There's something cheering about today's announcement that the government has decided to ignore its own experts and reclassify Cannabis as a Class B, rather than a Class C drug. Not the decision itself which is entirely regrettable, but rather what it tells us about this government.
Not for the first time Labour wants to be seen to be "tough"; not for the first time it's pandering to the baser elements of a reactionary, hysterical press. So there's some comfort, I suppose, in the fact that even this government doesn't have the courage of its convictions (if such a term can usefully be applied to Jacqui Smith et al) since possession of cannabis will not, it seems, be treated as harshly as possession of other Class B substances. In other words, even the government can't quite bring itself to back its own decision - proof that it's a matter of appearance not real policy.
In this instance, of course, I welcome the gap between appearance and reality. But it's also further evidence that this crew have lost their bearings and whatever grip they once had. They have created a remarkable lose-lose situation for themselves: drug reformers and drug warriors alike have grounds for complaint. In other words, government policy is, pleasingly, an incoherent shambles.