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Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Sunday 13th July 2014

I still don’t get Twitter. I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong (by reading every Tweet that reaches my timeline) or whether everybody else is capable of reading much faster than me. I say this because I can’t understand how people can follow a thousand or more people and not be spending every minute reading the resulting Tweets.

This gap in my knowledge means that I don’t automatically follow anyone who has chosen to follow me. My understanding is that doing so can lead to a fairly rapid rise in the number of followers on the basis that the more people you know about, the more people will know about you.

Even so, my tally of followers has grown steadily and seems to be showing signs of acceleration, as you would expect, mathematically. And it occurred to me that some of those new followers might be interested in some of my previous ‘pontifications’ so it might make sense to tweet again about some of the pieces based on my own evaluation of my best work.

Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed

Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed

I started with the piece about Heracleum mantegazzianum, giant hogweed, that, for some reason, makes a regular appearance in my ‘most visited pages’ statistics. Here it is in case you’ve missed it.

That seemed to work so I followed it, today, with the story of the destruction of my Catha edulis, khat, plants just over a year ago. Actually, it was that piece that gave me the idea of revisiting the past because I’d intended to mention it on the one year anniversary but missed it by a few days.

Reading it back before inviting new scrutiny of it, I saw a point about the classification of khat that I’d forgotten I’d made. I said;

‘Then there is the announcement, the day after the statement about khat, that she would accept the ACMD’s recommendation to make foil available to injecting drug users because the evidence says this reduces the transmission of disease and helps some people to enter treatment for problem drug use. It may be that she thought two decisions that could be spun by the Hitchens, Gyngell, Phillips cabal as showing she was ‘soft on drugs’ was too much of a risk to take so she was happy to sacrifice the immigrant communities to stave off criticism.’

Catha edulis, khat

Catha edulis, khat

Looking back, as best I can, it appears I may have been right. I can’t find any criticism of the decision on foil from even the most rabid prohibitionists. The recent European ruling on what is being called the ‘right to be forgotten’ means that Google is no longer a reliable way to determine whether or not something exists online. That means I’ve had to search the individual sites that give houseroom to their writings but, unpleasant as that experience was, it confirmed that there was no criticism of the decision on foil as a sign of being ‘soft on drugs’.

Overall, I haven’t been able to find anyone who spun the decision on foil as being the government encouraging drug use. Given some of the extreme distortions of reality that will likely feature in future pieces dragged up from the archive, it is surprising that that didn’t happen.

I have to concede that Theresa May got it right by sacrificing the interests of the minority communities where khat chewing has been outlawed in favour of avoiding any suggestion that she is ‘wet’.

I can only hope that her callous indifference to the well-being of British citizens will, in due course, be a factor in her not succeeding David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party.

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