Deputy Prime Minister Wants UK To Join Debate On Drug Reform
February 19th, 2014
Categories : Blog
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for Britain to reassess its outlook on drugs and become part of the EU debate on how the “war on drugs” should proceed – but the government isn‘t listening.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK, the prohibition laws currently in place in Britain have failed, and have done nothing but increase the amount of drug use, which in his words, helps perpetuate the conflict and violence in South America.
This message comes after his return from Columbia, and seeing first hand the devastation Europe’s love for cocaine has on the citizens of this country, who are subjected to the violence of organised crime and drug trade.
It is a clear message to the people of the UK, and Europe as a whole, that governments must become much more proactive in drug reform – especially in the UK where the Conservative dominant government currently refuses to debate alternatives to current strict prohibition.
The current climate - a tricky situation
The current political climate within the UK is an unusual one. For those who do not know, the current ruling party is made up from a coalition of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrat Party, who both did well, but failed to secure a majority vote in the last election. The leader of the Conservatives, David Cameron, became the Prime Minister, and Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats became the Deputy Prime Minister. What makes the situation so unusual is that the Liberal Democrats are traditionally left wing, whilst the Conservatives are, as their names suggests, traditionally right wing – leading to many conflicts in opinion.
The Conservative Party would rather ignore drug reform, and their denial to debate has angered Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems as whole, who have said that the failure of the “war on drugs” and the evidence that is present should mean that 'If you are anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform'.
Nick Clegg is the first prominent government figure to raise the issue of reform, and has said that "one in five young people have admitted taking drugs in the last year", and "cocaine use has more than tripled since 1996" and claims that "every time someone dies of an overdose it should shame our political class".
His outspoken attempt to drag reform into the centre of British politics can be thought of a result of the current reform that is taking place across the world, with American states moving towards legalisation of cannabis, and certain EU countries looking reassessing the effectiveness of prohibition.
To rectify the situation, Nick Clegg has said the UK needs to base its law on “what works, not guess work”, and as a result, the Lib Dems are funding research investigating the approaches of other countries, and how effective they are in order to help shape future UK drug law – it will be the first of its kind within UK government.
It is thought that bringing drug reform to the centre stage within British politics will help then gain a larger voice on the EU political drug stage, and help shed light on the harm illegal EU drug trade does to other countries. The message has been warmly welcomed by pro-reform campaigners across Europe, and will hopefully be another log in the fire of EU drug reform - as one of the few permanent UN council members looks to make a change.