Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cameron and Drugs

The Independent published an article today about David Cameron being caught using cannabis at Eton aged 15.

The general consensus among pundits is that this is a "youthful indiscretion". But this isn't the first time Cameron's drug habits have been raised. During the Conservative leadership contest, he claimed to have had the "normal university experience" and then flatly refused to answer questions, claiming the right to privacy about his past. At the time, the assumption was that any drug-taking was confined to 3-4 years at university. Now we know the problem started much earlier in school.

He did give a revealing interview to Channel 4 news about his habits:

During the interview, which took place in October last year, following the election of the Conservative party leader, interviewer Alex Thomson said to Cameron: "You say you want to listen. So if or when a constituency says to you ‘David Cameron, have you ever taken class A drugs as an MP?' would you answer that question?"

Cameron responded: "I've always said law makers can't be law breakers. All I've said about my past though is what's private in the past should remain private."

Thomson went on: "Well, if I asked you if you snorted cocaine as an MP you'd therefore say no, wouldn't you?"

Cameron said: "That's right, but please, I think we've dealt with this."

He continued: "I've absolutely answered your question." Thomson said: "So, say ‘No'." Cameron answered: "I've just said ‘No'."

According to the Press Gazette, from which the above excerpt is taken, the interview was pre-recorded and Cameron's press officers then contacted the program and demanded the above section to be pulled.

It's not certain why. Perhaps he felt that an admission that he'd not taken drugs while an MP (he became an MP in 2001) was by implication an admission he'd been taking drugs up until then. If that's the case, he'd have been taking drugs from the age of 15 to the age of 34 (19 years). Or perhaps he was worried that his assertion that he'd not taken drugs as an MP was a hostage to fortune, leaving him vulnerable should someone be able prove otherwise.

If either of these scenarios is true, it puts a very different spin on Cameron's drug-taking. Youthful indiscretion or taking drugs while at university is one thing. But taking drugs for two decades, or taking drugs while an MP is quite another. Taking cannabis and cocaine remains illegal. The hunt must now be on to see if any other stories can be dug up.


Praguetory said...

Do you have a problem with a serving MP taking drugs?

Political Umpire said...

It never ceases to amaze, annoy and amuse me how the 'private life' thing is held up by politicians when the hacks get hold of something dodgy. The only thing that amazes etc in equal measure is the belief of politicians that no-one is going to find out about their past and present indiscretions.

Fleet St hacks are as slimy as seasnakes, slippery as an eel, weasily as a weasel and like hounds to a scent whenever there's a scandal afoot. Perhaps the best animal analogy is that of politicians as a herd of gazelles trying to cross a river. Each hopes that the crocodiles will get someone else, but each ought to be aware that none has any defence to the crocs - if they escape, it's pure luck.

Private Eye did a crushing number on Blunkett when the Kimberly Quinn story broke - they listed at least a dozen occasions when he wittered on about marriage being the bedrock of society, how it WAS the government's business to interfere in other people's lives to uphold values of marriage etc ... then of course he seemed to think his own private life uniquely exempt.

Now the crocs have gotten hold of Cameron's left hoof. He ought to fess up - if there's any more truth to it, the fleet st mob will get him, you can be sure of that.

Reprehensible lot in many ways, and you wouldn't want your son or daughter to go out with one of them, but Fleet St does do a public service of sorts and we can be glad to be in a country where the freedom of the press enables them to do so. I'd hate to think what would befall a Moscow hack who dobbed in Putin (I say 'dobbed' advisedly, since the Eye has pointed out how much he looks like a character of a similar name in Harry Potter ...).