Surprise, surprise! A report out today reveals that cannabis does damage your health. In a study of teenagers, it was found that those who had used cannabis regularly - more than four times a week - suffered significant damage to their mental capacities. The best answer to all drugs is a simple 'no'.
Posted on 28 August 2012 by Richard Drax
'Danny Boyle test'
Oh, dear! Another minister instructing us on how to be Conservatives. This time it's the affable immigration minister Damian Green, who says we must pass the 'Danny Boyle Test'. I'm assuming Mr Green is referring to the Olympic opening ceremony, with its interesting bent on our island history, which is a little different from Mr Boyle's colourful and entertaining version. One of the troubles today is that politicians are fixated by focus groups, who purport to represent the majority of us, rather than relying on honestly-held views and opinions, which are called principles. And Tory ones are simple to understand and easy to sell. They are based on the freedom of the individual, who must at the same time accept responsibility for his of her actions and their consequences. The key is less state and more individual, although there must be a safety net for those who genuinely fall into it. So, let's stop re-inventing Conservatism for the sake of political correctness, stick to our long-held and valued principles and get on and turn our country round.
Posted on 27 August 2012 by Richard Drax
Hands off! According to the Sunday Telegraph there are plans afoot to relax the planning laws relating to green belt, following a meeting of the so-called 'Quad' - that's David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem's man in the Treasury. I'm afraid I have no confidence at all in any meeting these four gentlemen hold, especially when it concerns our countryside. The Government has fallen into the trap in thinking it can spend its way out of trouble and deal with our housing shortage at the same time. The far bigger issue, which no government has tackled, is that of immigration, both from inside and outside the EU. We simply cannot go on increasing this country's population without something giving, notably the green belt. So, let's tackle the problem and stop exacerbating it.
Posted on 19 August 2012 by Richard Drax
The Sunday trading laws were relaxed for the Olympics to ensure that Britain was open for business. Despite reservations, because of the effect on small traders, I voted for that temporary change, with the reassurance that the restrictions on opening hours would return post paralympics. This they must do and I will vote against the government if they change their mind.
Posted on 19 August 2012 by Richard Drax
I am appalled, but not surprised, that the three members of this punk band have been jailed for two years for singing anti-Putin songs in a church. Russia's move to so-called democracy was always going to take time, but events like this make you wonder whether it's sliding back into bad, old habits. Russia's record, not least on human rights, since the Berlin wall came down has not been encouraging. These girls are certainly paying a heavy price for expressing their opinions, which should remind us all how fortunate we are in the West, although our freedoms are constantly being challenged, the EU being a case in point. Relax your guard for a moment and someone, somewhere will think the state knows best. It never, ever does.
Posted on 18 August 2012 by Richard Drax
What a finale! Last night's closing ceremony was a fitting end to what has been an extraordinary 16 days. Congratulations should go to Lord Coe and the organisers, the volunteers - many of whom I met in Weymouth, and all of whom did a fantastic job - our wonderful armed forces and police and of course the athletes themselves. What a show Britain put on and we can be rightly proud of an achievement which will hopefully inspire the next generation, not only to do well at sport, but to strive in every walk of life. The rewards are there if you are prepared to contribute and work hard; that message has been well and truly delivered over the past few, glorious days.
Posted on 13 August 2012 by Richard Drax
As we sit down tonight to watch the Olympic's closing ceremony, and rightly bask in the superb performances of our athletes, we should reflect on the fact that two more of our courageous soldiers have fallen on the field of battle in Afghanistan, bring the total killed to 424. A short account of the deaths of Lieutenant Andrew Chesterman, of the 3rd Battalion, The Rifles, and Lance Corporal Matthew David Smith, of the Corps of Royal Engineers, could be found on page 42 of the Mail on Sunday. Of course, the Olympics should receive wide coverage but somehow these few paragraphs about two young men who have given their lives for us all seemed woefully inadequate.
Posted on 12 August 2012 by Richard Drax
I am delighted that the Prime Minister has said the National Curriculum should be rewritten to encompass more school sport. I just find it almost depressing that it takes such a wonderful spectacle as the Olympics to goad people into action when more sport in state education has been the missing key element for decades. Sport unites, inspires and emboldens young people from whatever background. It does not discriminate and is a wonderful outlet for youthful exuberance. The outstanding success of our Olympians is a reminder of just what people can achieve if they really want to. So, let's stop selling our sports' fields and start investing in them; let's stop talking down competition and start encouraging it; and let's get our young men on to the rugby pitch, where they can learn the true meaning of courage, camaraderie and team spirit. The spirit of the Games has once again highlighted the need for sport in schools, so bring it on. We now need action, not words.
Posted on 11 August 2012 by Richard Drax
Mr Clegg has reacted to the news that the Lords' reform has been dropped predictably. He and his colleagues will now vote against the planned boundary changes which were the quid pro quo for the referendum on the alternative vote. I don't think the electorate will look kindly on the Lib Dems for this kind of behaviour and I am sure most of my colleagues won't either. It's mid-term and we have reached an impasse politically, but one which can be put to good use if Mr Cameron has the courage to take the opportunity. I said right from the word 'go' that the Coalition was not good for the country in the mid to long term. At the time it was formed, political stability was needed and provided by both parties. But time has moved on and the country is in desperate need of strong, political leadership, with a clear and simple vision to get our great nation back on her feet. That chance is now and Mr Cameron must put the country before his premiership.
Posted on 7 August 2012 by Richard Drax
Mr Clegg has said publically that he will drop the Lords' Reform Bill. This is most welcome news as the Bill was ill-thought out and would have damaged our constitution. Rumours now abound that the Lib Dems will renege on the agreed boundary changes, but that would damage what little support their Party has left. The agreement was quite clear: a referendum on the alternative vote in exchange for boundary changes. I, for one, shall not shed any tears if the Coalition folds and believe, that for the country's sake, it should. Our country and her people deserve more than compromise and fudge, especially on huge issues like the future of our relationship with the EU. The Lib Dems are actually Socialists and far more Left than Labour and clear blue water between both parties is needed.
Posted on 6 August 2012 by Richard Drax
I've had the great honour to be skippered by Ben Ainslie and I've met him twice since. There is no doubt his Olympic glory is well deserved and I suspect he might now leave dinghy sailing behind and concentrate more on yacht racing. With three gold medals already to his name, competing at this level for a fourth would daunt most of us, but Ainslie did himself and Team GB proud by coming from behind to win gold again, a quite staggering achievement. And, of course, where better to do so than in the waters off Weymouth and Portland. I do hope Ben's achievements inspire many youngsters across the country to learn to sail.
Posted on 6 August 2012 by Richard Drax