Friday, 16 May 2008

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't

Regular readers of this blog will know all about the UNUM Provident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research based at Cardiff University. It’s Director, Professor Mansel Aylward, is the former Chief Medical Adviser at the DWP, who moved to the UNUM Provident bankrolled Centre several years ago.

The UNUM Centre has been one of the leading forces in trying to make it harder for people to be signed off sick by their GPs. Staff from UNUM were also prominent in the design of the current Personal Capability Assessment and also the new, much harsher Work Capability Assessment. Professor Aylward is, in addition, involved in research for the DWP and for Dame Carol Black, proponent of the replacement of sick-notes with ‘well-notes’.

All the more surprising, is that the centre is carrying out research in to ‘presenteeism’ for the Welsh Assembly. Presenteeism, apparently, is the culture of working ridiculously long hours and not taking time off when sick. According to Professor Aylward, presenteeism costs the country ten times more than sickness absence.

The learned Professor, who has spent many years telling people that the best cure for illness is work, now claims that:

“The problems come from people who are ill, those who are not up to the mark, who are continuing to work.”

Presumably there is no possibility that the reason why people are chained to their desks till they drop is that their GP has been persuaded by DWP funded research that being signed off sick is bad for their patients’ health.

icWales have an account of this puzzling situation here:

So, it would now appear that if you are sick, you should go to work. On the other hand, if you are sick, you should stay at home.

This is clearly a ridiculous situation and further exposes the questionable methods used at the DWP to determine a Claimant's entitlement to Benefit.

Incidentally, has Prof. Aylward presented his proposals yet for the reconfiguration of Health Service provision in Rhondda Cynon Taf? I can't find it and it was due at the end of April. The worthy Prof. is probably about to run out of fingers for his many pies.

Your pal.


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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Who's fingered all the pies?

What's he on about now, I hear you ask.

I have previously posted on the amount of 'pies' that our own Prof. Mansel Aylward has his fingers in. They range from the DWP, Medical Services, UNUM Insurance, you know, the ones described as "outlaws", The Shaw Trust, The Welsh Centre for Health, one of Rhodri's 'bonfire of the Quangos', and now the Venture Capitalist company ARKAGA.

Prof. Aylward, it seems, is a Director/Board Member of this company that prides itself on its ability to engage in 'leveraged buy out investments'. Their particular chosen area of investment is in Private Health Care and Management. A quick look at their site will explain more fully.

Interestingly enough, on their link labelled 'people', this appears to have been changed in the last couple of weeks. Previously they have trumpeted the fact that Prof. Aylward was one of their 'people' but now it has changed to a redacted version which identifies no-one. Spooky eh! They probably prefer anonymity.

This obviously deepens the mystery of why Mansel Aylward was specifically chosen by Edwina Hart AM, our Health Minister,to be the appropriate person to undertake the Health Care reconfiguration in the Rhondda Cynon Taf Area, given his apparent lack of experience of Public Health Care provision yet his massive experience and knowledge of the private Health Care and Insurance Industries

It may be noted from ARKAGA's site that they currently have investments in such companies as:


I would ask my reader to remember these names as I have every confidence that we will be hearing more of these, possibly in the field of 'preferred bidders'. You heard it here first.

I enclose a link to an interesting article by Johnathan Rutherford which clearly explains these questionable links between Government and the Private Sector.

Obviously, it may be assumed that our Health Minister, Edwina Hart AM, is fully aware of these connections and associations with the private health and medical insurance industries. I have yet to hear a single word from her or her acolyte Huw Lewis AM, which mentions anything to do with Mansel Aylward's deep involvement with the private sector, apart from their claim that he is a person of 'stature and integrity'. This 'stature and integrity' clearly relates his roles within the private sector and has little relevance to Public Health Care. Nevertheless, Prof. Aylward is deemed to be the appropriate person for the job. I wonder, why?

Could it be that there is a hidden agenda of Private Health Care provision in Edwina Hart's use of Aylward's 'skills'? If so, why no mention of it?

I make these observations for the benefit of those in the RCT area as they appear to be the 'guinea pigs' in what I see as an erosion of The NHS as we know and love it and the making available of enormous opportunities for the private sector to cash in on Public Health Care provision.

Incidentally. Mansel's report to Edwina Hart is a little overdue as it was promised to be presented by the end of April. I haven't been able to locate it so far. Has it been presented yet? I'd be grateful if my reader can inform me.

Your pal.


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Sunday, 4 May 2008

Oh the times, they are a-changing.

Well, the Council Elections have come and gone. The Stat. Hounds have done their duty and I've got percentages and percentiles coming from my ears, none of which will be found here.

Strangely enough, every Party seems to have trumpeted their successes despite the fact that there's now more Councils showing No Overall Control than ever.

Interestingly, the four Councils with Overall Control are held by the Tories and Labour who have previously been thought of as heading for oblivion. The other Parties and Independents can continue with their quests for glory and will continue to irritate us all.

Plaid have had their wins and losses. Carmarthenshire now revels in its Plaid success, whereas Gwynedd seems to prefer Llais Gwynedd. Funny old world isn't it? Rhondda Cynon Taf is still dominated by Labour and Cardiff looks forward to another coalition. The Liberals have eighteen new seats and everything in the political garden is rosy. We in the None of These Turkeys Party have also had a bit of a crow, with the news that turnouts have been low again. We await the full result of the spoilt papers just to put the icing on our particular little cake.

All this, of course, has been overshadowed by the resounding success of Boris Johnson with his trouncing of Ken Livingstone in the London Mayoral Election.

What on Earth has this to do with Wales, I hear you ask? The answer's simple really. The people of London have decided that it's time for a change. Off with the old and on with the new.

Many new styles and fashions filter down to the provinces from London. Maybe this political change is one of them.

Boris has been frequently been described as a buffoon and a clown and he now has his chance to prove otherwise. The Londoners are certainly prepared to give him the chance. He has said in a post election interview that if he doesn't produce significant results within his four year tenure, the the London electorate "can kick him out with gusto." None of this recently heard "we're listening and lessons have been learned" malarky that has recently been heard around Westminster.

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's recent ill-thought removal of the 10p Tax Band for the lower paid combined with the increases in the cost of food and fuel added to the realisation that the newly increased Car Tax bands will include just about all of the lower paid's 'old bangers' which they are already struggling to keep on the road, will, IMHO, sound the death knell for Gordon Brown within a few months. This change from grey must continue.

Of course, Boris's detractors will continue to snipe at him from the sidelines but I think that they sorely underestimate his intellect and determination. A scholarship to Eton is not easily won. The man's no fool. It has been said that he has no experience of running such a large budget but if that were to be a qualification for the job, candidates would be pretty thin on the ground.

Boris will bring in a 'broad church' of expertise and with his inimitable style will hopefully oversee a renewal of Londoners' fortunes and quality of life.

It must be noted that the BBC graphics during our elections, were coloured grey to indicate an area where there was No Overall Control. I wonder, was this deliberate or a subliminal indication of the true political colour of Wales. Dull, boring and virtually bereft of any character whatsoever.

Maybe we should adopt the colour grey as our National colour. It certainly seems to fit at the moment.

It has been stated previously that Wales needs some character in its political sphere. Pretty soon Wales will be seeking a new First Minister. This post can be easily equated to the London Mayoralty, not that our budget is anywhere near theirs.

What do we have in the way of candidates? I'm afraid it's the same old crop of grey party hacks with their undisclosed sub-agendas which frequently have more to do with their own party dogma as opposed to an interest in bettering the quality of life for the population of Wales.

Wales needs its own Boris in order to bring about this wind of change.

Rhodri, who it can be said, is a bit of a character, has left his mark on the Assembly. His boots will be difficult to fill. Wales sorely needs someone of character and charisma to step up to the mark in order to continue this wind of change.

Poor old Ieuan's attempts at character and 'humour' on his recent Party Political Broadcast were absolutely pathetic and unfunny. Paul Murphy tried to be statesmanlike but still epitomised the greyness of Welsh politics. Mike German continued with his empty reassurances and the Tory, I just can't recall. Grey, grey, grey.

Where's our Boris? Where's the one to put a smile on our grey faces? Where is that elusive person who can unite the Welsh with a sense of purpose and with good humour.

At the moment they all seem to be scuttling around networking and seeking support for their own particular shades of grey. Wales needs no more grey.

Come out, come out, wherever and whoever you are. Your Country needs YOU.

Your pal.


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Sunday, 17 February 2008

MPs Misled? Depression and ME cured?

As promised, here's an article written by Steve Donnison the owner of disability benefits advice website giving an account of Prof. Mansel Aylward's attitude towards the questioning of his methods.

This article is posted here with full permission.

MPs Misled? Stress, Depression And M.E. Cured?
© 2005 Steve Donnison
26th. July 2005

Were MPs misled into believing that the President of the Appeals Service agreed that private sector doctors working for the DWP were better trained than the doctors who sit on appeal tribunals? And are we about to witness a drug free revolution in the treatment of conditions such as stress, depression and ME/CFS that will see many thousands of sufferers miraculously returned to health, happiness and work?

Lumps of meat.

In December 2003 Professor Mansel Aylward CB Chief Medical Advisor of the DWP's Corporate Medical Group gave evidence to the Public Accounts Committee's enquiry into progress in improving the medical assessment of incapacity and disability benefits.
The committee was very concerned by the fact that 51% of appeals against IB and DLA decisions were being won by claimants. There was clear scepticism about the skills and commitment of privatised doctors working for Schlumberger Sema. One MP questioned whether the doctors were "genuinely concerned about the actual people they are assessing" or whether they "just treat them as a lump of meat" and "are not really all that bothered, are they, as long as they are getting their fee?" (According to evidence given at this hearing, doctors get between £50 -£70 per medical, which would allow them to earn in excess of £100,000 a year).
Professor Aylward CB leapt to the defence of the private doctors. He claimed that the Appeal Service statistics, which showed that one third of all cases were won by claimants because the privatised doctor underestimated their disability, were wrong. The Professor claimed to have taken a random sample of these cases and, using "judgment, and a scientific method" found that, in his professional opinion, in half the cases the disability had not been underestimated.
In other words, in the Professor's professional opinion, the privatised doctors had got it right and the tribunals had got it wrong. However, because tribunals ask questions which should have been, but were not, asked during hasty medicals they tend to discover more about the claimant's disability than cash driven examining doctors do. The Professor didn't explain - and wasn't asked - how his "scientific method" took into account all the additional evidence given under cross examination at the tribunal to which he had no access
Instead, Professor Aylward argued that the reason for the difference in opinion between tribunals and privatised doctors was that the privatised doctors were better trained.

Undeserving poor.

One of the MPs returned to this matter later, telling the Professor that he they needed to "cut out inappropriate payment" of benefits because "we want those who do not deserve the money not to be having taxpayers' money". Why, he asked did this problem of poor training of tribunal doctors happen? "This obviously must be a persistent thing for you to make the point. Why has it persisted?"
Professor Aylward answered gravely that:
"I find difficulty in responding to that because I think this is a matter for the Appeals Service and not directly for me. I am working very closely with the president of the Appeals Service to ensure that difference is remedied, particularly in regard to the criteria which doctors now need to meet in order to remain on the medical register in the process of GMC revalidation".
This was a very important claim. What the Professor was saying was that not only was there a problem with the training and validation of Appeals Service doctors, but it was clearly accepted that this was the case because Judge Harris, the president of the Appeals Service, was working with him to remedy the difference.
Alan Williams MP apparently now convinced that privatised doctors were getting it right and tribunals getting it wrong, went on to say that:
"Quite an important observation is being made here. It has implicit in it the fact that money is going to the wrong places or not going to the right places. It is lots of public money. If the professor has observed this, have you fed it into the system? If so, at what level have you fed it in?"
Professor Aylward responded:
"I fed it in at the highest level. I fed it in at the highest level in the Appeals Service. I have made my colleagues in DWP aware of it recently. It is not something which one concludes without some quite significant data research and evidence, so I have only recently reached this conclusion".
By the end of the hearing, so convinced did the committee appear to be by the evidence of the Professor that Alan Williams was talking about the possibility of finding "a pot of money" to improve the training of Appeals Service doctors.

Absent minded professor.

Here at Benefits and Work we were very concerned at the possibility that one party to the appeals process appeared to be in a position to influence the President of the Appeals Service and possibly persuade him that his doctors should be trained by a privatised company in order to reduce the number of claimants winning appeals.
At the time there was nothing much we could do about it. But with the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act we finally had our chance. So we made a request to see copies of any communications between Professor Aylward and the Appeals Service, relating to such things as panel members training, monitoring, quality assurance, and the criteria members need to meet to be selected. That, we thought, should get us a fine haul of documents.
We were wrong.
Instead, we received a response from Professor Aylward CB stating that:
"In response to your request for information, I have not personally written to Judge Harris or anyone else within or connected to the Appeals Service on any of the four listed topics in the period from January 2003. Therefore I do not hold any such communications on the specified matter."
Odd, we thought. Still, perhaps he's one of those absent minded Professors. Maybe, if we remind him what he told the Public Accounts Committee we'll have better luck. So we made a further request, quoting in detail from the Professor's evidence and asking for information about such things as the work the Professor had undertaken with Judge Harris and any documents relating to it.
What we got back was another email from the Professor himself, stating that:
"In response to your requests for information as listed in your email of 4 April 2005, I have no documents or communications as it is not within my roles and responsibilities to be involved in the training, quality assurance and management of the medically qualified panel members of the tribunals. This is a matter for the Appeals Service judiciary. The limited feedback I have given to the Appeals Service has been given verbally. The appeals service has been offered full use of training modules undertaken by examining doctors in Atos Origin Medical Services".
We were astonished. Hadn't he told the committee that he was "working very closely with the President of the Appeals Service"? Had he not fed his conclusions, based on all that magnificent scientific method, data research and evidence in at the highest level of the Appeals Service? Well . . . umm, not exactly no. What he'd done is give "limited feedback" verbally.

Nothing to do with me, guv.

We wrote to the Professor, explaining that we were going to write about his evidence and asking for any comment he might have on what we considered was the apparent disparity between his evidence to the Public Accounts Committee that he was working very closely with Judge Harris and his statement to us that he had given only limited verbal feedback. We pointed out that
"Given that the potential effect of your evidence appeared to be the undermining of MPs faith in the judgements of Appeals Service doctors and the boosting of their confidence in Atos Origin doctors this seems an extremely important matter".
The Professor responded thus:
"I do not accept that my statement to the Public Accounts Committee is at variance with my subsequent communication with the President of Appeal Tribunals having been verbal and not written".
Perhaps not. But is there really no difference between "working closely with" the President of the Appeals Service and giving "limited feedback" to the Appeals Service? Professor Aylward CB went on to say:
"I repeat that this issue of training and quality assurance of tribunal members is a matter for the Appeals Service Judiciary".
Quite so. And the issue of whether or not the Chief Adisor at Medical Services misled a commons committee is a matter for that committee and not for us. We are writing to our MP asking that he refer the matter to the Public Accounts Committee and that the Professor's evidence be further investigated.

Nice work if you can get it.

This is not a small matter for two reasons.
Firstly, Professor Aylward CB's evidence to the Committee carried with it the implication that a large number of disabled people are not only claiming money to which they are not entitled, but also that they are so good at giving false evidence that they can fool experienced tribunals into believing them.
Secondly, not long after the Committee hearing, the bidding process started for a contract for £500 million of taxpayers money to carry out DLA and incapacity benefit medicals for a further seven years. Schlumberger Sema, now swallowed up by Atos Origin, faced stiff competition from other multinationals hungry for this profitable work. The opinions of bodies like the Public Accounts Committee about present provision would have to be taken into account in deciding who should get the contract.
In March of this year it was announced that Atos Origin had held onto the contract.
Stupid doctors, wise professors
At the same time a new research centre was being set up at Cardiff University, funded by an American based multinational, Unum Provident, who provide sickness insurance cover to employers. The opening of the £1.6 million UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research was attended by Works and Pensions Minister Alan Johnson and Wales' First Minister Rhodri Morgan.
The aim of the centre is to find out why so many people go off sick with what it refers to as "complaints which cannot be understood in the same way as more identifiable diseases". The kinds of conditions they have in mind are stress, depression and ME/CFS. The centre is particularly interested in "the doctor/patient relationship and how this affects an individual's reaction to their illness". The centre aims, within the next five years, to "facilitate a significant re-orientation in current medical practise in the UK" in order to "bring benefits to employers, insurers and to society as a whole; but more importantly, it will benefit the individual who is healthier and happier when actively involved in work."
Or, to put it another way, the research centre hopes to persuade GPs to stop signing so many people off sick with conditions like stress, depression and ME.
And the person who is to head this new centre, bringing increased wealth to UnumProvident shareholders and big savings to the DWP?
Step forward Professor Mansel Aylward CB, former Chief Medical Officer at the DWP, recently appointed Chair in Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University and now Director of the UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research. And those of you with less "identifiable diseases" rejoice: within five years the Professor of Limited Feedback will have you healthier, happier and back at work.


I hope that this helps my reader to more fully understand the methods by which the privatisation of the DWP is being undertaken.

Your pal.


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Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Why don't they tell the whole truth?

Last night's BBC Wales programme, Week in Week Out, brought no real surprises to me.

It may as well have been produced by the DWP. It probably was but I didn't actually see them on the credits. The programme was simply an advertisement for the UNUM/Aylward/Wessley and now, Matthews school of medical thought, regarding disability rehabilitation and was intended to convey the veiled threat from the DWP that the disabled have to live under.

Previous posts, all evidence based, show that this "thinking" is NOT in the "mainstream of medical thinking" but that they claim to influence Government thinking. No mention of this by the BBC. I wondered why.

Clearly, Government thinking is devoted to further disenfranchisement of legitimate claimants by a reduction or removal of their benefits irrespective of any job provision.

The sight of the Texan Dr. Merrill Matthews striding through the Merthyr in his black cowboy boots made me wonder why he didn't have his black cowboy hat on as well. As an associate of the "outlaws" UNUM and their employees he was somewhat under dressed. Curiously, the BBC cameraman did at least three close-ups of the boots. Was there a subliminal message in there somewhere?

Why did they have to mention his black belt in Tae Kwon Do? What's that got to do with this matter? Incidentally, I've got a black pair of braces in origami but I don't go on about it.

The BBC/DWP then carefully selected their interviewees in order to support their clear intention of getting the UNUM/DWP message across. They could have interviewed me. I would certainly have livened up the show and provided a little balance.

The 'website designer' with a previously broken elbow who was portrayed as a businessman, presumably entirely self supporting on the basis of nine websites. Yeah right.

The amputee who appeared to be coping with his disability quite well by keeping himself occupied was asked why he had no job. There are no jobs but Dr. Matthews just skimped over this. I was a little disturbed to note that Dr. Matthews failed to mention the man's remaining leg, which was showing clear clinical signs of a circulatory problem and had a large dressing on it. I wondered why.

The other interviewees were not portrayed in a positive light at all and appeared to be victims of socio/economic problems that would obviously cause anxiety or depression in the strongest willed of us.

Of course, there are many disabled people who would dearly love to get a job that they were capable of but, unfortunately, the programme gave absolutely no hope of that, just a threat of a reduction in Benefits.

The double industrial accident chap from Llanelli put it in a nutshell when he said, "Everything is put in its place to stop me getting a job".

Dr. Matthews said:

"In the US we cut people's cash benefits in the 1990s and told them they were going back to work.
"They are some of the most successful policies we've ever introduced. In some states, money from benefit claimants was taken and used instead to create jobs in local companies, boosting employment opportunities."

The only "success" that these policies had was to disenfranchise legitimate benefit claimants on the basis of "medical thinking" that is NOT of the mainstream.

The scenes of Prof. Mansel Aylward in his training suite were most enlightening. I wonder why there was no mention of the FULL title of his BioPsychoSocial School, i.e. THE UNUM SCHOOL.........Maybe they just forgot?

I must say that Mansel wasn't looking a picture of health himself, since I met him last. Rather overweight, heavy jowled and a little pasty. Hardly a good advertisement as the Director of the Welsh Centre for Health. I do hope that he's not suffering from a disability. He'll have dreadful job getting his benefits.

Incidentally, at our last meeting, he went to some pains to state, before a very credible witness with a good memory, that he never engaged in physical activity himself, just mental activity. Maybe he should read his own books, or could it just be a case of: "do as I say, not what I do"? Perhaps he has a Black Belt in Legitimate Claims Denial?

Clearly, to me at least, this was a New Labour/BBC production designed solely to justify and usher in the new regime which will result in untold misery and poverty for thousands of legitimate claimants.

After the programme, I emailed Week in Week Out with a cordial invitation to call in here and see the real story. I wonder if they'll respond? If they do, I will be quite prepared to show them more than enough documentary evidence to support a further edition of WiWO showing the truth of what underlies this particular edition.

There are so many unasked and unanswered questions.

Your pal.


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Saturday, 26 January 2008

Peter Hain's parting shot!

Readers of my previous postings, regarding the questionable association of the DWP and the American "outlaw" insurance company UNUM, may be aware of the awkward question that I have persistently asked, as yet avoided and unanswered.

Q.........Please provide your observations on Governmental association with UNUM insurance, who have been described as an "outlaw company who have acted in an illegal fashion for many years" and who "operate claims denial factories".

Peter Hain was asked this question just before Christmas by one of our NONE of THESE TURKEYS supporters, with little expectation of a response.

Surprise, surprise! He has responded thus:

"It would not be appropriate for me to comment on what has been said about UNUM's operation, either in Great Britain or overseas".

I wonder why? Is it a secret?

The question was not about what was SAID but about their record in the USA of being fined many millions of Dollars as a result of their illegal denial of legitimate claims.

UNUM have two main products and two main goals.


1. Disability and ill health Insurance.

2. Medical treatment insurance.


1. To eradicate Social Welfare (The Welfare State). This makes the need for their disability and illness insurance product clearer in the marketplace.

2. To eradicate the NHS as we know it . This makes the need for their medical insurance product clearer in the marketplace.

The following statement by UNUM's Chairman in 2001 confirms this:

Chairman, Ward E Graffam recognised the ‘exciting developments’ in Britain: ‘The impending changes to the State ill-health benefits system will create unique sales opportunities across the entire disability market and we will be launching a concerted effort to harness the potential in these.’

Despite UNUM's clear influence in government, Hain deems it "inappropriate to comment".

Again, I wonder why? What had he to hide? if I didn't know!!!

As a result of UNUM's business aspirations in the UK, it seems highly suspicious to me that politicians seem to reluctant to answer this particularly awkward question.

Come on Huw Lewis AM, I asked YOU politely, at least do me the courtesy of a response or has the cat got your tongue?

I refer to Huw in particular as he is the AM that endorses UNUM's local agent, Prof. Mansel Aylward as the fit and proper person to reconfigure Welsh NHS services. He describes Aylward as a person of "stature and integrity" despite Aylward's employment by an "OUTLAW" company.

Rhodri was asked the question before Christmas and promised a response, he's still dithering and I'm still waiting. A little reminder is due.

How's about someone asking Edwina Hart AM, Health Minister for a response. We need to know.

I would earnestly ask my reader to ask the same awkward question at every opportunity. I certainly intend to.

This matter will eventually affect ALL of the population of the UK, including YOU!

Beware, UNUM have you in their sights, whether you like it or not.


Your publicly pensioned pal.


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Saturday, 5 January 2008

Brunstrom strikes again. Hypocrites tremble.

Richard Brunstrom, Wales' favourite Chief Constable has done it again.

This time, it's a suggestion that illegal drugs be made legal in order to avoid the need for addicts to commit crimes in order to feed their addiction. Further, that it also allows monitoring and, hopefully, may allow an addict to free themselves from their addiction.

This seems perfectly sensible to me, as all the figures available seem to suggest that a high proportion of crimes are committed for drug purchase, by addicts who have no real interest in criminal activity, apart from, as a means of 'survival'.

I will not dwell too much on the whys and wherefores of the matter except to voice my support for the Chief Constable's view.

Naturally his words have attracted much opprobrium from many, who obviously still believe the spin that the 'war on drugs' is winnable. That 'war' is continually lost until tobacco and alcohol are added to the list of proscribed drugs.

Paul Flynn's blog kindly sets out the Lancet's opinion of the relative dangers of the common 'recreational' drugs. Paul also scoffs at Chris Bryant's hysterical outburst containing yet another call for Brunstrom to resign. This doesn't really help Chris's desperate attempts to lose his Y-front image.

Over at Normal Mouth's, the ever predictable Glyn Davies also makes his second call in as many months for Brunstrom's resignation. He claims that Brunstrom's "campaign to legalise drugs that are currently illegal, is not consistant with him remaining as a Chief Constable".

Normal has asked Glyn for an explanation and Glyn has yet to respond.

Don't hold your breath Normal.

The 'Brunstrom' saga has appeared previously on Glyn's blog and, having asked some quite pertinent questions, I was fobbed off with some rubbish about having moved on. Perhaps it was my mention of the fact that if Alcohol were to be proscribed it would cause him great personal despair as his beloved game of Rugby would not survive without its booze culture. Further, I would also suggest that it would mean and end to most of what we euphemistically describe as Welsh culture. Ban booze and Wales dies.

Well, now that Glyn has broached the subject I might as well mention it here again. Maybe my reader would care to respond as well.

Mind altering substances have been an integral part of our Islands' 'culture' since time immemorial. There have been opinions cast over millenia regarding the use or misuse of these substances, none of these opinions having had the slightest effect.

People just seem to love their drug induced altered states of consciousness. In today's 'culture' there appears to be a strong liking for drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, opiates and various fungi. These are illegal to use but, nevertheless, are enjoyed by many.

Two of the most pernicious and deadly drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco, are sold with the full encouragement of Government, by way of taxation. Whatever happened to our sense of fair play?

Alcohol, in particular, does massive societal damage, yet is accepted with an attitude of casuality until the harmful effects are a matter of personal or family concern.

I am at a loss to understand how Glyn can call for the resignation of a professional policeman at the top of his 'tree', with a clearly considered professional opinion, as opposed to Glyn, snuffling around at the 'roots', with little knowledge of 'drug' matters, apart, that is, from what he reads in the papers.

It seems somewhat hypocritical of Glyn to call for Brunstrom's resignation when Glyn is an active proponent and user of one of the most dangerous and deadly drugs in today's society.

Despite the legality of Glyn's chosen recreational drug, it would appear to be a standpoint hardly consistent with prospective Parliamentary candidature.

Your pal.


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