Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Hold the front page

This week our media have been enthusiastically covering what is perhaps the least interesting story of the decade: Tory leader David Cameron refuses to say whether or not he was punished as a schoolboy at Eton for smoking cannabis.

His response to questions on this trivial nonsense was: “I did things when I was young that I regret … but politicians are entitled to a past that is private”.

Leaving aside his apparent preposterous belief that admitting to having smoked cannabis at school would upset the voters (the reverse is probably true), this remark needs to be questioned. No-one would suggest that the public has a right—or would want—to know all about such things as, say, his decade-long childhood resistance to proper use of the potty, but to assert that anything a politician, especially a potential prime minister, did in his youth should never become public knowledge is fatuous even by the standards of Tory leaders' pronouncements. Suppose he had been convicted of fraud, or grievous bodily harm, when he was 17, but had done his bird and thus paid his debt to society, would we nevertheless not feel that we ought to know about it before voting to put him in charge of the country? Politicians’ right to refuse to comment on everything they did when young? Aw phooey!

But wasn't he an absolute poppet at 21?

No comments: