Booze • 26 July 2007 • The SnowBlog
[Not sure if this counts as politics]
Lately I've spent a lot more time than usual in the car. Which means I've heard more Radio 4 than usual. The other day I got bored listening to a segment about politicians who had smoked a joint twenty or more years ago, so I turned on some music. When I came back twenty minutes later they were still talking about MPs who had 'taken drugs' in their youth. Now I know I'm far from the only one to notice this, but try walking through Soho at ten-thirty on a warm Friday night. There are literally hundreds of drunk people filling the streets outside pubs. An hour or two later, try waiting for a train or night bus home and you're sure to see people too drunk to walk straight. It seems so weird to me that alcohol doesn't count as a drug. People 'take alcohol' with the express desire of feeling its effects, plenty indulge to the point where they can't talk or walk or get home without help. I've never worked in a company that didn't have at least one functioning alcoholic in a senior position (oooh, apart from Snowbooks I mean). And most of us know someone or know of someone who drank themselves to death. I've never heard of anyone who smoked joints until they couldn't hold down a job, until you could see by looking at their face what they were addicted to, until they'd driven away friends and family and wrecked their health. To me at least, it seems surreal to be fussing over a couple of joints smoked in the Eighties, while ignoring millions dosing themselves with an addictive substance that kills thousands and accounts for half the work of hospital A&E departments.
I'm not saying ban them both or encourage them both, but I will say this: if I could magically swap the places of alcohol and marijuana I think I'd do it. I'd rather see pubs full of spaced-out (slightly paranoid) glaucoma-free stoners than bellowing and punchy boozers. And I've never heard of anyone smoking a joint too many and then smashing a glass in someone's face. If the government offer me the choice, I'd rather have hippies than hooligans I think.