The Youth Agenda runs monthly debates about political topics which directly affect young people.  Each debate has representative arguments both in favour of the motion and against it.  

Read both sides of the argument and vote on the debates.  You can leave comments on each debate too.

MOTION:  Should universities be forced to provide interviews to students from poorer backgrounds and placement offers at lower grades?

READ:  The Youth Agenda summarises both sides of the argument

VOTE:  Have your say now

MOTION:  The War on Drugs isn’t working: we should decriminalise all drugs in the UK and monitor usage and users more closely?

READ:  The arguments in favour of the motion (By Robin Pollard of Youth RISE)

READ:  The arguments against the motion (By Kathy Gyngell of The Centre for Policy Studies)



POLL RESULTS: In favour of the motion – 87%
Against the motion          – 13%


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7 Responses to DEBATE

  1. McD says:

    All of this ‘war-on-drugs’ nonsense is just a smokescreen for the Abrahamic religions’ ongoing repression of gnosis.

  2. Ben Lodge says:

    Firstly, I think you need to fully legalise drugs rather than merely decriminalise them in order to take the profits away from criminals and ensure purity.

    Secondly, to “monitor usage and users more closely” sounds very big brother. I think they’re planning to do this in Bolivia now as part of their decriminalisation agenda. I don’t want the movement to move in this direction. It’s still acting as though drug users are doing something wrong. An act that hurts nobody else is not wrong, it’s as simple as that. What business does the government or anyone else for that matter have in assessing how much weed someone is smoking?

  3. I agree with McD 😉

  4. Will Lawn says:

    Kathy Gyngell’s argument is ridden with inaccuracies and short-comings.

    1. “Drugs mess with your future”. She’s correct in saying that drugs do alter your brain. But it’s hard not to think that the “mess” comes from criminal records rather than the drugs per se. Especially when recent studies show there are no significant health problems following average MDMA use, for example. Furthermore, she’s exaggerating, if not lying, about the link between schizophrenia and cannabis. Many studies have shown that there is no link between the two, unless you have a specific allele of the COMT gene. Furthermore, any study that does show a correlation between schizophrenia and cannabis use is confounded by a number of variables. One is urban lifestyle, for instance. More people who live in urban cities tend to get schizophrenia. More people who live in urban cities also tend to smoke cannabis. These two variables may well not be directly related, but simply explained by a third variable, the urban lifestyle. So, Kathy is twisting the truth when she says there is a “growing body of evidence associating cannabis use with the risk of schizophrenia”.

    2. “Increased risk of later drug dependency”. Kathy argues that decriminalisation would lead to more pressure on youngsters to use drugs and therefore a higher rate of addiction. As Robin points out in his side of the argument, in the countries where decriminalisation has been taken up, this has not been observed.

    3. “Difficult to police and monitor”. It’s difficult to measure a lot of things, but that doesn’t stop them from being very useful. It’s very hard to measure binge-drinking levels or the prevalence of tax fraud, but that information is critical in making decisions. Just because something is difficult to do, doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Discovering more about drug use can only be a good thing if you want to help reduce harm.

    4. “Creating a downward spiral”. This section is nothing but scare-mongering. You can tell she writes for the Daily Mail, can’t you? Of course decriminilasation wouldn’t have stopped Isobel from dying, but does Kathy REALLY think that with harsher penalties there would be fewer deaths? As Robin explains, there is no correlation between the severity of drug penalties and drug use, so it’s unlikely that making the punitive system more draconian would decrease drug related deaths. On the contrary, a drug policy that emphasises the importance of education and dampens the effects of criminal records may well stop people from acting stupidly while also decreasing the number of ruined future careers.

    5. “Leaving the dealers in charge”. Her ridiculous argument is the same as in section 4. Increasing severity of punishment will not reduce drug use. And it’s hilarious that she quotes Santos, as he’s come out publicly proclaiming the need to consider legalisation of cocaine.

    6. “Undermining international efforts”. Kathy’s words here are offensive. It is the war on drugs that causes the hundreds of thousands of deaths per year across the globe, not society’s acceptance of drug use. If drugs were legally produced, there would be substantially fewer gangs and cartels trafficking drugs across borders, leading to many fewer civilian deaths.

    7. “Drug use alters your body”. So do many, many other activities. What about going on your computer too much, or not doing enough exercise, or working in a mine? Should we make all of those activities illegal? Why is drug use any different? We need to minimise harm in a sensible fashion.

    8. “Drugs can lead to mental illness”. Correct. But if drug use doesn’t decrease with harsher penalties, then why keep a prohibitionist system that causes multiple other problems across the world. Simply stating the undesirable consequences of drug use does not validate an intolerably poor argument, which ignores the deaths and incarceration of millions.

  5. A Quiet Man says:

    as a world community we need rules that allow us to live side by side it matters not if we like each other or like the choices others make. what does matter is that we have rules to protect. The laws that are supposed to protect us have never worked in relation to drugs we need to overhaul the entire substance market alcohol tobacco heroin cocaine and cannabis all have dangers so we need to understand the dangers and explain them to anyone wanting to use these substances. we then need to make sure that those that still want to use a substance are protected by basic consumer law in relation to quality and purity with the emphasis on reducing the harm long term. we also need to stop the black market controlling drugs. so yes lets start to properly regulate and control the substance market and start to recognize we can not wish away a problem by banning it

  6. cognitivelibertyuk says:

    Psychedelic drugs such as LSD & DMT are known to cause spiritual and religious experiences. This is a deeply personal matter that the government has no business meddling in.

    Any attempt by the state to control our natural freedom to explore consciousness using entheogenic and psychedelic compounds is a violation of spiritual and religious freedom, and an offense to cognitive liberty. Drug prohibition IS mind-control: pure and simple.

    The state seems to eagre to control those ‘high-risk behaviours’, whilst at the same time it tricks young people into signing up for the armed forces so that they can go and die stealing other peoples’ oil. High risk behaviours are perfectly fine: so long as they serve the interests of the capitalist elite.

    There is a political agenda at work here: psychedelics are banned because the government would rather its workforce stay blind to their exploitation and the baselessness of their governments supposed authority.

    The spiritual interests of the individual are not the same as the interests of a capitalist economy.

    To learn the truth about the persecution of psychedelic spirituality please visit:

    Thank you 🙂

  7. Marcelo says:

    Legalization Will not solve anything We have already seen the problems that are based with alcohol, tabacco. Sadly a lot of problems have been raised because of Drug-Related Issues.
    Not to forget, The accessibilty will raise both youth and adults alike. Now we must see the consequences of legalization for example if we see amsterdam, when commercialization started in the first 12 years, The youth consumption rate of this substance tripled. That is a problem as well thus, Showing that legalization just increased consumption rate. Meanwhile the revenue will not help as much. Like I said before we can see all the problems of alcohol legalization, In 2008 The U.S. gained 8 billion dollars on revenue, But lost 185- Billion dollars on Alcohol Related problems. So in the end legalization will only cause more problems to the society today.

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