Delingpole on Friday: WHY WE SHOULDN’T GIVE A DAMN THAT THE MAYOR OF TORONTO MAY HAVE SMOKED CRACK WITH WHORES AND DRUNKENLY CALLED A CAB DRIVER A PAKI…

Let me tell you about the time I smoked crack cocaine. It was fantastic and I loved every all-too-brief second. First I crumbled up the yellowish rock into a large roll up cigarette, much as you would while lacing a joint with marijuana. Then I smoked it and I saw that it was good. Too good.

“Fuck, this is ridiculous. It’s so addictive it really ought to be banned,” I said to my companion.
My companion didn’t reply. She was too busy trying to grab more than her share of the crack joint. Not only did it feel good but it tasted good: like molten toffee banana.

Apparently if you do it properly in a crack pipe it’s even better. So no, I don’t have any difficulty answering the question a lot of people are asking about the world’s current number one most infamous Canadian Rob Ford, namely: “Why would tempt the Mayor of Toronto to smoke crack cocaine?” To me it’s glaringly obvious: because Rob Ford, like the rest of us, is made of human clay; because smoking crack cocaine is fun.

Yes, there’s an argument, I know, that politicians should be above this sort of behaviour. It is, as I hope to demonstrate, a weasel argument – the product of lazy thinking and received ideas – but of course I’m alive to the supposed adamantine principles which underpin it.

Our politicians, so the argument goes, should set a moral example in their personal behaviour and should certainly not be above the law. I’ll concede the second point: the rule of law is one of the fundamental bases of a civilised society. But the first point? Sorry, I’m just not buying it.

One reason I don’t buy it is that politicians these days are no more credible a role model for the world’s impressionable youth than are, say, estate agents or porn movie actors or journalists. Not a single person anywhere in the world right now, I think it is safe to say, is going: “Well I wasn’t going to do crack but now I’ve read recent press reports about the alleged behaviour of my hero the Mayor of Toronto, I may seriously have to reconsider…”

Politicians across the world, by and large, are scum – and widely known to be scum.

Which is more or less what I said last night on the radio show of my old Canadian friend Arlene Bynon. Arlene wanted to get the overseas perspective on the Mayor of Toronto’s alleged behaviour and sounded worried that it might damage Canada’s international image.

“No Arlene,” I said. (Or words to this effect – though I probably put it more politely because I’m fond of Arlene, fond of Canada and Canadians too, come to that). “Not even if you throw into the mix the recent revelations about fellow Canadian Justin Bieber is their any danger whatsoever that Canada is about to lose its reputations as one of the least rock-n-roll nations on the planet.”

And I still believe this, even when you bring in all the other bad stuff Ford is supposed to have done: the prostitutes; the calling the cab driver a “Paki.” I appreciate this doesn’t look good on paper. Or off paper, come to that. But even then I can’t honestly say I find any of this stuff seriously problematic. No, not even the casual racism.

See, it seems to me that the Rob Ford affair goes to show how far removed our current thinking is from basic commonsense. We hear that he used a pejorative racial epithet and instead of going: “Well he was drunk. And most people are slightly racist in one way or another, even if only in anger or in jest. And really what the hell does it matter anyway? It’s not like he uses such terms in his public speeches, or like it has ever impinged on his political policies…”

This, for me, is where we’ve got it so, so wrong about politicians. We tear them to shreds over trivia like the relatively tiny amounts they put in for this and that on their expenses claims or how polite or impolite they are to the jobsworth policemen guarding the gates at the Houses of Parliament or whether or not they spunked on the dress of a White House intern while receiving oral sex or whether they smoked crack with whores. And it seems to me that – setting aside the entertainment value: I don’t think anyone should begrudge us that – it’s really none of our business.

What matters is not what politicians do to themselves (and consenting adults) in their private lives but what they do to us: how many inconvenient and counterproductive new laws they impose on us; how badly they screw up our economy; how harder they make it to do business with their regulations, taxes and red type; how much they drive up the cost of living; and so on.

Let’s put it another way, in the great scheme of the crimes currently being committed by our political class, the Mayor of Toronto’s (alleged) whoring and crack-taking strikes me as, at worst, a venial slip and at best a badge of honour.

I really liked the way when, instead of apologising for his behaviour at a press conference, he faced down his harassers by asking them whether they’d ever smoked dope. Many of them had I’m quite sure, even though in most parts of the world – Canada included – dope is no more legal than crack is. How refreshing it is to hear a politician calling out the media – and society generally – on its nauseating hypocrisy.

Here’s the thing that makes me most warm to Ford though: as a politician he’s total hero. He’s a conservative in a city where no one imagined anyone but a liberal could ever become mayor; he is not mealy-mouthed or politically correct (On the city spending $1.5 million on an AIDS campaign: “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line…those are the facts.”; on cyclists “What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you’re going to get bitten… Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”); above all he understands that politicians, by and large, are the problem not the solution.

For example in 2001 he proposed that city councillors should have their $200,000 personal budgets slashed: “If we wiped out the perks for council members, we’d save $100 million easy.” True to form he paid his own expenses out of his salary. He was also one of only four councillors to vote against a hike in property taxes. As Mayor, he has continued in this tradition by slashing the city’s bloated public sector payroll in the teeth of strikes and protests from the unions.

So no, I’m not among those calling for Rob Ford’s resignation. In fact I wish there were more politicians with a fraction of his integrity.

16 comments on “Delingpole on Friday: WHY WE SHOULDN’T GIVE A DAMN THAT THE MAYOR OF TORONTO MAY HAVE SMOKED CRACK WITH WHORES AND DRUNKENLY CALLED A CAB DRIVER A PAKI…

  1. Lord Lunatic
    November 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Well said, agree 100%… thanks for once again restoring my faith in mankind, badly needed an intellectual pick me up after seething through Ed Davey and Stella Creasey’s question time utterances last night

  2. Rocco
    November 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Crack-spliff? Unorthodox – I like it!

  3. Kitler
    November 16, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    Smoking crack and being convicted didn’t stop Mayor Marion Barry from getting reelected in Washington DC.

  4. right_writes
    November 16, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    Perhaps we need to get a “FriendFace” (or whatever its called) group set up…

    The Ford Appreciation Group…

    …FAG.

    I am sure that will go down in Canada.

  5. right_writes
    November 16, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    Pardon…

    I am sure that will go down WELL in Canada.

  6. Woorde
    November 16, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Is smoking crack cocaine merely a moral issue ?
    “…. should set a moral example in their personal behaviour…”

    and: “..Politicians across the world, by and large, are scum..”

    oh dear, looks like James’ keyboard-breathalyser-lock has failed again. Or maybe he was high on crack – which tells us a good reason not to smoke it.

    Boring

  7. Jeff Wolfers (@JeffinLondon)
    November 16, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Truth be told… I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t at least tried a toke or two of whatever was on offer.

  8. kevinsmith2013
    November 16, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    The vast majority of politicians around the world ARE scum, no denying it. The few decent ones should ask themselves why they stay tied to the corrupt and compromised party system (Ron Paul – GOP, Douglas Carswell – Conservative), I gues their rationale is they can only have any effect in office, join a fringe party and you have no voice.

    We certainly need more politicians like Rob Ford who will make cuts and stop corruption and stop taxpayers being ripped off with public sector greed. Hell we could do with a whole paty of them, in office. We may have to forgive their foibles.

  9. Neal Asher
    November 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    WHAT would tempt…

  10. Alec Baldwin
    November 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    And then you have me, a drunken over-the-hill sitcom actor who used to be a movie star, but who is now reduced to doing commercials with barbarians for a credit card company.

    Because of my predictable Leftie stances on all issues, I am forgiven all my homophobic outbursts when, in a state of intoxication, I rough up paparazzi while calling them “c*cks*ckin’ f*gg*ts.”

    MSNBC, who for some reason had thought to take pity on this poor fool and attempt to present me as some sort of political pundit, has “succumbed,” no pun intended, to pressure from Righty Tea Bagger bigots, and bumped my show for the next two weeks until the controversy dies down a bit.

    As for Rob Ford: I knew Chris Farley, I worked with Chris Farley– Mayor, you’re no Chris Farley

    • Rocco
      November 16, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      You are worthless Alec Baldwin!

  11. heydj48
    November 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    you are spot on once again. well said 🙂

  12. Mike
    November 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    I agree we Canadians suck at rock and roll but it is nothing compared to our incompetence at running cities and towns. Rob Ford isn’t close to being the worst mayor in the province (of Ontario)…e.g. one will be going to jail for fraud, another long serving mayor has been grafting money to her relatives for decades, and I won’t even mention the mayors (aka band chiefs) of most of the reserves who blatantly rip-off their communities while being hailed as heroes by the left wing media. And none of this compares to Montreal where they can’t find a councilor to fill in as mayor who isn’t connected to organized crime.

    The only reason I wish I still resided in Toronto is so I could vote for Rob Ford again…which is a reflection of how bad the alternatives would be.

    P.S. the guy he beat in the last election is the architect of our disastrous provincial green energy policy, allegedly a self-confessed cocaine user, and his “partner ” went walkabout a few months back — the province wide police search and back story were ignored by the media in contrast to the feeding frenzy around Ford.

  13. Caroline Yull
    November 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I could be with you on this, James Delingpole,if it hadn’t been for that appalling press mob into which he dragged his clearly unwilling and shattered wife, only to make that utterly crass and egregious pussy-eating remark, to her obvious devastating humiliation. Crass, ugly, demeaning, and public humiliation of his (at least hitherto) supportive wife — not a pretty picture. And the personal IS the political, whatever anyone wants to say…

  14. Betsy
    November 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Decent politican brought low by hypomania – clearly needs some Sodium valproate to bring him down a bit. Is he being treated for bipolar?

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