[This is a long one. I hope you read it, but if you don’t have the time, please at least read the action suggestions and do something small today!] Brothers, sisters, pets, Have you been hearing what I’ve been hearing? The last couple of days, I’ve searched high and low for someone who thinks that magic mushrooms should have been banned. A 60-year old woman told me, unprompted, that most people who killed themselves did it while on alcohol. A 50 year old man thought that people could behave irrationally if they took too much of anything or combined drugs. A 30 year old woman suggested to me that we should ban cars given the high number of deaths on the road. Even at this early stage, I believe we have majority support. You’d have to be pretty naïve to think that majority support alone could change government policy (see Iraq war), but there are 18 months until a general election to expose this ban as a sham and the politicians involved as ignorant, tabloid-chasing fools. We can win the argument – the ‘reefer madness’ hysteria no longer really exists on the ground. It sells papers, of course, and it gives Joe Duffy something to frown upon, but people seem to be more clued in than Joe or the Sun give them credit for. Does anyone believe it’s a coincidence that the ban became active at 2pm – just as Joe Duffy went on the air? Does anyone believe that the severe bias in selecting callers was anything other than a set-up? Both the Sun and Joe Duffy high-fived the government and patted themselves on the back when the ban came in. The ‘controversy’ has been contrived and managed. The voice of the people has not been heard. It is now up to us to make this an issue for the next year and a half. We have nothing to lose – at the worst, we’ll end up where we stand today – criminalised by the cops and demonised by politicians and the media. We can’t wait around for some organisation to spring up and lead us to victory. There are plenty of things we can be doing today to make an impact on an individual level. For example, today I will ring Fine Gael and tell them that, as a prospective FG voter, I was completely put off them by the statements of Dr. Liam Twomey – their health spokesperson – on mushrooms, and that they have lost a lot of young people’s votes in my area. Then I’ll ring the PDs and tell them that, as a free-market enthusiast, I was going to join the party until they decided to close down the free market in mushrooms. Then I’ll ring Sinn Fein and tell them that, as a young republican, I was devastated by Aengus O’Snodaigh’s campaign to have mushrooms banned. Anyone can spend two minutes on the phone pretending to be someone else. And everybody has a phone. Suggestions for Action There are three people to target in this. Fine Gael health spokesman, Liam Twomey has been very vocal on this, saying that mushrooms are ‘dangerous and addictive’. Ring him and tell him they’re not. Liam Twomey’s Dail office: (01) 6184299 Ring Fine Gael and tell them you’re not impressed with Twomey’s support for the ban. Fine Gael HQ: 01-6198444 Ring Aengus O’Snodaigh and ask him whether he would campaign to ban alcohol if a drink-drive victims’ family approached him. Aengus O’Snodaigh’s Dail office: (01) 6184084 Ring Sinn Fein and tell them they’ve lost a vote because of Aengus’ position on this. Sinn Fein HQ: (01) 8726100/ (01) 8726932 Ring Mary Harney and ask her how she can ban mushrooms in a matter of hours, but can’t get a few poxy trollies for sick people in hospital. Dept. of Health: (01) 635 4000 Call the PDs and tell them they’ve lost a vote over Harney’s ban. PD HQ: 01 6794399 [The international code for Ireland is 00353, then drop the 0 at the start of the number. We need all the help we can get!] Even if you only speak for two minutes and go, it really is worth doing, because for every call they get, they assume that 100 people feel the same and don’t call. I’ve met members of all parties who are opposed to this, so the message will be heard – and you could make a massive impact with a short phone call. Ask the parties if they would support a ban on alcohol because of drink-driving. Ask them if they would support a ban on tobacco to tackle lung cancer. It’s important to target the political parties at this point, because we need to build the opposition within the parties. Remember that we’re dealing with politicians here – they don’t know what they’re talking about, and we can make them very uneasy about this. Please, people, pick up the phone.