Alex Massie

When is Victory Really Defeat? In the Drug War, Silly.

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There was a crazy puff piece for the Endless War on Drugs on the BBC News tonight in which the reporter, Mark Easton, was handed a story by the Serious Organised Crime Agency full of dramatic pictres and supposedly encouraging figures. Coincidentally, this appeared the day before Soca releases its annual report and at a time when the government is said to be keen on overhauling the agency. Fancy that.

According to the BBC, however, the international cocaine industry is "in retreat" and prices are rising while the purity of cocaine bought on the street has "plumeted". Well, perhaps. But the weakness of the pound is the most likely explanation for the increase in wholesale prices (up to, apparently, £45,000 a kilo) even if Soca also claim that prices are rising in other countries.

Still, it's typical of how twisted official attitudes to drug policy are that an increase in prices and a drop in purity are considered signs of progress. Because obviously it's a good thing to have customers snorting god-knows-what and taking on the additional risk and uncertainty involved in that. Ignorance is dangerous, so obviously that's something to be encouraged.

Happily, there's saner stuff coming out of Latin America where former Mexican President Vicente Fox says that, in addition to decriminalising possession, it's time to talk seriously about legalising the supply of drugs too.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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