Peter Reynolds campaigning in the Corby by-electionYou know, when I see political scandals unfolding on a news cycle and people say, “I’m not resigning, I’m not resigning, ok, I’m resigning”, I’ve often wondered what made them turn around and realise the game was up. What would happen, I wondered, if they just stuck it out and refused to recognise the lack of public support? Well, now I know, and the result isn’t pretty.

We left the saga of Peter Reynolds, dear reader, many weeks ago when Peter Reynolds was threatening to sue me for lying about him. What lies these were were never specified, but I got harrassing messages fishing for my address anyway. I asked for legal advice, got “this is total bollocks” back, and got on with, you know, that drug law reform organisation I work for, and that degree I do.

It seems that Peter Reynolds also got on with running a serious cannabis law reform campaign, uniting users and activists in a solid front against the forces of prohibition- lol, jk, he totally wrote this about me to ElectroPig™ Von FökkenGrüüven, who published this piece on my blog about his efforts to mobilise a cannabis information roadshow and presumably asked Peter Reynolds if he could do the same thing:

With respect EVF, anything written by Sarah McCulloch is toxic. She is a schemer, a liar and an enemy of the cause.

CLEAR and I would be happy to support your initiative but we wouldn’t go anywhere near anything this woman does. She is an embarrassment to everyone in Britain who shares our cause.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

Nice to see that calm, professional manner that everyone so admires. I’m the embarrassment, obvs, not the guy who told a woman objecting to his posting a picture of a woman naked but for strategically placed cannabis, “Oh Rachel, or is it Anne Widdecombe! Don’t be so hard on me and then I won’t be on you. ;)”

Anyways, it seems that things came to a head when the Mail on Sunday asked Peter Reynolds to write an article on cannabis prohibition for them and what he actually did last Friday was write an article about how cannabis is bad for you and attacking UK420, the largest home-growing discussion board in the UK with over 50,000 users. And when Chris Bovey and Greg de Hoedt (Cannabis Cure UK) objected, he called them trolls, liars, lalala. So they tabled a motion of no confidence:

In view of the detrimental controversy surrounding remarks made by Peter Reynolds and his dictatorial leadership style, we feel it would be in the best interests of CLEAR for Peter Reynolds to stand down as leader. Therefore we propose a vote of no confidence in Peter Reynolds and further propose an interim leader(s) should be appointed by the Executive and ballot of the membership should be called to appoint a new Executive and leader as soon as possible.

Proposed by Chris Bovey
Seconded by Greg de Hoedt

Aha! An opportunity for Peter Reynolds to face down his critics. His trolling, tiny band of critics who were just stopping Peter Reynolds from proclaiming THE TRUTH by using as many different puns on the word “clear” as possible. Brilliant opportunity to reclaim the agenda of the cannabis movement, rally the troops behind you, and boldly strike forth against the real enemies, the prohibitionists. Or you could actually just unilaterally suspend the two motion proposers and announce that their motion against you is therefore invalid because you suspended them. That’ll work. Chris Bovey later commented:

Chris Bovey comments on Peter Reynolds
And then, hugely but genuinely coincidentally, the Clear website broke. Someone tried to upgrade some software and it all went a bit wrong, it seems. They couldn’t fix it though, because the only person who knows what they’re doing with IT, it turns out, is Chris Bovey – whom Peter Reynolds had just fired. And so they tried to fix it some more, and now the entire website looks like this:

Clear website after they tried to fix it

Oh, and while this was going on Mark Palmer, another member of the Executive, resigned because he didn’t want to deal with Peter Reynolds anymore. With me so far? That leaves Peter Reynolds, Jan Wells, and Derek Williams standing out of an Exec that consisted of eight people two months ago. Des Humphrey, Sanj Choudhary have already been vocal but Chris Bovey released an interview with Politics UK about what’s it’s like on the inside of Clear, and Greg posted two videos pointing out that Peter Reynolds has threatened both himself and eight medicinal cannabis users that we know of, with police and/or court action for criticising him:

Several of those people have got in contact to say that they’re sorry that Peter Reynolds wrote about me the way he did, and I thank them for having the courtesy to do so. It is appreciated. I admit, though, it would’ve been nice if I had got these messages at the time that I was having to defer exams, call solicitors, and spend five hours giving statements to the police (yeah, Peter Reynolds’ blogposts about me probably didn’t disappear because he suddenly developed a sense of perspective…). And I should also point out, among the three suspensions and three voluntary resignations, that if everyone had recognised the writing on the wall in February, instead of resigning as they individually couldn’t take it any more, Peter Reynolds would no longer be leader and the Clear website would not currently have gone the way of the dodo. But these things happen.

Did I say three suspensions and three resignations? Oh yeah. Literally as I started writing this, Derek Williams, probably the only person supporting Peter Reynolds who wasn’t a sock puppet at this point, just resigned. He wrote in his resignation statement here:

My only reason for being involved in CLEAR was to support a serious cannabis law reform campaign, this has now become impossible and it is with great regret that I can no longer be involved. So I resigned today, I am no longer a member of the CLEAR exec.

This does mean now that Peter Reynolds and Jan Wells are now the only members of the Executive left. Maybe. The fact is that the constitution of Clear is legally binding, and so far as I am aware, Greg and Chris were both unconstitutionally (and therefore illegally) suspended from the Party Executive. Peter Reynolds has authority to set policy, not throw people out when it suits him, especially when they happen to be coincidentally trying to remove him as leader. But I have no standing to do anything about that.

I will be very intrigued to see what happens now, I have literally never heard of a situation where the entire ruling body of a membership-based group resigns/is expelled en masse, the website is taken down, an ever increasing number of entirely verifiable stories about the goings on of the party are published for the consumption of thousands (just check out the stats on Greg’s video)… and the leader just thumbs his nose at the situation and declares he’s the best thing that ever happened to it. Really, what? I look forward to his appearance at London 420, at any rate…

What I think is really, really important to realise about the significance about these latest resignations/firings is that they’re not about what Peter Reynolds blogged about two years ago, or his personal views on gay people/women/black people/people who aren’t Tories. It’s not about the sex profiles which he uploaded to the internet and then denied ever having done, or the fact that he’s made up half of his CV. It was about cannabis, the reason that we’re all here talking this – Peter wrote an article that was factually incorrect and which harmed the cannabis cause, and then when people called him on it, claimed they were incompetent because they’re stoners:

Clear website after they tried to fix it
How long can the leader of a cannabis party stay in power while publicly condemning cannabis users for using cannabis?

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