Tag Archives: el país

LibLink Special: Nick Clegg’s El Pais article: “We are losing the war on drugs”

Earlier this month, Nick Clegg wrote for Spanish newspaper El Pais about the need to totally change the way we deal with drug use. Liberal Youth Scotland co-president Hannah Bettsworth, a final year Spanish student, has kindly translated it for us.

On 19th April next year, United Nations member states will hold a special session in New York to discuss the future of the world’s drugs policy. The starting pistol for government negotiations around the summit was fired last week, in a meeting at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.

The last time an event of this importance was held, in 1998, the meeting was dominated by US Government strategy, which still consisted of the doomed ‘war on drugs’, thought up by Richard Nixon in 1971. (awkward sentence in English) The gathered member states, in a move we can today see as a false collective delusion, solemnly agreed to reach the goal of “a drug-free world in 2008.”

Of course, 2008 came around and nothing happened. Not only had production, supply and use of illicit drugs not been wiped from the Earth, trafficking continued to flourish and bring millions of dollars to organised crime. The well-intentioned efforts of law and order had had hardly any impact in the long term. Violence in origin and transit countries had skyrocketed (in Mexico alone, it is calculated that 100,000 people have died in the war on the cartels since 2006.) Around the world, millions of drug users are still hounded and incarcerated. This serves only to ruin lives – it has no deterrent effect.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez drops a few truth bombs on political parties

I’m currently studying abroad in Salamanca, where, as in the rest of the country, there are municipal elections on 24th May. (Yes, polling day is on a Sunday.) My bedroom floor is covered in a variety of different party propaganda (yes, that is the word they use in Spain for it) that I’ve gathered for academic reasons, obviously.

So, I was really excited to read Miriam’s article in El País recently. It most certainly did not disappoint – if you want a lesson in how to drop truth bombs on political parties, look no further.

Just to give a little bit of context – the Partido Popular is currently governing. It’s got “Working, Making, Growing” posters up around half the city, shouting from the rooftops about its economic success. Miriam notes that although progress has been made, it’s rather odd to be making that a central campaign plank while overall unemployment rests around 20% and youth unemployment around 50%.

She also attacks them for their failure to confront the ‘crisis of values’ facing the Spanish political system, talking of a ‘radical disconnect between the political class and citizens.’ She refers to Chris Huhne briefly, stating that the levels of corruption in the Spanish system could never occur in a country where a politician can go to jail for exchanging points on their driving licence.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 22 Comments
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