A week or so ago, in response by a call from the former Chief Constable of Sussex, Paul Whitehouse, to legalise heroin, cocaine and cannabis, I wrote an item on this blog explaining why I fundamentally disagreed with Mr. Whitehouse. The item was syndicated in a number of online and traditional media.
I received a mixed response, some in support of what I said, others opposed. But there was one response which I would like to highlight here. It came on twitter from Tom Lloyd (@TomCLloyd), himself a former Chief Constable. He said:
“A very ill-informed and prejudiced article. It’s a pity he’s allowed a platform.”
Of course I would dispute that my item was “very ill-informed”. I do have over 30 years working with and listening to addicts.
I wouldn’t dispute that I am prejudiced in my views. Everyone has an alement of prejudice, informed or otherwise. Over the last 30 years I have listened to and worked with hundreds of men and women who have achieved abstinence and recovery which I suppose gives me cause for great optimism that recovery from addiction is possible.
But we can put all that to one side. Debate is healthy, and we should be able to disagree. It is the second part of what Mr Lloyd said that is quite chilling: “It’s a pity he’s allowed a platform.”
I have always assumed that those advocating decriminalisation or legalisation of drugs came from a libertarian perspective. Perhaps I have been mistaken when someone says “It’s a pity he’s allowed a platform.” Therein lies the roots of of a new fundamentalism. ‘No Platform’ anyone who does not share your own orthodoxy. Silence anyone who dares to disagree.
“It’s a pity he’s allowed a platform.” Shame on you, Mr Lloyd. A retraction of this most illiberal pronouncement would be in order.
But please carry on expressing your views on drug legalisation. I am happy to accept that they are as informed as mine are, and equally prejudiced!