James Delingpole

James Delingpole: In defence of cocaine

If you can handle your drink, why should your self-control desert you with other drugs?

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

‘Is anyone here even remotely shocked that Nigella Lawson has done cocaine?’ I asked. Everyone shook their heads. Well of course they did: it was the after-show drinks in the green room at a BBC studio. ‘So why is it being reported in the media as if it were some amazingly big deal?’

No one knew the answer to that one. Everyone present had either tried Class As or been to numerous parties where they were about the only ones there who hadn’t taken Class As. Yet here we were, gossiping about the latest revelations from the Nigella court case for all the world as if they mattered.

‘One Direction are infatuated with Nigella Lawson and paid her a million pounds to have a six-some with her, in a giant tub of her How To Eat classic pea risotto.’ That would be a good story.

‘Nigella has done so much charlie that she has developed a Daniella Westbrook-style mono-nostril, lost her sense of taste, and is now having to have a new septum built from Chinese baby extract.’ That would be tragic but grimly compulsive.

‘Nigella likes a spliff and occasionally does the odd line. But is ashamed at having done so.’ Sorry, that’s even worse than a non-story. It’s an anti-story, made even worse by mumsy newspaper columnists granting her absolution by noting that she’s sorry and she didn’t enjoy it, which apparently makes it all OK.

Does it? Really? And do the same rules apply to marital infidelity: ‘Sorry, darling, about that Kate Moss business, but you really needn’t worry — I loathed every moment’? Or murder? ‘My client wishes it to be noted in mitigation, your honour, that since the incident he has had sleepless nights and was so traumatised by his victim’s screams he fears he may never be able to use an axe again, not even to chop wood.’

This is just silly. If cocaine were as unenjoyable as celebrities are forced to profess it is once they’re caught out, no one would ever bother taking it, would they? ‘Cheeky line? ‘No thanks, mate. It’s demeaning, it’s unhealthy, it gives you no pleasure — then afterwards you feel nothing but deep remorse.’

Except that this has rarely been my experience. Sure cocaine turns you into a complete dickhead, makes you think of little else except where your next line is coming from, never gets you as high as you’d like, gets increasingly disappointing, encourages you to drink and smoke too much, ruins sex, gives you a horrid chemical gacky flavour at the back of your throat, encourages you to make nicey nice with scumbags. But suppose we were all sitting round at a party and someone pulled out a wrap and began chopping up some lines, would I participate? Hell, yes.

It’s the same with spliff, even more so, in fact, because unlike coke, a nice joint can be very sociable. Am I shocked at the suggestion that Nigella may have had the occasional puff with her daughter? Well, suppose she did — which she denies — so bloody what? I certainly wouldn’t smoke drugs with my own children — they’re far too young and I’d be livid if they dabbled with such things before they left school. But after that? I expect I’ll be pretty relaxed about it, not least because I’d much rather have my kids be open with me about such things than be furtive and get themselves into heaps of trouble.

A few years back, you’ll remember, on a visit to see Tony Blair at No. 10 Downing Street, Noel Gallagher horrified the world by declaring that taking drugs is as normal as having a cup of tea. Noel was right. Obviously there’s a time and a place for them: not, for example, at 4.30p.m. — that’s for Earl Grey. But suppose, say, you’re at a late-night party and there’s a quality DJ laying down some decent dance anthems, it would seem to me quite, quite wrong — rude, even — not to enhance the occasion with a dab of MDMA.

And while it’s not something I’ve done in quite a while, it strikes me as absurd to pretend that this sort of thing doesn’t go on all the time and that our culture is any the worse for it. It makes people happy; by and large it doesn’t do anyone any serious physical or mental harm. Certainly no more so than alcohol, which as we know is capable of making people behave quite appallingly and can wreck relationships and destroy families at least as effectively as any illicit drug addiction.

In the end it all comes down to dosage. A while ago, at a grand political dinner party, one of the guests — a very civilised gentleman with a double-barrelled name — declared that he’d held down a successful City career for a decade while simultaneously nurturing a recreational heroin habit. If the rest of the assembled company was shocked, I certainly wasn’t. When the entertainment of choice is, say, a decent claret, everyone knows that there are painful, undesirable consequences if you overdo it. Why does anyone imagine that different rules apply to ‘drugs’? It’s not as though people only wear their sensible hat with alcohol, but put on a stupid one for everything else. What would be the point? The purpose of all drugs, legal or illegal, is to engender pleasure, not misery — and the vast majority of users self-administer accordingly.

So that’s my Christmas message to you this year: eat, drink and be merry, by whatever means necessary. It’s nobody’s problem but your own.

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Show comments
  • Nige Cook

    James, the antidepressant use of drugs, alcohol, sweets (fat /sugar), etc., is something that ruins people’s lives. Why not in the interests of liberty and freedom, legalize the sale of cyanide pills disguised as jelly beans, in school tuck shops? The answer is obvious: while there are some things the State needs to keep out of (like politics, international diplomacy, trade restrictions, taxation, health care and medicine), there are a few things that it should prevent like toxic quick fixes.

    The only forms of antidepressant that should be legal are those whose addictions are healthy. Example: fitness workouts produce a high, and addiction leads to improved physical condition. The side effects of alcohol, sweets and drugs are liver damage, money wastage, dental damage, brain damage. If this isn’t one area of our lives where the State should firmly stick its nose, I don’t know what is!

    • madasafish

      We need a return to WWII food rationing coupons to keep this nation healthy. Compulsory military training for all would also help keep this nation fit, healthy and sane, and ready to defend liberty and freedom throughout the world.

      You must be on drugs to make a suggestion like that and expect it to be taken seriously…

      • Nige Cook

        It’s tongue-in-cheek political incorrectness, but factually defensible.

        I think there’s a contradiction in the popular idea that we should all self-censor logical and factually true ideas, in the interests of only supporting politically correct groupthink which has a chance of being supported by a couple of drug-fuelled Political Parties in Westminster. If you censor facts out of discussions, merely for being politically incorrect, then you might as well be high.

        While I agree with you that sensible ideas will “not be taken seriously” by the consensus of a political party, at least some of the fact-supported real world evidence may be taken seriously by individuals who aren’t high on something unhealthy … we can still as individuals (without state support) try our best to ration intake of unhealthy food and ensure regular exercise.

  • Sean L

    *It’s nobody’s problem but your own.*

    Total nonsense. There’s no comparison between a snort or a smoke, which are both guaranteed to get you high, and a glass of wine or a cigar, whose psychoactive effects are marginal, yet are “drugs” nonetheless.

    As for it being no one else’s problem – wait till your children start snorting or smoking. And besides, have you any idea of the cost of, the misery induced by, the cocaine industry?

    Moreover even if I take a single day off work because of drinking or smoking, that could easily be someone else’s problem. Indeed missing an important client meeting could easily put me out of business, and then all my creditors will suffer also. And if I had a crack habit I might be tempted to defraud my associates to fund it.

    And don’t tell me legalising it would somehow be a remedy. Cigarettes are legal yet the black market is thriving. But people don’t rob, steal and murder to feed their nicotine habit, because its psychic effect is that much weaker than other more potent narcotics.

    The fact that there are any number of people capable of moderating their drug consumption doesn’t alter that anymore than the fact that most drinkers aren’t dipsomaniacs.

    And it’s no less wrongheaded to lump MDMA with cocaine. I’m actually with you on MDMA. But again, people don’t rob, steal and prostitute themselves for a tab of acid. But they do for a single hit of Bobby Brown (heroin) and/or Barry White (crack), which is why there could be no “free market” as such for these substances, owing to the devastating social and personal effects of their consumption.

    • Tom

      //Moreover even if I take a single day off work because of drinking or smoking, that’s highly likely to be someone else’s problem. //

      Based on that principle, everything could be construed as someone else’s problem. For example, going hill walking could result in getting a sprained ankle, which would perhaps necessitate time off work.

      • rtj1211

        THere’s a lot of companies who have clauses in employment contracts which state that they will be carrying out regular drug testing on employees and if you are caught using, you’re gone.

        • Tom

          A wonderful example of the free market and contract law in action.

      • Sean L

        I’m not suggesting criminalising drug use as such – I’m talking about the specific effects of cocaine and heroin. You can sprain your ankle getting out of bed for God’s sake. The point about cocaine is that it can give you a week long hangover, abolutely terrible, suicidal despair. That’s why It’s legal supply is inconceivable.

    • Derek

      I can assure you that after extensive double blind research that you can get waaaay more off your head on alcohol than cocaine. Only hallucinogens and ketamine can approach the lack of control alcohol induces.

      What you fail to realise is that the comparison is real and meaningful. For evidence I challenge you to find a soft drink that approaches the reverence of wine. It is a drug and we treat it like one. We revere it, we keep it in special containers, in its own fridge. Much alcohol is considered undrinkable if the temperature is not right to within 10 degrees, the closest soft drink tea only matters if it is hot or cold. We keep it away from children, people have problems with it. We treat it as special because it is a psychoactive drug that reaches the same places in our hearts as all the rest of the drugs do.

      Alcohol is a drug like any other, well not quite. Most other drugs are more pleasurable and have less serious side effects.

      • Sean L

        I’m not doubting the effects of *excessive* alcohol consumption. The point is that even one lick of a crack pipe or snort of powder will get you high, whereas the psycho activce effect of a glass of wine or beer is negligible. ~to that extent there’s no comparison between cocaine consumptiion in whatever quantity and *moderate* alcohol use.

        • Derek

          Dosage does make a huge difference of course and no mistake but you’d be surprised. A lot of people take a lot of drugs in smaller quantities with similar effects as a couple of drinks. Especially that first pint after a busy day and a very empty stomach.

          I think the main difference you are getting at though is one of objective rather than dosage. You probably drink for the effect subconsciously a lot more than you think but there is no doubt that with most drugs the objective is markedly different. It could be argued though that is a cultural difference. I don’t think that’s true for all drugs but there are a few where I could see how you could have a similar culture.

    • John Smith

      Ciggies black market is driven by the swingeing tax, which would apply to alcohol if they increased the tax on that

    • Jen The Blue

      I have never taken any illegal drugs, but I have changed my opinion 180 degrees on the matter of drug legalisation. Prohibition is causing far more trouble than a legal drug trade would. I am utterly amazed anyone would argue differently.
      Quite apart from the libertarian argument that people should be allowed to act as they choose so long as they harm nobody else.
      As to a black market in cigarettes……that is entirely because the government is moving towards prohibition of smoking with punitive taxation. And yes, people do rob and steal to buy cigarettes and alcohol, though perhaps less so because there is such an easy supply of cheap, black market cigarettes.

  • David Kay

    James, one of the advantages of catastrophic climate change is we will be able to grow our own coca plants in our back gardens. I cant wait! Its just a shame the planet isnt warming. But have a line on me anyway


    • Nige Cook

      Nothing like a cup of coca or hot chocolate, or even coca cola. I assume you’re talking coca beans, not narcotic leaves…

      • David Kay

        i think you may be confusing the coca leaf with the cocoa bean used to make chocolate.

  • Sean L

    One thing that gets me on this subject which chimes Jame’s point is how the media frame obliges people to say they things like “It was a very low point in my life when I took cocane”, as I think Nigella put it, as if the motive was medicinal rather than pleasure. As if they don’t want to get off their heads like everyone else?

    • Nige Cook

      It was a very “high” point in her life, once she’d taken cocaine. The thing she is doing, and others too, is admitting to using addictive narcotics as antidepressants. She should do 30 mins cardio workout in a gym or swim before breakfast to produce a healthy high, cheaply and safely.

      • Who needs a gym? A video, a mat and a few dumbells are all you need.

  • EWorrall

    The underlying assumption RE the Libertarian view of drugs is that use can be regulated with a little will power. But will power is no longer always enough.

    Crack for example is 80% addictive – 80% of people who try Crack will be hopelessly addicted by their first puff. 20% of extraordinarily strong willed people will be able to put the pipe down, and refuse their next rock.

    There is currently is no other drug like Crack, but there will be soon. Even heroin is only 20% addictive. Heroin is pleasant, but its unlikely to mess you up on your first hit. You need to abuse a ridiculous quantity over a sustained period (at least a month) to develop a serious physical dependency, and even then you can be weened off using methadone, with very little physical suffering.

    Crack is a trap for people who think they can manage their habits – if you’ve tried heroin and stayed recreational, and snorted the odd line of coke, surely you have nothing to fear from anything, right? Wrong. You could be one of the 80%.

    And of course, Crack is only the beginning of the new horror.

    Take Modafinal, a fashionable next generation drug much loved by the Silicon Valley Set. Modafinal, originally developed as a narcolepsy drug, has the remarkable ability to banish sleep for several days, without the debilitating paranoia and hallucinations which accompany and extended amphetamine binge. Bleeding edge entrepreneurs abuse Modafinal to keep their edge during long coding sessions, driving their bodies and minds to the edge to create remarkable innovations.

    But what happens if you want to be part of Silicon Valley, without risking your health abusing Modafinal? Then you risk falling behind – normal people need sleep, someone who isn’t abusing Mods simply can’t keep up with people who choose to burn their health to meet impossible deadlines. Just as athletes cannot hope to defeat opponents who use performance enhancing drugs, so silicon valley types who want to stay in the game face overwhelming pressure to take Mods just to keep their jobs.

    And Modafinal is anything but harmless. Aside from the fact the long term side effects are unknown, and known acute side effects such as raised blood pressure could cause coronary problems in a group which already faces one of the highest pressure working environments on the planet, there is strong evidence Modafinal is highly addictive – studies have shown it creates a strong dopamine response in the body, just like cocaine or speed.

    As newer and more exotic drugs work themselves into our culture, the pressure to destroy your health and life may in some cases become irresistible, and the risk of accidentally trying something life destroying, perhaps a “substitute” provided by a dealer who wants to increase their income, will rise to unacceptable levels.

    Just how bad could it get? There was an experiment done a long time ago, in which rats had an electrode implanted into their pleasure centre. At one end of the cage was a switch which tickled the electrode. At the other end of the cage was food and water.

    The rats all died of thirst. They couldn’t leave the switch for the few seconds it would have taken to get a drink.

    Did I mention next generation date rape drugs? An experiment was done a while ago, on a woman who couldn’t achieve orgasm – she had an electrode implanted into her brain. After a few months she demanded it be deactivated – the electrode turned her into a nymphomaniac, and she was very uncomfortable with how that changed her life.

    What an electrode can do, a drug will soon be able to do. How can you prove it was rape, if the woman experienced the best sex of her life?

    I love the Libertarian perspective on drugs – but I don’t think it will prevail. The horrors emerging now and in the near future will make it unacceptable.

    • TerryBarnes

      “Crack for example is 80% addictive – 80% of people who try Crack will be hopelessly addicted by their first puff.”

      *by* their first puff? That tends to suggest addiction before use.

      Anyway – the figures I’ve seen suggest one in three become addicted – about the same as heroin, twice as high as with alcohol. I think there’s a wider point though – the most harmful drugs are sought out by people for the very reason that they are so harmful. Some other issue in a person’s life leads them to seek oblivion. If those drugs weren’t around they’d achieve the same end with cheap booze or glue or brasso or meths. The drive to self-destruction is distinct from the means used to achieve it.

      • EWorrall

        Crack is a very different experience from Heroin, the high is far more intense and psychologically addictive.

        Heroin is like a mellow Sunday afternoon – everyone and everything in the Universe loves you. It takes your pain away, and floods you with happiness and love – very attractive for people who have experienced little of either in their lives.

        With Crack, for a few minutes its like you are a God – you have a column of fire coursing through your body, the Universe is yours to command, you are the most important person ever. Picture how it must feel for a character in Lord of the Rings putting on the One Ring, and you might get a glimpse of how it feels. All too quickly the feeling fades – but there’s always another rock.

        People try drugs like Crack for a variety of reasons – because a mate says its OK, because they’re curious, and think they can handle it, because they are bored and they think it will be alright. They quickly discover, one way or the other, that it is very different to what they expected. And there is no limit to what some people will do to get their next rock – sell themselves, give a pervert time with their kids, anything just to feel that high again.

        And like I said, Crack is only the beginning. Frankly the irresistible incursion of Mods is more terrifying, because the damage is less obvious – it ruins people by hijacking their desire to succeed, by giving them superhuman ability to achieve their goals. But when that superhuman ability becomes the normal expectation, who will be able to say no?

        As the father of a young daughter, I’m really frightened of next generation rape drugs which will be available when she is old enough to go clubbing – drugs which leave a girl fully conscious, but fill her with desire for the scumbag who drugged her – drugs so insidious, the victim doesn’t even know she’s being assaulted.

        If heroin was the last word on drugs, the Libertarian view would prevail, it would make sense. But heroin isn’t the last word – and the horror of what is available now, and what will soon be available, will make full liberalisation politically unacceptable for the foreseeable future.

        • Nowistherighttime

          Milton Friedman famously blamed the rise of crack on the first criminalisation of cocaine in the United States. If cocaine hadn’t been made illegal to start with, then according to Friedman, crack would have never arrived on the scene.

          • EWorrall

            I don’t think that position is tenable. Crack is just a more convenient freebase form of Cocaine.

            Freebasing has been around for a long time, but it is a dangerous chemical process involving highly flammably ether and a naked flame, which has to be performed shortly before consumption, something which is easy to get wrong if you are in a hurry. The comedian Richard Pryor famously set himself on fire once through a freebasing accident.


            Crack is a simplified means of obtaining the freebase experience – everything required to release the freebase Cocaine is in the rock, the chemical process is completed when you smoke it.

            Since Crack represents a simpler more convenient means of obtaining an intense high which was already available, which addicts were keen enough to reach that they’d risk setting themselves on fire, I suspect the innovation would have occurred anyway, even if Cocaine was completely legal.

            In a world of legalised Cocaine, it might even have been presented as a safety innovation.

          • Red Headed Rob

            Many years ago when I used coke a fried fell into freebasing exactly as you described. He would go on binges for days or a week and do anything to anybody friend family it didn’t matter for his next hit. Left his wife and precious daughters to follow the habit. Even though I snorted coke I thank God I never took the first freebase hit though offered many times.

          • Thats_news

            Oh, right. Asking an economist for expert opinion on the psychology of drug addiction.

        • Nowistherighttime
        • flux5000

          I have tried rock, a very long time ago, it was nice but it didn’t make me want to sell the house or continue taking it instead of being at work or negating my obligations. The fact is the drugs are here, we either continue allowing the organised criminal element to run the show, or we take responsibility and regulate the markets.
          The same could be said for prostitution.
          This is a good article.

    • NotYouNotSure

      So what percentages do you decide on whether something is banned or not ? If science can show that 5% of people can get addicted to wine, do you ban it ? What about 10%, 50%, please I want an exact number here, no sophistries.

      If crack can be made to be less addictive than wine, is that then correct to legalise it ?

      • EWorrall

        I don’t have an answer to that – all I’m saying is the several examples I gave, including Crack, are why I believe the libertarian view of drugs will not prevail.

        • NotYouNotSure

          You mean you can’t answer it, probably because you have realised that if one can ban something because of 80% addiction there is no valid argument why a 5% addiction rate of wine must not banned as well.

          • EWorrall

            No, I’m just saying I don’t have a simple answer to a very complex issue. There are other factors.

            For example, although heroin can cause dangerous psychosis, heroin users are far more likely to simply sit around home watching bad daytime TV – they usually tend to become dangerous when they’re looking for a fix and don’t have the cash. So there is a very good case for legalising heroin.

            But Crack users inflict their problems on other people. They don’t just sit around at home, they’re full of energy, and quite often suffering paranoia and even psychotic delusions. They want to be active.

            There are other considerations, such as the fact Crack users are far more likely to batter their kids to death, people suffering paranoid psychosis don’t have much patience with a crying baby.

            Obviously legal drugs such as alcohol also cause serious social issues, but only the most seriously messed up alcoholics can binge for days on end – most people who consume a large quantity of alcohol fall asleep after a few hours.

            By contrast, no Crack user can fall asleep under the influence of the drug – binging for days on end, becoming more and more mentally ill under the influence of the drug, is normal behaviour for a Crack user.

            Legalisation is easy to justify if you can be sure the person would keep their problems to themselves. It gets more sticky when they become everyone’s problem, including the problem of people who can’t defend themselves.

          • Ben Kelly

            You’re very wrong on Heroin. I’ve worked with drug addicts and most of them were Heroin addicts and they regularly invaded people’s homes, assaulted people in the street and robbed shops to maintain their habit. They were not just passive in an armchair at home, they made other people suffer in order to enjoy their pleasures later. Not a good case for legalising Heroin, i’ve no doubt you’d see that within a week of volunteering for the same social work charity I did. Nearly all the Heroin addicts were thieves and violent criminals and unfit parents losing children.

    • blingmun

      The libertarian perspective on drugs will surely prevail in the long run for the same reason as demotic Bibles were printed in their thousands despite the best efforts of the Vatican and why gun laws will become worthless in a world of 3D printers.

      If we can print books and make guns in our own houses, why not make our own medicine and recreational drugs? Think of a food processor-like piece of hardware into which we pour ingredients, plus recipes you download online telling you what ingredients to put in and then the machine does all the filtering, boiling etc. following the recipe’s algorithm. Bit like a bread-making machine.

      It’s hard to see how the authorities can possibly prevent individuals becoming ever more empowered as technology advances.

      • EWorrall

        Regarding printing drugs, yes that will become possible – but state surveillance on such printers will also become ubiquitous and very difficult to counter. Even a Libertarian state will be forced to act after some lunatic prints up a few ounces of botulism toxin and dumps it into a school water supply.

        My day job is an IT expert. There are some hints that your computer and your phone have built in “back doors” which allow the state to monitor your activity. For example, the infamous “NSA Key” incident, in which Microsoft accidentally released a beta version of their security module, which contained hints of a NSA back door to all Microsoft systems. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/microsoft-programmed-in-nsa-backdoor-in-windows-by-1999.html

        If the state already do this to your phone and computer, what do you reckon they would do to a device capable of printing dangerous drugs or toxins?

        As for printing guns, the easiest way to control guns is to make ammunition difficult to obtain.

        In Australia it is quite difficult to get hold of primer caps and smokeless powder, unless you already have a gun license. Making gun cotton (smokeless powder) is feasible, if you can obtain Nitric Acid (heavily regulated in Australia, but not impossibly difficult to make from other ingredients), but making primers from scratch is particularly difficult.

        (The primer is the part of the cartridge which is struck by the hammer of the gun, it contains a tiny particle of unstable explosive which ignites the gun powder which propels the bullet)

        You can get the recipe for Fulminate (an explosive which can be used as a cartridge primer) if you have access to old books such as “Fortunes in Formulas”, but producing a high quality fulminate which you could use to manufacture reliable ammunition is very difficult – quite apart from the fact that handling highly explosive, easily detonated fulminate before it is safely packaged in a primer is physically very dangerous.

        If you choose instead to somehow divert OTC ammunition to an illicit purpose, its only a matter of time before OTC ammunition is chemically “marked”, the same way commercial explosives are marked, with microscopic beads which allow forensic tracking of where the ammunition or powder was obtained – so anyone firing OTC ammunition will leave their signature wherever they use it.

    • Red Headed Rob

      Thanks for the well thought out reply

  • rorysutherland

    The single clause “encourages you to make nicey nice with scumbags” is perhaps the crux of the matter. Quite a few hospital doctors reportedly abuse the controlled drugs cabinet without significant problems. It is often the peer-group and dealer-contact effects which cause the worst problems: I think parents instinctively know this, too. Would we be all that concerned if we heard our children were quietly toking alone on a desert island?

    To an extraordinary extent, we like to hang out with people who share our taste in narcotics. Smokers seek out the company of smokers, drinkers congregate with drinkers, etc. And so the rarer the drug, the less discrimination you can exercise over your friends. This may cause far more erratic behaviour – and more adverse consequences – than the effects of the drug itself when consumed in solitude.

    • If they were toking to the exclusion of more rewarding things: yes, we would be concerned.

      The unsavoury stink that clings to narcotics use was there in Sherlock Holmes’s/Conan Doyle’s time, and it has never left.

    • Ridcully

      “Quite a few hospital doctors reportedly abuse the controlled drugs cabinet without significant problems.”
      Having formerly been a hosiptal-based nurse for a good many years, and being aware of the stringent rules regarding the administration of controlled drugs, I find that unlikely.

  • madasafish

    *It’s nobody’s problem but your own.*

    So the burglar caught in some one’s window stealing to feed his habit – and with multiple previous convictions – is not a problem?

    I am afraid at this point I decided the article was rubbish.

    • Randolpho

      Your point is utterly irrelevant. The majority of people using drugs are not burgling homes to feed their habits. If you work to pay for it then yes, it is nobody’s problem but your own.

    • Tom

      The stealing is your problem, the reason why he steals is not. TBH, I wouldn’t really care if someone was stealing from me to feed their cocaine addiction or their rampant quiche habit. My concern is that they are stealing from me.

      • Hilary

        Very funny. Quiche doesn’t tend to lead to those kind of social problems though, does it.

        • Tom

          No, but my point was to emphasise the respective legitimate areas of concern when property rights are violated.

  • vandiemen

    Utter, utter bollocks from a member of the pretentious media elite.

  • Thom Dinsdale

    Not one mention of the impact of cocaine production on local communities in Columbia etc.? Wow. Fuck you.

    • Derek

      Thats an argument for not taking it when it’s illegal not for it’s legality.

      If it was not illegal that would not be an issue.

      Besides if the last Stacey Dooley investigates is anything to go by cocaine production empowers the very poor to get education and refrigeration improving countless lives.

      • EWorrall

        In Bogota in Columbia, during the bad years, drugs were insanely cheap and available. But no matter how much they got, the addict bums still caused serious social problems, with their deranged and sometimes psychotic behaviour.

        This is why Bogota made such an effort to clean up the streets.

    • David davis

      Could you explain to us , perhaps, why use, possession and sale of certain drugs – such as cocaine – is illegal?

      Could you also explain how, if such sales were legal, this would harm people in the countries where the gear grows well?

      • Philsopinion

        The point is it isn’t legal and it does cause mayhem across South America. Delingpole wasn’t arguing for its legalisation, he was saying live and let live.

        I’ve spent a lot of time in Colombia and I’ve seen the damage that the trafficking of that drug has done to the most vulnerable communities.

        And before you launch into argument for its legalisation, the people who run that country, and the US, don’t want it legalised. It provides a lovely source of un-taxable liquidity for the financial system and a handy pool of cash for intelligence service operations.

        And since when did the legalisation of a commodity ever mean that the people who lived near its manufacture were safe? You’ve clearly missed the various chemical and oil spills over the years.

        • Philsopinion

          ”Stacey Dooley investigates is anything to go by cocaine production empowers the very poor to get education”

          What utter horseshit. Post-justificatory nonsense.

  • Guest

    Not one mention of the impact of cocaine production on local communities in Columbia? Wow.

    This is the most entitled, ignorant and dangerous piece of writing I’ve read all year. Well done.

  • robinfriday77

    What an utter bag of steaming shit this column is.

  • Astonished

    Those expressing outrage at this article may have a few good reasons for doubting the effects of the drugs business are limited to the effects upon the taker. And however much I may sympathise with D’s article on libertarian grounds, it is rather a poor presentation of the case for failing to address the issues the outraged raised.

    HOWEVER, the outraged have still to address the fundamental point that the main reason illicit drugs were ever made illicit had to do with a nannyish puritanism that rejects the experience of pleasure for its own sake. Ask yourself: do you have any objections to asking big pharma to put its talents towards developing pleasure inducing drugs, with no significant side effects? You don’t have to take them, but why do we prohibit these companies from replacing the existing illicit drugs with better and safer ones?

    • Hilary

      Consider the junkies who plague our towns today; stealing from shops, burgling homes, mugging people – what would change if drugs were legalised?

      Absolutely nothing. In fact, with easier, less risky, access, more people would get addicted more quickly.

      If they work, do you think their bosses be understanding and pay them extra to feed their habit? Or do you think, just maybe, crime levels would rise? Leading to more misery for the people who want nothing to do with the sordid business.

      This woolly, liberal thinking is riddled with holes.

      • bravo22c

        Consider the ‘drink problem’ in the USA before, during and after prohibition and you’ll see that it is your thinking that is riddled with holes.

        • Hilary

          Hardly. Drink is legal is the US and alcoholism rates have never been higher. Next piece of druggie reasoning?

          • TerryBarnes

            I believe the point is that those health harms – serious and debilitating as they are – are less than the harms to society evident during prohibition.

            In the legal market, harm is largely to the self – and regulation around content, packaging, licensing, sale, marketing and so on allows those harms to be managed. Taxation allows for a contribution to be made toward the cost of harm mitigation.

            In an illegal market everyone suffers. The users suffer greater harm (is an alcoholic better off with factory-made lager or tainted bathtub gin?) and the crime inherent in defending market share – guns, corruption, murder and so on, affect us all. How many disputes over market share are settled with gattling guns and firebombs since the ending of prohibition?

            There is no magic solution to drugs. All of our options involve harm on one way or another. Our argument is that prohibition serves only to amplify harm.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Dear astonished, have you considered the paraphenalia and the resources required for setting up a legalised recreational drug industry? You will need a large and expensive Government bureaucracy to control it and the fallout that will inevitably follow it. You will need to expand welfare and health services to deal with the social consequences of legal drug taking.

      Pharma companies will have to set up large testing and trialling regimes to test new recreational drugs (which will likely suck resources from less profitable drugs and areas of research to do with healthcare. illness and disease) all of which will result in the release of a drug legally taking years and the cost of drugs being considerable higher than current street ‘prices’.. Government will no doubt stick a tax on it as they have with other recreational drugs (nicotine and alcohol).

      All for what? Criminal production of a drug will take less time and will be cheaper to produce. Criminals will still be able to undercut legal providers significantly with all the risks. The vast majority of users will choose the cheaper option. Legalising drugs is likely to be one of those very expensive white elephants.

      Furthermore just as we have a problem with under-age drinking which is exacerbated by validation that legal drinking provides so we would have a further exacerbated drug problem with under-age users. As a parent I have a serious problem with Pharma companies and government exacerbating an existing problem. Not only that how often do the police do anything of note about under-age drinking. Would we want the same neglect to be allowed to apply to under-age drug taking?

  • Hilary

    Utter, utter nonsense.

    Let’s put aside for one second the moral issues of playing with the highly-sophisticated super-computer in your head at the risk of hurting those around you.

    Let’s look globally.

    Your little line of cocaine? Where do you think the money goes? Do you think Mr Dealer uses it to buying shopping? No – the money goes on and on up the line, to the producers and cartels.

    Now then, these producers and cartels. We know that they deal in other drugs as a well as pirated goods, murder and prostitution. Even child prostitution.

    Follow the thread far enough, and you – cocaine user – are connected to child prostitution. Well done.

    You might think you’re being cool and subversive, but the real risk falls at the feet of people thousands of miles away. People who lose their lives because of you.

    You see, these people don’t have a choice. If a Colombian farmer doesn’t want to give his land to the cartel, then he’ll be given a Colombian necktie – that’s where his throat is slip and his tongue is pulled out through the hole.

    You’re part of that, too.

    We’ve already established you’re a sociopath though, cocaine user, so perhaps people don’t concern you though. Does the environment? The Colombian government estimates that every gram of cocaine costs four square metres of rainforest.

    But then that’s not your problem, is it.

    • bravo22c

      Simple. De-criminalise. Fixed.

      • Hilary

        It’s not that simple though. Decriminalising it isn’t going to magically alter human nature, no matter how much your magical thinking wants it to.

        • serialluncher

          It’s true if you fully legalised the cocaine industry, the black market and its methods would be gone. People’s hands wouldn’t be chopped off for late payment and labradors wouldn’t be used as mules and then gutted after clearing customs.

          • Susanna Larsson

            I sincerely disagree. The people who are making all their money from drugs now and are using heinous methods to do it are not suddenly going to become decent, upstanding citizens just because their illegal trade has suddenly become legal. The cartels are also not suddenly just going to give up and let other providers take over their territory.

            If it’s true that legalising something removes it from the hands of criminals, why is there a black market in the sale of legally available prescription drugs?

          • Well said, Susanna.

          • TerryBarnes

            “why is there a black market in the sale of legally available prescription drugs?”

            Erm, unless I’m missing your point – it’s because they’re not freely available. The black market exists because people can’t get them without a prescription.

            To your wider point – the black market simply couldn’t compete with legalised supply. The cost of efficient production and distribution is several step changes cheaper than the necessarily obfuscated and replicated systems used in a black market. And the evidence from the ending of US alcohol prohibition *is* that legitimate producers step in – although some of those (including, famously, the Kennedy family) were former black market providers going straight.

          • Hilary

            And cigarettes? We *never* hear of a black market in fags, do we.

          • Bellevue

            Oh no, surely not. Not labradors….

          • the black market and its methods would be gone

            I don’t agree with that. Any endeavour that encourages viciousness will attract the vicious, who will behave viciously. There is something vicious in the use of drugs. That’s why drug use can’t be a strong feature of any vibrant and vigorous society.

          • serialluncher

            I don’t agree. Why isn’t the booze industry run by vicious gangsters in America like it was during prohibition? There is no difference between the bootlegging gangs then and the drug gangs today.

          • Wine and all the lesser drinks are legal now as they should always have been, and decent people run the business of making and selling. Forget about Prohibition: it’s ancient history. Drugs are not drink. Category error: don’t make it.

          • ButcombeMan

            25% of the UK tobacco industry is supposedly run by gangters.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Who says? Give you sources.

        • NotYouNotSure

          Yes, human nature cannot be altered, people like cocaine and will get it regardless what the ayatollahs like you decree, that is why you cannot get rid of it. Legalise it and the cartels will not be able to do what they do, and thousands of lives will also be saved.

          • You can’t get rid of poverty, either. But 1) that’s a fact that the same lefties wanting drugs-for-all don’t want to hear; and 2) it doesn’t mean that a society can’t and shouldn’t try to be richer.

      • flux5000

        No, regulate consumption and production, same as is needed with Cannabis.

        • bravo22c

          Regulation implies decriminalisation, innit?

      • ButcombeMan

        Decriminalising is not the same thing as legalising.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Now even I, who know nothing about these drugs, can see that is no sort of an argument. It is called begging the question.

        • bravo22c

          ‘Now even I, who know nothing about these drugs…’

          See the history of prohibition in the YSA.

          And what, pray, question does it beg…?

          • bravo22c

            Ah, wait, you don’t know the meaning of that expression, do you…

    • TerryBarnes

      Those wider harms are a function of prohibition. We caused them. There’s another plant grown in Central and South America, processed, packaged and distributed globally. That process seems to operate without the harms you describe and is regulated and contributes employment and taxation to the producing countries. The difference, of course, is that coffee is legal.

      The central point of prohibition seems to be ‘if only people would stop taking drugs then everything would be OK’. The trouble is, they won’t. Generation after generation ignores those laws. I don’t believe we’ve ever managed to halt any form of consensual adult behaviour that harms only the participants – why would drug use be any different?

      I do find it remarkable that those in favour of prohibition point to all the harms, all the failings, all the miseries that exist under the current system of drug prohibition as the reason to maintain that prohibition. It’s like telling a drowning man to drink more water.

      • EWorrall

        Thats simply not true.

        If you look at places where drugs are freely available, they’re dangerous, messed up places. In Bogota, drug f*cked addicts can’t hold a normal job long enough to buy drugs even at drug central prices, but the crime bosses found a solution – an entire economy based on providing people the means to feed their habit, and to survive long enough to be useful, through commission of violent crimes.


        Holland, long the mecca of free and easy drug use, is now toying with prohibition. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/us-amsterdam-coffeeshops-idUSBRE8BB0UZ20121212

        IMO it wasn’t the dope which upset their libertarian views, it was the Cocaine and Ice – in the Amsterdam centrum, you really have to look out for gangs of crack heads and ice addicts on the look out for tourists who are too stoned to defend themselves. Its not quite the hippy dream it once was.

        If drug users kept their problems to themselves, there would be no justification for prohibition. But for some drugs, they don’t – they make their habits everyone else’s problem.

        • lozerama

          The solution would be to make these drugs free at tax payers expense. Put an anonymous collection box outside every GP’s surgery. The saving in crime would more than pay for the tax. The criminal market would disappear (including a large portion of the Taliban’s funding) if the price was zero at the point of consumption. And crack-heads wouldn’t assault us for their next fix, they only need to meander their way to their local GP’s surgery. And no-one would be pushing our kids to get hooked, because there’d be no pay back once they are hooked. And these drugs would quickly lose their “coolness”. What free thing is cool?

          • EWorrall

            The crack heads would assault us anyway, because crack makes them psychotic.

            Your approach – free drugs – would work for some drugs, such as heroin, whose users generally sit around passively enjoying the high when they are stoned.

            But giving a crack addict an endless supply of crack would fill the streets with paranoid psychotics who assault passers by because they won’t stop beaming microwaves into their heads, or because their random victim looked at them funny.

          • lozerama

            Can you provide the statistics to support your claim that assaults by crack users due to paranoid psychosis outstrips assaults due to needing to buy their next fix?

          • EWorrall

            No, but I can point to examples of how stepping up prohibition efforts has made a difference – for example New York’s “zero tolerance” policy made a substantial difference to the risk of being mugged.

            Can you provide evidence of why making crack freely available at near zero or zero price wouldn’t create a catastrophe like Bogota in the bad days, before they made an effort to clean the streets?

            Remember, the more crack a user gets their hands on, the less rational their behaviour is.

          • Hilary

            And why the hell should anyone get to live the life of a wastrel for free?

          • larrymotuz

            Fer sure! If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be a wastrel.


      • Hilary

        This is a dreadfully close-minded argument, and almost seems to deliberately miss the point.

        • Tom

          Well, Terry was replying to your comment on the subject of the consequences of the drug trade by drawing parallels with the coffee trade. Far from missing the point, his reply is actually very focused on addressing what you wrote.

        • TerryBarnes

          I was answering your specific point about the harms caused in the producing countries. Those harms are a function of prohibition and the very great rewards that it introduces for criminals. If production was taking place in a legal market – as with coffee – those harms wouldn’t be there.

          That’s an entirely separate argument to the one about harms caused to users.

          • larrymotuz

            You say that the harms are caused simply by prohibition. Not so. The harms, biological and social, are caused by use.

            Prohibition leads to a different set of social and economic harms, including the costs of the war on drugs and the outright criminalization. of users.

    • rtj1211

      The strangest thing, actually, is that the active compounds in poppies and in cannabis plants both have significant medical uses as pain relief, particularly for terminal cancer patients. I don’t know about cocaine.

      I suggested years ago that the world should unite to buy Afghanistan’s poppies for medical purposes, but apparently its more important to keep the world full of junkies so California can manufacture the active compounds.

      I’m sure you can find a useful application of coca plants if you look hard enough…..

      • EWorrall

        Cocaine an excellent local anaesthetic – They used to give you an injection of cocaine in your mouth, before extracting teeth or performing orthodontic work.

        This is part of the reason crack addicts are so dangerous – not only does the cocaine make them psychotic, they can’t feel any pain, so they are very difficult to subdue.

    • Tom

      The same arguments could be applied to most things used or enjoyed anywhere. Look at Qatar and its grotesque treatment of people building the facilities for the World Cup. Is that an argument for banning all football? What about precious minerals and metals sourced from China etc, for electronics? Are we to give up computers due to violations that may occur in relation to their production?

      • No comparison. But drug-takers always engage in dodgy weak moral equivalence. Hilary is right.

        As for mining in China for rare earth metals: right, and they shouldn’t do so much of that, either. That’s one reason I’m against industrial wind turbines and hybrid electric cars — because of the huge quantities of such metals that their batteries consume, and the colossal pollution and damage thereby caused.

        • Tom

          I’m not a drug-taker. And there is a comparison – I made it in the comment you replied to. If you want to provide a reason as to why you think that it isnt a good comparison, I would be happy to hear it.

          • Have a look at my post above, then. I’m not accusing anybody; I’m just pointing out what drug-takers say.

    • Well said, and the immorality of encouraging the murderous business of drugs is always completely ignored by advocates such as Delingpole. He’s not a sociopath, though; actually a rather nice chap if he’s feeling jolly and indulgent. Foolish I think is the better word.

  • steakfrites

    I almost agree with you entirely, but the problem is you’ve focused entirely on the perspective of the user. When one considers the supply chain of drugs, cocaine and heroin mainly – and all the horrors that entails – it becomes very much other people’s business. I fully support your libertarianism, and have no issues with recreational drug taking, but taking part in the wider drug trade is a sticky issue morally, and should be addressed.


    • you’ve focused entirely on the perspective of the user

      Nearly all pro-drug do. Well, make that all of them. I can’t think of a single argument in favour of narcotics that isn’t completely egocentric in nature.

      When one considers… it becomes very much other people’s business.

      Exactly. The people that make a living from manufacturing and dealing drugs are the dregs and sometimes worse (e.g. Mexican and Colombian drug cartels).

      have no issues with recreational drug taking
      Given what you’ve just acknowledged, you should!

      ‘Legalise’: No. Legalization won’t attract decent people to the business of drugs, because drugs are not the recreation of decent mature people.

      Liberty, not licence.

      • Tom

        I’m afraid I don’t regard as ‘Liberty’ the State being able to tell me what chemicals I am allowed to put in my body.

        You say ‘egocentric in nature’ as if it is a bad thing! Given that the essence of the debate comes down to things I am doing with my body, my money, and my life, I consider egocentricism to be the epitome of reasonableness.

        • I’m afraid not. Reasonableness, especially at its ‘epitome’, requires consideration for the goodness of one’s own character and for the consequences felt by other people. As I have said, wine-drinking (and beer-drinking when not a substitute for blanking out/getting high) is inherently a cultured and sociable activity. Getting high for its own sake is inherently self-harming and antisocial. I’ve been around on this planet enough moons to know that!

          • Tom

            Well, it isnt really anti-social. Getting drunk is very often a social event.

            Again, even if self-harming and antisocial, that is no reason to criminalise it. Because it does not, of itself, harm anyone else.

            You also assume the extreme of the situations – the ‘pleasant physical effects’ you so enjoy with alcohol can be perfectly mirrored by use of certain drugs. I would describe those physical effects you mention as being intoxicated, affected by a drug.

            // Reasonableness, especially at its ‘epitome’, requires consideration for the goodness of one’s own character and for the consequences felt by other people. //

            I disagree.

          • In that case you don’t fit my definition of ‘reasonable’.

  • rtj1211

    Are you saying, Mr Delingpole, that the reason that you’re so aggressive, irritable and obnoxious in your journalism is that you’re a Class A snorter??

    Perhaps the entire press should run a few trash op-eds about you to make you feel as good as you made Libdems feel with your garrulousness??

    is there something about the DT blog section that attracts addicts?? Do reassure me that Lord Tebbitt and Toby Young are strictly drug free……

    One thing I’ll say for you: high or not, you could still see through the crap about global warming.

  • Guest

    Look forward to re-reading this tomorrow morning.

  • This is just rubbish. It’s an evidence-free assertion that we all want to do something, even if we don’t do it, which is simply not true. And it makes the classic pro-drug fatal error (fatal for the argument) that all pro-drug advocates make, that drugs-for-highs are just the same as alcohol — in particular, fine spirits and wine. This again is obviously not true. If they could make an alcohol pill for me to take — save an evening of savouring, tasting, thinking about, and experiencing the wine — I would not take it. I am not interested in getting drunk or intoxicated, though I do enjoy the whole experience and that means the pleasant physical effects. Drunkenness is not a pleasant physical effect. Wine is an agricultural product made into virtually an art form by human ingenuity and sensuality. A pill or powder that causes havoc in your body and is nothing but a danger both to body and mind is beyond comparison with the gift of Bacchus.

    • NotYouNotSure

      Pure rubbish, since when did sensuality or elegance determine whether something should be legal or not ?

      Also, drunkenness IS a pleasant physical, this is easily proved by the amount of people who willingly do it.

      • Being drunk is not pleasant. Feeling tipsy might be, but obviously you have never been to a wine-tasting, never mind made wine an interest in life. I have. And there’s a great chasm between me and a drunk that gets sick on the pavement — or a drug-taker.

        The point about sensuality and elegance is that it’s characteristic of much the drinking done in Western Civ for the past 3000 years or so. Drink is a part of our culture. It is compatible with being cultured. A liking for narcotics is not. Typical of a drugee not to notice.

        • Tom

          Being drunk is pleasant. I have been drunk in the past, and I enjoyed it.

          Given that many of the great romantic poets used opium, it would seem that drug use is compatible with being cultured. Indeed, it may be that it is required.

          • Drinking without getting drunk is vastly more pleasant. If all you know of drinking is drunkenness, you’re not fit to comment on alcohol.

          • Tom

            I am however fit to comment on the pleasantness of drunkenness. Besides which, you may know a great deal about wine, but the chemical alcohol is the same regardless of the beverage it is in.

          • Yes but — god it’s like pulling teeth! Chemical alcohol is the same: I know that. So what? My whole point is that the nature of the drink and the reasons for drinking mean almost everything — and people that are paying $20, $200, $2000 for a bottle of drink are not doing it to get drunk! We all know there are much cheaper ways. Alcohol is one part of the reason to drink, one aspect. With drugs — real mind-altering drugs which is their sole attraction — there is nothing BUT the high. People that seek that kind of high are often a problem for themselves and their fellow human beings. James is hardly a role model of how to be happy and how drugging is an essential part of happiness. Quite the opposite. He makes the case against himself while thinking he’s doing otherwise.

          • Tom

            I actually don’t hugely disagree with you here – people who do that sort of thing can be a problem for themselves and other people. However, the fact is that most are not. Do you think James is likely to be smashing in someones front door to steal a computer to sell to get his next fix? No. Why then make it illegal for him to get wasted? Getting wasted, as you admit in your reply, does not, of itself, harm anyone else. Therefore it ought not to be illegal.

          • Well, I don’t want to talk about James too much, really. Suffice it to say that if his son ever grows up to be a gentleman in fact as well as social status (he’s attending Eton), he will not be proud of the old man. If he IS proud of the old man, he won’t really have grown up.

            I’ve lived in a house where a drug addict did try to break in to steal to fund the habit, as it happens. You just reminded me. But I think Hilary’s point about the underworld is more urgent and important even than the question of what addicts are prepared to do. And before we even get to the fact of addiction, I just think getting high chemically is a character failing that ought not to be encouraged. Drug use makes for worse parents, bosses, employees, politicians, lovers, children. It lowers their sights and lowers the tone of society generally. It’s de-civilizing.

            And before you tell me that drunks are addicts too, I’ll remind you that a lifetime of drinking is not a lifetime of addiction, whereas it is with other drugs; and that you cannot become a drinks addict with one drink, but you can become addicted to the ‘pure’ narcotics with as little as one exposure.

          • Tom

            I understand that you can drink throughout your life without being an addict, however I would say that this is true of other drugs as well. And, given the effect that alcohol has on people directly when they over indulge or are addicted, such as increased aggression, it would seem a prudent move, if one were to adopt the puritan approach to make alcohol illegal. I grant that a small group of people, such as yourself, would be unfairly crimilised, but the aggregate good of banishing alcohol would make up for it. In the same way, their are plenty of people who take drugs, cocaine for example, and are not a burden on society and do not harm anyone else.

            I don’t think occasionally getting high is immoral or a character flaw. Addiction is what causes us to lower our sights, not infrequent chemical highs.

            And how are you quantifying ‘high’ in such a way to exclude the sensations you enjoy as part of alcohol? Is this not an example of the Sorties paradox? What % brain function compromised do you think counts as ‘high’?

          • Well Tom, one can lead to another, can it not? I think getting high without anything else being involved is not really a good thing for people’s happiness (nor for a well-ordered society, which I also believe in as a patriot of liberty).

            Since you asked, I don’t experience drinking as a ‘high’. (In fact, alcohol is a cliche as a depressant.) I’ve got a Sierra Nevada Celebration ale on the go at the moment, which is absolutely delicious, and my response to it is a lot like my response to a very nice slice of pie or a great Indian dish. And I’m having a nice normal conversation with my husband and I’m holding forth with you, just like when I’m not drinking. I’m still myself. I won’t look back in the morning and think ‘ouch: I let myself down and I was unfair to that chap Tom on the blog’.

          • Tom

            I don’t think it is the place of the State to decide what can and cannot make an individual happy – I think it is for an individual to decide. Though I would say, as I did above, that being drunk in the company of friends, with music and dancing is a pleasant experience.

            I don’t dispute all those things in your second paragraph, however the effects of alcohol still do exist on a continuum shared with other drugs.

          • Yes, the first statement is certainly true — emphasis on the word ‘decide’. All education is an education in how to be human, as well as in how to be a citizen, and the regime (older word for state) has a stake in that. A legitimate stake: it’s how we choose collectively to be the West rather than ancient Sparta or pre-WWII Japan.

            ‘Drunk’ has a loose definition. You’re using it to mean ‘feeling the enjoyment of the drug’. I use it to mean ‘feeling the penalty of the drug; being incapacitated or undermined by the drug’.

            The last sentence: yes, in a very broad way. But that’s a bit like saying that alligators exist on a continuum with mammals and with man himself.

          • Tom

            No, I do not think it is the place of the State to force or coerce people to not do things that have no direct harm on other people. Intoxication is one such thing that does not, of itself, harm others. I think it is up to each individual to pursue their own interests, even if such interests are damaging to their body or mind. I don’t think it is the place of the State to force a particular idea of humanity or virtue on individuals. In short, the ability to exercise license is a component of liberty. But then, I am speaking from the perspective of a Rothbardian liberal.

          • I’ll have to look that up.

          • Tom
          • Ok, thanks. Nighty night.

        • NotYouNotSure

          Perhaps in your view of history people were sipping their wine in the noble courts of King Arthur, back in the real world almost everyone was a peasant doing back breaking work, where getting drunk was a welcome relief.

          All this really though has nothing to do with legalising drugs though, because being a wine snob does not give one the authority to determine what is right.

          • Oh dear. You’re latching on to one aspect of my comment and (typically for a drug-advocate) ignoring all the rest. Just as you presumably ignore Hilary’s point that the drug world is as dark and murderous as they come. I think society has a stake in suppressing murder, muggings, and mayhem, don’t you? No one had to die or live a life of misery in order that I could have a drink. The same cannot be said about narcotics. And people that pursue cheap thrills at the expense of other goods more worth having are not the sort of people I want as bosses, neighbours, friends, or god forbid, partners in life. I think the law is fine as it is.

          • Tom

            I think that if drugs were legalised than there would be legal production. People would have had to live a life of misery and die if alcohol was illegal. Just look at what Prohibition in the USA did for organised crime.

            //I think society has a stake in suppressing murder, muggings, and mayhem, don’t you?//

            Not at the expense of liberty it doesn’t. Such is the reasoning behind mass surveillance, ID cards, grotesque security procedures at airports etc. One may as well say that because some Muslims are terrorists, all Muslims must be treated as terrorists, just to reduce the threat.

            And very fortunately, you are able to choose your associates in life.

          • There are some problems with that reasoning as I see it, but your instincts are good. I think you’re naive in the way that good modern liberal-democrats (small l, small d) can afford to be.

            Prohibition was a really stupid idea: you won’t see me defending it.

          • Tom

            I actually consider myself a libertarian, or classical liberal.

          • Good man. I consider myself not a libertarian but certainly a classical liberal.

          • Fallan

            I think that a lot of that mayhem comes from the fact that these substances are illegal rather than the substances themselves. During prohibition that same mayhem applied to the production and acquisition of alcohol.
            Also, it is clear that you are sensible and reasonable and able to exercise restraint when enjoying alcohol. Why do you believe that this is not possible with the consumption of drugs?
            There are many people who ruin themselves with drugs. There are probably far more with alcohol. Just look at figures for patients through hospitals and numbers of alcoholics, where the consumption of alcohol is far from an elegant tasting of wine.

          • The very fact of wanting drugs for their own sake — for a mere high divorced from effort or context or skill — is itself not ‘sensible and reasonable’. It’s a moral and physical sinkhole, and society has a stake in preventing it.

          • Fallan

            Wanting alcohol for a high (or intoxication) divorced from effort or context or skill is not sensible or reasonable.
            You claim that an occasional wine is, why can this not be the case for the occasional use of some drugs. You seem to think that everyone who takes drugs does it in some mad state, trying to get as wasted as possible with no enjoyment for the actual process involved (rather akin to the NUMEROUS ALCOHOLICS in our society). Actually, many people can enjoy taking a sensible amount of a particular drug and can gain much pleasure from just the process (for example rolling and sharing a joint – this can extend to cocaine in the same manner).
            I’m not necessarily advocating drugs here, I just think it one should be careful when classifying alcohol as safe, sensible and reasonable just because it is legal. There are countless examples in society that show it is not.
            Do you think society has the same responsibility towards alcoholics?

          • My reply to you disappeared for some reason. This isn’t about snobbery, it’s about civilization.

        • TerryBarnes

          “The point about sensuality and elegance is that it’s characteristic of
          much of the drinking done in Western Civ for the past 3000 years or so”

          I think Hogarth might disagree with your point of view. If alcohol were so benign and elegant we wouldn’t need legal control around how and where it is used, by whom, and so on. Alcohol wouldn’t addict 15% or so of the people who use it. Our hospital emergency rooms and police cells wouldn’t be full to bursting every single weekend with people who are there because of their use of alcohol.

          Drug use in society is a complicated subject with unintended consequences everywhere and no perfect solution. Pretending that alcohol is not a drug is bizarre and helps no-one. It gets us to a circular argument where the definition of a drug is any illegal substance and the justification for keeping them illegal is that they are drugs.

          Very few people pretend that drugs are harmless or benign. Drugs are harmful. The point of the debate is that prohibition has demonstrably increased use and amplified those harms. It makes things worse. The harsher our attempts to stamp the market out, the greater the incentive and risk reward we provide for the criminals willing to play the game.

          • No, I don’t think so. Abortion for instance is available now as it has never been before. Does that make it a nicer thing? Does it make the doctors that do it — even to the point of murder — better people? Obviously not. The truth, I strongly suspect, is exactly the opposite of what you claim, in general.

          • Look. It’s obvious, but so often the obvious needs stating. Alcoholic drinks, and especially the finer sorts, are fundamentally different from other drugs — beginning with the fact that when I have a drink I am in the full flow of my life, and not interrupting it for the sake of the drug. It’s a slice of pie, a walk in the woods, a cuddle. It’s not a ‘high’. In that way it’s much less like a drug than sex is! Anyway, I’ve already laid out my view on this blog and I’m not doing it yet again.

          • Terry: Drink can be ugly or it can be elegant depending on whether it’s merely being used or abused. I see most other drug use as ugly because it’s more about abuse than mere use.

          • Daniel Maris

            Well chewing coca leaves could certainly be represented as use rather than abuse.

          • I give up.

          • Daniel Maris

            You’re giving up wine?

          • Not likely, Daniel ;^)

    • Tom

      You can get non-alcoholic wine. What pleasant physical side effects are you referring to? Are they not in fact all the result of alcohol affecting the chemistry of your brain? If so, then you are quibbling over degrees of intoxication rather than intoxication itself.

      //I am not interested in getting drunk or intoxicated, though I do enjoy the whole experience and that means the pleasant physical effects. Drunkenness is not a pleasant physical effect. Very often I wish that wine were less alcoholic — but how many cocaine users wish that cocaine were less potent?//

      How many people who drink alcohol enjoy it as you do? A minority I would imagine. I do not know how many people wish their cocaine was less potent – but I am certain that they exist.

      Pills and powders are products of human ingenuity and engineering. The sensuality you describe also plays a part in their manufacture. This can be seen by the fact that the various affects of the drugs are distinct and discrete – this is borne out by the fact that people have preferences for particular drugs. If there was no regard to the sensualtiy of a particular drug, there would be no distinguishing between them, no need for a preference.

      But, in any case, nothing you say actually impacts on whether drugs should be legal or not. Dangerous thrill-seeking is not, of itself, worthy of criminalisation.

      • You cannot get real ‘non-alcoholic’ wine: I wish you could! When was the last time, or the first time, that non-alcoholic wine won a prize? Wine requires alcohol because it’s required for the fermentation of the grapes and the creation of the flavour and texture of the finished product.

        Anyway, I won’t argue further cause I’ve made my points, which drug advocates wilfully misunderstand, misconstrue, and misstate when they try to overturn them.

        • Guest


          Glad to save you from having to drink all that disgusting alcohol.

        • Tom


          Glad to save you from having to drink all that disgusting alcohol :).

          • Again, you’re wilfully misunderstanding, which is why I generally don’t hang out with drug enthusiasts. My original comment says that I wouldn’t want to take wine as a pill. I like everything about wine, including the fact that it’s alcoholic. However, I like it so much that I wish there were a point when I could have the experience without the alcoholic effects, because I hate (inadvertently) getting ebrious.

            But I can remain myself, being my genuine self and a lady as well, while drinking. Delingpole’s point (and the man has no shame) is that he turns into a repellent impotent socially embarrassing imbecile when he apparently simply must have the drugs that do that to him.

          • Tom

            You said you wished you could get real non-alcoholic wine. I have found non-alcoholic wine that has won awards. You should be thanking me – I have just answered your wish.

            You like the physical effects, which do not differ from mild drug usage.

            And I am not a drug enthusiast. I am merely defending the right of people to use drugs, and their similarity to alcohol.

          • Look Tom, I’m a wine connoisseur, honey. OK? Wine without the requisite levels of alcohol is like bread without yeast and salt. You may as well not bother. It’s built into the beast! And as it’s my birthday, I shall be having something better than Three-Buck Chuck tonight.

    • Fallan

      You are making an assumption that all alcohol consumption is the same as your enjoyment of wine. It is not. Alcohol consumption in bars and clubs is very often driven by the goal of getting ‘drunk’ or intoxicated.

      • I’m not. I’m saying that there is a category difference between drugs taken for a mere high and alcohol which can be enjoyed as a part of a civilized life. The same sort of people that just want to get drunk are the same people that would just want to get high — and that impulse is no good for anybody.

        • Fallan

          I’m inclined to agree. But unfortunately there are a vast number of alcohol consumers that just want to get intoxicated (the majority of people who go to bars and clubs – a lot of people, perhaps more than those who partake sensibly).
          Secondly, if you can consider drinking wine not to ‘get drunk’ but to ‘get tipsy and enjoy every other aspect’ then you have to acknowledge the similarities to people who smoke marijuana not to ‘get completely stoned’ but to ‘get lightly high’ and enjoy other aspects (e.g. rolling a joint, smelling and tasting the weed, sharing the joint with others, etc.).

          • Oh please. The little rituals of drug obsessives can hardly compare with the world of wine appreciation!

          • Pierre

            The little rituals of wine obsessives make a good comparison to the world of marijuana appreciation.

          • They can be absurd, too. But not really so much. I loved drinking wine as I stood in the To Kalon vineyard in Napa Valley — the wine whose grapes had been grown on that very spot. It’s a different kind of ‘high’ life, isn’t it?

      • No kidding. And you want to make it worse by letting these people do mind-altering, mood-altering, dependency-building drugs as well?! Step right up folks! Get your major-league addictions right here. Buy two addictions, get the third one free!

        Just because Delingpole has no sense of decorum and restraint does not mean that we all ought to behave like the clown in the photo for this article!

        • Fallan

          Or we could make it better and outlaw alcohol (not serious, prohibition, I know – my point is why should we outlaw one mind altering substance and legalise another).
          Also you acknowledge that alcohol can easily be as destructive as drugs. Why can’t you believe there are people who can use drugs sensibly and reasonably like you do with alcohol?
          Personally I prefer a good single malt. I drink slowly and in small quantities and stop before getting drunk. I don’t believe this is morally better than someone who likes to share a spliff.
          That said, I believe this will go round in circles but I’d like to say I respect your opinion. It has been good discussing it with you.

          • Thanks, Fallan. And I *do* think your single malt is morally superior to the spliff. Because unlike anyone else here, I think the context, and even the motive, matters. Some will say that this is being anti-pleasure. I am open to that charge. But some things are more important than pleasure, and one has to consider what is lost in pursuing it in any particular way. Cheers.

          • Fallan

            Thank you Swanky 🙂

    • TerryBarnes

      ” Very often I wish that wine were less alcoholic”

      It’s possible to buy alcohol free wine and beer. Why are you not buying and drinking those? Is it because your social rituals have the use of a powerful drug deeply embedded in them – ethanol?

      • I answered the other guy (Tom) on that one already.

      • I’ve been through this already. Read my other posts, if you really want to know.

      • Again, answered elsewhere (see the bread parallel).

    • Doggie Roussel

      You make a good point, but cocaine is also an agricultural product.

      The ingestion of any toxins: alcohol, cocaine, ganja etc etc all have potentially life-changing and even deadly effects and the use or abuse of them depends on the nature and strength of character of those who choose to indulge.

      The two major causes of disease, dependency and death in our modern society are nicotine (tobacco), and alcohol and both are sanctioned by most Western governments and without the huge tax revenues generated by these toxic substances, many economies would collapse.

      It’s a Catch 22.

  • Daryl Stafford
  • Rob

    “Not one mention of the impact of cocaine production on local communities in Columbia etc? Wow.”

    Which is purely a product of drug prohibition. Granted, people in producing countries would still be exploited under a legal drugs system (as they are with coffee, cocoa etc) but it would be nowhere near the scale of an industry with zero regulation, run largely by psychopaths.

  • Chingfordassociates .

    ‘If you can handle alcohol…’ but surely the point is that quite a lot of people can’t

  • Michael Taylor

    It’s the party season and revelry will be everywhere. And it being Christmas, there will be snow. Not just the white slushy stuff that falls from the sky, but the South American sourced evil powder that turns normal people into boring, narcissistic arses.

    As domestic goddess Nigella Lawson is the latest celebrity to admit to falling for the devil’s dandruff, it rather struck me that the social side of doing business will crank up the temptations to party to excess; probably without a thought for the chain of misery that starts in the coca fields of Colombia and ends up being snorting ‘beak’ off the toilet lid of some bar on Canal Street, Deansgate or the Printworks.

    The bitter irony of Paul Flowers wasn’t lost on many. Not only was the disgraced chairman of the Co-operative Bank caught by the Mail on Sunday buying some crystal meth and cocaine for a party weekend, which was illegal. But consider too that Flowers served on the board of a sustainable and fair trade organization devoted to pushing products that are ethically sourced.

    And while the nation’s hearts weep over the tribulations of Nigella as she seeks treatment for her mental state – what of all those recipes where she extols the virtues of fair trade chocolate and ethically sourced coffee and other sustainable goods?

    Getting cornered at a party by some sweaty braggard with a permanent cold is bad enough. It’s even worse if you’re a woman as it can make men sexually aggressive. But I still come across people who in every other walk of life would pause and make consumer decisions based on sourcing and treatment of fellow human beings, but leave such concerns at the toilet cubicle door. OK, I can probably also count a fair few amoral scumbags who don’t care about anyone but themselves who also snort ‘charlie’ for dear life.

    But my point is this – cocaine is a horrible drug from production to consumption. It enslaves the people who produce it, brings untold misery on those caught up in its distribution and turns people who take it into gurning morons.

    Occasionally as consumers we choose to make a statement of choice. So, this Christmas, make a stand against something evil and wicked in Mexico, Bolivia and on the gang dominated streets of our cities. Make a stand against misery. Say no to a white Christmas.

    • Darnell Jackson

      Great post.

  • Chris Kimberley

    meanwhile in Mexico- more people are murdered in the coke wars than in any other country except Syria, as if we needed more proof that Dellingpole was an amoral selfish prick……

    • Daniel Maris

      But people wouldn’t be murdered in Mexico if cocaine, mescaline, and marijuana were legal in rich and developed countries, would they? And the criminals wouldn’t have the money to then pour into other criminal activities would they? They’d have less money to buy guns and so on. We have a moral duty to legalise drugs since we are the ones with the demand problem.

  • Tim West

    This is incredibly hilarious, and Mr. Delingpole is spot on. I always believed that if you have a vice, albeit, drugs, alcohol, Faberge eggs, or whatever it is is okay, if you can afford it, and not let it ruin your life, go for it! For Nigella to do a line from time to time is quite alright. If I had a cooking show that catered to mind numbing suburbanites, I’d be doing more than a rail, that’s for sure.
    In the end, I say good for her. As for those who are incredibly uptight about all of this, a simple quote from one of Bret Easton Ellis’ characters sums it up…’deal with it, rock’n’roll.’

    • Yes, but you have no virtue.

      • Tim West

        Do I now? I consider myself a moralist, and despite my liberal views on this, I am sorry if it wasn’t to your liking. I have a friend, who just celebrated a year of sobriety, and I saw what alcohol did to him, even when he wasn’t drinking. He was an ugly person to be around, full or hate and anger. Was he able to control his vice? No. It’s been a bumpy road for him, but he is doing well. Do I think alcohol should be banned and all that extreme thinking? No.

        • Was it his habits that made him ugly with hate and anger or did he uglify habits that others have without hate and anger? Life is tough, and for some people it’s hell. I’m not against drugs because I want people to suffer. I’m against them when I think they’re counterproductive — and that includes alcohol.

          Difference is that alcohol has been a part of Western Civ. for a handful of millenia. Hard drugs haven’t and, in my view, never can be.

    • viewcode

      “…As for those who are incredibly uptight about all of this, a simple quote from one of Bret Easton Ellis’ characters sums it up…’deal with it, rock’n’roll.’…”

      Patrick Bateman rang. He noticed your admiration of Bret Easton Ellis. He wants to take you to Dorsia for a meal, but you’ll need to stop off at his flat first: is that OK?…

    • Smithersjones2013

      Of course no consideration that she is a parent setting an example to her children or that she is a celebrity setting an example to society?

      Typical junkie attitude…..

  • Mike Barnes

    Reading this, all I can think of is Fraser Nelson’s brilliantly accurate column the other week about ‘Ab-Fab Britain’ and an entire generation of embarrassing middle aged people who need to grow up a bit.

  • Carla Maria Fox

    cocaine closes the heart centre, gives you no feeling, makes you not care, oh right thats why the governments people are suck nasty people,. its all starting to make sense now….. Now if all these people were to start eating fresh cannabis daily, they would soon see the truth…

  • John of Kent

    You are wrong Mr Delingpole and it is sad to see that you too are ultimately just another metropolitan bubblehead. Narcotics corrode our humanity and turn the people who use them into drooling imbeciles–at the very least. Read Thomas Mann’s comments on Aldous Huxley and ‘The Doors of Perception.’

  • Youbian

    ‘By and large it doesn’t do anyone any serious mental or physical harm’. I am sorry but that is the self delusion of the drug user. I have worked with users and smokers and drinkers and they invariably never really stop to think about long term consequences on the mind and body.

    James I am normally an admirer of yours but not on this. And, it is illegal. You may think it should not be but while it is, how about we are all old fashioned and stay within the law. If only, as others have written, to stop the horrendous effects on others in Columbia and elsewhere. Surely spoilt rich kids can stop stuffing coke up their noses for a moment. How about spending the time on something worthwhile and less narcissistic?

  • southerner

    This article is nothing more than a perpetuation of the liberal left ideology that has destroyed this country over the past 30 years.

  • ‘I certainly wouldn’t smoke drugs with my own children — they’re far too young and I’d be livid if they dabbled with such things before they left school.’

    Livid ? What a square you are, James.

    • Smithersjones2013

      A person who uses the term ‘square’ (a circa 1950’s phrase) accuses another of being outdated. Priceless!

  • Noa

    Is it just about you James? Or even Nigella?

    Should criminal activity be allowed to destroy society? Or should it be legalised and the government authorise and tax that destruction?
    After your children go insane or die of legally bought, taxed and consumed drugs should you be able to sue it for allowing their consumption?
    If the majority of society is consequently incapable of functioning meaningfully would that be acceptable to the non-consuming minority, including perhaps, owns own censorious children, who expect their parents to set them an example?
    So, is it really true to say that taking cocaine, or cannabis, or herion, is nobody’s problem but your own?

    • NotYouNotSure

      People in the past said that alcohol, porn, computer games, tv, etc. etc. would destroy society, but it never did. They naysayers used exactly the same arguments you are using but were wrong.

      • Noa

        Was society ever as complex, or as subject to the myriad unknown consequences of so many developments and threats simultaneously?
        Tobacco was previously freely consumed. Now, recognised as a far less effective killer and sickness inducers than heroin or cocaine, it is being progresively outlawed, as is alcohol.
        How do you reconcile these conflicting societal approaches to tobacco, alcohol and drugs?.

  • Paolo Caldato

    James Delingpole once again tries – and fails – to come across as cool and edgy.

    • NotYouNotSure

      Being able to rile up both conservatives and liberals hanging out here seems pretty cool to me.

      • Paolo Caldato

        Hmmmm. Your opinion is important to me.

    • Daniel Maris

      I bet UKIP are glad he wasn’t selected as the UKIP candidate.

  • Philsopinion

    I can hear the narco mafias in Medellin raising a glass to you, James, well done. No harm whatsoever in making murderers into millionaires.

    • gladiolys

      Well, it works for arms manufacturers. They even get to show off their wares at a f***off big arena in London and get government support.

  • Daniel Maris

    This is an irresponsible article in a number of ways. But I think it is wrong to suggest to your children that they can go to a club receive something someone tells them is MDMA and they will then have a happy time. Plenty of children will have a very unhappy time. Depending on what they are given a few will die.

    I don’t think it’s really enough to talk about “dosage” as the defining issue. In the past there were plenty of people who smoked huge amounts of tobacco – they may have paid the price in terms of their physical health but it wouldn’t necessarily affect their mental or moral functioning. Heavy usage of cocaine always has bad effects on mental and moral functioning (and leads to early heart disease in many individuals). As for a “spliff” in my experience it’s one of the most anti-social drugs going and there is plenty of evidence that it can prompt schizoid episodes in many individuals.

    I am not being censorious. I think the Bacchanalian spirit is important to a healthy society. I think a range of drugs should be legalised and produced by the state. However, that’s not the same as peddling fibs about drugs – which is what Delingpole does.

  • Daniel Maris

    Some category errors here I think.

    I think it’s possible to:

    (a) Accept that the Bacchanalian spirit is important to the good society.

    (b) Realise that prohibition encourages the formation of criminal gangs and puts money in their pockets.

    (c) Support legalisation of drugs and state production of drugs.

    (d) Promote education against the health risks of drugs and putting in place effective anti-drugs policies (e.g. drugs testing in schools).

    (e) Think that many drugs almost invariably have deleterious effects on the mental and moral functioning of individuals.

    • Smithersjones2013

      (a) Its not important.

      (b) No you are putting the cart before the horse. Criminal gangs will always exist. They will look for ways to make money. Drugs is an almost perfect product. Because

      (c) Never

      (d) Yes its been so successful with nicotine and alcohol


      • Daniel Maris

        (a) Societies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that don’t have Bacchanalian outlet don’t seem very pleasant or successful places.

        (b) (i) Irrelevant. Most drug takers stick with the old standards – e.g. cannabis, heroin, amphetatmines and LSD.
        (ii) They don’t have to prohibit the drugs which are well known as in (i) above.

        (iii) The gangs can’t compete with the legal trade – see post prohibition.

        (c) Why never if it helps control the problem?

        (d) Tobacco and alcohol consumption is in decline.

        (e) Because it’s in our interests: so we don’t become victims of their crimes.

  • Andrew Macpherson

    “And since when did the legalisation of a commodity ever mean that the people who lived near its manufacture were safe? You’ve clearly missed the various chemical and oil spills over the years.”

    While people would still be exploited, it would be nowhere near the scale of an industry with zero regulation, largely run by psychopaths.

  • viewcode

    “…‘Is anyone here even remotely shocked that Nigella Lawson has done cocaine?’ I asked. Everyone shook their heads. Well of course they did: it was the after-show drinks in the green room at a BBC studio…”

    And you wonder why the Conservative Party cannot get a majority…

  • viewcode

    “…But suppose, say, you’re at a late-night party and there’s a quality DJ laying down some decent dance anthems, it would seem to me quite, quite wrong — rude, even — not to enhance the occasion with a dab of MDMA….”

    You are forty-eight years old.

    • Knives_and_Faux

      So what he’s 48, go for it James. Kids are so square these days they’re the ones grassing up their parents for casual drug use they got a taste for in the ’80’s.

      • lucillalin

        Well, that’s the generation that managed to f* up the whole economy. Maybe they really destroyed both their brains and morals in the 80’s.
        Good music though…

        • Ridcully

          Actually the previous 60s and 70s generations did that.

    • Daniel Maris


    • gladiolys


  • Eddie

    Maybe if you could make cocaine in your own kitchen. However, the cocaine trade (and the cannabis one) funds organised crime, creates terrible violence in producer countries and keeps the poor and oppressed as they are.
    Why not sniff glue instead?

    • MellorSJ

      The drug trade does nothing of the sort.

      It’s prohibition that “funds organised crime, creates terrible violence in producer countries and keeps the poor and oppressed as they are.”

      • Eddie

        Ignorance personified.

        So you want to make all drugs legal? Bonkers. Too much Colombian marching powder peut-etre? All problems would be worse with legalisation.

        Me, I do not take drugs so do not fund terrorists, people traffikers, porrn merchants and murderers.

        Do you?

        • Daniel Maris

          You don’t drink alcohol or coffee or smoke or take legal prescribed medication? You are quite unusual then.

          By making recreational drugs illegal you are definitely funding terrorists, people traffickers etc

          The decline in smoking of tobacco (a legal drug) shows what can be achieved through legal controls and health education.

          • Agree with you on many things, Dan, but not this one.

  • Thats_news

    Buy drugs and you are funding crime.

  • Littlegrayman

    Once again more evidence if any were needed of the level of moral corruption in the SE of England.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Nothing like getting a little bit of regional bigotry shall we? I mean for example, the ‘Manchester Scene’ (Oasis et al) had nothing to do with drugs now did they?

      • Littlegrayman

        But Manchester Scene groups were not aspiring to run the country or major financial institutions.

  • lucillalin

    At the moment we westerners are so hedonistic and have enough problems with our own drug culture (alcohol) that I don’t really understand how we would be doing any better with cocaine or any other currently illegal drug. Drugs are not only about the personal pleasure of individual (apart from the mind of a libertarian), but about the community and society as well. Its interesting how even mild drug, such as qhat can have really negative effects on the families, society and culture.

    But its a bit pointless to disagree under a libertarian column, the libertarian view of human nature is so optimistic compared to how I see it. Enviable optimistic, really.

  • Smithersjones2013

    So that’s my Christmas message to you this year: eat, drink and be
    merry, by whatever means necessary. It’s nobody’s problem but your own.

    The issue with all dangerous drugs is not one of personal liberty but one of
    parenthood. Now hands up all those parents who would actively encourage
    their kids to take and become addicted to cocaine (or any other drug for that matter)?

    Delingpole should stop being so fracking stupid!

  • quaser8386

    I don’t smoke (and never have), nor do I take drugs, though I drink moderately and eat well. I am of the opinion that all drugs should be legalised. People should be allowed to do whatever they wish with their own bodies. Allowing drugs to be bought at a chemist, where the purity is checked, would reduce crime and free police time to deal with the things they should be looking at. Of course, a few people may well overdose themselves and die – but that is their choice. Let them go, and leave drug taking to those who can handle it.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Of course, a few people may well overdose themselves and die – but that is their choice

      Fine tell that to the increased number of parents of under age drug takers who die because drug taking has been validated by government.

      Tell that to all those who die say of cancer because a Pharma company choose to research and develop a new profitable recreational drug than research and develop a new less profitable cancer drug for example

      Tell that to all those who still die of unregulated drugs because the regulated product is much more expensive (through adhering to the trialling and production regulation put on it) and .all those new recreational drugs from illegal sources that haven’t even started being trialled by the Pharma industry (that’s if they agree to actually produce new variants of recreational drugs developed by the criminal world). Just because a drug is a viable product when produced by the Criminal world doesn’t mean that Pharma Companies will view it in the same way.

      Sadly the emotional views of knee-jerk libertarians and selfish junkies lack any real consideration of the issues (such as the drivers of capitalism). Legalising drugs on so many levels will be detrimental to ours or any society and it will not solve a damn thing.

  • dalai guevara

    Apologies James, Greenies just cannot get hooked on your offerings.

    We are addicited to rising windmill efficiency ratios and how green former open cast mining sites have now become. Flower power stuff. The chillaxing effects of Harmonise tea and sunflowers – I’ll leave you some of the poppy seed cake, luv.

  • Dave

    Why even do coke? Call yourself ADD and get a prescription for Adderall.

  • Mnestheus

    Has Nigella’s marching powder paced performance art flavored her relation’s views on climate policy ?

    Mere ‘roid rage cannot explain the intensity with which Dellers and Monckton wrestle with the demons of materialism

  • Isn’t James Dellingpole opinionated enough already? Cant imagine what he’d be like on cocaine.

  • channel.fog

    Most sensible thing I’ve read since Tom Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’.

  • PhilipWallace

    James Delingpole’s articles always seem to have the same message: “I’m cool. I’m a maverick. I’m brave and tough, a bit of a military man really, but a military man who knows the difference between techno and drum’n’bass. I am not, repeat NOT, a puny little nerd who was bullied at school.”

  • Daniel Maris

    We seem to have given up on sub judice completely.

    I am listening to Sky News where Elizabeth Day is telling us in the context of the discussion of this trial and her testimony that Nigella Lawson is impressively “honest”.

  • neil_hart

    James is writing from a parallel universe where drugs have already been legalised. Whether they should be is open to argument. What is not open to argument is that they have not been legalised yet. So let’s focus on today. Today, there are unpleasant places, perhaps very difficult to picture from the comfortable surroundings in which your next line of coke is neatly set out, where people are dying as a direct result of the demand for recreational drugs. If you have lost a child to this trade, whether you live in Columbia or on Moss Side, and whether your child was a dealer, runner, consume, policeman, or just caught in the crossfire, you may find little consolation in James’s reassurance that “by and large [cocaine] doesn’t do anyone any serious physical or mental harm”. And can you compare hard drugs and alcohol? Yes, in that they can both do you harm (as can doughnuts). No, in that very few policemen have died trying to keep Claret off the streets of Peckham.

  • Richard Stanford Brown

    How old are you in this photo, James?

  • Samantha van Dalen

    This is pathetic. I never see any of you druggies marching in the streets to defend the rights of the peasant growing the coca leaf and who lives in a shack with no running water. I’ve never taken drugs. Never needed to. I explain why here: http://londonsouffle.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/spare-thought-for-coca-gower-scratching.html

  • Nice to see that Jonah Goldberg agrees with me:

    “Pot smoking is something to grow out of early, or never start. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but as a general rule I’m convinced pot-smoking — particularly routine pot-smoking — creates potheads, by which I mean fuzzy-minded and slothful people (or people who are more fuzzy-minded and slothful than they would otherwise be). If you are one of the high-functioning exceptions, or if you are a pothead and don’t realize that you are not one of the high-functioning exceptions, I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings.

    Often when I make the — to my mind obvious — observation that heavy pot-smoking creates burnouts, I’m accused of exaggerating the percentages. I’m told that the exceptions are a much larger constituency and the burnouts are a much smaller one than I think. Okay, maybe so. But the fact remains that for a significant number of people, pot puts you on a bad path that becomes harder to get off over time.”