Tag Archives: david nutt

Evan Harris’s blog on #nuttsacking

On Monday, Helen brought you news from the Guardian of the dispute between Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris and Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

Over the last two days, Dr Harris’s blog has been unmissable as he has been posting details of the correspondence on his blog, along with the consequences.

A fisking of Alan Johnson’s speech in Parliament

I was amazed to hear what the Home Secretary said, under privilege, in parliament about a distinguished scientist and sent Alan Johnson the letter below demanding a retraction and apology.

A fisking of Alan Johnson’s reply

The Home Secretary has now responded

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

Alan Johnson rejects Evan Harris’ claim that he misled MPs over Nutt

Alan Johnson has rejected Evan Harris’s claim that he misled MPs in his statement over the sacking of government drugs adviser Professor David Nutt.

From the Guardian:

Johnson conceded that the Home Office and secretariat for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs had been warned in advance about a paper published by Nutt in an academic journal in January and a presentation he later gave at King’s College London. Johnson cited the paper and the speech when explaining his decision to sack Nutt as chairman of the advisory council. Harris said Johnson was wrong to suggest Nutt

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: The Nutt affair – or, the thin line between evidence and policy

Firstly, a disclaimer: I am a scientist, who is also interested in governance and politics, so the following post may come across as somewhat heated. Apologies, but I do feel that the recent furore over Prof. David Nutt’s sacking as Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) goes right to the heart of why I took up both science and politics as profession and interest respectively.

We begin with Prof. Nutt’s most recent criticism of the government’s drugs policy, which attracted headlines for claiming that alcohol, despite being legal and freely available, was more harmful than the Class A narcotic ecstasy (MDMA). At first sight this may seem like an outlandish statement to make, but the evidence, collated by Prof. Nutt, suggests otherwise; granted, the recent publication from Nutt’s The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) at King’s College London wasn’t peer-reviewed, but the methodologies used to calculate his ‘harm index’ were so, and published in one of the most respected medical journals, The Lancet in 2007 (the full article is behind a paywall, contact me if you want the pdf…). Just to repeat this – using what seems to me to be a robust method, taking into account everything from physical harm to the user to social harms at large, ecstasy does indeed seem to be less dangerous than alcohol, and it’s using this tried and tested method of enquiry that Nutt used to conclude that cannabis should remain a class C drug.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 2 November 2009

With just 59 days til the end of the third millennium’s first decade, we can celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the birth of BBC1, and that it’s 49 years to the day since Penguin Books was found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

2 Big Stories

Johnson faces backlash over decision to sack drugs advisor

The fall-out continues from Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to sack Professor David Nutt as chair of his scientific advisory body on drugs policy – The Times reports:

The Government is facing mass resignations from the official advisory body on drugs after the sacking

Posted in Daily View and Europe / International | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 1 November 2009

It’s Sunday. It’s 7am. And we’ve got the definitive musical proof that Australian Premier Kevin Rudd is not US President Barack Obama. But first, the news.

2 Big Stories

Government to set up bank chains
Done well, this could be rather good news. A bit more competition in the banking sector could improve service, reduce costs and – by undermining some of the basis for massive bank profits – indirectly help deal with massive bonus payments:

Three new High Street banking chains are to be created by the government by 2015 as part of a major overhaul.

They will be set up by breaking up Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Northern Rock, the banks it partially or wholly controls after bail-outs…

The aim of the new banks is to increase competition and recoup taxpayers’ cash.

The government, which holds a 70% stake in RBS and a 43% stake in Lloyds after last October’s bailouts, hopes to announce the sell-off plans on Tuesday.

The new banks will be standard retail banks concentrating on deposits and mortgages.

They will be sold to new entrants to the banking market and not to existing financial institutions. (BBC)

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

David Nutt: why was he sacked?

Earlier today Home Secretary asked the Government’s chief drugs advisor, Professor David Nutt, to resign. The government line is that he was “asked” to resign but, outside the world of pedantic spin doctors who watch too much of The Thick of It, being “asked” to resign is the same as being sacked.

But what’s more concerning is the reason for him being removed. The Home Secretary has said the reason for sacking him  is that, “I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy”.

But David Nutt isn’t being accused of getting evidence wrong (even though some of it gets into …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 53 Comments
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