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I read the news today, oh boy
Our man is distinctly unimpressed with the quality of insight on offer in the Sunday broadsheets...
Eamonn McCann, 12 May 2009
I’ve mostly given up on Sunday papers. True, some of them sometimes carry interesting pieces, which is why you leave them on the kitchen table thinking, “Must read that later...” until there’s a foot-high pile you have to lug out to the blue bin for recycling.
A couple of weeks ago, though, I bought the Tribune after hearing on Sam Smyth that Suzanne Breen had another Northern story of the sort mainstream media steer clear of – not subbed and shaped to suit the needs of Stormont.
When I worked for it, the Trib was a not-bad paper. But seemingly it’s been going downhill since.
A David Kenny was angry at Emmet Stagg urging the legalisation of cannabis. Cannabis users, reckoned Kenny, “run the risk of becoming psychotic...The number of teens presenting with mental health problems rose 22%... after the UK downgraded cannabis.”
Note the conflation of psychosis with mental health problems generally, making the argument which followed utterly meaningless.
The most reliable survey of available evidence, by Dr. R. D. Newcome of Liverpool University, concluded simply: “There was no support for the claim that cannabis use can cause psychosis.”
Nor, incidentally, is there any evidence that cannabis today is significantly stronger than cannabis a decade or two or three ago. Cannabis produced indoors is richer in THC than outdoor varieties. Always has been. But, as recently confirmed by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction: “The natural variation in the THC content between and within samples of herbal cannabis or cannabis resin at any one time and place far exceeds any long-term changes that may have occurred.”
The same edition of the Tribune carried a paeon of praise to Peter Sutherland. Teachers and doctors have proven themselves “ridiculous”, reckoned a chap called Shane Coleman. But Sutherland’s analysis of the economy was nothing short of “sublime”.
Sutherland – ex-European commissioner, now chairman of both Goldman Sachs and BP – had welcomed the plummeting of pay levels in the Republic by seven to eight percent. Drive living standards down even further, pronounced the fat parasite, and “the Irish economy should emerge from the recession in a highly competitive position”.