Pick of the Week: David Axelrod, herbal drugs and the Green rejection

TV debates are coming... and even Cameron wants the Greens in on them
TV debates are coming... and even Cameron wants the Greens in on them

Our five most popular pieces of the week, in case you somehow missed them.

Five:  Why aren't the Greens in the TV election debate?

When broadcasters unveiled plans for electionTV debates on Monday, there was one expected addition and one glaring omission. Ukip had been brought in from the cold as part of a 4-3-2 set-up. But if the Kippers were in, what about the Greens? They have just as many MPs (until next month anyway) and actually did better than the Lib Dems in the European elections. ITN, Sky and the BBC really dropped the ball on this one. Pretty much everyone believes the Greens should have been in there, including the party itself, which is starting legal proceedings.


Four: Desperate scenes as drug law enforcers try to preserve the status quo

We report on a little-covered press conference at the UN earlier this month, where a US official made some pretty significant clarifications on what exactly the international drug convention means. This UN document is the backbone of half a century's anti-drugs policies across the world. But according to William R. Brownfield it's all been a terrible misunderstanding. The US is trying to shore up what’s left of the international drugs consensus, while watching its own states legalise cannabis.

Three: Liquid diets: Iain Duncan Smith targets obese benefit claimants

Strange goings on at the Department for Work and Pensions, as Iain Duncan Smith suggests people too obese for work are put on liquid diets. The man behind Universal Credit was convinced by a corporate presentation and suggested Jeremy Hunt chase it up at the Department of Health. But there are problems…

Two: Tory MP: Treat patients with herbs instead of drugs to save money

David Tredinnick, who is actually on the health committee – not in some fantasy land, but in this actual objectively real country – has suggested using herbs on patients instead of medicine. Astrology too. He defended this – how else? – using austerity and spending cuts. He's also a member of the science and technology committee. Seriously. He really is.

One: Comment: What exactly is David Axelrod doing for Labour?

Regular guest columnist Richard Heller struck a nerve with this piece in which he asked searching questions about exactly what's going on with the man from Washington. Axelrod was hired to bring some Obama glamour to Ed Miliband's election team, but he hasn't been seen or heard for some time. He didn't even bother to show up to the autumn conference, despite being paid a six-figure salary. The suspicion is that fairly anonymous men around Obama's election machine are trading on the association and bluffing foreign parties into paying over the odds for them.

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