Thursday, 5 June 2008

A disgrace to a liberal party

When I saw Jayne McCoy's blog entry earlier on today, my initial reaction was exactly the same as Liberal Provocateur's.

I thought I'd check out Your High's website before commenting and it seems to sell "the finest array of herbal highs,bongs, pipes, smoking paraphernalia and other alternative lifestyle accessories."

It seems therefore that the shop is not selling anything illegal. If they were, that would be a matter for the police to enforce, not for political campaigners to poke their noses into.

So why the hell are Cllr McCoy and Tom Brake MP campaigning against the shop? Presumably they are doing so because they believe the people running the shop are promoting the use of cannabis.

There's only one problem with this, though: it is actually Lib Dem policy to support the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Tom Brake and Cllr McCoy are therefore campaigning against a perfectly legal business, selling things associated with a trade which we would also want to see legalised. There's no mention of any particular harm done by the shop in Cllr McCoy's blog, so it seems her opposition is based solely on the 'yuck' factor.

This seems to me to be exceptionally small-minded, populist, illiberal nonsense. Tom Brake and Cllr McCoy are a disgrace to a liberal party and should be ashamed of themselves.

UPDATE: In the light of Chris Black's misunderstanding of my post, I should point out that I believe that Brake and McCoy do have the right to protest about the shop. I just think the subject of their protest is illiberal rubbish.


R.M.A.Cox said...

Completely agree, what an absolute load of bandwagon bullshit.


Joe Otten said...


So I want to reduce the harm that cannabis and therefore I:

a) support decriminalisation, and
b) oppose the use of cannabis

You seem to be suggesting that this is inconsistent.

FWIW, I think the idea that if you support decriminalisation you must support the use of that drug is what give decriminalisation a bad name.

Bernard Salmon said...

No, Joe, I am not suggesting that at all. What I am saying is that it is highly illiberal to try and drive a perfectly legal trader out of business based solely on people being uncomfortable with what the shop sells rather than on any direct harm which might be caused.
As I've said on Chris Black's blog, would McCoy and Brake be protesting if the shop had become a gay bookshop, which many parents might have similar unease about? Or an off licence, given the health concerns there are about booze?
Or, more controversially, what if the shop had been turned into a mosque? If residents were up in arms about that and claimed that having a mosque so close to a school might at some stage in the future induce kids to become Islamic terrorists, would Brake and McCoy still be supporting them? If not, what's the difference?

Liberal Democrat Blogs