Well it was dirty work but someone had to do it. the void can claim to be the first to have read the complete and unabridged Cannabis Diaries on the Talking About Cannabis (TAC) website penned by our favourite prohibitionist, one Debra Bell.
And it’s hard to know where to start. First up Debra can’t write and even mentions that the agent interested in publishing her book has now disappeared saying:
“She wasn’t sure she could guide me as to how the Cannabis Diaries should look as a book.”
In other words it’s crap Debs.
But this piece is not intended as a literary critique but rather to offer an insight into the mind of the Daily Mail’s favourite nutjob. And Debra’s mind is a frightening place.
But let’s start with her son William. Now make no mistake, at times Willam sounds like a fairly normal stroppy teenager, at others he comes across like a spoilt little shit (although it’s important to remember that we only have one side of the story).
And it appears to be true that as a young teenager William stole more than most and did begin using pot quite young. It’s equally clear that by the time Debra wrote her diaries this behaviour was coming to an end.
The main and most concerning point of the whole diatribe is that despite Debra’s claims of her son’s cannabis psychosis there seems to be no evidence for this and a string of health professionals seem to share this opinion.
Which means that the entire Talking About Cannabis organisation is founded on a lie.
Debra has taken her son to a drugs counsellor, her GP and a psychiatrist with not one of them confirming her fears for her son’s mental health. She chooses to ignore them all.
The psychiatrist told her: “that he is not suffering any major mental illness, that he doesn’t need medication, and that maybe getting a job is what he needs.”
This wasn’t good enough for Debs who then took her son to see a GP claiming:
“The next day I went to talk to our GP about the fact that I was convinced more and more that Will had become ill through his addiction, and my concern was that he was heading for psychosis and schizophrenia. I explained that if someone could convince Will that he was suffering from an illness that would not go away by itself, he might be able to avoid worse problems than he had already. The doctor told me to bring Will along and he would do what he could.”
At the meeting between William and the Doc it seems that her GP has more concerns for Debra’s attitude than her son’s sanity:
” The doctor told me that the way I was talking to my son was dysfunctional. As I tried to explain why I’d challenged my son, he told me he wouldn’t listen to anything more I had to say and began smiling down at his folded hands, shaking his head.”
Why Debra is so intent on proving her son has developed ‘cannabis psychosis’ is beyond us, perhaps being a minor celebrity has gone to her head, she certainly doesn’t appear to be thinking straight.
In fact one of the more intersting aspects of the Diaries is that as William matures there appears to be a role reversal occuring. Debra becomes more and more hysterical whilst William begins to emerge as quite a nice bloke, who obviously loves his Mum and is having trouble dealing with her irrational behaviour.
This quote is particularly telling:
“‘I’m not sure why I’m phoning. I know that the last time you told me you didn’t want to see me again and told me to fuck off in the village.’”
It was William making that remark not Debra, after she had screamed at him in the street a couple of weeks earlier.
Debra is furious after William, having offered to pay her a grand to make up for some of the things he nicked as a young teenager, quite predictably fails to come up with the cash.
This seems to be Debra’s only bugbear these days but it’s still been enough for her to cut her son out of her life. And it’s not like our Debs is short of a bob or two, in fact she is apt to make disparaging remarks about the lower classes and at times comes across like a Grade A snob.
Visiting her son in his local caf’ she says:
“Even this area seemed quite pleasant in the sunshine, but what café these days doesn’t have filter coffee? Come again? This place is as terrible as it looks on the outside. Surrendering to a cup of Nescafe, and toast spread with Stork margarine, (what? are we back in the 1960s here?)”
On families facing genuine drug problems she says:
“Drug addiction was what happened to poor, uneducated people, who knew no better, not to people from caring families with everything to live for. “
William went to a top public school and his father is a Barrister. William is unlikely to be so lucky given that any potential employer is quite likely to google him and find intimate details of his personal life as well as spiteful comments such as:
“he would be in filthy clothes that stank of weed, often with urine stains down the crotch, his hair unwashed.”
and commenting on his new girlfriend:
” I couldn’t understand how she could find our son attractive”.
Here’s a tip William, if funds are low then a visit to your local, friendly libel lawyer might make the financial situation look a bit brighter.
It’s perhaps testament to Debra’s arrogance that even though she wrote these diaries she still comes across as being a self-obsessed and thoroughly unpleasant old cow. Every paragraphs drips with pleading self-pity and a stark refusal to accept that the blame for many of son’s problems can be laid squarely at her feet.
At times William begs her to stop publishing the diaries:
“‘Listen’ he said when he phoned. ‘I love you right, but could you please stop writing about me. All my friends have been reading what you’ve written, most of which is lies anyway, and I don’t want people to know about everything I do and say. You’ve got to stop’.”
Even when her other son talks of being taunted at school over his brother being a ‘drug addict’ Debra keeps on fearlessly publishing claiming she has to warn other parents of the evils of cannabis (and she uses the word evil) and fuck the impact it has on her kids.
It’s quite clear that she didn’t publish these diaries to help her son or her family and given her recent media appearances it’s clear that this is purely about one thing … self-promotion.
Debra has big dreams:
“Over the past three years I’ve written two books which I know are urgently needed in the world, and they sit there looking at me from out of their WH Smith file covers, waiting to be published.”
We’d place a bet that these books contain New Age dribblings which is something Debra appears quite fond of. She is warned by a friend that people might think she’s a crackpot if she carries on talking nonsense about crystals and pledges to self-censor from thereon in – we wonder what else she self-censored ‘cos this dame is truly batshit insane.
And this is the woman who calls for a scientific approach to drugs education, no wonder self-proclaimed cannabis expert Mary Brett has so easily bamboozled her with pseudo-science.
When it somes to science Bell is even flaky on the basics:
“I wish I knew more about the moon and why, unlike the sun, she cannot always be seen and certainly not in the same place two nights running.”
Yup, Debra Bell seems to think the Earth is flat.
Back to William and his heroic attempts to try and establish a truce with his mother end in failure after a text he sends her is returned:
“I texted him back to say that my son had died a long time ago, to be replaced by a weed, and that he should now leave me to mourn in peace.”
Even Debra’s younger children are becoming distressed by her treatment of William. Her second eldest refuses to meet with his mother and William at the same time telling his Dad:
“I’ll meet him on my own. I hate it when Mum has a go at him, it’s not fair on the rest of us, she didn’t have to do that, it was awful.”
Nowhere in her whole diatribe does Debra ever attempt to analyse her own considerable role in this family breakdown which is a shame because the end result is that she’s likely to lose her son altogether, and who could blame him.
Dealing with people living with mental health difficulties can be tough and William is probably best off out of it until his Mum develops some insight into her own extreme and self-absorbed behaviour.
That seems unlikely though whilst Debra’s crusade is backed by charities like Addaction and SANE, who really should know better as well as bunch of Tory MPs who probably don’t.