Priti Patel is decriminalising poppers once and for all
Did our infamously anti-LGBT Home Secretary just say gay rights?
Politicians are just so uptight, aren’t they? Whenever you see them on the news, it’s all ‘Right Honourable Member’ this, ‘Mr Speaker’ that. Aren’t you just thinking, ‘Gosh, you girls seriously need a large glass of chilled Chablis and a Thai massage -- Unclench! Let loose!’ Well, a member among their ranks agrees with you, it would seem.
In an incredibly 2020 flex, rancorous migrant-hater Priti Patel has stepped forward as an unlikely bottom advocate, pledging to clear the legal grey area around the sale of poppers. “But they’re already legal!!!” you cry, clutching to your little bottle of Rush as if your chaotic life depended on it. Well, sort of.
TBT 2016 and one of the most fabulously messy moments in contemporary UK political history. The Tories, then led by a person whose naughtiest-ever act was running through a wheat field, put forward outwardly home of phobic plans to take away our perfectly innocent ‘room odorisers’ as part of a blanket ban on legal highs. The plan was scuppered when a vigilante gang of proud Conservative bottoms stepped over the party line in protest.
Crispin Blunt, the incumbent Tory MP for Reigate, even passionately outed himself as an avid poppers partaker in the Commons. “There are some times when something is proposed that becomes personal to you, and you realise the government is about to do something fantastically stupid. I think in those circumstances one has a duty to speak up,” he opined. “I use poppers — I out myself as a poppers user, and would be directly affected by this legislation,” which sort of begs the question of what he’s done to stand up against other Tory policies that have had direct, cruelly negative impacts on the lives of individuals not faithfully represented in the patently elite ranks of the UK government, but whatever. Gay rights! Poppers on the NHS!
Anyway, despite this parliamentary Stonewall moment, a legislative cloud continues to hang over the drug. Their exemption from the legal high ban was, at the time, granted on the basis that they make your face overheat and turn your lips blue rather having a direct psychoactive effect. Subsequent rulings have, however, cast doubts over whether that sufficiently clears their name.
Enter Priti Patel, our unlikely huffers’ heroine. Just yesterday, in a letter laying out “the Government’s priorities for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs work programme commissioned for the next three years,” the notorious LGBT+ rights opponent wrote that “the lawfulness of the supply of poppers is [currently] uncertain. I am minded to remove this uncertainty by explicitly exempting poppers from the 2016 Act.”
Poppers liberation is admittedly low on the ACMD’s agenda, so don’t expect the streets to run with alkyl nitrites in celebration just yet. But the announcement comes as a surefire cause to keep breathing -- soon, we shall pop in peace.