Diary of a Sutton Councillor

4 Comments »

  1. So essentially this boils down to :
    * Selling High Times, Cheech/Chong, Furry Freak Brothers, etc because that encourages drug use (unlike say, every mens magazine encouraging alcohol abuse, etc in the nearest news agent)
    * Selling “Drug Paraphenalia”, i.e. Scales, Hookah Pipes, etc – tools found in every good tobacconist, and used for quite legal purposes.
    * Selling legal highs, which are unregulated.

    So the problem is bad laws, lack of adequate licensing and regulation.

    Have you made the point to parent’s etc that the root of any real problem is prohibition and that this action is actually a step on the wrong direction, i.e. more bad laws?

    Why aren’t you addressing the concerns directly with the shopkeeper who isn’t breaking any laws, and probably doesn’t want schoolkids in his shop anyway (after all most of the shops near schools anywhere I’ve seen have notices excluding schoolchildren because of the number of shoplifters).

    When I walked to various schools from the ages of 5 to 16, I passed a garage which sold tobacco, pubs, tobaconists, off-licensed premises, etc. Didn’t do me any harm, and most, like I said didn’t want any “pesky kids” because they “nicked stuff” or “wandered around reading magazines without buying them, got in the way and were rude to customers”.

    Comment by Aaron Trevena | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. My biggest concern as a parent of a young girl is that my local school will actively discourage her from entering any scientific or technical field, the bullying, the lack of good sex education, the nonsense they teach about drugs, and the absence of any good IT or Math teachers.

    Abduction, Drug Dealers and other myths are far less danger than the parents driving their chelsea tractors.

    Comment by Aaron Trevena | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. See, the thing about the law is that it’s, well, the law. And there’s no law against selling hookahs. Nor is there a law against having suggestive shop names. The shop owners and their customers have rights too, and they’re breaking no law. It’s not a ‘loophole’, it’s just people’s basic right to buy and sell perfectly legal items to each other.

    “Councils have no powers to determine the trade carried on by businesses” – and quite right, too! Can you imagine what would happen if we allowed councils to start deciding over which shops could exist and what they can sell or call themselves? You might think that you are capable of making sensible decisions about this, but can you say the same for every council in the country? Do you want to subject perfectly innocent people and businesses to the legal interference of their local council? What if (God forbid) the BNP managed to win control of a council – should they be able to shut down shops selling, say, Asian fashions?

    Sometimes in a liberal society we just have to accept that laws and the limits on laws are there to protect all of us. It’s not always easy, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative. In this case, the shop in question have a perfect right to do business. You do, of course, have a perfect right to protest against them. If you can persuade people to stop shopping there, well done.

    Of course, I also have a perfect right to say that on the substance of the issue, I think you’re wrong. You’re right that the situation around cannabis is undermining the law and the respect for authority – but the problem is that the law is trying to ban something that a majority of adults have done at some point. It is unenforceable, and the continuation of the criminalisation of cannabis is making the police, government and courts look absolutely stupid.

    Comment by Rob Knight | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. Just a few of points in no particular order –
    -The guy who runs the shop will love the PR.
    -He probably does have a legal right to operate
    -I would prefer it not be round the corner from a primary school, (across the road from a park), -Given the ages of the kids I think parents have a legitimate concern that it romanticises drugs and indirectly encourages a disregard for the law.
    -This whole shop controversy does nothing to address the real issues of ineffective prohibition, dumb laws and criminalisation of stuff that is and will always be part of our culture.
    -Our society has an immature set of laws for dealing with this stuff, the shop owner is running a simple (equally immature) but probably effective a cash grab on a “rebel glamour” of this counter culture.
    If anything this just highlights the need to get some common sense and maturity into how we deal with these type of issues, a rational legalisation of marijuana would then inform and guide how shops like this could operate, similar to how special laws exist now covering the legal drugs(booze and fags).

    Comment by Greg | June 9, 2008 | Reply


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