Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Global

Brexit and drugs

By Gwynne Dyer      

In the United States being white will usually make the police take a charitable view, but in the United Kingdom the best strategy is to say that you are planning to go into politics.

By June 8, seven of the 10 candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party in Britain had been outed as former users of illegal drugs. This includes all three leading candidates for the job, Boris Johnson, left, Michael Gove, and Jeremy Hunt, one of whom will therefore almost certainly become prime minister next month. Photographs courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
LONDON, U.K.—A drug bust can ruin your whole day, so it’s best to have a get-out-of-jail-free card ready. In the United States being white will usually make the police take a charitable view, but in the United Kingdom the best strategy is to say that you are planning to go into politics. (Although being white helps there too.)
These observations are prompted by the recent scandal in the United Kingdom, where by June 8, seven of the 10 candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party had been outed as former users of illegal drugs. This includes all three leading candidates for the job, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jeremy Hunt, one of whom will therefore almost certainly become prime minister next month.

Andrea Leadsom, Dominic Raab, and Matt Hancock all said that they had smoked cannabis at university, but had never done ‘hard’ drugs. Photographs courtesy of Wikimedia

The revelations were prompted by a just-published biography of Michael Gove, currently environment secretary, which revealed that he had used cocaine repeatedly 20 years ago, when he was still a journalist. Indeed, on at least one occasion in 1999 he hosted a party at his Mayfair apartment in London where the guests were openly using cocaine.
Now he says that “It was a mistake. Now I look back and think ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’.” Although mentioning it quite recently to his media coaches in what he thought was a private training session was his real mistake.
But he deserves to suffer. On the day after that party in 1999, Gove wrote a column in The Times’ in which he condemned ‘middle-class professionals’ and ‘London’s liberal consensus’ for treating recreational drug use as a harmless peccadillo. In the trade, that’s known as working both sides of the street.

So Michael Gove wins the Hypocrisy Cup, but it was a highly competitive event. Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia

So Michael Gove wins the Hypocrisy Cup, but it was a highly competitive event. Boris Johnson, tipped to win the Brexit succession struggle after Theresa May’s resignation, hasn’t said anything about drugs recently, but journalists swiftly dug up a 2005 television appearance in which he said quite a lot.

Explore, analyze, understand
Inside Ottawa Directory – 2019 Edition
The handy reference guide includes: riding profiles, MPs by province, MP contact details, both Hill and constituency and more.

Get the book
The Federal Response to the Opioid Crisis
This e-book summarizes the work on the opioid crisis that is going on at the federal level: what the House of Commons and the Senate have been listening to and acting on to help stop and mitigate this tragedy.

Get the book
2018 Guide to Lobbyist Gifting Rules
The 2018 Guide to Lobbyist Gifting Rules is the essential resource for your work on federal issues.

Get the book
Related Policy Briefings
Agriculture Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Health Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Wilson-Raybould reflects on reconciliation, SNC-Lavalin affair in new book

News|By Palak Mangat
At more than 200 pages, Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book draws on speeches, lectures, and other pieces on Indigenous issues she’s penned over the last 10 years.

Liberals gambling on help from provinces to fulfill new daycare promise

The $535-million pledged won’t cover all of the costs of the Liberals’ promised daycare reforms.

‘I didn’t think it was racist at the time,’ says apologetic PM, confirming he will not step down amid scathing ‘brownface’ Time report

News|By Mike Lapointe
The Prime Minister, who told reporters he only found out the story was breaking hours before, says he's 'going to be asking Canadians to forgive me for what I did.'

Pakistani envoy urges Canada, world to be ‘more forceful’ with India on ‘humanitarian disaster’ in Kashmir

Pakistan has ‘regularly’ raised the issue with Canadian counterparts, says Raza Bashir Tarar, but the ‘festering’ situation in the ‘highly charged’ region is only getting worse.

First debate a dress rehearsal PM hopefuls needed to prepare for prime time, say pundits

One thing is clear, marketing experts say Andrew Scheer will have to be more animated when he debates against Justin Trudeau, especially with his former leadership rival, Maxime Bernier, now in the mix.

Liberal, Conservative campaigns ‘at war,’ Scheer ‘vigorously swinging to land a punch’ on Trudeau: pollster

News|By Abbas Rana
It's only week two of the campaign and already the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and the Greens have all had to drop candidates over offensive or controversial past remarks.

Powerful Senate committee owes public answers on harassment plans, Meredith report, say Independents

Conservative Sen. Denise Batters says it was necessary to discuss matters in private to protect the confidentiality of victims, while Independents say it would have been possible to strike a balance and be transparent.

Savoie’s new ‘magnum opus’ book argues federal public service has been ‘knocked off its moorings’

News|By Mike Lapointe
A culmination of three years of work, the book takes stock of challenges facing Canadian democracy, including the decline of Cabinet government, centralization of the PMO, and 'fault lines' in the public service.

Arctic policy framework released ‘last minute’ ahead of October election, say experts

News|By Neil Moss
Liberal MP Larry Bagnell says he thinks the timing wasn't due to the federal government's framework on the Arctic and Canada's North being rushed, but rather waiting on territorial partners co-developing the package.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.