Scuffle of the week

Home Secretary Jack Straw v the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, who – seemingly oblivious to Tony Blair's uncompromising anti-drugs stance in Bournemouth – are rowing over drugs. The Judicial Studies Board is issuing guidelines suggesting judges should be lenient with cannabis users who say they are Rastafarians. It seems Straw did not know of the guidelines prior to their issue, although Lord Irvine has approved them. Straw, whose son William hit the headlines after offering cannabis to a Mirror journalist, disagrees with the guidelines. Lord Irvine, on the other hand, denies Rastafarians – for whom smoking the herb is a religious practice – will have an easy time in the courts and says the laws apply to everyone equally. He says the guidelines are intended to help judges "gain a proper awareness of those parts of our multi-cultural society with which they may have had limited contact outside the courts".