Thursday, 3 April 2008

Brown Stuff

At the end of last month, pressurised by the Dept of Health, the NHS standards watchdog revised its previous advice and said that women should not drink any alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy. It was admitted that this advice was not based on any new scientific evidence, but it was felt that it 'sent a message' in the light of increased drinking levels amongst women and young people. This advice clashed with recommendations in the British Medical Journal, which argued that 'the autonomy of pregnant women' to decide for themselves should be respected.

Now Goddam Brown is set to override the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, which has concluded that there was no scientific case for reclassifying cannabis as a Class B drug. He feels the government needs to 'send out a signal that cannabis use is not just illegal but also unacceptable'.

In other words, yet again the government is hell bent on using the law to impose its moral prejudices (which are usually economic prejudices at root) to restrict individual freedom of choice. This smacks of hypocrisy on the one hand, and of the bigotry of the manse on the other.

It's not a very good idea to have government advice reflect political aspirations rather than medical objectivity; it encourages people to ignore the advice as partisan and the law as an ass.

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