Ian Birrell makes the conservative case against Prohibition today. About time. It’s good to finally see ripples reach across the Atlantic and begin to raise this issue on our radar. And Birrell is surely right to suggest not only that the logic would be sound – since when did conservatives so warmly embrace wasting money and forcing upon us such futile laws? – It would also go a long way to repairing the party’s image amongst people of my age.
Unfortunately, the party has been united by an awkward bond for a while now, between a socially uptight faction with a gut-inclination against anything new, and a vote-winning more liberal-minded leadership able to see what their ideology must and should entail. In that respect, marriage equality was a precursor to this future fight. But few should doubt that insofar as conservatives tend to flirt with libertarianism, drug liberalisation just has to be on the cards.
I’m sure the prime minister is not comfortable with his hypocrisy. And he would have to consider the question of whether this could even get passed. Labour’s potential position isn’t obvious (let’s not forget the David Nutt debacle), and no doubt his own party would split on any non-whipped ‘moral’ issue. There probably wouldn’t be sufficient support for a while yet. But we’ll get there, slowly. With marijuana, at least, it’s inevitable.