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Video: David Simon on Margaret Thatcher & Drugs

The decriminalisation of drugs is one of the most contentious issues in the modern world, one that instigates debate in United Nations Conferences, local pubs, government cabinets and committees, school classrooms, local pubs – any place in which people are prepared to share their opinion(s). Following my article on the subject (‘Should Drugs Be Decriminalised?), here is an interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire, a television series in which drugs were actually decriminalised, that appeared in The Guardian on May 25th, 2013. With drugs, specifically the American war on drugs, forming the crux of The Wire – each season adopts a different viewpoint in regard to how they infiltrate each part of Baltimore’s society, the city in which the series is based – Simon has clearly given the issue some considerable thought over the past decade. Indeed, he argues what is perhaps the most controversial point of view in the drug-decriminalisation debate, suggesting that the war on drugs, via the consistent condemnation of the lower classes for drug-related crimes over the past half-century, has become a class war – a war, in other words, of rich against poor.

Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

The two paragraphs below are taken from Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address, dating back to Tuesday, January 20th, 1981. Though the speech may have taken place more than thirty years ago, does its message not seem pertinent with regard to the unstable economic situation in Europe and the United States?

“For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?”

It appears that ‘we, the people’, to quote Reagan, are headed for ‘tremendous social, cultural, political and economic upheavals’, then. However, with Greece, Italy and Spain floundering financially (and the United States shouldering a debt of over two trillion), it seems the process – a frightening, crippling one – has already begun, and nobody knows when it will end…