Posh Spectator and Sunday Times journalist James Delingpole has got his Y-fronts in a twist over outing the PM as former closet stoner. His former mates in the PM’s inner circle don’t approve and have been letting him have it. I can imagine why he’s felt such an urgent need to justify breaking this public school ‘omerta’.
He hadn’t anticipated the fall out, he says, in a mea culpa in the Sunday Times. He hadn’t anticipated the impact his revelation to Cameron biographer Isabel Oakeshott would have because he thought that ‘puffing on a reefer’ at Oxford was no big deal. It was barmy that it was ever a criminal act, he argues in self defence. And he still thinks so.
So since the law’s an ass, what was wrong with putting up two fingers to it? Nor does he see any reason to change his mind about dope now, thirty years later:
“Marijuana is being decriminalised across the world. Quite soon we’ll find the idea that (it) was ever a criminal act about as barmy and illiberal as the notion, that, not so long ago, a man could be imprisoned for sleeping with another man.”
So ‘me lud’, he effectively argued in mitigation, under the impression that we all (not least Dave and his inner sanctum) share liberal views about dope smoking, his and the future PM’s casual disregard for the law (then) was OK.
And besides what was the worst that could have happened as a result of his revelation in today’s modern and progressive world? Dave looking a hypocrite if he ever votes against the decriminalisation of cannabis or Barack Obama cracking a few retro Cheech and Chong jokes next time he meets our PM for a hamburger/baseball love in?
Ho, ho – all very amusing and just about how flippant Mr Delingpole perceives drug use. He really didn’t need to tell us of the state of arrested adolescence he says he is in.
The irony of this self observation is that arrested development is indeed one of the effect of cannabis on the brain. It affects normal maturity (as any drug counsellor will tell you) and specifically the brain development of adolescents.
It affects attention, memory and executive functions in the brain. Its use risks worse effects – from psychotic episodes to full blown schizophrenia for those with a genetic vulnerability. Its victims often do not know until it too late.
Delingpole, although a journalist, seems blissfully unaware of these research findings. It is also hard to believe he is unaware of cases where this apparently ‘innocent’ activity has destroyed the lives of children from affluent families similar to those he and his former friend Dave hail from.
It is hard too to believe as a journalist he’s remained oblivious to the crisis of NHS mental health and psychiatric units, which are bursting at the seams with young male psychotic cannabis addicts – many incurable.
Maybe it’s a matter of I’m all right Jack. Maybe, he has no children of his own to worry about. Maybe, he’s naive enough to think by some magic of making cannabis freely available these cases would not exist. I have no idea.
As a journalist he should, at the very least, acknowledge that cannabis is a dangerous and for young people, in particular, a very undesirable and addictive drug.
His self-serving attempt to claim the moral high ground (he is not a slave to anyone you’ll be pleased to hear; he does not ingratiate himself with the powerful and he deplores those who do and have compromised themselves to benefit from the Cameron regime) is no substitute for responsible journalism.
Before he so blithely downplays this drug again and so casually assumes its eventual legalisation is a world wide done deal, I suggest he first acquaint himself with a few more facts and then attend this debate where Dr Kevin Sabet, author of Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana, President of Smart Approaches to Marihuana (SAM) and a former advisor on drug policy to President Obama will be speaking.