UN: drug gangs controlling parts of British cities Parts of British cities are becoming no-go areas where drugs gangs are effectively in control, a United Nations drugs chief said today. – 10:00AM GMT 28 Feb 2012
Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said there was ”a vicious cycle of social exclusion and drugs problems and fractured communities” in cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
The development of ”no-go areas” was being fuelled by threats such as social inequality, migration and celebrities normalising drug abuse, he warned.
How should Britain’s drug problem be tackled?
Helping marginalised communities with drugs problems ”must be a priority”, he said.
”We are looking at social cohesion, the social disintegration and illegal drugs.
”In many societies around the world, whether developed or developing, there are communities within the societies which develop which become no-go areas.
”Drug traffickers, organised crime, drug users, they take over. They will get the sort of governance of those areas.
”Examples are in Brazil, Mexico, in the United States, in the UK, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and therefore it is no good to have only law enforcement, which always shows it does not succeed.”
Prof Ghodse called for such communities to be offered drug abuse prevention programmes, treatment and rehabilitation services, and the same levels of educational, employment and recreational opportunities as in the wider society.
”Youth of these communities must have similar chances to those in the wide society and have a right to be protected from drug abuse and drug dependence,” he said.
”It is crucial that the needs of communities experiencing social disintegration are urgently tackled before the tipping point is reached, beyond which effective action becomes impossible.
”The consequences of failure are too high for society and should be avoided at all cost.”
The INCB’s annual report for 2011 found persistent social inequality, migration, emerging cultures of excess and a shift in traditional values were some of the key threats to social cohesion.
As the gap between rich and poor widens, and ”faced with a future with limited opportunities, individuals within these communities may increasingly become disengaged from the wider society and become involved in a range of personally and socially harmful behaviours, including drug abuse and drug dealing,” it said.
The report added: ”While migration offers many positive benefits to the migrant and to society at large, it can create a sense of dislocation from the surrounding community and a sense of vulnerability on the part of those who are displaced.
”Where migrating social groups have travelled from areas associated with illicit drug production and drug abuse, there is a greater likelihood of individuals engaging in forms of drug misuse as a way of coping with such a sense of dislocation.”
Celebrities’ use of illicit drugs may also ”contribute to a growing normalisation of certain forms of drug misuse within the wider society and in turn can lead to the undermining of social cohesion”.
But the INCB warned none of the factors ”should be seen as leading individuals inevitably into a lifestyle of drug abuse and criminality”.
”Whatever the social processes and social pressures at hand, human beings still have the capacity to exercise some element of choice in what they do and what they refrain from doing,” it said.
A Home Office spokesman said: ”The Ending Gang and Youth Violence report published by the Government in 2011 sets out a comprehensive strategy for supporting local areas to reduce the effects of gang violence.
”We want to stop young people from joining gangs in the first place through intervention and support to children and families at risk of gang violence.
”This will be matched with tough and intensive enforcement action to bring perpetrators to justice.”
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
The ‘downtown’ districts of these areas Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester could be considered for Organic Psychedelics Zones (OPZ) like the one in the city of Amsterdam near the red light district (RLD) in Netherlands.
Jane Doe to Lady Mayor : She’s the serial mistress who destroyed a defence chief. Now she’s aiming to seduce the voters of Liverpool and transform herself – by Helen Weathers – Last updated at 11:13 PM on 24th February 2012
Glamorous: Bienvenida Buck has made a career of seducing powerful and influential men
Pink champagne in hand, Bienvenida Buck leads the way into her chic new Liverpool apartment. It is only 11am but, as she explains, there is nothing quite like a fine crystal glass of something ‘light and sparkling’ to bring a glow to a lady’s complexion.
We pass through the hallway where a vast canvas of Bienvenida, painted in 1990 by royal portrait artist Richard Stone, takes pride of place. It was a wedding gift from her first husband, the late Sir Anthony Buck, former Tory MP and QC.
‘It’s magnificent, no? He used the same canvas as he used for the Queen,’ she says, padding across the pristine pale beige carpet. ‘Sir Anthony brought me into a world of beauty. He was a good man.’
Sadly for him, he was not the only man. Bienvenida has made a career of seducing powerful and influential older men, capitalising on her kittenish charms. Her most notorious conquest was Sir Peter Harding, Chief of the Defence Staff during the Gulf War, with whom she had an affair while still married to Sir Anthony.
The ‘Spanish Firecracker’, as she was dubbed by the Press, sold her story in 1994 to a red-top tabloid for a reported £150,000, ending Sir Peter’s career and accelerating her divorce from Sir Anthony (who died in 2003).
But that was 18 years ago — ancient history in Bienvenida’s eyes — and there have been two husbands (one a Count) and several lovers since.
Her third husband, Spanish lawyer Eduardo Jimeni, died from cancer in 2008, so she’s a widow now — and seemingly a merry one.
‘Marriage does not suit me,’ she says. ‘I have had 20 years of married hell. I am a romantic, I like to be taken out to dinner, to hold hands, but I will never marry again. No, no, no!
‘I don’t need companionship — I have a dog for that.’
Today, at the age of 55, the former Lady Buck is looking for a completely new direction. Where once her life’s ambition was to be the ‘power behind the throne’, now, it seems, she wants the throne for herself.
Power and passion: Lady Buck in 1994 with her ex-husband Sir Anthony Buck, left, and in 2000 with then Chief of Defence Staff Sir Peter Harding, her lover
It is hard to imagine a more unlikely candidate for Mayor of Liverpool, but Bienvenida tells me she is seriously considering throwing her designer hat into the ring.
This May, Liverpool is set to become one of the first cities outside London to ask voters to directly elect a Mayor, and Bienvenida likes the idea of becoming the North’s equivalent of London’s Boris Johnson — another blonde with an interesting private life.
Though born in Spain and a resident in Liverpool for just three years, Bienvenida firmly believes she could provide the ‘strong and accountable leadership’ required.
‘I think that I could win. I am the voice of the young people of this city. I know a lot of influential people who could bring investment to Liverpool, I have very good connections,’ she says knowingly, before taking a delicate sip of her champagne.
Independent: Lady Buck claims she is finished with marriage after three husbands, and is not looking for companionship
‘I have travelled on Concorde hundreds of times and stayed in palaces. I have lived in Dallas, Texas and Dubai. I have met princes and have contacts with very powerful entities and governments.’
Whether this is the sort of contact that might benefit Liverpool is open to debate, but Bienvenida believes she is truly in tune with her new adopted home.
‘I live in a very secure, prestigious part of Liverpool, but here I like to travel by bus. I like to go out of my comfort zone to learn about this city,’ says Bienvenida, who shares her home with her 14-year-old King Charles spaniel, named Lalique after her favourite crystal.
‘The people of Liverpool are kind and generous. I have lost my mobile phone three times and it has always been returned to me. The people here are hard workers. These are not lazy people, they are fighters. They deserve much better.’
The question is, do they deserve Bienvenida?
After all, she tells me she moved to Liverpool from St John’s Wood in London after watching an episode of the Channel 4 programme Location, Location, Location and marvelling at the ‘quality of life’ afforded by much cheaper property prices.
She knows few people in Liverpool. Much of her vision for the city is the product of conversations with the gardeners and cleaners who maintain the swish complex where she lives, or the students working part-time in the upmarket bars she frequents.
‘I don’t have many friends here, no,’ she admits. ‘I did have a couple of ladies I used to go out with, but they didn’t have much to talk about. I have never seen a woman here reading a newspaper, but I am very much in touch with the students.’
Not exactly sentiments to clinch the female votes — but to this she seems oblivious. She ushers me into her elegant living room to discuss her manifesto, which she has rather appropriately called ‘Blonde Ambitions’.
The first paragraph contains this insightful gem: ‘Cuts in manpower, police, firefighters and council workers should be avoided.’
Before we can tackle Liverpool’s infrastructure, however, Bienvenida can’t resist pointing out an exquisite Venetian mirror hanging on the wall.
‘That was a gift from a very special man in my life,’ she says coyly. ‘I’m not saying who, but he is very, very special.’
Beneath the mirror is a Lalique vase filled with more than 20 long-stemmed red roses. ‘They were a Valentine’s Day gift,’ she purrs.
Strong: Bienvenida believes she would make an excellent leader for Liverpool, despite having only moved there from London three years ago
‘Who from?’ I ask.
‘I’m not saying, nosy.’
Veering away from her agenda for Liverpool, she can’t resist telling me that middle age has done absolutely nothing to diminish her allure.
‘I have two lovers,’ she says. ‘They are both bankers — one on Wall Street in New York and the other in London. One is married and the other is not.
‘They know about each other and do not mind sharing me. They have been in my life for more than 20 years. They are very influential. They are my dear friends.’
Her second marriage in 1994 to art dealer Count Nicholas Sokolow ended in divorce after three years. Her third marriage lasted ten years.
‘My marriages have always been about men wanting to control me,’ she says now. ‘I cannot breathe when someone is pulling my strings. But I do not like to dwell on the past — my strategy is always to move forwards.
Savvy: Lady Buck admits she moved to Liverpool for the ‘quality of life’ afforded by lower property prices
‘I may be 55, but I don’t feel invisible to men. On the contrary. Thank goodness I haven’t lost my beauty and I look much younger than my years.
‘I am chatted up all the time. I’m always having to tell men “Please, I am not interested” because I only like men who can challenge my intellect, men of power who I can look up to. I am not interested in young men. Not now, and not then.
‘I make love to a man’s brains, not his body. Being with me is a privilege people have to earn. Sex is only a tiny part of seduction. Wealthy, powerful men look upon women like myself as an investment.
‘I am really enjoying being a single woman. I never feel lonely. I am the most independent woman I know. I enjoy climbing into my bed with its crisp white linen sheets and my dog, who does not snore.
‘I go to the gym, I nurture my mind, I read a lot, I love doing embroidery as I listen to music. I am never alone because I live with my ego.’
Certainly, should she stand for election, Bienvenida has one advantage over the other candidates: she has no embarrassing skeletons left to rattle in her closets. Her life is an open book. Indeed she called it The Making Of A Modern Mistress.
And on the back of her fame (or should that be infamy), 12 years ago she launched one-to-one tutorials entitled The Art of Seduction and Romancing The Rich, costing £5,000 a piece.
‘I killed the project before it even started because women were not prepared to pay £5,000 to become ladies, basically,’ she says dismissively. ‘They would rather spend the money joining a dating agency. They want short cuts.
‘Modern women are not willing to put in the hours studying art and deportment. I never asked a man to buy me jewellery or frivolities. I asked for him to invest in my future with a college course or something else which would improve me.
‘I have no regrets. I am a product of my life and the men who have been there supporting me through thick and thin.
‘If I stand for Mayor, my life will be dissected like a laboratory animal, but you know the advantage with me is that I don’t care. I have nothing to fear because the real men behind me are very powerful and they are there with me. I laugh off insults. No one can touch me. I am not hostage to my past.’
Born Bienvenida Perez-Blanco in a poor quarter of Valencia, her upbringing seems to have left indelible scars. Her mother left her father, a watch repairer, when she was two, then sent Bienvenida to live with her grandmother while she moved from Spain to England for work. The young Bienvenida then spent six miserable years in foster care from the age of ten after her grandmother died.
She was 16 when she joined her mother, who was working as a housekeeper in a smart home for elderly people — but even then she did not receive a warm welcome.
Today, she describes her mother as cold, unloving and a ‘diabolical’ woman. They remain estranged, and Bienvenida says she is grateful she never had children of her own.
‘My mother was never there for me. She didn’t deserve to have me. I have no children because I know I cannot deal with the responsibility.’
Befriended by an aristocratic resident at the home where her mother worked, Bienvenida took her advice to ‘find a husband to look after you’ to heart.
If I stand for Mayor, my life will be dissected like a laboratory animal, but you know the advantage with me is that I don’t care. I have nothing to fear because the real men behind me are very powerful and they are there with me. I laugh off insults. No one can touch me. I am not hostage to my past.
After honing her skills on a series of older men who fell under her spell, she thought she’d found the perfect husband in Sir Anthony Buck, MP for North Colchester, who was 30 years her senior.
‘Sir Anthony was a brilliant man, a highly respected barrister, Minister for the British Navy under Edward Heath. When I married him, it was my dream to have a man of power, of a certain age, that I could look up to,’ she says.
‘But sadly, he never recovered from the divorce from his first wife to whom he’d been married 34 years. He started to drink, and that coupled with the pressures of politics turned him into a very difficult man to live with. The drink took its toll on him, and later on me.’
Bienvenida says she feels no guilt about her affair with Sir Peter Harding, a married father-of-four, and that his resignation was just ‘collateral damage’.
‘I asked Sir Anthony for a divorce within a year of our marriage,’ she continues. ‘I could not cope with his drinking, and then I met Sir Peter. I was the one paying for our relationship financially. I was booking the hotels, entertaining him, giving parties, introducing him to powerful people.
‘And on my birthday, three years later, he did not even bring me a bouquet of flowers.
‘When my husband found out about our affair, he said he was going to tell the Press, instead of giving me the quiet divorce I asked for. It all started from there.’
So, Bienvenida found herself seeking advice and protection from another powerful and influential man, media agent Max Clifford.
‘I am not responsible for other people’s moralities. I am far too busy with my own. Sir Peter should not have taken me for granted,’ she says dismissively. ‘I sleep like a baby at night. I just thank God I survived.’
It took two further marriages for Bienvenida to realise she wasn’t the marrying kind. Her second also ended in scandal and the headline ‘Lady Bucky’s husband cheats with kinky sex queen’.
In 1994, American model and waitress Suzannah Fleming, then aged 39, told a red-top tabloid she’d indulged in shenanigans with the Count — involving leather, high heels and whips — three months after his wedding to Bienvenida
Nor did her third marriage bring her much happiness.
‘We separated in 2005, so I didn’t see him in the three years before he died,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t divorce Eduardo, because sometimes in life it is better not to take drastic measures and we did not want people to gossip.
‘He was a very kind man, a Spanish playboy with a heart of gold, but he didn’t know the meaning of work. I didn’t go to his funeral. I don’t do weddings and funerals or big emotions.’
But is Bienvenida really happy in her new adopted home of Liverpool, with her distant lovers, few friends, no job (she refuses to discuss finances) and mayoral ambitions?
‘I like who I am,’ she says. ‘I can sleep with my conscience and integrity. I do not regret what I had to do to survive. I am proud of the woman that I am today.’
Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards. The comments below have been moderated in advance.
Sounds like Nancy Dell’ollio and looks like Debbie McGee ….. How could any man resist her?
– merka, south coast, 25/2/2012 09:33
“I make love to a man’s brains, not his body. Being with me is a privilege people have to earn. Sex is only a tiny part of seduction. Wealthy, powerful men look upon women like myself as an investment.”- Oh dear! Based on your past performance, current appearance, and the downward trend of your future prospects dear – I think you’ve lost your Triple AAA rating a long time ago!
– Ronnie, Cynical, UK, 25/2/2012 09:26
Saw this specimen in my local market – didn’t bid on her though ..
– Lord Snooty, Chester, 25/2/2012 09:16
I S THIS WOMAN FOR REAL!!!!!!! for a minute i thought it was the 1st april…
– matt, liverpool uk, 25/2/2012 09:16
Well, to all in Liverpool, you should be so proud of this potential candidate!! or not…
– Kim, UK, 25/2/2012 09:13
She looks young? No sorry love you look your age.
– Kay, Garden of England, 25/2/2012 09:06
Forza Bienvenida !!!!!!!!
– Steven, Surrey, 25/2/2012 09:06
I admire her a lot, but why on earth would she want to live in Liverpool when she could live here??
– Jane, Spain, 25/2/2012 08:52
I can think of nobody less qualified to take on civic responsibilities. Someone who reckons taking a bus is going outside her comfort zone, will not be able to handle a single problem that affects folk living in the real world.
– Jen, Gloucester, 25/2/2012 08:50
She has no friends because she’s a man stealer. It’s lock up your husbands when she’s around.
– i Love Cheese, Bucks, 25/2/2012 08:49
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
A LC majority constituency would be winnable as many more people would not mind her background or the moral issues with thye way that wealth was obtained. The serious minded or social class conscious types, even the moral types would not vote for this example of false success. The spiritual implications on a nation would be tolerable at a certain level for a specific type of constituency, but not acceptable to run or represent a country by.
Note how Scottish visual-materials culture via use-matching of Tartan-Plaid to Burberry’s (or is it Mulberry’s), is affected or even bound to chav culture. Intentional or is it contrived or ‘groomed’ by buying of the same. There are REAL chavs who have taken up on the tartan-plaid-punk meme, and there are false ones possibly the original users of the same material with the intent in putting down the Scots. Subtle but not immediately evident? Think punk bands in ripped batik or such in Malaysia, get the idea? . . . Do refute this postulation otherwise!
Next up, in a time slip, England by sheer similarity of Beefeater, Ushanka-Cossack hat similarities somehow becomes a colony of Moscow . . .