A ride in the park – by Nadine Dorries MP

The row concerning the sacking of professor Nutt continues with steady momentum as one advisor after another resigns at key moments, providing the story with the turbo thrust it needed to propel it from Friday night PM to the Monday morning Today.

The juxtaposition of morals versus statistics will always provide flash points in the world of politics, but it appears, never more so than when it is linked to drug classification.

Professor Nutt was very probably right; the number of young people killed as a result of horse riding is probably higher than those who die outright from the swallowing of a single tablet or the inhalation of a substance, but as far as I know, riding a horse has never put families through years of agony. It cannot be blamed for the number of young people sleeping rough or homeless. You don’t see our jails full of people incarcerated for horse riding related crimes and I’ve never heard horse riding described as ‘Gateway’ sport.

Riding a horse doesn’t lead to a life of dependency and, as far as I’m aware, it’s quite easy to quit. Saying ‘NO’ doesn’t really present a huge dilemma, and really, when was the last time you saw someone in riding chaps hanging around school gates trying to tempt young people with a quick canter?

Professor Nutt may appear to play the wounded scientist, the man of knowledge who has reached the edge of reason, but is he really just a closet Liberal Democrat?

Regardless of the statistics, politicians have to make the much bigger decision regarding drug classification and policy. If they get it wrong, the voters can go to the polls and vote us out. That’s the reason why advisers advise and ministers decide: it’s called democracy.

Professor Nutt appears to have a well managed agenda. He’s playing the news cycle like a fiddle; he knows exactly what he is doing.

I am sure today, unless he has exhausted his resources, he will provide us with a fresh news lift and there will be more to hear and read about the resignation of the nutty professor.

He has done the role of the advisor no end of harm in his pursuit to push his own questionable agenda, which could never have been in the long term interest of young people or the society within which we live.


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