Saturday, August 06, 2011

In praise of the Lib Dem Conference motion on drugs

I am pleased to see that a motion calling for an independent inquiry into the decriminalisation of possession of all drugs is to be debated at next month's Liberal Democrat Conference. And I hope it will be passed.

This is for two reasons, the first being that Richard Nixon's "War on Drugs" has been a disaster and can never be won.

But it is also important for the future of the Liberal Democrats. As Simon Titley argues in the current Liberator, the party's weakness is that it has failed to build a large enough core of habitual supporters. This weakness, coupled with the "we can win anywhere" philosophy of our local campaigning, has made us afraid to say controversial things in case they upset someone.

Far better, argues Simon, for he Liberal Democrats to have clear policies that will attract the younger, better educated voters. These are the sort of people most likely to supply our missing core of votes. And I believe a willingness to consider a reform of drug policy is the sort of move that will attract such voters.


Anonymous said...

We already have some excellent drug policy:

dreamingspire said...

Habitual or habituated supporters?

Jonathan Calder said...

Anonymous: We may "already have some excellent drug policy", but do we campaign on it?

Mark said...

The way the world economy is going, being stoned might be the best way to get through the next few years.

So not having a fear a visit from Dibble will be a big positive.

Adam said...

I'm not a drug user, but it was what I considered the brave and enlightened Lib Dem position on drugs that first prompted me to investigate the party further as a (young, well-educated) sixth former in around 2002 - and provided the foundations of my decision to join the party a couple of years later.

Conrad Russell's book helped, too...and Iraq, I guess. But it was an A-level politics lesson and the eminent good sense of drug liberalisation (or at least exploring it instead of dismissing it) that really kickstarted my journey into liberalism.

And being made to sing Christian hymns when I wasn't one. And hating prejudice. Ok, it was lots of things.