The War We Never Fought by Peter Hitchens
The British Establishment's Surrender to Drugs

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...I am astonished that he can base an entire book on a few cuttings from the Evening Standard, the Daily Mail and the News of the World.


Again and again British politicians, commentators and celebrities intone that 'The War on Drugs has failed'. They then say that this is an argument for abandoning all attempts to reduce drug use through the criminal law.

Peter Hitchens shows that in Britain there has been no serious 'war on drugs' since 1971, when a Tory government adopted a Labour plan to implement the revolutionary Wootton report. This gave cannabis, the most widely used illegal substance, a special legal status as a supposedly 'soft' drug (in fact, Hitchens argues, it is at least as dangerous as heroin and cocaine because of the threat it poses to mental health). It began a progressive reduction of penalties for possession, and effectively disarmed the police.

This process still continues, behind a screen of falsely 'tough' rhetoric from politicians. Far from there being a 'war on drugs', there has been a covert surrender to drugs, concealed behind an official obeisance to international treaty obligations. To all intents and purposes, cannabis is legal in Britain, and other major drugs are not far behind.

In The War We Never Fought, Hitchens uncovers the secret history of the government's true attitude, and the increasing recruitment of the police and courts to covert decriminalisation initiatives, and contrasts it with the rhetoric. Whatever and whoever is to blame for the undoubted mess of Britain's drug policy, it is not 'prohibition' or a 'war on drugs', for neither exists.

About Peter Hitchens

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Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He witnessed most of the final scenes of the Cold War, and was a resident correspondent in the Soviet capital and in Washington, DC. He frequently revisits both Russia and the USA. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo and China. He won the journalism category in the 2010 George Orwell Prize for this correspondence.
Published December 6, 2012 by Bloomsbury Continuum. 305 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by Jonathan Ree on Oct 26 2012

...I am astonished that he can base an entire book on a few cuttings from the Evening Standard, the Daily Mail and the News of the World.

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