Political Prospects for Pot

William Hague coming out for legalising cannabis is a welcome new development, though he isn’t the first former Tory leader to do so. Back in his groovy WebCameron days David Cameron told Guido “If it can be proved that there are real benefits, medicinal benefits and scientific evidence for it, I would be relaxed about that… my decision would be to licence it if it could be proved to have benefits.” Home Secretary Sajid Javid was convinced by the scientific arguments to grant an exception for Billy Caldwell. What are the prospects for the exception becoming the rule?

The international context is important. With many US states decriminalising medical cannabis it is becoming more acceptable at government level. In Europe the experience of more liberal regimes can be shown to have improved rather than worsened matters. Countries are granting licences for medical cannabis more readily – Malta is introducing legislation to enable it to become the EU’s leading medical cannabis exporter. The spirit of the age is for liberalisation.

The normalising of cannabis use beyond dope smoking teenagers is becoming more widespread. Many people now have the personal experience of an auntie or granny who uses weed to deal with their arthritis pains, never mind those with more serious conditions like MS and cancer. This social development has made the perception of cannabis use less negative.

Domestically we now have a generation of politicians who have used and are familiar with the reality of cannabis use and don’t see it in the demonic terms that non-user politicians of the past might have. With the departure of Paul Dacre from the public stage they also no longer fear a monstering from the Daily Mail if they do speak out in favour of a more liberal, rational policy. Think tanks are now pointing to the tax raising potential of legalised cannabis. The stars are aligning for decriminalisation, though judging by the reported rows in cabinet, one Tory leader stands in the way…

Daily Brexit

Paul Dacre on the Daily Mail’s future support for Brexit…

“…what moves me most are the countless messages from readers worried about whether the Mail will continue its support for EU withdrawal. My answer to them — and others — is unequivocal. Support for Brexit is in the DNA of both the Daily Mail and, more pertinently, its readers. Any move to reverse this would be editorial and commercial suicide.”

Dacre’s Methode Foie Gras

Dominic Ponsford on his guilty pleasure

“Reading the Daily Mail is for me a little like eating foie gras. There is some guilt about the suffering that has gone into its production, but you cannot deny that it somehow adds to the richness of the flavour.”

Dacre’s and Rothermere’s Letters to Mail Staff

Paul Dacre is out as Mail editor – Guido has his letter to staff:

And Rothermere’s letter:

End of an era. Runners and riders in the morning…

Mail and Express Spare Theresa

Dacre and Desmond went all in with their praise for May’s manifesto and “social care revolution” last week, only to be made to look like chumps by the u-turn. The Mail and Express generously spare Theresa any front page blushes…

UPDATE: Though the Mail’s Stephen Glover tells Newsnight: “There’s no doubt the original policy was a cock-up and an own goal.”

Cleese Hopes Dacre’s Next Heart Attack “Is His Last”

john cleese

Twitter has not been a happy forum for John Cleese, whose foray onto social media has transformed him from national treasure to eccentric old weirdo. The Hacked Off divorce enthusiast this morning tweeted that he hoped Paul Dacre’s next heart attack “is his last”. Dacre has a heart condition. Last year Guido caught Cleese comparing journalists to murderers – he first denied he’d said it then fessed up and claimed he was joking. Step away from the keyboard…

Mail Out, MoS In

This morning’s Daily Mail front page polemic invoking Hitler and Chamberlain all but confirms Paul Dacre is backing Leave. Northcliffe House sources have long said Dacre will not sell out on his long-held Euroscepticism, though the feeling among staff is that the Mail on Sunday will endorse Remain. Geordie Greig is seen as less dogmatic than Dacre on Europe, and gave Cameron a relatively easy ride on the referendum in this interview last year. This was at least the case before Cameron’s deal…

Dacre Lines Up Isabel Oakeshott for Daily Mail Pol-Ed “At Large”

ISABEL

Reliable sources tell Guido that Paul Dacre is lining up Isabel Oakeshott to be the Daily Mail’s political editor “at large”. Appointing the irrepressible Isabel is being interpreted in the Kensington newsroom as Dacre giving a two-fingered salute to Downing Street. Contracts have not yet been signed…

UPDATE: Roger Alton is also joining the Mail as an exec of some kind.

Geordie Not Sure

The battle of egos over at the Mail has reached new heights: literally.

After a newsroom land-grab by MailOnline of desk space used by the Mail on Sunday a couple of months ago, sources reveal that Geordie Greig threw his toys out of the pram. The one time prince-over-the-water is getting tetchy.

By way of consolation for this Sudetenland-like annexing, Mail on Sunday editor Greig and his deputy were given new professionally interior-decorated offices.

Special permission was sought to raise the ceiling: specifically so it was higher than Dacre’s wood panelled bat-cave. And a Smeg fridge was thrown in for good measure. 

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Peter Mandelson tells Emma Barnett…

“I think that Jeremy Corbyn himself should search his conscience and ask himself whether he’s the best person to lead the Labour Party into the general election with the best chance of success for the party.”

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