How amazing to hear two pet subjects, two subjects that the Establishment must know it has got quite wrong, aired with more than a hint of criticism on that great mouthpiece of the Establishment, the Beeb itself.
The first happened early in the week when an authority of drugs was being interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme. I didn't hear her name clearly, but it sounded like Maureen Russet, representing what sounded like a charity called We Can Help.
|Adding to an unjust fantasy ... an extraordinary display in Liverpool by the customs department. Clever people that they are, they know that the gang landed three tonnes of drugs. Strange because my yacht was supposedly one of the deliverers. As scientists showed, not a crystal of a drug had been on board.|
Today, naturally, was trotting out its old bias about drugs and how lucky we are to have such active Tricky Dickie attitudes in the law, in what I used to think of as British justice - the envy of the world.
Maureen was being asked about drugs deaths, to reveal the numbers keeling over through a penchant for a snort, or puff, or armful.
|Honest, guv' ... Would we distort anyfink? - From the department's display in Liverpool.|
The bias was spotted by the good lady who pointed out that alcohol kills far more than drugs. Drinking alcohol is not against the law, of course, and it just might be that it's favoured by Today's handsomely rewarded interviewers.
The speed that the interviewer brought her straight back to illegal drugs was very noticeable. After the interview, I looked online to see if Maureen had been correct.
As usual it's easier to find statistics from the US than here. Psychology Today quoted the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's report that alcohol causes 88,000 (62,000 men and 26,000 women) deaths every year, and shortened the lifespan of those 88,000 by 30 years.
The psychologist, Adi Jaffe PhD, commented, 'That makes alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the US. All other drugs combined cause approximately 30,000 deaths annually.'
I emailed Radio 4's Today program to get the expert's name and organisation. A prompt reply regretted politely that no-one could be spared to answer.
Stunningly long prison sentences
The Museum of Curiosity, which last night filled the comedy half an hour on Radio 4 at 1830, heard that England's stunningly long prison sentences don't reform prisoners. In effect, it does the opposite. And prison overcrowding, which of course is a direct result of the extensive punishment, makes the sentences even less effective.
Having witnessed first hand the effect of enormous sentences on prisoners, don't I know. And - apologies for mentioning it often on these blog pages - I was sentenced to more years than the Lockerbie airline bomber, reportedly responsible for the deaths of 270 people, was serving. For what? Because I might have brought a yachtload of drugs to our fair shores. Only the prosecution knew that I couldn't possibly be guilty for I sailed no closer that 1100 miles.
From what I saw in the eight years and 14 days I finally served, I was one of the few prisoners to benefit at least in some way from imprisonment. I followed every chance for education and among other successes, graduated in Literature, learned much more about web development and took advantage of the chance to learn a few coding languages.
Drugs always seemed available in each of the prisons where I was housed. No-one seems to mention it in the media, but alcohol is simple to ferment within. No need to smuggle it in.
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