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Samizdata quote of the day

Tory candidates’ past drug use is surely of interest to nobody outside the Media-Political Class. Which just underscores how self-obsessed and irrelevant that Class has become

– Eamonn Butler

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Jim

    Not really, its of a great deal of interest to the masses as well. The fact that the political class get to rule the country with past admitted behaviour that would result in ordinary people either losing their jobs, being denied new ones, and/or prosecuted for breaking the law shows how utterly hypocritical they are. People won’t care about the actual behaviour, they may have taken drugs themselves, or know people who have/do. But they will care about the dual standards shown to those doing it – its OK for Michael Gove to be Prime Minister despite being a coke fiend, but anyone caught doing the same today will quite possibly get sacked if not criminally prosecuted. One rule for the Establishment, another for the masses.

    I think we all get the message loud and clear…………

  • Mr Ed

    Jim nails it. And as I pointed out elsewhere on this site, if some British politician has breached US law and faces the consequences, who would not find it, if not a source of joy, some grim satisfaction that those who seek to control the levers of power should face the sort of consequences they are only too happy to see visited on others under their rule?

    If a British politician who has been to the USA were found to have been an inadmissible alien due to drug use, and faced the horrors of the US Federal Criminal Courts, might it not give some others in power here at least a pause to think about what is and is not satisfactory, e.g. in terms of extradition treaties etc.

    §1182. Inadmissible aliens
    (a) Classes of aliens ineligible for visas or admission
    Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, aliens who are inadmissible under the following paragraphs are ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States: …
    (2) Criminal and related grounds
    (A) Conviction of certain crimes
    (i) In general
    Except as provided in clause (ii), any alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of-
    (I) a crime involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense) or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime, or
    (II) a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of title 21),

    is inadmissible.

  • Like Mr Ed, I echo Jim’s point. I will also go slightly beyond it.

    Adam Smith noted that there have always been two moralities, the louche and the strict. The rich and the powerful tend more to the louche morality because they can offload its consequences onto others. Many of the less rich and less powerful tend more to the strict morality because the costs of not doing so fall more swiftly on them, and on their neighbouring community that has little reserves to cope with it.

    There are many concerns of the chattering classes that the public indeed don’t care about, but beyond many a natural feeling of resentment and contempt that what means jail for them is a joke for their ‘betters’, they can resent having the louche morality forced on them, and their ability to reject it or mitigate it destroyed, by people who know little and care less about what it is like when you have not the power to order, or the wealth to pay, for the downside to be taken away and cleaned up, or at least kept, elsewhere.

  • Rob

    One word which isn’t dominating the Conservative leadership contest is ‘dignity’, but I suppose the modern Tory party probably believes that’s uncool and makes them look ‘nasty’ to bearded blue-haired Guardian readers.

  • John B

    Is there a Statute of Limitations on crimes associated with drugs? If not why isn’t Mr Gove ‘helping police with their enquiries’, and where the early morning police raid with a BBC helicopter hovering overhead to record the event?

    Double standards indeed.

  • Jim

    As an example of how the masses are treated when it comes to jobs and drugs, I’m thinking of the case I read about a while back. A bus driver failed a mandatory drugs test for cocaine and lost his job, but denied having taken any drugs, and was forced to take his employer to a tribunal where he argued that his handling of cocaine contaminated banknotes must have created a false positive, and was able to show that a test of his hair showed no sign of cocaine use at all. And won £40k in compensation:


    Thats how the masses get treated, guilty even if innocent. So now Gove has admitted it, he should be sacked, right?

  • Pat

    Taking Mr. Gove’s word that he tried cocaine, found it was a mistake, then stopped.
    An extreme social conservative would hate that he ever took the stuff.
    A liberal wouldn’t be concerned at that. A liberal would be concerned that he promulgated drastic action against others who had taken cocaine.
    The fact that he did both makes sure that he upsets liberals and conservatives more than if he had only done one.
    One law for me and another for thee is acceptable to nobody.

  • Mr Ed

    John B

    Is there a Statute of Limitations on crimes associated with drugs?

    In England and Wales, there is no limitation period for almost all offences triable by indictment (with a jury) including drugs offences which can be tried on indictment (or as a summary offence before Magistrates with no jury). The possession of a class A drug can carry a 7 year prison sentence.

    The problem is that there is no evidence of the occasion on which the use occurred, so a charge would be impossibly vague in all likelihood and there is no forensic evidence, the only evidence is the ‘word’ of a politician in an interview many years after the event, so there is no realistic prospect of conviction.

    (unlike might be the case in a US Federal court on a charge of not providing full information for visa waiver on entry into the United States).

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed — edited slightly so as to apply to a different incident elsewhere:

    The problem is that there is no evidence of the occasion on which the use alleged crime occurred, so a charge would be was impossibly vague in all likelihood and there is no forensic evidence, the only evidence is the ‘word’ of a politician complainant in an interview [and hearing] many years after the event, so there is was no realistic prospect of conviction [although disconfirmation was a close thing, and certain factions in the Senate Committee might properly have been committed on grounds of not merely diminished but actually nonexistent capacity –J. (in a disgusted tone)].

    Even in a civil proceeding I thought there is supposed to be the bar of “a preponderance of the evidence.” Not that even that is particularly encouraging — the devil being in the details of the word “preponderance.”

  • Mr Ed

    Mrs May had her red lines, Mr Gove had his white lines.

  • Paul Marks

    I am not in the “media-political class” – I am just a local councillor, and I care a great deal about a person, Michael Gove, writing articles denouncing drug use whilst (in the same period) using drugs.

    Mr Gove is a snake – a total hypocrite.

    We all have vices, my own soul contains much terrible darkness, but one should not denounce a particular vice whilst (at the same time) engaging in it.