Politicians and drugs make for an unusual duo. There’s a fair number of politicians out there who don’t mind dabbling with drugs – and drugs don’t seem to mind being dabbled with by the politicians, either. But their private and public attitudes often don’t match up.
Which has put British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an interesting position this week, to say the least. In 2007, he sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan and revealed he’d taken cocaine and cannabis in the past. He also claimed he wouldn’t any of his 47 kids taking drugs now, citing the fact they’re stronger than in his younger years.
And this week, he’s now threatening to take away the driving licences and passports of drug addicts. Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, he said “Most of the crime driven by drugs is generated by 300,000 heroin and crack cocaine users… but then there is a separate group who can cope but who are also feeding the demand and helping to create the economics of the business.”
“I don’t want to stereotype them but I’m talking about lifestyle drugs. These people think it’s a victimless crime. It isn’t. The country is littered with victims of what’s happened. We are going to look at new ways of penalising them. Things that will actually interfere with their lives so we will look at taking away passports and driving licences.”.
There’s no doubt his comments will raise eyebrows in the music business, the world of finance and elsewhere. But one other place where they could be concerned about his words is at the House of Commons. Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has threatened to call the police in due to the amount of drugs being found on the premises.
The mere fact this proposal was made in an interview with a Sunday newspaper tells you all you need to know about it. Namely it was just something he came up with five minutes before the interview started in order to distract from the torrid time Johnson is currently having as PM. Remember that he used to be a journalist himself – he understands this game well.
And like most ideas which are first pitched in the newspapers, they’re unlikely to happen. The perception of a politician getting tough on drugs is one likely to go down well with the tabloid press – but less so with police officers and other people who have to actually enforce the law.
Don’t expect much to happen with this headline grabbing policy…