The War We Never Fought: The British Establishment's Surrender to Drugs

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A&C Black, Dec 6, 2012 - Political Science - 256 pages
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Again and again British politicians, commentators and celebrities intone that 'The War on Drugs has failed'. They then say that this is an argument for abandoning all attempts to reduce drug use through the criminal law.

Peter Hitchens shows that in Britain there has been no serious 'war on drugs' since 1971, when a Tory government adopted a Labour plan to implement the revolutionary Wootton report. This gave cannabis, the most widely used illegal substance, a special legal status as a supposedly 'soft' drug (in fact, Hitchens argues, it is at least as dangerous as heroin and cocaine because of the threat it poses to mental health). It began a progressive reduction of penalties for possession, and effectively disarmed the police.

This process still continues, behind a screen of falsely 'tough' rhetoric from politicians. Far from there being a 'war on drugs', there has been a covert surrender to drugs, concealed behind an official obeisance to international treaty obligations. To all intents and purposes, cannabis is legal in Britain, and other major drugs are not far behind.

In The War We Never Fought, Hitchens uncovers the secret history of the government's true attitude, and the increasing recruitment of the police and courts to covert decriminalisation initiatives, and contrasts it with the rhetoric. Whatever and whoever is to blame for the undoubted mess of Britain's drug policy, it is not 'prohibition' or a 'war on drugs', for neither exists.
 

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Contents

Part One The Secret Capitulation
1
1 Cannabis is a cause
3
2 How to sink giggling into the sea
13
3 Psychiatry is not an exact science
21
4 The real purpose of classification a better image for cannabis
29
5 No use appealing to God Try John Stuart Mill?
39
6 Cannabis and violence
47
7 What about alcohol and tobacco then?
53
13 The mysterious spread of cannabis
99
14 Jaggerism is in vented
111
15 Bloomsbury takes over Britain via the airwaves
119
16 Steve Abrams steps upto explain
129
17 The long march Wootton and after
141
18 Widdecombe unfair
167
19 Dame Ruth Runciman and the liberal establishment
175
20 Legislation on the beat Brian Paddick
199

8 The Cabinet gets it wrong
61
9 Enter Richard Crossman
69
10 Jim Callaghans last stand
77
Part Two The Search for Soma
83
11 Aldous Huxley
85
12 The left casts off its puritan garments
93
21 The great red herring medical marijuana
225
22 Freeing up or freeing down?
233
23 Some notes onharm reduction and rehabilitation
243
24 The demoralisation of Britain
251
Index
269
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About the author (2012)

Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He witnessed most of the final scenes of the Cold War, and was a resident correspondent in the Soviet capital and in Washington, DC. He frequently revisits both Russia and the USA. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo and China. He won the journalism category in the 2010 George Orwell Prize for this correspondence.

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