Let us take Bob Piper's comment on Lord Laidlaw's somewhat energetic romps.
A top Tory funder, a man who donated 25,000 pounds to Boris Johnson's Mayoral campaign, is exposed as participating in cocaine-sniffing orgies, and what does a top Tory blogger have to say about it? Well, it's all Harriet Harman's fault apparently for not opening up legal brothels to allow Laidlaw and co. to get their leg over in.
You see, this is typical of censorious little pricks like Piper: you see, much as these people tend to claim that they and they alone care about the poor and disadvantaged, they don't.
You see, if people like Bob actually gave a crap about the poor and disadvantaged then they would support the policies that best aided such people, and not those that merely fitted their own prejudices.
If, for instance, Bob Piper cared about prostitutes, the idiot would acknowledge that prohibition, of anything, doesn't work and that the reason to legalise brothels is not so that "Laidlaw and co. to get their leg over" (although, if they should wish to do so, a voluntary contract between two (or more) consenting adults is no business of the state's) but because it will protect those working in the sex industry.
I have long advocated the legalisation and regulation of brothels: the advantages are huge and most of the gains are made by those working in the sex industry.
Just think: we could have legal, licensed brothels turning over a profit (and paying tax); where the girls (and boys) are cared for, given regular medical check-ups (which are paid for by the brothel and not the taxpayer) and are protected from drug-pushing pimps and violent clients. Plus, of course, the bottom would fall out of the illegal trafficking market or, at the very least, police would be able to focus more resources on that problem.
What's not to like? Both the clients and the prostitutes themselves would be safer, healthier and happier.
Well, we know who doesn't like this: inflexible, stupid tossers like Bob Piper.
What a desparately sad attempt to deflect attention.
Coming from you, Piper, that's a bit rich, frankly. And don't tell me that you wouldn't do precisely the same thing were it a Labour apparatchik. You and Iain are both as tribal as each other.
Presumably Iain and his Tory colleagues also want to see the legalisation of hard drugs too.
No, I don't think that they do: that would require more courage than any of them have.
I, however, am a big fan of the legalisation of all drugs. Unlike with prostitutes (which I have never used ('cos I am so purdy, y'see), I have used considerable amounts of hard drugs, in both quantity and quality, and I have never lost a job, beat up my family, killed anyone, mugged anyone, etc. Nor am I a hopeless, stumbling junkie.
I summarised my experiences with drugs, and the reasons why prohibition is bad, in this post.
So, to summarise:
- The illegality of drugs is very bad. It makes criminals of otherwise law-abiding people; it creates turf-wars and provides vast profits for crime lords; it ensures that many drugs are full of rat-poison, brinck dust and other crap which adversely harms the health of the users far more than the drug itself would do.
- From an ideological point of view, it is none of the state's business what I ingest provided that I do not impinge on the rights of others. And most people who take drugs do not impinge on the rights of others. At all.
- From the point of view of (2), the drugs that are legal are, in most cases, worse than those that are illegal.
- Drugs are rarely bad and in a lot of cases they are positively good.
Most people who take drugs, even regularly, are not addicts. They do not require state support, and most would not look for it anyway. The vast majority of people who take drugs for recreation are middle-class people who have jobs that allow them to afford drugs.
Those who live off the state and are addicts are usually one and the same and I do not think that this group would substantially increase with legalisation.
However, most illegal drugs are quite powerful, and do require some caution. So...
- Legalise drugs.
- Educate people about the true effects of drugs (rather better than in my elementary primer above!).
- Regulate their sale and their purity, through licensing, as we do with alcohol and cigarettes (this is one of the few areas that I can see state regulation being desirable (although there could also be private mechanisms for this)).
- Tax them to pay for the negative externalities caused by those very few who require state help.
Legalise, educate, regulate, tax: my four point plan for dealing with drugs.
And, believe me, I think that everyone would be a lot happier...
For a really distressing, irritating yet illuminating read on why drugs are illegal (it was the bastard Americans: this may be the most damaging and hypocritical thing that they have done in their history) and just why this policy has been so appallingly damaging, then I cannot recommend enough the IEA's book, Prohibitions [free PDF download].
The book details several areas that have been banned or look to be banned—Recreational drugs, Boxing, Firearms, Advertising, Pornography, Medical drugs and devices, Prostitution, Gambling, Human body parts for transplantation and Alcohol—and then examines the lead-up to the prohibitions, the legislative process, the history and the effects of the bans. It is very accessible and informative: seriously, read it.
I read the section on how drugs were banned—in the teeth of common sense and evidence against such a measure—and nearly wept with frustration. The same applies to their examination of prostitution.
Seriously, Bob, you want a better society? Read this book and understand why bans don't work and why they harm the most vulnerable in society.
I suppose when you consider Dominic Fisher's (PragueTory) allegations that at least one Tory front bench spokesman was an alcohol, substance and self-abuser, it wouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
Oh right, Bob, because there are no such figures in the Labour Party, of course. And you note that one of the Tory front bench is a "self-abuser" in a slightly snotty tone? Are you trying to say that no one in the Labour Party has ever had a wank?
Strange really. You socialists seem so blind to the disastrous consequences of your policies that I had assumed that you were spanking the monkey at every opportunity.
I suppose that, faced with such an authoritative source, I shall have to stop calling NuLabour a bunch of wankers.
However, Lord Laidlaw does deserve condemnation but only because what he did is illegal—whether or not it should be is another matter (it shouldn't)—and he is part of the legislature.
And, Laidlaw's actions do, of course, display a certain amount of hypocrisy—although it pales into insignificance beside, say, Prescott's admission of a mental illness whilst his government cuts funding for treating such conditions—but then Laidlaw is a politician (albeit only in the second chamber): what does one expect?
P.S. Needless to say, the legalisation of prostitution and drugs are both Libertarian Party policies. And no, there'll be no compromise on these issues.
UPDATE: having read the whole article, all is not as it seems. Firstly, the orgies were in Laidlaw's Monaco home. [Emphasis mine.]
A News of the World investigation has revealed the sex-mad baron hires up to FIVE vice girls at a time for all-night orgies of spanking, bondage and lesbian lust at his Monaco tax haven.
Does anyone know what the status of prostitution is in Monaco? But prostitution is certainly not illegal in Britain; I wouldn't have though that it would be in Monaco.
Further, the coke-fuelled bit does not, it seems, apply to Laidlaw himself. [Emphasis mine.]
In the £6,000-a-night presidential suite the hookers snorted cocaine and guzzled champagne before getting down to the depraved main event.
One of Laidlaw's stunning escort girls, 22-year-old Vogue model Michelli Vignardi told us it was a "crazy" party, but added that Laidlaw DOESN'T indulge in the coke.
But brunette Michelli added: "Irvine was drinking and taking the sex drug Viagra. He f***ed me and another girl. He can still f***.
OK, so Laidlaw didn't take any cocaine, and Viagra is not illegal. And nor is fucking (although I am sure that, like Party in 1984, NuLabour would like to prohibit orgasms).
So, Laidlaw took no illegal drugs. I don't know the status of Monaco's prostitution laws, but prostitution is legal in Britain, so I'll assume that it is in Monaco.
So, actually, I was wrong: Laidlaw has done absolutely nothing illegal whatsoever.