Monday, October 22, 2007

Will Huhne Drugs Story Prove Toxic?

The revelation, if it can be called that, that LibDem leadership frontrunner once penned an article for a student magazine running through the risks of taking different kinds of drugs, doesn't seem to be catching hold. It is actually an old story which has been re-run to cause him damage. He managed to laugh it off in the Andrew Marr interview yesterday. Perhaps people expect this sort of thing from Liberal Democrats and they are taken less seriously than if it were a Conservative politician. That may or may not be right, but anyone who thinks Chris Huhne should be disaqualified from standing because of an article like this is basically saying that anyone who did anything slightly wrong in their youth should never enter politics or aspire to positions of responsibility. The House of Commons would be a very empty place.


Anonymous said...

No- the 'drugs' story will do no damage to 'politics most boring man' at all! We all know that those with a 'predaliction' for being a Libbie are 'slightly odd' and usually speak copious amounts of bs. Huhne is no different. If anything this will probably do him the world of good with the wierdies that will vote in the Libbie 'leadership' contest.

Paul Linford said...

No more toxic than it proved for Cameron and Osborne, methinks.

ChrisC said...

Something bad??
Shame that saying something vaguely sensible about drugs policy is held to be toxic!

Anonymous said...

I agree with ChrisC. It's a perfectly respectable opinion and it would be a shame for him to be disqualified for it, especially when you consider the policies that many political figures were supporting well into their thirties. I think of Blunkett, Reid and Livingstone for a start. And what about our Prime Minister, author of a pamphlet on how to sponge off the welfare state?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'd love someone to grill the interviewers on their student days, and attitudes they held in their 20's.

Anonymous said...

nobody really cares nowadays anyway. it kind of expected that you get up to some sort of mischief in one's exuberent youth.

heck, you might even dabble with Marxism!

Anonymous said...

In a few letters Ian


(and they wonder why the so called "main stream" media is losing so many viewers and readers)

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Toxic? For writing something honest and humble?

I hope not.

Anonymous said...

"The House of Commons would be a very empty place"

I'm failing to see the downside so far, is there another part to the argument?

Richard Gadsden said...

I'd be far happier if he'd stand up now for the party's policy in favour of legalising cannabis.

Unsworth said...

The real issue is does Huhne 'not remember'? Some reports have him saying that he 'cannot recall' etc. Well, if that is genuinely so and he has now been forcefully reminded, what's his current position?

When questioned, all he had to do was to put it down to youthful inexperience. But then again, maybe that status still applies....

lilith said...

I think Chris Huhne's striking resemblance to FBI Agent Dwight Harris from the Sopranos will stand him in good stead.

Anonymous said...

The House of Commons would be a very empty place.

You say that like it would be a bad thing!

Anonymous said...

What I'd like to know is who dug up this story - a Clegg fan?

neil craig said...

Saying that drugs should be legalised is a reasonable libertarian & liberal opinion.

If one can't express an opinion like that at the age of 19 then we should just get all our politicians from Madame Tussauds & let Sir Humphrey get on with making the actual decisions.

Possibly we already do.

Anonymous said...

His past views about drugs are not a problem. His blatant lying is. If the Lib Dems win the next election and he isn't leader, he would be ideal for housing minister.

From Wikipedia:
Huhne owns seven houses – five that are let as rental properties and two in which he lives. (One in Eastleigh, his constituency, and a town house in Clapham, south London).

Oscar Miller said...

The story is a typical hack smear story - that as everyone seems to agree won't stick. But I did think that Marr was batting for Clegg in yesterday's interview. At every turn Clegg was favoured from speaking first (and at greater length) to cutaway reaction shots of him while Huhne was speaking, to being given a question for Huhne that was not reciprocated. Actually despite this I thought Huhne came across as a more credible leader. But wouldn't it be nice if for once the BBC did not load the dice like this?

Anonymous said...

Yes Oscar, for some reason best known to themselves the media do indeed favour Clegg.

Cynical motive #1
Clegg isn't really all that good and the journos know it - the now fully neutralised BBC are doing this on orders from Brown's people, making sure the lesser man wins.

Cyncical motive #2
Huhne is a better man than Clegg but slightly more boring and a little less telegenic. The media only care about viewing reaction and not about politics at all. Therefore the only thing that matters to them is the Kennedy factor.

Cynical motive #3
There is something else we don't know about Huhne that makes the media want to keep him out. Insiders know about it and it's much, much worse than praising a few drugs.

You decide!

"The Informer"

Paul Linford said...

Anonymous 2.10

It's none of the three cynical motives you list, it's something that the great Stephen Morrissey summed up in his song We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.

Huhne is an ex-journalist - not someone like Clegg or Ed Balls who wrote a few leaders for the FT before entering the world of policy-wonkery, but someone who actually made their living out of journalism for a decade or more, culminating in the fairly senior role of Economics Editor of the Guardian.

Something I have noticed in my time covering and commenting on politics is that most journalists do not have a lot of time for journalists who become politicians, or even minor players in the political process such as spin doctors.

A high-minded interpretation of this would be that journalist politicians are deemed in some way to have undermined the "objectivity" of the profession. A more cynical view is that a lot of journalists secretly want to be politicians, and they are jealous of the ones, like Huhne, who actually make it.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"The House of Commons would be a very empty place."

As James Barlow said, that might be an excellent outcome.

"It's none of the three cynical motives you list, it's something that the great Stephen Morrissey summed up in his song We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful."

Allegedly written about the band, James.

Oh, and just because the man wrote an article about drugs does not automatically mean that he has taken them.

Do we think that "Frank" has taken every drug listed on that website?


Anonymous said...

I don't so, Iain.
What is more interesting is Messrs Clegg's and Huhne's refusal to back calls for a referendum on the EU constitution, aka Treaty.

Anonymous said...

And what is The Boy David's LINE (boom boom!) on politicians who dabbled with drugs in their student days?

Hune was never going to win so this is a non story.

Chris Paul said...

What a non-story among non-stories.