary deaths from the failure to deal adequately with Covid19, the poverty of the UKs totally inadequate social benefits and pensions system throwing millions of children into poverty, and the hopeless environmental protections and building standards from the Westminster government resulting in raw sewage polluting rivers and beaches and tower blocks becoming towering infernos in England.

      Still, their chumocracy is doing well out of all this misery.

      The Westminster cabinet should be in jail.

  24. scottish skier says:

    As someone who has long backed decriminalisation, I can only say ‘hear hear’ Paul.

    The fact that England* is the cocaine capital of Europe, with some regions of Britain having the highest drug deaths in the latter, shows the failings of the British/English government here.

    Even devolution of drug legislation would not solve problems, as the issue is intimately liked to the economy, welfare etc. Independence is needed to fully address what leads to abuse and harm.


    *England can be compared with other European countries as it has full control over drug legislation. Scotland/Wales/N. Ireland do not as this is a reserved matter, so cannot be statistically compared with other countries. There are no ‘Scottish’ drug addicts / deaths, only ‘British’ in the same way there is no Scottish army, foreign office etc.

  25. Dave tewart says:

    It has been announced that the water samples taken from the Thames contain measurable levels of cocaine.
    The only reason they don’t try to recover it is the levels of salmonella in the same samples.
    Off to pick up banana leaves and coconut husks from the local area to take to tesco to wrap up food, as proposed by johnson to the kids.

    • Dr Jim says:

      If you wanna get high drink the water from any river around Bristol (the cocaine capital of Europe) and you can get E Coli at the same time, 2 for 1 right there

      • Legerwood says:

        Dr Jim,
        You might even get Covid-19 too because SARS-Cov2 is shed in the faeces of infected people and possibly their urine too. That is why they have community surveillence of waste water. Nice.

        Then there is all the raw sewage being pumped into the Channel .

  26. Hamish100 says:

    I see Jardine was really on the BBC to attack independence not once but twice. Do you know she said some families in Scotland still don’t talk to each other.
    I don’t talk to Lib Dem’s cos I don’t know any and if I did I would ask why they like to be play things of the tories?

    • Capella says:

      Are you saying there are family feuds in Scotland? Who knew?

      • Not-My-Real-Name says:

        Aye Capella

        Many other ‘feuds’ too….division/divisiveness you say Lib Dem Jardine & co…it appears to be in our DNA as in human/animal or so it seems ( not a characteristic unique to just Scots though is it)….what part of society within any country in the world is devoid from some type of division that can promote hatred, envy and wickedness aka division …from religion, racial, sex, political , nationalities, generational, class……….. indeed look at the rivalry (division) between some football fans as in different supporters of different football teams…….

        Let’s also not forget the uber division with BREXIT even though SOME do not like to present it as a divisive issue…STILL NOT resolved BTW the great division between Remainers and Leavers…that is , for some…such bitter DIVISION……but according to Unionists….an Indy Ref campaign is the daddy of them all….the most..est worse..est…division…. like EVER in the history of man……and in the future too ….don’t you know…..funny how in both the Brexit and the Indy Ref campaigns the opposing side to some of us on here ( wrong side ) promoted lies and false promises though…….how divisive of them.

        The unionists do know that to have a division you need OPPOSING sides….and from what I remember there was some very angry and aggressive people on opposite side of what I was supporting in Indy Ref……one example being the disgraceful behaviour of Unionists in George Sq in Glasgow on 19 September 2014…….Jardine prefers to ignore that though as disnae fit her agenda…..of SNPBAD and INDYBAD…..she also ignores the Uber BritNats still fighting what they see as a WAR against their OWN country and fellow countrymen in their oh so uniquely offensive and divisive kind of way…..BritNats who are more proud to be recognised as a fanciful nationality ….as in a nationality now seen as the laughing stock of world….as in BRITISH.

        Gae us peace for God’s sake……Jardine a Tory in all but the party she currently supposedly represents and the constituents she also represents…………BADLY.

    • grizebard says:

      The supposed “divisiveness” of IR1 is a standard ongoing FibDem trope. (Along with their “If you think Brexit was bad…” line.) If one of the most important decisions we as a people could possibly ever take didn’t involve a degree of energetic discussion – not least in a country like Scotland! – it would be astonishing. Most of it was entirely admirable – a fitting tribute to participatory democracy. Maybe though the FibDems encountered more bitter dissension within their ranks than most families, given their leadership’s total capitulation of all the party’s former goals and beliefs.

      None of which then makes in the least inclined to support or sympathise with Jardine’s professed woes, since they are atypical and largely self-inflicted.

  27. Capella says:

    George Kerevan has written a good article for The National about all those Labour defections to the Tories in Scotland. Tom Harris is the most prominent defector who ends up with a column in The Telegraph, a seat on the Board of HS2 and a role in the Scottish Office (or is that the UK in Scotland Office now?).

    I think the SNP/Greens should pass a bill in Holyrood so that any representative of the people who defects from the party in which they were elected, should automatically be obliged to seek relection in their new guise. Surely it is undemocratic to abandon your voters who are expecting a party manifesto to be honoured.

    https://archive.fo/mtn3u

  28. Dr Jim says:

    Principles like mothers can be abandoned for the right amount of cash for people who never cared about either in the first place

  29. Capella says:

    Some abstracts on the history of heroin and related research from the US Pub Med site.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11862675/

  30. Dr Jim says:

    The more Boris Johnson insists that COP 26 is hosted by the UK not Scotland then thumps on about Scotlands FM having a role to play in it while issuing instructions she’s to be kept away from it at all costs the more irrational his behaviour is seen to be

    Statements like “She’s trying to muscle in for her Independence obsession” make him appear even more stupid than he already is

  31. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Committee on Standards recommends that Conservative MP Owen Patterson be suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days for breaking lobbying rules….

    ” Having repeatedly used his position as a Member “…REPEATEDLY mind you…..USED HIS POSITION…as a MEMBER….to BREAK LOBBY RULES…..

    Wee slap on the wrist there for you ya naughty boy Owen……you’ll be calling yourself David Cameron next Owen ( as he likes to lobby the Government too)……..so lobbying for who ?….your constituents ?…..nope…for TWO companies it appears…..just two….he’s letting the side down….if I say I am shocked I would be lying…..Tory…Brexiteer….par for the course innit.

    Owen Paterson…..another ERG member…….below was printed two yrs ago in The Guardian :

    “Two years ago it was reported that Owen Paterson , a former cabinet minister, closed down his private thinktank, from which he received nearly £39,000 from UNKNOWN DONORS to fund overseas trips.

    The prominent Brexit campaigner and former environment minister set up the thinktank, UK 2020, five years ago. It paid for 10 overseas trips by Paterson, including visits to the US to campaign for a hard Brexit.

    MPs are required to declare the source of funds for any overseas visit valued at more than £300. However, as a private company, his thinktank was not required to identify its donors. By citing UK 2020 as the source of funds, Paterson avoided disclosing who ultimately financed the trips.

    Paterson has been one of the most vocal Conservative MPs pressing for a hard Brexit. The MP for North Shropshire was appointed as environment secretary by David Cameron in 2012 while holding questionable views on climate science.

    Paterson used half of the UK 2020-funded trips to travel to the US, where he mainly gave speeches to right wing political groups.

    Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, called for an investigation after the Guardian newspaper reported the donations for the trips had reached nearly £39,000.

    The Electoral Commission examined the complaint and ruled there were insufficient grounds to suspect a breach of political finance rules. However, it also ruled the thinktank was required to declare the source of any donations it had received above £7,500 after 2017.

    Paterson resigned as chairman and sole director of UK 2020 and a lawyer was appointed to help wind up the organisation……………….”

    Well Duggers that seems all above board……NOT…it’s certainly generating DIVISION between those who want an honest MP to represent them and those others who appear to not give a jot and keep electing the likes of Owen Paterson as THEIR MP………Brexit innit…

    Just remember everyone Owen Paterson is in the SAME party as DRoss….and Baroness Davidson too but neither DRoss nor the Baroness will highlight any of the above……because they both are too focused on their ONLY job for the Tory party which is to deflect attention away from THEIR own party’s corruption and incompetence and with the help of the media draw attention solely onto contrived (non) issues about the SNP and those who support independence…..the truth is out there but it seems our Scottish (in name only) media are more concerned with saving their Union than saving us all from dishonest and greedy politicians that represent their Union……not forgetting the absolute incompetence and heartlessness of their, the Tories, policies.

    Also what party would select and then commend Boris Johnson as party leader…….and continue to support him after so many cock ups……..obvs the Tories would….DRoss, Bowie et al are wee YES men to Boris J……. while most Scots prefer to say NO to…..both Boris J and his wee band of puppets/muppets aka the Scottish ( in name only) Tories.

    Tories they don’t care…simples….the gravy train provides for them and to Hell with the rest of us….think that may be in the small print of their party manifesto….say small print but read their manifesto…..no need to read in between the lines in there…..for sure.

    Hold the front page (unless Scottish media) for the NEXT juicy Tory scandal……….Brenda from Bristol says ” Not another one”.

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