Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cameron sends out the right message to young people

David Cameron’s admission that he smoked cannabis as a teenager puts him in the forty percent of the population who have too. Not much of a story there then, except that he’s the leader of the Tory party. And apart from the media no one gives a fig.

The interesting thing about this is the way that illegal drug use has become normalised to the extent that the Tory party leader can admit to toking in his youth and it doesn’t affect his career prospects. This tolerance of behaviour that would previously have been seen as too deviant for him to continue, should be seen as a prelude to progressive policy reform and ultimately legalisation and regulation.

His statement of remorse in the Telegraph is a little less easy to stomach. ‘It's against the law, it's wrong.’ He is reported saying. Is that because it’s against the law David? Or is it wrong like smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol is wrong?

The fact that he was on a tour of Sweden at the time may have something to do with it. The Swedes have the toughest drug laws in Europe and were probably threatening to string him up if he didn’t publicly state what a huge mistake he’d made.

Added to which Cameron supported a call for the UK government to debate legalisation of drugsat UN level when he sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee as a backbencher:

I hope it isn't headlines that made him change his tune....

After all that an unintended consequence of his admission is the likelihood that many young people may now stop smoking in order to distance themselves from fickle senior politicians. Sales of Converse sneakers took a nosedive after Cameron was pictured wearing them. The same happened apparently to 501s after Tony Blair was filmed sporting the once cool apparel.

If only he’d admit to smoking crack. We’d probably see it all but disappear from the UK…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was interesting to note the response on the BBC website, normally the people on there are authoritarian to say the least, but most said they couldnt care less.

Cannabis use, especially by the young has become totally normalised. I heard one commentator saying that him going to Eton is more damaging than him taking cannabis.

His comment about illegal = wrong is unfortunate, but I'm not sure what else he could have said. And although I am nervous about his party I think a landslide to him could mean a serious look at the drug laws.