River Wissey Lovell Fuller


March 2008

Ron gets on his soapbox to castigate many of the ludicrous decisions made by our leaders


So here we are, one year on from the Ipswich murders, the trial in progress but nothing has changed. There is no dispute that these unfortunate young women were addicted to heroin and were working as prostitutes to feed their habit. The only way in which they could obtain the drug they craved was to buy it from an illegal dealer, and prostitution or crime were the only options open to them to obtain enough money to pay the inflated price. The only government reaction to date has been to talk about making it illegal for men to use prostitutes, as if that is going to help the young women to get their heroin.

Making the use of prostitutes illegal would help to remove the street walkers but it would only cause the trade to become more covert. The drug addicted women would be driven to taking greater risks and the situation would create greater opportunities for the unscrupulous to control and profit from women enslaved by addiction or by violence. It seems there is a tendency on the part of government to think that all they have to do to stop actions that they consider undesirable is to make these actions illegal and that is the problem solved.

How can politicians be so foolish as to think they can banish prostitution by making it illegal? Prohibition rarely works. Prohibiting drugs has not worked. It is claimed that as much as 60% of the prison population is there because of the laws relating to drugs. A high proportion of young women prostitutes are following the trade because of their need for illegal drugs. If drugs were legalised in a controlled way it would possibly solve the problem of prison overcrowding, reduce the level of crime, stop criminals from profiting from drugs and save some young women from ruining their lives - even from being murdered - all at a single stroke. Similarly, if brothels were legalised in a controlled and monitored way, the criminals would find it more difficult to profit by exploiting women and the women would be at much less risk and more free to choose their life style.

Prostitution will always be with us, some women driven by need, or in some cases greed, will always be willing to provide the service and some men will always be willing to pay for it. Assuming that the woman is adult and willing and not coerced or pressured by any means then, it seems to me, that prostitution is consensual sex. It is not a matter for moral crusaders or for legislation. It is an odd society that is quite happy to countenance homosexual acts but wants to prohibit these consensual heterosexual acts.

Prohibition does not work, prohibiting drugs has not worked, prohibiting prostitution would not work, prohibiting gambling would not work, prohibiting alcohol would not work. When will the government realize that there must be other ways to moderate these aspects of human behaviour.


Alcohol is a major problem for society. It is far and away the most widely used drug. It ruins the lives of many people. It is closely linked to the scourge of anti-social and violent behaviour. It costs the NHS a great deal of money, and it is claimed that it kills 500 people each week in the UK, any epidemic that caused that number of deaths would demand concentrated emergency action. I did see a report that claimed that alcohol consumption had doubled in the last twenty years. What action has the government taken to date to tackle the problem of excessive drinking? They have allowed twenty-four-hour opening!

There are numerous possible explanations for the dramatic increase in alcohol drinking:

Increasing prosperity, changes in licensing laws, cheaper alcoholic drinks, sale of alcoholic drinks by supermarkets and other shops, young children and teenagers drinking. But it is not possible to put the clock back. Almost any action by the government aimed at reducing alcohol consumption, such as increasing the duty on drinks or restricting licensing hours, would be unpopular with the public and with the drinks trade.

Nevertheless the excessive use of this drug is a serious problem and some action is needed but it is clear that it is going to be a long road. The battle against smoking is being won, although it is far from won yet. Perhaps the lessons learnt in fighting the nicotine drug, which is probably a more addictive drug than alcohol, can be used against alcohol. The 'smoking kills' notices, the TV health warnings, the banning of advertisements, all combined to slowly change attitudes towards smoking so that it became possible to ban smoking in public places. Is it possible that we can slowly change the public's perception of alcohol so that it is recognised as a drug with many undesirable properties that should only be consumed in small amounts?

Global Warming

It seems that some people did not enjoy those beautiful days in February as much as they might because they were concerned that the warm weather was further evidence of global warming. It might cheer them to know that, in 1958, the second year of our marriage, June and I were so cheered by the glorious weather in early February that we drove down from London to the West Country on a Friday evening and enjoyed a weekend of beautiful weather. It was so warm that we sat on the beach in South Devon in our shirt sleeves. We remember that weekend very well but no doubt there have been many other warm February days in the past.

They might be interested to know also, that, according to the Climate Research Unit at UEA, the global average temperature in 2007 was cooler than 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1998. !998 was the hottest year on record, since then temperatures have been lower, albeit by small amounts, so that, arguably we have global cooling at present. This despite the fact that, since 1998, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have continued to increase. Nevertheless 2007 was the eighth hottest year on record, but my advice is to stop worrying and enjoy such lovely weather as we may be fortunate enough to get.


I am all in favour of progress when that progress brings benefits. Progress usually implies change and that change has to be accepted in the name of progress. What I really dislike, however, is change for the sake of change. How often do we see the new boss, or the new chief executive of a major concern, or the new head teacher, introduce changes as a way of stamping their authority or personality on the enterprise when the changes they introduce bring no benefit and often entail wasted expenditure? Perhaps the classic example of that was the 'ethnic' decor on the tail fins of British Airways fleet.

Now someone wants to get rid of Britannia, the lady with the helmet and the trident, from our coins. Why?

Ron Watts


"I have never found, in a long experience of politics, that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance."

Sir Harold Macmillan

Ron Watts

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.