Daily View 2×2: 2 November 2009

by Stephen Tall on November 2, 2009

With just 59 days til the end of the third millennium’s first decade, we can celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the birth of BBC1, and that it’s 49 years to the day since Penguin Books was found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

2 Big Stories

Johnson faces backlash over decision to sack drugs advisor

The fall-out continues from Home Secretary Alan Johnson’s decision to sack Professor David Nutt as chair of his scientific advisory body on drugs policy – The Times reports:

The Government is facing mass resignations from the official advisory body on drugs after the sacking of its chairman, The Times has learnt. Two members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs quit yesterday in protest at Alan Johnson’s dismissal of David Nutt in a row over the relative harm caused by drugs and alcohol.

Les King, an expert chemist, was the first to resign. He said that the Home Secretary had denied Professor Nutt his right to free speech and called for the council to become truly independent of politicians. He was swiftly followed by Marion Walker, a pharmacist and clinical director with the substance misuse service at the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The affair has led scientists to question the Government’s wider commitment to the independence of external scientific advisers, and raised fears that experts will become reluctant to sit on advisory panels.


Tory U-turn on Lisbon Treaty referendum policy

In perhaps the least surprising news of the weekend, ConservativeHome reports that David Cameron will finally ditch his pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty once it is ratified:

Unless Vaclav Klaus u-turns again, the Lisbon Treaty is about to be ratified. The Conservative leadership will say that, if elected, there’ll be no attempt to ‘unratify’ it via a referendum. Lisbon is not the only problem in our relationship with the EU, goes the argument, and it would be a referendum that cannot undo Lisbon.

Seems llike Messrs Cameron and Hague are happy to let it rest after all.

2 must-read blog-posts

On the meaning of the word “man” (Judith Brooksbank)

Now that I’ve risen to the lofty heights of being a Town Council committee vice-chairman I wish to say that I have no wish to be a vice-chair or a vice-chairwoman or a vice-chairperson. I am a vice-chairman.

Caroline Righton – I hate to go on about it but … (Jeremy Rowe)

[Caroline Righton’s] steadfast refusal to apologise for her election team’s unedifying smear campaign against Stephen Gilbert means I can’t let it lie. … So please Caroline, I know you’re a Tory and you probably can’t help it, but do the decent thing, apologise, and let everybody move on.

You can catch up with Lib Dem Voice’s coverage of Caroline Righton’s smears against Stephen Gilbert here.