Thursday, August 14, 2003

ALTERED STATES: Not being in America, we've not really given much attention to the Rave Act, which has been signed into American Law by George Bush, having been snuck into the back of the Amber Bill. The Rave Act is part of the "War on drugs", while the Amber Bill was designed to set up the framework allowing for alerts to be flashed round the region when a kid was suspected of being abducted, so the connection is, um, clear. The cynical snapping together of something unpleasant and ill-conceived onto totally different legislation that no politician would want to be seen voting against is the sort of move that fans of Michael Howard and Kenneth Baker will recognise, of course.

The Rave provisions are designed to make club owners responsible for anyone taking drugs on their premises and has been worded so that if you have a barbecue, and one of your guests has a little toke on a spliff, you could be sent to prison for twenty years. In the original wording, the sale of bottled water could have been used as 'evidence' of drug use taking place at an event, although the wording was altered to remove this ridiculous element, at least. The implications for club operators in the US are obvious - this isn't about targetting people selling drugs, using drugs or even turning a blind eye to drug use. You've got a venue, someone takes drugs in that venue's toilets, you're looking at hard time. It's a war not on drugs, but popular culture generally. Wanna close down your rival's nightclub? Pay someone to take a pill on the dancefloor. Scatter a couple of needles on the floor. It's as simple as that (i.e. as simple as George Bush).

Some Americans are fighting back and we wish them luck.

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