25 Aug Should CLEAR Stand In The Corby By-Election?

This week CLEAR members were asked for their views on whether we should stand in the Corby by-election.

Dear Member

As you may know, it looks likely that there will be a by-election in the Northampton town of Corby in November.

We are considering whether I should stand as a candidate and I would welcome your views on the subject.

CLEAR has never aimed to win seats in parliament because we are a single issue party. However, this may be an opportunity to stand and create a campaign to win more influence for our cause and to highlight the fact that both major parties have identical and dysfunctional cannabis policies. What we will be aiming for is publicity and, it is possible, that it might give us more credibility with MPs and the government.

On the other hand, we are unlikely to win more than a few hundred votes so it could be that all an election would demonstrate is how limited our support is.

On the positive side, Corby is a marginal seat with an existing majority to the Conservatives of just under 2000. So, if we were able to gain 500, maybe even 1000 votes, we could be an important factor. However, current polling in the constituency has Labour at 52%, Conservative at 37% and Lib Dem at 7%. We could end up being lumped in with the Monster Raving Loony party and achieving nothing.

I have already made contact with the local Lib Dems, Green Party and UKIP, all of whom have policies sympathetic to our cause, to see if we could work together. We do need to decide though whether or not we want to stand. We will need a budget of at least £1500 which we will have to raise specially. £500 will go on our deposit which we will lose and then we will have to print leaflets for a free delivery to every household and pay travelling and other campaigning expenses.

What do you think? Please let me know by replying to this email. We’re not conducting this as a formal referendum but you can say yes or no and please add any comments or ideas.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

A representative selection of responses is published below. All identifying information has been removed. The executive committee will reach a decision within the next few days.

hi, i think you should go for it, i think it will be a good to test the water for future reference. thanks

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Eight reasons to stand at Corby

1] This gives an opportunity for the issues around cannabis law reform
to be posted to every household in the constituency. If there were 50
000 households that would make a cost of delivery of £1 for every 100
households

2] If you get 500 votes in a constituency of 50k votes that is 1% of the vote.
If you got the same result in 600 constituencies in a general election
that amounts to 300 000 votes. Politicians notice this statistic and
it will influence their policies

3] Cannabis politics has existed since 1997 that is 15 years since that time,
Cannabis has become legally available to medical users in 17 American states
And cannabis is available on the NHS for MS and spasm patients.
Cannabis social clubs are now legal in Spain and Belgium.

4] Cannabis law reform is not just a single issue, it covers the right
for farmers to grow hemp, it covers the right of people to self
medicate, it covers the right of privacy in peoples own homes, it
covers environmental issues in that the cannabis can supply raw
material for food and food manufacturing, manufacturing for paper,
clothing, plastic, building materials and fuel.

5 Since clear advertises itself as a political party, it makes sense
to start to put up candidates.

6] Prosecution guidelines now allow for medical users growing under
nine plants to be given a caution.

7] There is no comparison between a cannabis political party and the M
R Loony party the first affects the lives of millions of people and
thousands who endure prosecution and prison
whereas the second is a frivolous joke intended to inject some humour
into the political system., It is interesting to note that Screaming
lord Sutch’s first political party was the national teenage party,
and the policy was votes for teenagers, It is interesting to note that
this policy ins now law, in that minimum age for voting is now 18 and
lowering the age to 16 is under discussion

8] As the Clear website advertises the Cannabis Truth Roadshow, what
better place to start than the Corby by-election, with a candidate
standing for Parliament.

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I believe if we can work alongside the other parties mentioned it would be an opportunity not to be missed
as I believe you do also. It would be another avenue for us to stampede down with other more recognized
parties. This can only be a good thing for Clear despite the minority within our party who will oppose it.

To stand alone however could as you suggested be detrimental in the long run for our cause, and my
opinion is that it would be too risky even though the idea was worthy of thought and discussion Peter.

Your passion for us all is great Peter and I’d personally like to thank you for all your hard work which can
sometimes be taken for granted by some.

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YES : Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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Thanks

A marginal is likely to be hotly contested with any CLEAR effort all but obliterated by the campaign efforts
of the major parties latter struggling to remain within their own budgets and legal spending limits
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It does coincide with the police elections, so that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on
whether it steals or provides the limelight. However, it’s a lot of time, effort and money and not much time
for preparation to get a couple of hundred votes. Though it would be invaluable experience for yourselves I
would imagine.

Personally I don’t mind if you do or don’t as both have pros and cons. Do something though if you don’t
stand, such as 5,000 educational leaflets delivered to affluent city suburbs (where the people with the
power and heard voices live!).

Thanks for your hard work,

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I think that running is a good idea, especially considering the media attention this by-election is likely to
receive. It is important for this party to be seen to be active and to be “getting our name out there”. At the
very least it is cheap advertising, there are probably millions of people sympathetic to our cause who have
no idea CLEAR exists. Any well reasoned pro-cannabis campaign is a good thing. This may not gain
Corby resident’s votes, but it may well change some minds.

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run in the election i live in the area please run i will vote x

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Stand.
1. It will give publicity to the cause
2. You will not win but regardless of the number of votes you will receive you will be able to confirm and
then state that you have political mandate.
3. If you get a half decent percentage it will almost certainly make mainstream news

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I think that anything that raises our profile with the people and the powers that be can only be good. It
would allow us to have a voice in parliament and an opportunity to show that we are responsible and
serious about what we say. Not the reefer mad men or sceavy stoners they probably think we are.
Credibilty is paramount and if we can gain some with M.P.s all the better.

If we go down like a lead brick we will stand back up and carry on. Strong in the knowledge we have
gained from the experience. If we don’t get any votes will anybody remember next year???

I think the pro’s out weigh the cons.

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YES!

I think that the level of exposure the party would receive if you were to stand would be an excellent
advantage, allowing us to reach people who otherwise may not be aware of CLEAR. A large part of the
problem CLEAR has is that people are unaware either of the facts regarding cannabis, or that a legitimate,
well-organised party is campaigning for sensible treatment of both cannabis and it’s users. Some of the
posters on the CLEAR website (especially the one about drug dealers) would have an excellent influence
on the public if they were exposed to them, however opportunities for this exposure are limited. So despite
the unlikelihood of winning I believe that standing would allow the party access to the general public, both
cannabis users and non-users, and this exposure will certainly gather more support. Another worthwhile
point to mention is that due to ill formed opinions on cannabis, the media could pounce on this as it is a
controversial subject, and after all they only care about headlines. This could lead to national exposure,
which could only be a good thing. I say this because, firstly, the party needs to reach more people,
especially users (obviously they are more sympathetic to the cause) and people suffering from illness who
are unaware of the beneficial health effects of cannabis. Secondly, I think that national (or any) media
coverage can only be a positive because we, unlike prohibitionists, are backed up by science. Not only
are we able to prove that our arguments are true and reasonable, we can also disprove the drivel that is fed
to the general public regularly by the media regarding cannabis.

Standing in the election seems to me like the best idea, the exposure will definitely work to our
advantage. Even if the results are terribly low, this too could help as people who are sympathetic to our
cause but failed to vote for whatever reason would perhaps realise that the only way for change to happen
is for everyone who believes as we do to stand up for what they believe in. And if we did win then we would
undoubtedly be in a much stronger position, and other parties that are sympathetic to our cause would be
less afraid of supporting us, especially if some of our votes come from what they thought were their
supporters.

Standing for election shows that we are serious about the issue, and the exposure would do nothing but
good for us. I say to go for it, what’s the worst that can happen 🙂

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Yes for sure!

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I think it would be best to try and work with the Liberal Democrats. Alone CLEAR would probably not get
many votes even from people who support law reform because other issue (jobs, government cuts etc) will
be higher up their agenda. I think the most effective way of making cannabis law reform a mainstream
issue is to try and influence the Lib. Dems. to support it. They can use it to criticize the two main parties
for their nonsensical policies which will bring the issue into the media eye and force top politicians to talk
about it.

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Should we put up a candidate in Corby?

Yes (if it is worth it).

Is it going to be worth it?

That depends on how much effort we can put into it.

We know we are going to take a pounding, this is a golden opportunity to
find out exactly how much. Bugger the money, handled correctly the
publicity from the BBC alone should bring in 5 times what it costs.

The deposit aside, all you need is volunteers. I don’t know how much
first hand experience you have with the election process but the
marginal ones are not won by policies or parties but by sheer weight of
numbers of active supporters pounding the streets beforehand. Granted
it would take 10s of thousands in our case to gain the win but if we
don’t get that we could lose in grand style. A single vote cast for
Clear is a win simply because it has never been done before and if we
can flood the streets with short haired, booted and suited helpers while
the cameras are rolling we win even more.

One very important question though, why you? Have we not got a middle
aged, moderately good looking, articulate, “liberal”, female, medicinal
user, party member who lives in the area who can address issues of
importance to the locals from a local perspective. Better that than
some carrot cruncher up from the west country for the day. There are
loads of votes cast in favour of locals merely because they are,
especially if you make it an issue. Which, if we have a local candidate
and the main parties do their normal parachute attack, we can.

And for gods sake, if the money is there along with the consensus to
stand then make the results of these discussions as public as you can.
Let Us do what They don’t.

One last thing, if we do stand, we are not standing in order to lose,
our intention is to win and whether we win or lose is not up to us or
the paid lackey of any media mogul, it is up to the voters of Corby.
The decision is theirs and will be made on the day and we can get even
more votes for just sticking to that line regardless of anything to do
with Cannabis.

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I think it’s a great idea, even if people just hear about Clear, it will at least be known of when people start
looking into it.

You could run a Fundraiser, I’d expect active members to donate maybe £4 or £5 if convinced.

Keep fighting the good fight!

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Yes do it, publicity is publicity good or bad best case scenario you win the seat and we are represented in
parliament, worst case you don’t either way the public are more aware of us and our cause. The majority
of people I know agree prohibition is ridiculous maybe the good people of Corby feel the same

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I think you should stand at the by-election.
Corby has a huge problem with drug addicts which in turn means more
dealers living off the back of this problem. I feel strongly that people
should be allowed to live as they feel fit if they do no harm
to anyone else. Personal responsibility should be embraced
instead of the prohibition we live under ,and I’m not
talking just cannabis.
I am a clear member because of my Son’s mental
health problems and his needs, I have never used cannabis, BUT, I would
like the God given right to do so without interference IF I CHOSE to.
I am supporting you Peter as you are speaking out for the thousands
who want this freedom. Thank you

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Go for it, Peter, it highlights the issue and could change the outcome.
By the way Labour DO have many supporters of decriminalisation. (UKIP – sympathetic – in your deepest
dreams !!! They are more likely to hang us !!).
You are representing a single issue campaign, but there is benefit in spreading across to other issues
such as freedom of speech and environmental issues too.
Also the issue of state v. private – don’t we want cannabis controlled by the government directly, making it
a state endeavour – ?
Private enterprise invariably rnds up making money for the bosses of these companies while the
empleyees and the customers get a raw deal.

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Ultimately I think it is a good idea to run, although it will obviously involve a lot of work, whether or not
everyone’s time would be better placed elsewhere I am not sure, I’m a new member. However, thinking
outside the box, why not stand in the by-election but put no effort or expenditure whatsoever into the
campaign. Clearly winning a majority of votes is an ideal and unachievable situation, but if getting the word
out about CLEAR policies and cannabis is general is the ultimate aim, would it be such a bad thing to be
lumped in with the monster raving loony party? One thing they have going for them is everyone is aware of
their existence. I know nothing of politics and I have just realised there are probably hundreds of unknown
parties which slip under the radar. My main point is, winning all the votes or no votes would possibly
increase awareness due to press coverage. Some votes would be a waste of time and money. So why not
run with a view to increase awareness rather than win? Perhaps next time round curiosity will have
circulated enough to make a difference. There are undoubtedly countless cannabis smokers all over the
country who have no knowledge of the party and this, I think, is the main flaw. All the best,

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I think it might not be the right time yet, maybe let Clear be more established, also wait until there is a
seat in a more cannabis friendly constituency like Brighton or Bristol.

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Doesn’t seem worth the cost of the deposit to me; especially in these economic times it’s just not worth
the risk of poaching left-leaning votes away from labour anyway. The decriminal/legal-isation will never be
possible without the support of at least one of the large parties, so it doesn’t seem worth trying to take
them on in that way.

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Yes. I feel like it would get our name out there and that publicity at the moment is the biggest issue.

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I was wondering, before deciding, how easy would it be to gauge what people think about the legalisation
issue already in this constituency/whether they would vote for CLEAR in a by-election? There could be
other constituencies where we are less likely to get lumped with the MRLP, where the money could be
better spent? Although I would imagine people are more likely to vote minority parties in by-elections. Just
a thought, I think if we could see what the general feeling is in this constituency first, maybe that would
help a decision to be made?

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I think it is a good idea for you to stand as candidate. It is the only way the voice of CLEAR is going to be
heard.

I would just like to add that although I support the group, I cannot contribute any monies due to lack of
funds.

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Personally I think you should go for. We will never make any progress in getting changes made to the law
if we are afraid to get our feet wet. Surely it would also be an invaluable information gathering exercise as
to how the general public feels about this issue. Also what needs to be done to help change the publics
mind on an issue that has a lot of negative press and ‘druggie’ stigma attached to it.

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I don’t think it’s a good idea, I think the money could be better spent on raising publicity via the internet,
Facebook, Twitter or a dedicated iPhone app for Clear.

I am one of those people who developed psychosis after smoking cannabis, prior to my breakdown I had
worked for a number of years at Calder Hall power station as an electrician, while working their I inhaled a
lot of copper dust, & was exposed to other heavy metals such as mercury & lead, I then left and did an art
course at Blackpool college, I was doing airbrushing but wasn’t given any safety information about the
heavy metals contained in artists materials, after leaving college I was smoking cannabis & had a
breakdown with suicidal psychosis, I don’t believe my psychosis was down to the cannabis but the fact
that cannabis breached the blood brain barrier allowing the heavy metals in my system to flood my brain,
it was over 18 years before I had a heavy metal detox & by that time the damage to brain was permanent,
I take a minimum dose of mood stabilisers however since doing the detox my health is greatly improved
& I’ve eliminated the psychological & physical symptoms caused by the heavy metals, when I smoke
cannabis now all I get is the giggles & munchies.

I believe there is a conspiracy of silence about the real causes of cannabis psychosis.

Cannabis is known to absorb heavy metals, it is my belief that the small number of people who develop
psychological symptoms do so because of a toxic overload of heavy metals such as copper, mercury &
lead.

All the time throughout my illness I struggled with residual symptoms not once did my psychiatrist or gp
test me for heavy metals or offer a detox, I had to do it myself through my own research.

Most of the research into heavy metal toxicity is done in the US were heavy metal toxicity is considered a
medical emergency requiring immediate detox to avoid lasting damage.

Do some research on the Internet in particular the work of Dr Wilson (copper toxicity) Dr Andrew Hall
Cutler (mercury toxicity) there are various books & research papers online into the psychological effects of
mercury, copper & lead on the brain leading to adverse psychological symptoms

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In principle, I think CLEAR should take the opportunity and stand. Not least to show the doubters and
naysayers that CLEAR is active. However, this would only make sense if there is a budget sufficient
enough to make a real impact in raising awareness of CLEAR. Are there any larger donors who could be
persuaded to support the campaign?

Let me know if you need any help during the campaign, should you choose to go ahead with it.

Good luck and keep up the good work!

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I simply don’t think we’d be able to get enough votes together to make a big splash here. IT would be
awesome if it was possible, but I just don’t think there will be enough people willing to vote for a single
issue party in a marginal seat, where they then risk their desired candidate missing the seat.

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I think that overall you would have nothing to lose by standing and, if you can raise sufficient funds and
public awareness, it would be good to get an idea of the support there is for our cause in the Corby area,