FOR anyone who understands the ideological bent of the contemporary Conservative party, it was obvious that the Scottish Government’s drug decriminalisation proposal was never going to even be considered.

The failed “war on drugs” continues apace: tough on crime; tough on drugs; an old copy of Now That’s What I Call Conservatism ‘79 that’s gotten stuck in the cassette player. What else does the Conservative party have left but refuge in what it knows best?

Still, the British state’s derisive “No” in response to our Government’s considered proposals serves as another reminder of Scotland’s place in the Union – an unfortunate by-product of which being that Scotland’s needs will always come second to the ideological posturing of whichever flavour of beast inhabits the halls of Westminster. And it is an ideological position, for sure.

Drug decriminalisation is a proven method of harm reduction, with an increasing base of evidence as to its efficacy; it is a strategy that recognises the current path of criminalisation and punitive measures do not work – and have never worked – in helping with drug addiction. Rather, it raises barriers to accessing effective treatment.

When we treat addiction as a health issue, rather than a criminal one, we can open the door to tackling the stigma of addiction and providing more effective, evidence-based routes to treatment, rather than the lifetime of diminished opportunities that a criminal record so generously provides.

READ MORE: Which journalists were guests at George Osborne's wedding?

Countries like Portugal and Switzerland, who decriminalised the personal use of drugs in 2001 and 1991 respectively, have seen huge reductions in drug overdoses, HIV transmission and drug-related crime since making the change.

That went hand-in-hand with public health policies like providing safe injection rooms for folk with drug dependencies, who could cleanly and safely inject drugs in a supervised environment. This was the case in Glasgow when Peter Krykant began operating a safe injection facility out of a minivan in a city where drug deaths are rampant – only to be lifted by the cops while trying to save lives. At the moment, the law actively stands in the way of sensible measures like this one.

But rather than entertain the idea that an evidence-based approach to drug use may be the most effective way to tackle Scotland’s drug-related deaths crisis, the UK Government is instead ideologically driven to keep ineffective laws in place that ruin and end lives.

It’s one of the many overt contradictions of Conservatism that this government wants to push more children into STEM subjects at University, over the arts and social sciences, while simultaneously displaying utter disregard as to the expertise of those same students upon graduating.

READ MORE: BBC suspends staff member after explicit photo claims about presenter

It is the case that evidence-based and science-led policy on drugs plays no role in the Government’s advocacy for criminality, just the same, tired, culture war driven deference to conservative ideals over empathy.

Back in 2009, the Government’s drug adviser David Nutt was pushed to resign after stating that drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and LSD were actually less harmful than legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

It didn’t matter that he was entirely correct. He had transgressed the government’s position that the arbitrary line that sets alcohol and tobacco on one side, and everything else on the other was a good and just position – and for that, then Home Secretary Alan Johnson asked for his resignation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

This happened less than a decade before Michael Gove’s now infamous quip that Britain has “had enough of experts”, but it does underline a fundamental characteristic of the UK Government as an institution that is less interested in facts than it is playing to its base. And while the Conservatives continue to indulge themselves in political games, the number of preventable deaths connected to drug use will continue to climb.

Unfortunately, Labour aren’t much better on this issue. Leader of the opposition Keir Starmer opposes decriminalisation and seems intent on capitalising on the same reactionary tendencies that the Conservatives are banking on.

READ MORE: Firm who donated to Tories are now Scottish Labour's biggest backer

In mid-April of last year, the Labour party bought political ads on social media attacking the LibDems over their support for decriminalisation, blasting them for wanting “to legalise drugs and soften punishments” – an authoritarian rhetorical flourish that isn’t even true.

Decriminialisation and legalisation are two completely different policies with different outcomes.

For me, it’s the hypocrisy that I find especially galling. By all accounts, drug use in Westminster is allegedly rife. One former politician previously told LBC that MPs have been known to snort cocaine off their desks … presumably just before totting off to the chamber to vote on restricting the use of it for the rest of us. Like partygate before it, the UK Government clearly sees these restrictions on drug use as something that applies to other people.

Drugs have no intrinsic moral value attached to them. They’re a good time at a party, a means of expanding our minds and sometimes, too, they are the root of an addiction. While Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom, trapped under successive reactionary and right-wing governments, we won’t be able to treat addiction as the health issue it so clearly is.

Instead, we’ll continue to live under failed policy after failed policy from a political system that feels incapable of change – one that treats both its devolved governments and its citizens like children needing to be kept in line.