Good of Nick Clegg to campaign to legalise drugs, now he has no power

He’s talking the big talk

Nick Clegg was booted out of government last year and he’s still trying to find a role. “Sad human punchline” obviously isn’t a sustainable occupation. Being paid thousands of pounds for speeches by a mega bank probably doesn’t fit too well with his liberal vibe either.

His latest attempt at reinvention is quite something. In an interview with Vice this week, Clegg attempts to depict himself as a bold and fearless drugs reformer.

Clegg claims the government throttled his attempts to begin a sensible policy about drugs. For him, reforming drug policy is something that “scares the life out of Westminster”.

But it doesn’t scare him. Clegg was in government from 2010-2015 and he fearlessly pursued reform:

Despite the Conservative’s resistance, I set up a Home Office drug policy review. Theresa May had to deliver it with gritted teeth, because I told her she had to. They did not want it at all. Actually, more than that, when it was completed they tried to change it. In fact, they filleted it, which was a pity because the original version of the report included some really quite thoughtful recommendations that were removed.

Clegg was clearly enjoying his once in a lifetime opportunity to exercise real, hard power to achieve meaningful change. The above quote shows how happy he was to boss around political heavyweights like Theresa May.

But how come nothing really changed on drug policy while Clegg had power? There’s a clue in the interview:

In the last government, did you ever talk to David Cameron personally about drugs?

No, we didn’t talk about it because I knew what he would say. I think you might imagine there was some great long conversation, but there was no conversation at all. 

Ahh. Maybe it was because he was literally too scared to talk to David Cameron about it. Hey, at least now he has no control over policy he can campaign for drug reform and posture about it in Vice.

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