“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot
Six weeks ago we launched Volte Face as a new online space where intelligent features and lively features could be be shared with intellectually curious readers. We created this to fill a void. There was no dedicated place where content related to drugs policy and politics could sit alongside articles related to related lifestyle, culture and business issues.
We unashamedly want to raise the quality of debate about drug reform in the UK and Ireland, introducing new writers alongside established journalists. This is a time of great social change around the world. In time the waves of change which have transformed attitudes to sexuality, race, mental health and inequality will inevitably come to focus on reforms to our relationship with drugs. When one revisits the arguments presented in support of drug reform over the past four decades very little has changed in terms of their framing.
This seminal 1967 William Rees-Mogg Times editorial – evoking Alexander Pope’s “Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot”- could be published today word for word with losing any of its relevance or pertinence. But what is changing and what I believe will ultimately create the conditions for change are radical reforms to criminal justice and prison reform. It is where reform movements should be focused. It is the small detail of local crime commissioner plans and in revisions to sentencing guidelines that the opportunity to make our case lies.
In the next few months we will be taking a forensic look at these policy areas and exploring how they open up new spaces for debate. Accompanying this will be a close examination of overseas reforms, an analysis of the emerging business opportunities and looking afresh at he each of the UK main political parties and their drugs polices.
For now have a happy New Year and keep your ideas coming.