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

Alf, I’d like to expand upon my earlier posting. 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 who 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.


John Gelmini

Opinion – Jeremy Corbyn – the Politician who Came in from the Cold – Guest Blog – David Greensmith – John Gelmini

David Greensmith’s analysis is fine as far as it goes but there some additional factors.

1) Mrs May called the election against the advice of Sir Lynton Crosby who warned her and Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill that the 20 point poll lead was “soft” and was in reality just 10%

2) The timing was wrong, calling the election should have been done when students were on holidays and gap years.

Instead it was called in term time when Labour/Momentum were able to target them with glowing promises on tuition fees which had the costings hidden in annexes to the Labour Manifesto.

Mrs May should have Hammond take these apart but he was kept away from the business of electioneering so these young people thought that all their Christmases had come at once.

May haughtily dismissed the costs by saying “We know Jeremy Corbyn’s costs don’t add up” without further explanation.

3) May did not attend the debates and in one Q&A session with an NHS nurse who had received no real pay rise for 9 years told the nurse “We will of course fund the NHS but there is no magic money tree”.

The body language was clear enough to me and to the television audience “You will just have to get on with it”.

There was not an ounce of compassion, remorse or understanding just a swift head turn to the next questioner.

My sister Elizabeth and I watched this exchange and the audience reaction which was “May hasn’t a clue she just doesn’t get it and does not care”.

There was no pretence or offer of hope for the future.

Being a realist and a Stoic I expect little from politicians and proceed on the basis that they are liars and scoundrels but to win elections or be in a people business you have to be able to at least pretend to like people.

May failed in this regard as well so the electorate punished her.

4) Then there were the U turns by May and her earlier climb down on fat cat pay when the CBI and the City tested her mettle and Hammond failed to back her despite the growing pay inequality which is now 450 to 1 when bonuses and emoluments are factored in.

5) The Dementia tax and IR35, the HMRC witch hunt against plumbers and small builders was an attack on the self-employed who are natural Conservatives as well as Pensioners who outnumber young people.
Above all the arrogance of May, who talks a good fight but does not deliver was further highlighted by the limp wristed response to ISIS jihadists on not one but three bouts of terrorism.

Her statement” I will keep you safe” was more empty rhetoric that convinced no-one. People punished her for that as well.

Finally of course there is the BBC and Channel 4 and their collections of biased left-wing reporters. May should have privatised the BBC as soon as she got into office and sold off Channel 4. In this way these roadblocks to reform could have been put to the sword but again nothing was done so their gnarled presenters and secular humanist reporters were left to lionize Jeremy Corbyn and make even more trouble for May than she was making for herself.

The refusal to cut foreign aid when people are sick to the back teeth of austerity and are angry about corrupt dictators stealing our aid money was the last straw leading to the result which we now see.

Yes, Jeremy Corbyn is the politician who came in from the cold. But given May’s disastrous ‘weak and wobbly’ performance, true Conservatives must quickly mount a leadership challenge, in the national interest.

John Gelmini