Monday, 10 June 2019

Michael Gove, cocaine, double standards and hypocrisy

The public admissions by Michael Gove that he took cocaine have caused much media interest and comment. The focus has been firmly confined to how it might effect his bid to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and thus prime minister. All this coverage has completely ignored the fact that Gove has confessed to a serious criminal offence, punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment.

If the police were to charge Gove and the Crown Prosecution Service were to bring a prosecution, Gove would have no defence. The only issue before the court would be the sentence. Gove would, as a result of his public confession, only be able to offer a plea of mitigation, a request for leniency, after the conviction and before the pronouncement of the sentence. Yet no one in the political media elite seems to be aware of this legal fact. As far as the political media elite are concerned, the issue is simply a matter of politics: will it affect his chances of being elected leader of the Tory party?

The double standards and hypocrisy of the elite could not be more blatantly displayed. Whilst Gove was taking cocaine, he was simultaneously publicly denouncing such behaviour. As Education Secretary he presided over a regime that excluded teachers who had a history of taking illegal drugs. Yet, there is no question in the minds of the political media elite of holding Gove to account, either in terms of the criminal law, nor in terms of maintaining professional standards. There could hardly be a clearer case of the law applying only to some. Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable for the elite to impose laws and standards on the rest of society, whilst having complete immunity for themselves.

Such double standards bring the law, politics, the corporate media, indeed the whole of the establishment into disrepute. If senior politicians can break the law with impunity, why should anyone else be bound by the rules? This is hardly a rhetorical question. Yet it is one which is not even being asked, let alone answered.

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