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Henry Mackintosh

It really isn't the media who are causing the trouble Michael. Look at the papers and the BBC - none of them are, yet, pushing this anywhere near as hard as they could - or would have been if it had been eg Davis a month ago who had atrracted these sorts of issues. It's ordinary party members, meeting each other, speaking on the phone, emailing back and forth, and, for that matter, reading and posting on websites like this who are making their concerns plain, whatever "Big Media" says!

And Michael I'm afraid that what you're coming very close to saying, when you argue of the press that, 'it's none of their business', is, it's none of my business. Well it is. If David Cameron wants to lead the party I'm a member of I'd fricking well like to know if he did Coke at Oxford. You might think this is an unreasonable thing for me to want to know, but that's life. It's also politics - so I'd suggest to Team Cameron that they come up with a rather better answer than they one they have thus far ie 'p*ss orf proles, it's none of your bloody business'.


I don't think its unreasonable for you to want to know something interesting about someone else's past. You're not going to be told though! If it worries you to the extent that you are unable to vote for DC (were you supporting him in the first place?), then hey that really is, "that's life". Personally I'm not going to start panicking about which laws all the leadership candidates might or might not have broken in the past, therin lies madness!

Henry Mackintosh

I bet you I am going to be told.

Re who I'm supporting: no one, yet (they're all pretty average, though Clarke was okay maybe 5 years ago). Though what does it matter who I'm supporting? I could be a diehard John Gummer man, and it wouldn't detract from what I've written. You've got to get away from this 'always with the slate' mentality Michael.

BTW I'm glad you haven't given in yet to 'panic' re the question of David Cameron and drugs. But then, unless you're a member of Team Cameron, why on earth should it be an issue of panic or not, whatever way this whole affair plays itself out?

But to repeat, you say I'm not going to end up hearing a fairly exhaustive account of David Cameron and drugs. Sounds to me like you're whistling to keep your spirits up there. Cameron will either tell more or less all, or someone will do it on his behalf. As for the press you worry so much about - they wonlt go after Cameron directly in the first instance, they'll pick off one or two people round him first.


Henry, you thought it your business to know, so that you can inform your decision of who to vote for. If we extend the logic, it makes it your business to know all of the laws broken by all of the candidates from their respective past lives. Sure it would be interesting, but it wouldn't do much for the future of the Conservative Party and the debate we need to have.

Anyway, hope you get the answer from someone soon ;)

Henry Mackintosh

It's a fairly weak argument to say, 'you're asking for one thing, so therefore you are also really asking for all these other things as well'. I think a long time ago it was spoofed as being 'the thin end of the wedge' school of thought. I'm not interested in eg whether Ken has broken the speed limit, or whether Liam has been to a lock-in where someone paid for a pint, or whether, uh, I can't think of anything for Davis. He is very dull. But as you say and as I've said - there is real interest in the voluntary party in what sort of person David Cameron is.

His CV is that of a complete political class person; his friends are some of the most disagreeable people in Tory politics; his campaign is being run by Steve "demon eyes" Hilton - there's a lot there to be sceptical about. He also has put forward nothing by way of a vision for the party other than the fact that he's, well, whatever he is. So I'd like to know just what is he? He really could settle this in an instant if he said, 'sure, I *did* some dope at Oxford; I did not, however, do anything else'. What's holding him back? Some people have made the absurd argument that he is too proud, or something, to kow tow to the press (who aren't asking him this question yet anyway!) He'd better smarten up if that is what he's thinking, as the leadership is a.) worth a bit of kow towing and b.) he'll have to do more than just answer honestly about himself in the future, as far as the press are concerned.

And just while we're at it, someone on this thread asserted that the Prime Minister had doubtless done drugs at Oxford. There is NO evidence for this, and anyone who thinks about this for one moment *knows* that if Blair had done drugs, it would have been all over the papers years ago. This rule holds true of any future leader of the Tory Party too. If he, whoever he turns out to be, has done Class A drugs, it will end up being exposed.

Sarah Laston

The 6 O'Clock news on the BBC was very interesting. Nick Robinson said that Ken Clarke was aksed about whether he had used Class A drugs, but that David Cameron was not. He then ended his piece by saying that there was no way that Cameron was going to avoid having this question put to him at some point before the leadership campaign was over. Why on earth doesn't Nick Robinson just settle the matter once and for all by asking Cameron himself? I'd love to know which MP asked Ken Clarke if he had used hard drugs, and why? Was this some sort of spiler question, so that no one would ask it later on? Does anyone know which MP posed the question to Ken and why?

David G

Great site! I'm thoroughly enjoying the high standard of debate. What does everyone else make of the report on the '92 group hustings on Channel 4 news just now? According to this , KC was the only candidate to be asked if he had taken Class A drugs. The MP who asked the question said he was going to ask the same question of all the candidates. In the event he did not. The reporter claimed this was because the DD team persuaded him not to ask the others because they knew there were journalists outside the hustings!

Henry Mackintosh

Apparently the MP was one Mark Pritchard. I know nothing about him, save for the fact that he is listed here as a DD supporter. It does seem very weird that only Clarke was picked on in this way. Still, at least, by all accounts, Ken was funny in response. If I'm being honest, that's another thing that makes me dubious about Cameron: he has no discernible sense of humour. Very po-faced - and he got terribly 'blustery' during the election campaign on TV. I do wonder if he is up to the pressure of e.g. fronting a general election as leader.

Innocent Abroad

I'd still love to know why people think hard drug use doesn't matter. Obviously I mean this as entirely theoretical proposition: never mind any specific personalities, is it *really* irrelevant if elected representatives, or their helpers, have done Class A substances? Is it irrelevant in the sense that, knowing about it is one thing, but being bothered about it is soemthign else? Obviously not, what with using Class A drugs being reasonably illegal, but I would love to hear some sort of explanation from people who say, past cocaine use, for example, doesn't matter, as to why that is. At the moment everyone who takes that line on this site has just asserted it. What is the actual argument for ignoring past usage of Class A drugs, especially by politicians?

James Maskell

I think its because its a private thing. Yes its illegal but I suspect the argument is that because its something perhaps they did when they were younger or when they werent so well known its not seen as so important. Not a particularly strong point but I think thats the point behind it. For the record Ive never said drugs were good. They arent. They destroy lives.

Innocent Abroad

I hear what you're saying, but I've got to tell you - I've doubts. As you imply: how young? how long ago? quite which laws are you allowed to break 'in private'? (isn't that where most law-breaking happens?) And it all does keep coming back to, who precisely is allowed to break these particular laws in private? One of the things we've got going for us as a country is that, generally, the law is fairly even-handed. In other words, if you happen to be the son of a general on the ruling junta is some unfortunate countries overseas, you probably will be able to snort what you want without the police interfering. But this is Britain, so we probably ought to aim a bit higher than that.

Another thing that occurs is that politicians, in their 'private' lives have to make trade offs. And one of the most obvious is, if you want to make it to the top, you do have to keep yourself squeaky clean - it's only common sense at the end of the day. But it's also a sort of basic fairness - after all, you generally *can't* have it all. Or to put that another way, you usually can't hope to become Archbishop of York if, when you were a curate, you ran a Margate sex ring.

Peter Buller

Will someone please tell me what the relevance is of someone, maybe/maybe not having done something 20 years ago is??!! Whatever your attitude is to drugs, and I say, legalise them!!! surely even the antis have to accept that if you're not doing them today/for decades!! what the **** does it matter what you did a lifetime ago? Libertarians have a long way to go before this party becomes one that looks, talks and acts like the modern world.

Henry Mackintosh

I suppose at the heart of the Cameron problem is just this: if you say that 'doing drugs 20 years ago doesn't matter', then why, for example, should any politician (who believes this) who did drugs 20 years ago be reluctant to say so?


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