I think Alan Johnson was well within his rights to sack Professor David Nutt as the Government’s Chief Drug Adviser.
It is perfectly possible, in fact desirable, for advisers to government to voice independent views but it is not okay to publicly repudiate government policy. David Nutt seemed to think it was alright to be the government’s drug adviser and at the same time rubbish the government’s drug policy.
It is his job to advise, it is Alan Johnson’s job to decide. This is what the Home Secretary is paid to do and ultimately he is the one who has to answer to the public for it.
When it comes to drugs policy, the government needs to send out very clear messages and Professor Nutt’s comments only added to the confusion.
I believe it was wrong to downgrade cannabis (as does the World Health Organisation) and I believe it would be wrong to go down a similar route with ecstasy. Soft drugs often lead to hard drugs. They are responsible for significant amounts of crime and they do kill people.
Everyone is entitled to their own views, but you cannot reasonably be expected to serve a government which you are hell bent on criticizing.
Alan Johnson’s decision to get rid of him was the right one.