Friday, April 18, 2008


Cocaine Boris Gets Confused On Drugs

Cocaine-abuser and Conservative candidate Boris Johnson got himself into a stupor on drugs this week on the BBC Asian Network. Mr Johnson, who I assume is no longer a cocaine binger or aiding and abetting fraudsters to commit GBH, was spin-doctoring that he was the best person to stand up for law and order in London when he was asked whether a former police officer might be a better choice than a former criminal. So he attacked Brian Paddick’s record but, er, instantly had to admit he was completely wrong. You can listen to him lying and then backtracking here.

Mr Johnson would probably be safer if he left crime alone as an issue, given that he’s the most prominent of the wealthy Tory cocaine generation in boasting about his exploits, but he might have had more credibility if he’d at least used the old cliché ‘Set a thief to catch a thief’ rather than just saying any old rubbish and hoping no-one knew about his record. Hoping no-one remembered what he’d been up to when saying anyone who isn’t a rich Conservative should have the law come down on them like a ton of bricks was stupid enough; attacking a hugely successful former police officer was stupider still; but making things up about Brian Paddick’s record while Brian was sitting in the studio next to him and could instantly get him bang to rights takes a really special level of idiocy. If you weren’t sure that a leading Conservative politician couldn’t possibly be breaking the law while saying people should be locked up for doing what he’s doing, you’d think the most likely explanation was that Mr Johnson was just off his face on drugs again, wouldn’t you?

Now, here’s an issue where I disagree with Brian Paddick. The Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate is quite a lot less liberal about drug use than I am, and I’ve disagreed with him about it to his face. But there’s common ground – which is that both of us want to get the gangsters who push drugs off the streets. My own view and that of most scientific professionals is that cannabis is not harmless, but is a similar level of risk to alcohol and tobacco. Because of that, I would legalise cannabis, which is the only way to regulate its quality and stop criminals making their money out of it. Brian is at the other end of the sensible spectrum on this – he didn’t support changing the law on cannabis, but still recognised that the problem was the dealers, not the users, and rather than wasting police time on people going after small amounts went after the dealers. It worked. What both my preferred policy and the one that Brian put into practice have in common is that they’re common-sense ways of tackling the gangsters.

Mr Johnson, on the other hand, talks tough about drugs, calls for people who did what he did to be locked up (but doesn’t volunteer for it himself), and attacks people like Brian who know – and have delivered – what they’re talking about. He just wants to waste police time on going after the very large minority of the population who’ve taken illegal drugs but aren’t wealthy enough to get away with it, rather than being interested in common-sense solutions that actually tackle the drugs trade.

Just to refresh your memory, Brian Paddick and Boris Johnson are both famous for stories about their drug-taking that have been printed in newspapers.

Still, you shouldn’t be surprised when Mr Johnson breaks the law himself then spins and poses as talking tough about the very laws he breaks. As a copper would put it, he’s got a record as long as your arm.

In other old news, while Brian Paddick was pounding the streets in the 1990s as a highly effective police officer making London safer for people, Boris Johnson was, er, busy giving the address of a journalist who’d exposed an insurance fraudster to, er, that very insurance fraudster so that he could have the journalist beaten up.

Boris Johnson: tough on crimes by ordinary people; tough on people who investigate crime…
…But all in favour of get-of-jail-free cards for rich Tories.

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Its not simply the Tories, its the political classes the world over. Tough on crime except for the political classes and their friends.

Look at the US. So many people who used drugs in their youth now campaigning for even tougher sentences for drug users.
I'm not a liberal and don't get a vote in the London mayoral elections, but Johnson is a fool and a liar of the most staggering proportions.

Paddick, I suspect, has more brains in his hat than Johnson could muster by cloning himself.
You’ve got a point, Tristan. And there are probably more I-used-drugs-so-you-must-be-imprisoned-to-prove-I-repent politicians in the Labour Party, as far as the British political class goes, but there are at least occasional people who aren’t hypocrites. And on the drugs issue, I’ve not seen any hypocritical Lib Dems (crosses fingers)…

Meanwhile, Stuart, I can’t fault you on much of that! And funnily enough, just last night I was reading your excellent piece on The Fires of Pompeii, which I thought was absolutely terrific!
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