Rage against the Machine
There is plenty of rage about at the moment. The Brexit vote in part expressed that rage against the establishment. Theresa May and her government claim to be listening to that voice by forcing through Brexit at any cost. The Leave Campaign claimed to be representing the people against the establishment but of course, those charged with implementing the changes are the very people who are the establishment figures.
In Europe, we see the rise of populist parties from the left and right while the main stream in the UK avoid this by seeking to become those voices themselves. UKIP has disappeared because the Conservatives have taken their voice, whilst Labour has moved to the left to take the voice of the Socialist Parties. The smaller parties in the UK have clearly suffered, except in Scotland where the SNP have become the dominant party and the revolution there may still be a warning or even a blueprint for change in England and Wales for non-establishment parties to learn from.
The band Rage Against the Machine had a surprise Christmas number 1 in 2009 due to a popular uprising against the pop establishment and the X Factor. The band who were themselves inspired by the likes of Rosa Luxemberg who was a passionate advocate for socialism and freedom of speech said:
“Freedom for supporters of the government only, for members of one party only – no matter how numerous they might be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always freedom for those who think differently.”
Rosa was a fragile woman physically, but those who heard her speak or read her numerous writings saw an inspiring and powerful woman. She raged against the powers around her passionately advocating for radical change from a society that favoured the establishment at over the freedom and care for the majority of the population.
The latest disconnect is with legislation in relation to drugs and a war on drugs that continues to jeopardise the most vulnerable people in society by uncaring governments. Our drug laws have been shown to dis-proportionally impact on our ethnic population as well as those from poorer social and economic parts of society. To make matters worse it is now clear the laws have a negative impact on people suffering from epilepsy, Parkinson’s, MS and other illnesses. It also seems strange that the beneficiaries are the pharmaceutical companies who are paid millions to come up with pharmaceutical alternatives. Chemically made substitutes often cause more significant damage than the products they replace.
It is welcome news that the new Home Secretary may be reviewing the medical use of cannabis, but recent reviews of the substance have led to very little change and one wonders if it is to dampen down the anger caused by the plight of young children with epilepsy. The story of Billy having his medicine taken off him, which was prescribed for his fits, has highlighted the situation. Sir Mike Penning has called the existing laws “bizarre and cruel”. Lord Hague said the “policy is inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date”.
Sativex is the only cannabis based medicine to be licenced in the UK and is used in a very limited way. The drug is in the form of a spray. The problem is the drug is not effective for everyone who takes it, and it is very expensive which means it is not available under prescription in many areas of the UK. As a result of this, people with MS are taking cannabis illegally. A survey from the MS Society in 2014 showed that 1 in 5 were taking cannabis. In effect, what we are seeing is sick people taking a drug which has a positive impact on their health, but they are being criminalised for it.
There are many other illnesses that cannabis could be used to ease the symptoms of including: epilepsy, schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, some tumours, Parkinson’s and drug dependency.
A useful fact sheet on medicinal cannabis can be found here: https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/medical-cannabis/
For more information, follow the links at the bottom of this post.
When we look at our Government we should judge them by the words of Mahatma Ghandi who said: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”