Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Our troops should be pulled off the front line in Afghanistan. I am not convinced by any of the explanations given to explain their continuing presence, and I don't know how we would recognise a "victory."

We are an occupying force, fighting for one side in a civil war and too easily portrayed, even if we "win", as crusading imperialists seeking to impose our cultural and religious beliefs on others. Radical Muslim men rally to the cause of our opponents in consequence. This does not help make Britain safer.

I bow to no-one in my detestation of the Taliban and the perversion of Islam they use to justify the subjugation of women. I would love to see the country transformed into a benevolent liberal democracy, free from corruption and a champion of liberty. But the recent elections demonstrated how removed that vision is from reality.

We can continue to train Afghan soldiers, but the Taliban have a role to play in the country's future and we should talk with them; can that be so much worse than dealing with our current "allies", the warlords? Our money at least buys us some influence with them, perhaps it can also be used to curb the worst of Taliban abuses.

Let us not have more soldiers killed and maimed because politicians here are unwilling to lose face, accept that lives have been lost in vain, or weaken our links to the USA.

Afghanistan has defeated the British in the past. It has defeated the Russians. The present campaign is not going to result in a triumph for America or its British and European allies.

Our troops should not be there.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


What a time to lose my phone charger!

Klaus signs the Lisbon Treaty. The appointment of a President of the European Council leaps to the top of the agenda. The phone lines will be busy, and every Prime Minister in Europe knows that I am available for interview.

But my phone has run out of power. It is inoperable for many hours. When I am able to charge it once again a missed call is indicated, but no number has been left.

I keep the phone close to me now, but have I missed the vital call? Has the boat sailed by?

Monday, 2 November 2009


I have just become a supplier of illegal drugs. Given the mindset of our government I suppose this means that I might expect to feel the heavy hand of the law on my shoulder at any moment. After all, I have form.

In 2002 I was convicted of possession of cannabis, an offence under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. My crime had been to stand outside Stockport police station and to make a speech about the need for a policy that separated ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs. I held up a postage stamp with a gramme of cannabis stuck to it, was arrested, and imprisoned for all of 25 minutes. All the police officers I dealt with face to face were very polite: "it makes a change, Mr Davies."

I escaped the notional maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and was fined £100. To this was added about £3,000 of extraordinary costs because my arrest had apparently required the involvement of about 18 police officers, a sergeant and an inspector – though I can't remember seeing most of them.

The sacking of David Nutt, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for daring to tell the scientific truth about cannabis (“unlike most other drugs and alcohol it is never lethal” – The Observer, 1 Nov), shows how little progress has been made since then. A succession of European countries have effectively decriminalised cannabis possession, but the government and opposition here are competing to demonise it once again.

None of this was in my mind when I stepped into the Amsterdam coffee shop last week and purchased a good slab of cannabis cake, wrapped it, and put it in the post to the UK.

There’s a 91-year old lady of my acquaintance who has suffered for years from discomfort and sometimes chronic pain in her legs. Nothing the doctor gives her provides sufficient relief, so maybe a nice cup of coffee and a slice of Amsterdam cake will help. It’s worth a try anyway.

And if the Director of Public Prosecutions thinks that it will be in the public interest to find an excuse for prosecuting me for trying to relieve an old lady’s pain then so be it. Make my day. I will welcome the publicity and the opportunity to speak out against Britain’s ludicrous drug laws.

Just one problem. There’s a postal strike. My 'priority' package is probably sitting in a mountainous pile of undelivered mail, never to be seen again.