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« The press versus David Davis | Main | David Davis in third place in poll of Tory voters »


Cllr Iain Lindley


For people certainly *did not* neglect Dubya's 'wild and wreckless' issues.

I don't doubt that, but I think you missed my point. Most of those prolonging the cannabis story are on the right of the party, and of those I know reasonably well are strong supporters of links with the Bush Republicans.

Many of those making a big fuss about the cannabis story were quick to dismiss stories about Bush which were not dissimilar and in many ways worse!

Mark Fulford

Henry, I'm sorry I hadn't seen your question before. I’ll put myself forward as a Cameron supporter to answer “is it OK to have done class A drugs”?

Let me start by saying that, to my knowledge, nobody is suggesting that Cameron has taken class A drugs. This question / answer is a matter of principle and not directed at any leader.

The main drugs class A are heroin, methadone, cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, magic mushrooms and injectable amphetamines. I wouldn’t have that great a problem with somebody having experimented in their youth with Ecstasy or mushrooms - on the basis that these are not as harmful as ‘A’ category suggests. I think that any educated person who has taken any of the other class A drugs has exhibited such extreme stupidity that it would be very difficult to trust them. However, politicians are fallible and we have seen very successful leaders commit acts of extreme stupidity and be forgiven. It would be foolish to totally rule out the possibility that somebody could have made such an error and still be a good MP.

Henry Mackintosh

Thanks for your answer Mark, which is very fair. I suppose my attitude is that drugs use is hardly a hanging offence (or at least, it shouldn't be!), BUT, as other people have said, a different set of rules applies to anyone who wants to lead a political party/marry the prince of wales/apply to be pope. If you haven't kept yourself clean, you will end up paying the price.

Some people argue this means that, 'oh but then we'll never have any interesting or good party leaders/princesses of wales/popes'. I'm not so convinced by the logic at work here: does it mean that *every* interesting or decent person in public life is a sometime coke user? I suspect not.

So I think what I'm arguing is, an aspirant party leader who has done Class A drugs (and, obviously, we have NO idea if any have) has not so much made a moral mistake as a tactical one. And it's unrealistic to think that you don't have to deal with your tactical mistakes. For what it's worth, the daftest thing Team Cameron have come up with recently is their day-by-day assurance that this 'boring non-issue' will go away. Well it hasn't, and you know, I don't think it will. How on earth does Cameron think he's going to get away with the sort of waffle he came out with on QT, should he get to the hustings?

Innocent Abroad

So DC's tactic is to throw a relative to the press pack, rather than address anything directly himself? Disgusting.

Is there a Cameroon out there out who can explain why Davie has gone from yesterday's line - 'no comment: this is a private matter' - to releasing statements from his campaign office, and briefing the Standard on his family's problems? This is a new low for Cameron and the people round him.

James Maskell

I think the reason for the statements on that is that he is defendiung his family. Its unfair to drag someones relatives into something which started with him.

Henry Cook

Err...have you completely understood what happened with the Evening Standard? They pursued a relative of DC's, who is trying to rehabilitate him-/her-self, because that is they are so desperate to dig up some dirt. Cameron issued a statement to confirm the story but primarily to ask that his friend/relative be left alone, because they are not fair game. Its a new low for the media actually.


I would be careful here. You have no idea whether it came from team cameron or whether it was a journalist picking up the story, which is most likely and if it was a journalist picking up the story what you have just written is pretty low itself.

Adrian Sherman

The way in which that poor relative of Cameron's, who was thrown to the press today, is an example of why this man isn't fit to be an MP, let alone leader.

Matters are certainly moving on apace, from cannabis to cocaine. Call me out of touch or traditinalist if you wish, but if Cameron, or any one of the leadership candidates, has ever taken cocaine, then they are utterly unfit to be leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of Great Britain. Simple as that.

Henry Cook

Adrian, DC did not throw his relative to the press, the press took it upon themselves to drag a non-public figure's personal diffuculties into the spotlight. Is DC not right to try and protect him?

James Maskell

I dont think hes throwing the relative to the press pack. The story would have broken and speculation would have made it unbearable for him to cope with. He did the right thing by responding quickly and sensitively. He HAD to respond to the story. Hes right to do that. If people are going to criticise him fair enough, you expect comes with the job. But to drag relatives is disgraceful for anyone to do.

Innocent Abroad

Ah, the chorus have returned. Welcome back to the story that just won't go away.

The Cameron team planted the story on the Standard, then briefed others on it. He's done this in order that he now has grounds for implying that he 'really' doesn't want to talk about d.r.u.g.s. because a 'relative/friend' is involved. That 'relative/friend' wasn't involved, not in one single news story, until Cameron put her/him there.

In truth, the only person who should be involved in this story is the man who is putting himself forward for leader of the party: David Cameron. But he's stooped to a new, degrading low, by dragging this new individual in.

But Cameroons, I'm a process merchant. What appalls me here is that he has given the story yet more legs. Very, very stupid. You do have to wonder what the people advising him are on.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Let's be careful with our comments folks. While I'm clearly not Cameron's biggest fan, I think it would be beneath him to stoop as low as you're suggesting Innocent and Adrian. Somebody must have leaked this to the Standard though.

Adrian Sherman

Innocent Abroad makes some very good points, above.

Simple Question Mr.Cameron; Have you ever taken class A drugs? Which part of the question don't you understand?

I'll repeat, as far as I and many others are concerned, if Cameron, or his competitors, have taken 'hard' drugs then they're unfit to lead the Tory Party and be Prime Minister of Great Britain.

His continued evasivness, on a matter that his own supporters say is trivial, can only lead us to wonder if he's incapable of telling the truth on matters of significant national importance?

This sorry episode has brought honesty, trustworthiness, straightforwardness, truth and the like to the fore in this election campaign and Cameron has failed miserably.

I'm just glad we know what kind of man he is, before it was too late.

And from a purely political standpoint, he's been shown to be a very poor operator, which we were told was one of his strengths!!!

James Maskell

I dont agree with you Adrian about whether someone who had taken hard drugs in the past is fit or not to hold such a high position. If say, DC had taken drugs in the past, it doesnt mean he cant be leader. As has been said many times by many other people, it doesnt matter whether he actually took drugs. Its forgivable, but the important thing is about the implication of not being honest about it. This is about DC taking drugs at Uni, which would have been some 18 years ago at least.

Adrian Sherman

Ok James, I accept that many people here don't share my view on the first aspect. However, I'm surprised that anyone can continue to defend deliberate evasivness when they must gain the trust of the British people to be elected.

The fact that he's playing with a crooked bat on this simple matter hardly inspires great confidence, does it?

Mark Fulford

Adrian, you call it crooked. I call it perfectly straight: "I refuse to answer questions about my private life before politics".

Crooked is claiming that Cameron made a press release about a relative's drug addiction to make some sort of political capital.

Adrian Sherman

Since when was being deliberately evasive about a straightforward question, a sign of playing with a "straight bat"?

To continue the cricketing metaphors, Cameron has been bowled a straight ball, he's played across the line, been bowled but refuses to depart the crease.

Mark Fulford

And would you like to comment on the press release bit as well?

Innocent Abroad

Out of interest Mark - and remember, I am very innocent - how exactly would one, were one a candidate, go about not making political points during a leadership election? I'd assume it could be tricky.

If I name the Cameron flack who did the ring-round accompanying the Standard story, will that perhaps persuade you to lay off the piety?

And I notice that not one Cameroon has come forward to explain why a person who was in no way involved - not named ina single story - benefits by being exploited by Cameron in this fashion. Odd that Dave seems to be attracting all the flies at the moment.

Adrian Sherman

Yes, I would like to comment "on the press release bit", Mark.

Why is it that Cameron feels able to issue a statement of complete openess and candour about a relative's drug problem, and not about himself?

Adrian Sherman

Interesting points, Innocent Abroad. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any answers from 'Camp Cameron', if the last week's evasivness is anything to go by.

Am I the only one who reckons Dave has peaked too early and we're now witnessing the inevitable unravelling of a campaign based solely on spin, meaningless platitudes and 'slickness'?

Mark Fulford

Innocent Abroad, I understand about 10% of your post but yes, please, go on and name the flack who fed the original story to the Standard.

Adrian, the relative is not fair game. Hence immediate steps to stop the story. This is all very silly.

Innocent Abroad

Poor Steve Hilton in that case - whatever will he do next? Though I do sometimes wonder about what he's done in the past. I mean, would you really want as your campaign manager the genius who came up with 'Demon Eyes"?

Richard Allen

For better or worse I increasingly get the feeling that this is going to do for Cameron. It reminds me of how Blunkett was forced to resign last year. What started as a seemingly trivial matter slowly escalated into a crisis. If I was advising Cameron I would tell him to come clean now. The longer the story runs the more damaging it becomes.

Innocent Abroad

I hate to be pedantic Mark, but what I offered to do was to, 'name the Cameron flack who did the ring-round accompanying the Standard story' - and I'm happy to oblige if you want. I've no idea who planted the story in the Standard in the first place. Gove?

Meanwhile, Mark, how does bringing the story to public attention, where it had not previously been, 'stop it'? You have so many insights into the thinking of Team Cameron that I await your next one with interest.

Yesterday: relative not a story.
Today: relative a story.

Pisspoor spinning.

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