Thursday, 25 October 2012

Drugs and the Law


The Tom Olsen Lecture at St Brides Church in Fleet Street is an annual event in memory of the journalist Tom Olsen. It usually reflects issues of the day and on this occasion was no different in that the topic was "Drug Laws in Britain: a waste of time, or an essential barrier to grave danger". However the format had changed. This was no longer a lecture but a debate between Brian Paddick, the former Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and Peter Hitchens a Daily Mail columnist and author. While both were of the opinion that something must be done, their approach was quite different. Paddick had a pragmatic approach suggesting that the target should be the traders and suppliers rather than the users, while Hitchens seemed to feel that all involved, and particularly the users, should be punished.

The question of the legality of alcohol and tobacco, and the illegality of the lesser drug cannabis, did arise, as did the tax which could be raised if we legalised certain drugs. However the overall view of the audience seemed to be that the law was at best inadequate. My view was that with street dealers earning less then they could by working at MacDonalds, and there now being millions of recreational users in the country, the only way of addressing this was to cut off the source - a difficult, but not impossible task. It would just take the political will and the diversion of resource. We should spend time and money cleaning up this country and then we would be in a better positon to police others.

So, a good event followed by a reception laid on by Kaizo, the communications company, at which the Mistress and I, together with the rest of the audience, were able to continue the discussion. Interestingly we, the Marketors, have our own debate at St Bride on the 8th November on the topic of "Ethics in Marketing", the first Question Time style debate we have held. The panel will include our own Sir Paul Judge and it will be chaired by Ray Snoddy.

John Flynn
Master Marketor        

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