Opinion – We are a long way from an informed debate on drugs | The Independent – John Gelmini

The answer to Dr Alf’s question is that we cannot even get able-bodied benefit recipients to do non labour intensive work and even when we try to get them to do labour intensive work for as little as a week they cannot stand the pace because they are too lazy and unproductive.

There is considerable evidence for this.

In Bedfordshire, and indeed all over the country, Jobcentre staff force recalcitrant benefit recipients under threat of having their benefits cut off or being “sanctioned” to go to Marston Moretaine, Peterborough, and the many Amazon picking warehouses, where Jeff Bezos’s picking robots have not been installed. Often, a day under the intense pressure and rapid pace of work, is enough to get these people to quit although a few last a week before returning to a life of ease sprawled out on a couch watching Jeremy Kyle insulting his latest guest and berating them for moral turpitude in front of a Manchester studio full of baying audience participants.

Most of the people now employed are Romanians, Poles and Lithuanians.

Transport for London is attempting to refurbish all its rolling stock rather than buy new but the work is not done by British people, instead it is completed by Zimbabweans and other migrants commuting from the Home Counties.

A few years back, Evan Davies the spiderlike television presenter who wears skinny ties tried an experiment whereby people who were benefit recipients in Wisbech, North Cambridgeshire, were given job trials for a week at an Indian restaurant, a local farm, as a mobile care worker and two other occupations.

One was perpetually late, one could not even get up, one kept calling in sick and not one completed the work trial successfully.

The one assigned to fruit picking was so slow that the Lithuanian field supervisor sent him home before the end of the day and at the end of the day the farmer told Evan Davies that he had been compelled to make up the piece work rate by so much that if he had to employ indigenous workers in place of Eastern Europeans he would be bankrupt and out of business altogether.

Davies tried to put the best possible gloss on the results of the trial and tried when interviewing the employers in each of these cases to suggest that the performance of the benefit recipients wasn’t that bad really.

The employers begged to differ in every single instance.

UK productivity figures for those at work are now 30th in the world and 20% behind the average for the G7,so unless they improve the bulk of their jobs will have to be automated out of existence if immigration is to be brought down as May pretends that it can be to the “tens of thousands”.

Moving on to the drugs problem which is now rife and persuasive, like Dr Alf,  I disagree with the Independent’s namby pamby stance.

Drug barons should know that if they are caught and convicted then as in Far Eastern countries they face the death penalty.

Drug dealers further down the food chain should be incarcerated Japanese style and made to go cold turkey in austere conditions using the potions applied by Buddhist monks in Thailand and the costs they have caused society should be recovered by asset sequestration and recovery of rental income (Curtis Warren the Liverpool drug dealer with a photographic memory who was eventually caught by the Dutch police, had 250 rental properties and 2 hotels).

Taxi drivers who distribute drugs in their taxi fleets/individual cabs need a prison sentence and long-term garnishee orders and abusers of drugs ,many of whom steal or use prostitution to fund their habit need to be made to go cold turkey and have their benefits and assets put towards the cost of the mayhem they create.

Further up the food chain still the question of how the drugs get into the country needs to be addressed seriously and that means forensic auditing of bank accounts of ministers, officials, top policemen, middle raking policemen and HMRC officials as well as the bank accounts of wives, girlfriend , lovers, mistresses, children, immediate relatives, companies, partnerships and overseas interests.

The coastal protection vessel needs to be replaced with two new ones and our port authorities will need to be equipped with X-ray machines capable of X raying shipping containers and large trucks.

To stop the problem long-term children need to be taught self-esteem so that they become “high” on themselves and have no need to pollute and poison their bodies.

The old Temperance societies did this in the 19th century with gin and alcohol so a more modern version needs to be created now.

John Gelmini

2 responses

  1. Alf, I know a little about this, and the Home Office and the Department of Health both underestimate the number of heroin and cocaine addicts and by so doing underestimate, for whatever reason, the number of drug rehabilitation units required.
    In my own local NHS Trust, the problem has become so acute that G4S currently employed on hospital cleaning now has to supply guards to the hospital to stop addicts stealing drugs, meant for sick people which they then sell on to pay for what is typically a £400 GBP a day drug habit.

    What happens is that the addicts present themselves to A&E, as either having fallen or injured themselves, and then after a toilet break, seek to break into the drug stores.

    Successive governments have decided that the cost of getting heroin addiction below 250,000 is prohibitive, so no more resources are put in. This is not me speculating but came directly from a middle-ranking civil servant, speaking to me in 2006, in the capacity of someone who had written books on the subject and was an expert at drug rehabilitation in her role advising Ministers.

    The Port of Felixstowe has not been subjected to a major drugs bust in 30 years and the acting Chief Constable of Suffolk and the Head of the National Crime Agency speaking to Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, when I visited one of their events in Bury St Edmunds were unable to say that they could deploy more resources to the port to prevent thefts from lorries or the ingress of trafficked people and drugs.

    The Head of the National Crime Agency said that there were 4,500 major criminal gangs that they were tracking in an effort to “Deter them and drive them away whilst disrupting their activities”. The words “arrest”, “bring to trial”, build watertight cases”, “put them behind bars having sought a conviction and secured it” were not used once, either by this man or the Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk.

    The DEA in America spend over $1.5 billion USD a year trying to interdict drugs but only manage to seize 10% of the drugs that pour in from outside via Mexico, Columbia and other places. The Mexican drug cartels arranged for drug money to be put into holdalls small enough to fit into bank teller windows and HSBC was fined by the authorities in America to the tune of $1.5 billion USD for allowing this to go on and for drug money to enter the American banking system. In the UK the Money Laundering regulations have never been used as forcefully and not one banker has actually been convicted of anything.

    No major criminal gang has access to cargo ships or planes and heroin has to come overland from Afghanistan through Turkey in a sealed lorry marked TIR. Eventually those lorries have to go by sea and into our ports. Enforcement must therefore start with X-Raying or stopping and searching lorries at the entrance to the A14 in the case of Felixstowe or the A13 in the case of Tilbury. This means enough policemen deployed at these points to effect the necessary searches. Chief Constables should at least be asked to explain to a House of Commons Select Committee what they are doing and why the level of drug seizures is so low; it cannot be right that they complain about lack of resources and maintain they are doing the best they can.

    Your point about defraying costs of rehabilitation and the mayhem caused by drug addicts I take on board. In fact “indentured servitude” exists within the prison system already since the mid 1990s under a programme called “Factories within Fences” started by Tony Blair. Prisoners are made to make clothing and do useful work and presumably the programme could be rapidly expanded with purpose built systems constructed in Germany in modular form and then assembled underground or in remote Hebridean locations.

  2. John, again thank you for sharing your views in this post. As you are probably well aware, I have a strong liking for evidence and tend to rate it more highly than speculative opinion.

    Again I would like to stress that there are two core approaches when dealing with drug addiction, 1. Enforcement, and (2) Treatment (rehab).

    We probably agree that enforcement effectiveness needs radical overhaul.

    However, we seem to differ on treatment (rehab). Treatment includes alternative drug therapy programs to wean addicts off the toxicity of opiates etc.

    At the moment the cost of treatment falls on the families (if they can afford it or mortgage themselves to raise the funds) or it falls on the state, with publically funded treatment programs. Addicts will promise anything to get on a treatment program. In the case of families it’s well troden route of broken promises and family poverty. But publically funded programs are different, the state via the tax system meets the cost – at the end of the program the addict is supposed to follow a route to reform with questionable programs like the ‘twelve-point program).

    For me, this raises two threads. Given the toxicity of opioids there probably needs to be an enormous increase in treatment centers to avoid an ugly spiral of death. BUT, there has to be ACCOUNTABILITY. I suggest that addicts can’t walk away free, after receiving publically funded treatment? Perhaps, the treatment needs to be tied to: (1) incarcertion; or (2) a modern form of ‘indentured service’?

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