Howard Marks

Party politics has ruined many countries, including this one. No party politician seems prepared to discuss real issues: those of real concern to the community. The electorate is encouraged to vote on party preference or not at all.
It's time to show the government and opposition parties of this particular country that they can no longer get away with evading real issues by censoring discussion and debate and replacing it with insincerity, mendacity, and meaningless postures of moral outrage. We have to show both government and opposition our complete and utter dissatisfaction before they concentrate far too much power in their hands.
How can we show them?
I see only one peaceful way: form single issue parties to fight at elections. At least let's demonstrate what we want while the political parties are nervous and anxious about holding on to, or getting, what they want. Let the politicians and others know what you really believe should be done about what you think is the most pressing problem facing your community. Be honest, and let them know, in all sincerity, your belief.
Party politicians are no longer concerned with advocating their own personal beliefs, let alone the beliefs of those they represent. All these sorts of beliefs have become swallowed up by blind and excessive party loyalty. The party has become the sacrament, and that, now, is all politicians strive to protect. The leadership almost explicitly advocates a cessation of debate, potential disagreement, and dissension to preserve party unity. Consequently, all power is being given to the party's leaders.
A multitude of Acts, increasing even further the power of the government executive, are being passed by Parliament all the time. One is making its way through at the moment (the Civil Procedure Act). Government is now seemingly able to bring in enormous amounts of major legislation without even an obligation to publish it or present it to Parliament, and yet it is binding in law. Serious issues of genuine and universal public interest have long been buried and forgotten.
A vote for a single issue party is also a vote against the current system and state of party politics, and it offers a very viable alternative to mere abstention. In Norwich North at the last general election, there were some 17,000 voters who did not vote because of the lack of such alternative.


People differ in what they perceive as being the most needy and urgent problem to solve. As far as my family and I are concerned, the most pressing problem has been that occasioned by governments' attitudes to the use and trade of a natural herb, cannabis. Over the last six months, I have had reason to visit several British communities and have found an overwhelming amount of agreement with my contempt and disgust for current drug policies.
I have four children and cannot conceive of a love greater than that which I have for them. I do not want them dying in the streets from poisons and impurities. I do not want my children handing over all their pocket money and hard earned wages to ruthless gangsters who can't, for example, tell the difference between cannabis and plastic and don't care which they sell or how much they charge. I do not want my children to suffer multiple sclerosis or cancer and be cruelly denied the therapeutic benefits of natural herbs. I do not want my children to be callously stigmatised by society, fined, and imprisoned for pursuing ancient and traditional harmless practices.
If anyone else thinks that the government's total inability to handle the consequences of the existence and availability of drugs is the community's most urgent problem to solve, please consider carefully how easily the problem could begin to be solved by the dismantling of prohibition.
Prohibition is so irrational, immoral, sinister and unworkable that its opponents are drawn from all walks of life holding all manner of personal beliefs: from the extreme right to the extreme left; from atheist to devout Christian. As a result, any anti-prohibitionist group is very vulnerable to inner splits and dissents based on differing religious, political, and moral persuasions. There will also be differences as to which strategies are the most fruitful to pursue in order to achieve a better position. It is therefore of vital importance to keep the group's aims, principles, and axioms as simple as possible. If there is a fundamental common ground, the dismantling of the current prohibition, there is justification to proceed.
Even so, there is still plenty of scope for disagreement and debate, particularly as to what happens after the end of prohibition: Should cannabis be as available as any other harmless plant, allowing us to grow our own for next to nothing? Should it be sold or given away by licensed dope dealers, druggists, pharmacists, policemen, doctors, or green grocers? Should there be an age limit? These matters have to be discussed, sometime. But now the overriding urgency is to begin dismantling prohibition, the destroyer of our community.
If one's house is on fire, it is better to concentrate on putting out that fire, rather than squabble about the new foundations.

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