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Government leaders and scientific advisors.


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Okay, so i was reading the newspaper and seen that gordon brown has decided to reclass cannabis as a class B drug again. He did this against the advice of his scientific advisors.


I want to make one point very clear here before people respond: I do NOT care whether you think cannabis should be class A/B/C/legal or whatever, this is about ignoring scientific advisors.


now, i thought the whole point of advisors was to tell you how it is. It is obviously impossible for the government leaders(or anybody) to be experts in every field they are likely to make desicions in, so they hire real experts to tell them what should be done and if they are about to make a stupid mistake.


what is the point in hiring these people to just ignore them?


i don't think voting for gordon is a viable option now as i cannot in good concience vote for someone who ignores evidence and experts and goes along with his/her personal opinions.


any thoughts on the situation? any other examples? i only brought up the cannabis one because it is openly known he is ignoring advisors and doing the opposite and that it is recent.

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IMO it depends on context. This is politics, so there are reasons other than scientific that come into play in making a decision. The unforgivable action is if the science is twisted to appear to support the decision when it does not.

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as well as the obvious scientific question of how dangerous it is, there's also the social angle (i.e., most people want cannibis to be quite illegal), and the policing angle (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7227651.stm) with the police apparently advising reclassifying it to B (tho the argument seems, to me, to be "we should make it more illegal so that we can make it clearer how illegal it is" or something...).


it's still a dumb thing to do imo, but I guess we don't live in a scientocracy.


classify B -- goes against scientific advice

leave as C -- goes against police advice

decriminalise -- goes against what people want


eco: class A drugs (like heroine, cocaine, acid, extacy, etc) tend to get you big penalties; class B drugs (like speed) get you smaller penalties; and class C drugs (like cannabis) get you relatively small/no penalties




(hmm, apparently majick-mushrooms are class A drugs now...)

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Sounds to me like attempts here in the States to make an ammendment to the constitution to disallow gay marriage. It's wrong on several levels, and all experts will tell you it's wrong. However, there is a certain ignorant demographic who compose the constituency, and stupid stuff like this gets them all riled up and voting in blocks without fail.


I see this as pandering.



However, I suppose one alternative explanation is how such an action provides more jobs and money within the criminal justice system. After all, they need some sort of reason to employ all those cops, all those prison guards, all those judges, all those people who build the prisons, all those people who sell food to the prisons, all those people who get work out of prison and probationary labor, all those people who cook for the jails, all those people who clean the jails, all those people train drug sniffing dogs, all those people who patrol the borders, all those...


You get the picture. This is a way to keep the money flowing. The criminal justice system is an economy unto itself.

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insane_alien, what do the advisers say? Do they say it's more dangerous than what class C signifies? Coming from someone who tried both alcohol and cannabis a good while back (don't plan on doing it anymore though), I've found that alcohol much more effective on the senses and emotions.

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Just a side- note for those of you accross the pond. There were a lot of local elections here on May 1st. The clear result was that Gordon Brown's "new Labour" party (no longer new and never was Labour IMHO) did badly- the worst results in something like 40 years.

As a result of this he said he was going to listen more.

It seems he didn't mean that he was going to act on what he heard.

There's no real popular mandate for reclassifying canabis- it isn't long since they "downgraded" it. There's no scientific argument for doing so either.

I can't help wondering if he's just trying to distract attention from something else.

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The unforgivable action is if the science is twisted to appear to support the decision when it does not.
I agree with swansont here. Going against the advice of experts is not the same as ignoring their advice. There may be other factors that overrode the scientific consensus.


But ultimately what you want to watch out for is when the science is manipulated to appear as something it was never meant to be. Politicians + scientific evidence + spin doctors = DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!!

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