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Day: August 8, 2014

Nick Clegg doesn’t get tough on drugs – he gets smart

A lot of people think being tough on drugs is the only way to combat the use of drugs that society is plagued by today. I have never had this thought. Whilst at the age of 31 I have never tried – nor had any desire – to try out illegal substances, I think those that do should be helped to get over their problems should their drug use consume them.

Nick Clegg has spoken about this today and has indicated that the party want to end imprisonment for those who are caught with drugs for their own personal use and instead get them medical treatment to get over their drug addiction.

Speaking on the Lib Dem website, Nick Clegg said:

“We are never going to win a ‘war on drugs’. Illegal drugs still cause immense harm to the people who use them and to the communities they live in. We need a radically smarter approach if we are serious about tackling this problem.

“Liberal Democrats believe the first step to ending the war is to recognise that drug use is primarily a health problem. Addicts need treatment, not locking up. And it is a nonsense to waste scare resources on prison cells for cannabis users.

“That’s why we will commit to ensuring that nobody in future will go to prison where their only offence is possession of drugs for their own personal use.

“Instead these people should receive non-custodial sentences, and addicts should get the treatment they need to stop using drugs.

“In the longer term we will develop a more effective approach that frees up resources currently spent on prosecuting users, and reinvests that money in treatment and in the fight against organised crime.

“Liberal Democrats believe in a stronger economy and a fairer society. These liberal reforms will ensure that drug users get the help they need and that taxpayers don’t foot the bill for a system that doesn’t work.”

In short, it is a new grown-up approach to drug issues and one I stand up and applaud. As a society, many people think that punishment is more important than dealing with the cause of the problem. People going to jail are only going to spend time with more criminals and therefore find it much easier to get on to more hardcore drugs and come out of prison less prepared to become a productive member of society.

Drug use is a health problem. That is clearly what it is first and foremost. You don’t punish those caught up in it if you can help them first. Those who are addicted to drugs can turn their lives around and shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves. We all need a helping hand in life from time-to-time and getting over addiction, whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling or anything else is something people both want to do but they also need someone to help them.

This has been one of the best things Nick Clegg has said in a very, very long time. Rehabilitation is just as important as punishment for criminals and when you can help small-level criminals with drug issues, to a) help them get their lives back on track but also b) will long-term ensure their drug problem doesn’t get worse meaning they are less of an effective member of society and in turn more of a danger to others then it is something that we should do.

Drug use is a big issue and being tough on drug users has not really helped, so it is time to take a different approach and this is personally one that I’m very much in favour of.

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Are my Care Bears hurting my potential love life?

(That is arguably, well not arguably as a matter of fact, this is clearly my favourite headline that I have ever written).

So anyway a bit of background on why I own all the ten original care bears. You see I have had Tenderheart since I was knee high to a grasshopper (I actually had a large Bedtime Care Bear too but he has got lost somewhere along the way) but Tenderheart bear (not the full 13″ version, but the half size one) has been with me for a long, long time. He became my unofficial mascot. First things first he does not and has not slept in my bed ever as far as I’m aware but has lived on my headboard, on my desk, on my wardrobe, on a shelf over my bed, he’s lived around me. He came to university with me and has moved with me everywhere I’ve gone.

Now it probably isn’t unfair to say that he is more than a stupid soft toy to me, he has legitimate sentimental value. In fact I can’t think of anything else I own that has as much sentimental value to me. I know to many people this shows a lack of masculinity but if a burglar came into my property then I would prefer him or her to steal my iPad than I would my Tenderheart bear. True story.

I have for a long time said that I would give my Tenderheart bear to my first true love. Now of course whether a woman these days would appreciate the sentiment behind doing that is very much up for debate. However as we all can clearly see, I’m 31 and I still own it. That either means I’ve yet to be in love or it means that I’ve changed my mind and can’t bare to part with my bear. The answer is maybe both but as I have never been in love, I have yet to face that internal dilemma. I can tell you the reader this for nowt, if I ever gave him away to someone that it would certainly be a sign I was well and truly in love. He’s going nowhere without me being head over heels.

A few years back I did a quiz on the radio show I used to be part of. The quiz was name the ten original care bears. Sadly I looked at several blank faces and it made me sad. One of the studio had nightmares about the care bears. The next day I went on eBay to see if I could source all the ten originals (the half size ones like my Tenderheart bear) and it turned out that I could – and rather cheaply. So I bought them all and they now all live together on my headboard watching over my world and enjoying life, well apart from Grumpy bear but that is to be expected.

Why am I writing about this today? Well I have a couple of tales to tell from the recent past.

About what, a month or so ago now, someone sent me a message on OkCupid. I’m not going to tell you the full story but the short version is many messages were exchanged but then suddenly she deleted her profile. A couple of days later she Googled me and found this very blog and my e-mail address and sent me an e-mail saying she still wanted to speak to me, a couple of e-mails exchanged and silence again but we had added each other to Facebook. We didn’t really speak much but her last message to me was, ‘So what’s with the Care Bears?‘ and I told her the story that I am telling you (although a very abbreviated version) and her response wasn’t to just ignore it, or to unfriend me but to block me on Facebook. All class. She becomes the third person ever to block me on there as far as I’m aware.

Now it would possibly to harsh to say she is a Care Bearist, who decided that she couldn’t stand to know anyone who owned Care Bears and there was probably another reason for doing it (I’d hypothesise that she obviously now has no interest in knowing me, either because she’s found out more about me or what is more likely is she’s found another guy and therefore I’m not wanted nor needed in her life anymore) I have seen that a lot with regards to online dating, once a person decides that you aren’t a potential love interest then they have no desire to know you anymore. I find this sad, I have made actual friends via this route even if there wasn’t anything more but I suppose some people look at it differently.

So whilst I don’t think the Care Bear issue was the defining matter here, it was the last communication I had before I was summarily dismissed from her life.

Going back a few weeks and this topic came up in the studio of my last radio show. The women in the studio all said they would look at a guy who owned Care Bears in a non-favourable light. They would find it strange and unmanly. Once I told them the back story, they thawed somewhat and certainly thought it was sweet how Tenderheart and I had lived together and that I had earmarked him as a gift to my first love but the instinct was very negative.

As far as I can recall only two women have ever seen the full gang together and both were unnerved to some degree. One was rather weirded out and the other just rolled with it. Apparently both didn’t like the fact that they thought the Care Bears were watching them. I was told a while back on Facebook when this discussion came up that if I ever wanted to get a girlfriend then I’d have to give up the Care Bears as no woman would ever consider a relationship with a guy who owned any. You don’t need to know me well to know my reaction to that. Hint: It wasn’t favourable.

Sometimes I do genuinely wonder just how much influence my furry friends have on how another person sees me. I don’t bang on about them. To ever even see them then you’ll have to be in my bedroom and lets be honest here, if you’ve got past my awkward personality, my less than stellar looks and my inept amount of experience with the opposite sex, then I wouldn’t think the Care Bears would be the straw that broke the camels back as it were regarding what a potential beau would think about me. Maybe that is naive and I should do everything I can to make myself less weird because I need all the help I can get but I’m also stubborn to some degree.

I don’t want to consign them to a life in my spare room or to the back of the wardrobe. They deserve a happy life too and living on my headboard is I like to think a good place for them to live. They are all together. They can see the TV. I’m around to keep them company a lot. Heck even reading this back I wouldn’t touch me with a barge pole either.

So to conclude, I certainly don’t think owning Care Bears helps my potential love life chances that is for sure. No woman is reading this and thinking, ‘oh my, that guy sounds really sweet and lovely, just what I’m looking for,’ instead they are either thinking that is matters not or, ‘what a fucking weirdo’ – there is no positivity, only potential negativity from this revelation.

However having said this, am I going to change my viewpoint towards my gang of furry pals? You the reader know me well enough to know that I will not be. If owning Care Bears is such an important issue then I’m probably not the right guy for them anyway. It probably does to some small degree hinder my chances but I have so many things against me anyway that this is a minor issue. The Care Bears are going to stay and if someone thinks that is such an important issue in how they perceive me then I frankly don’t give two hoots and wish them well.

I’ll end with this.

Care Bears & Neil
My furry pals and I…

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