Should politicians be subject to random drug testing? Yes! I am not seeking any political point scoring or being sanctimonious, I am just perplexed at the lack of seriousness given to this issue.
The worst kept political secret – apparently – is that Chancellor George Osborne is – apparently – a cocaine user. This even saw the Labour MP Chris Bryant joke about it last week in the House of Commons as was reported here by the Spectator and here by Standard and by the Sun – all of whom are right-wing supporters of the Tories and it was further reported right across the national media.
This is no issue that can be portrayed as scurrilous social media articles or just those who are politically opposed to the Conservatives. What we have is – allegedly – the man who runs the country’s economy being an alleged misuser of the Class A substance called coke.
In the last few weeks the paper, TV news and social media have gone apoplectic – with some justification over Maria Sharapova using a prohibited prescription drug which is the latest in a long line of sports men and women using claimed performance enhancing yet legal drugs and note that such lists of banned drugs includes Sudafed which is probably the largest selling cold and flu drug we can buy in a corner shop never mind a chemist.
Yet the man who is in charge of our daily lives by virtue of having his hand on the country’s till is – apparently – a cocaine user and we laugh it off as a music hall type joke!
I am not coming over all sanctimonious here but how can it be ‘acceptable’ or permissible to merely laugh away that the most powerful politician in the country is – allegedly – off his head on coke?
I am sure that George Osborne will not be the only politician who is – allegedly – using Class A drugs and on a regular basis yet he like all other MPs is a public servant who we elect to make difficult and life changing decisions – and yet we are seemingly ok with him doing that with impaired judgement that all substance misuse brings? How can that ever be ‘acceptable?’
Every politician running for higher office is always asked the have you ever smoked cannabis question from Clinton saying yes but I didn’t inhale (yes right!) to Jimmy Carter who this week admitted his recovery from cancer was due to ‘medical marijuana’ and we even have MPs most recently Alex Salmond admitting he has used cannabis in his youth.
Yet cocaine is another matter altogether. It is a Class A drug and it severely impairs judgement and any politician in higher office who needs it, and it is highly addictive, must have their own judgement for using and/or needing it called into question. Yet we laugh this off when it comes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer! That cannot be right in any way shape or form and random drug testing ensures this would be an apolitical matter.
We now have police able and willing and politically driven to test car drivers for driving under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol and sanctimony regularly comes from all governments in power over the dangers and evils of drug misuse… yet we merely make a music hall joke out of the alleged cocaine habits of the Chancellor!
A few years ago the media was replete with stories of (largely) multinational employers adopting random drug testing for its employees and the government has this on its own webpages here so the idea of random drug testing for MPs is hardly radical
Justified by the nature of their jobs? When it calls into question the judgement of those who run the country at the highest level? How can that not apply?
Perhaps Chris Bryant would care to propose it given his allegations or inferences could be seen as political manoeuvring and suggest that all front bench MPs of all parties should be subjected to a higher code of mandatory drug testing in the workplace.
As I say above the statistical likelihood of this being confined to just the government benches is remote and so he should stop making music hall jokes about this very serious issue and become a pusher of a different kind in seeking to make his allegations into what they deserve – seriousness.