London Mayor calls Amsterdam "sleazy"
The tolerant drug policy in the Netherlands has made much of Amsterdam's city center "sleazy," according to London Mayor Boris Johnson. He stated that the progressive approach in countries like the Netherlands and Portugal are "outdated" during a People's Question Time meeting Tuesday in Waltham Forest, London.
Johnson made this attack on Amsterdam and its Red Light District after an audience asked him whether a different, softer approach on drugs is needed, modelled on experiences in countries like the Netherlands, Portugal and Uruguay.
The Mayor's comments were made the same day that representatives of London were scheduled to meet with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan and Dutch King Willem-Alexander at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The London delegation is participating in the World Cities Culture Summit in Amsterdam, "an initiative of the Mayor of London," a press release from Tuesday stated.
“The Mayor believes that Amsterdam is a beautiful city and was merely expressing his view that drug laws in the United Kingdom should not be softened,” a spokesman for Mayor Johnson told the NL Times on Wednesday.
"People heard him say “sleazy,” and I think that he said “easy,” Mayor van der Laan said with a wink and a wry smile to a Pow News reporter.
During the meeting with Londoners, the 50-year-old conservative praised the war on drugs that the British and American governments have been fighting for years. Johnson, who is said to have ambitions to become prime minister, stated that the UK is on the right track with a tough approach.
Back in 2008, Mayor Johnson admitted to using cocaine and marijuana while in university.
Two weeks ago there was a crisis within the British government over the drug policy when it was revealed that the Minister of Internal Affairs kept a critical drug report secret. In this report scientists stated that British politicians can learn from experiences in the Netherlands, Portugal and Uruguay.