Cocaine Kate and the PR-conscious cops
spiked editor Mick Hume's Notebook in The Times (London).
- The carry-on about Kate Moss, the cocaine-taking model, has at least helped to clear up the confusion about official attitudes to Class A drugs.
We now know that it is no longer considered illegal or immoral to take cocaine at parties, nightclubs, fashion shows or just about anywhere else. However, it is deemed a heinous crime to be seen taking cocaine on the front page of a newspaper.
After years of being glamorised and rewarded for pursuing her ‘party lifestyle’, it must have come as a shock to Ms Moss to realise that she is suddenly said to have done something wrong. Since the papers got hold of grainy photos of her apparently snorting coke, followed by further ripsnorting revelations about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, she has transmogrified overnight from the ‘coolest chick on the planet’ to a hot potato at the centre of a drug-fuelled moral panic.
Not only has Ms Moss been dropped by fashion labels that would have us believe her unwholesome behaviour is news to them, but a police investigation has been personally ordered by Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. He announced that while the Met’s usual policy was to pursue dealers rather than users, this was ‘adaptable to the impact of events’. In other words, our PR-conscious police chief will change the rules in line with the news headlines. Welcome to Celebrity Drug Bust, the new reality TV show.
Commissioner Blair justified singling out Ms Moss for a crackdown not because of her private life but because of her public image: ‘We have to look at the impact of this kind of behaviour on impressionable young people and if there is evidence, something should be done about it.’ When nobody seems sure where to draw the line on an issue like drugs, the one thing everybody can agree on is the need to protect the kiddies. The message from all sides is that Ms Moss must act as some sort of a role model.
This is the ridiculous end of the government-led crusade to try to turn every celebrity into a symbol of sobriety and good sense for our children. According to Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, ‘it is important to remember that in public life you are a role model, for better or worse’. It is bad enough when they try to force infantile footballers into this mould. But anybody seriously suggesting that we might look up to Ms Moss in life as well as on the catwalk must be completely out of it.
I do not much care what models do with their inflated earnings. However, we could all do with less of the phoney outrage. If the crusaders are serious about outing cocaine users, they will have to close down the fashion and music industries for starters; it has even been suggested that some in the media and the Met might occasionally stop snorting with indignation long enough to snort something else.
Most of all, let us kick the dodgy habit of expecting the assorted airheads of Planet Celebrity to teach ‘impressionable young people’ how to behave. If we really have to look to a 31-year-old who dresses and acts like an adolescent to set an example to our children we are as lost as ‘Cocaine Kate’. Telling a fashion model to act as a role model is no more realistic than asking a clothes horse to run like a racehorse.
- These days it seems that accidents do not happen, and that coincidences are always suspicious if not conspiratorial.
So when four men died on last weekend’s Great North Run, somebody or something had to be blamed, whether it was the organisers, the ambulance service or the sunshine.
The fact that the four were experienced runners who died of natural causes could not prevent loud demands for more warnings, health and safety checks and even electrocardiographs for everybody considering future fun runs.
As one for whom ‘fun run’ is an oxymoron, I have no wish to jog a half-mile, far less a half-marathon. It is peculiar to see so many normally unsporty people take it into their heads to run unnaturally long distances, nominally for charity but largely for their own self-esteem. Yet that is no reason to try to stop them with the sort of health warnings that already scare us off so many small pleasures. Let the fun runners enjoy life as they see fit, minor risks and all. As we used to say in the days when accidents did happen and coincidences were no more than that: it’s your funeral.
Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)