14 February 2007

Praguetory Schooldays Part Two

Standing For Election

At the age of 17, I stood for the Conservatives in the 1992 school election. I didn’t have any particular inclination to stand, but when the Head of History asked our general studies class for volunteer candidates, I was thrust forward. As the most vocal defender of the Tories and capitalism in classroom debates, I felt obliged.


My tactics were fairly orthodox. Me and my small team produced posters suggesting that Labour would be profligate with taxpayer’s money, we campaigned in the playground and had a Q&A in the main hall. The only bit I remember of that session was a Labour supporter heckling that I was against the working classes for not putting state support for mud-wrestling on a par with more established art forms.

Labour Smears

The Lib Dem and Labour candidates were both good blokes (deep down), but the Labour campaign had a secret weapon – the school’s best cartoonist. This gifted chap (who has since designed album covers for some major bands) took to preparing caricatures of me. Nothing wrong with that, but the taglines were bizarre. In the school dining room was a cartoon of me with the quote "PT says I don’t do drugs" and there was another somewhere else that was just a simple insult.

School Allows Drug-Taking To Be Promoted

School elections are a bit of fun and nothing was at stake, so I was a bit surprised about the negative response when I complained to the Head of History about these posters. He thought it was OK that someone was allowed to put a poster up on school premises advocating drug use. To use a Jowellism, it was pretty bewildering.

Casualties Of Drugs

One of my classmates died in his mid 20s of a drugs overdose. My mum was acquainted with his mum and it must have been horrible for his family who thought that he had finally kicked his dependency. I hear on the grapevine of other bright kids from school who have not yet fully recovered psychologically from drug experimentation in their younger days.

Backing Cameron

I held back a little on this post because I wanted to hear Cameron give a similarly unequivocal anti-drugs message. He has, and I endorse every word from this article.

Concluding Comments

For the record, I smashed the Labour candidate in the election getting double their votes, but the Lib Dem beat me. But as I think the saying goes (and I may have got the wording on this quote slightly wrong), kids like Lib Dems. Anyway, Valentines Day duties call.


Anonymous said...

Kids like Lib Dems? Really? At my last school elections in 2005, it came:

1) Conservatives
3) Lib-Dems
4) Labour
5) Greens

So far as I know, the gap between the Lib-Dem and UKIP candidates in terms of votes was pretty big.

It was no shock the Green candidate didn't win. Not only was he was in the lowest year, but one of his arguments was "We don't want nuclear fish".

Praguetory said...

It's a sensible school you go to. In fairness, the Lib Dem candidate did a sterling job in our election. I think his smartest move was persuading the local PPC to come to the school.

Anonymous said...

As I have not been here to read pt2 I can't say very good star plus.
Apart from the occasional Asprin ,I do have an opinion on drugs but I would be denounced as a nutter.

Raedwald said...

Dave is spot on and has the benefit of knowing exactly what he's talking about. I, too, smoked cannabis in the late 70s / early 80s. It was pretty mild stuff. You got very giggly, noticed the most amazing bits of album soundtracks, and got very, er, hungry. I dropped it when I had a job that involved taking responsibility for other people's lives. Only one of my contemporaries took up the drugs life. He became quite psychotic. He could be the bloke selling the Big Issue these days - I wouldn't recognise him.

Just before the Millennium at an East end Private View I was foolish enough to take a proffered puff from an offered spliff. It almost knocked me out. Thank goodness I wasn't driving and the following day was Saturday. A discussion with friends revealed that over the past two decades the stuff had been selectively bred for terrible strength. It was the same sort of difference as between drinking a glass of sherry and half a litre of vodka.

Yes, reclassify it. It's nasty and dangerous. And far, far, too widely available. And destroys too many young lives.

And me? Only that one time since about 1982. And certainly never again.

james higham said...

1] Valentines Day duties. Yes.
2] Me and my small team - my small team and I
3] Good luck tonight.

Damon said...

I know one Tory candidate in the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections who stood for the Communists in his school elections!

Newmania said...

I `m not sure I agree about drugs P. I `m sure there are risks but these are largely the consequence of drugs being illegal and unregulated.

I can think of tragedies myself usually involving motorbikes. Would you ban them ? would you ban dangerous sport , would you , in short , assert , that the state owns your life.

I cansee there is balance but Conservatives do tend to look rather ridiculous harrumphing about soft drugs when the entire cou try either uses them or has done.

Well dodne to you for being the class Tory. I was as well although not in aterribly comited way. I was nicknamed Neuremberg in honour of the trial some felt should be facing

dizzy said...

This former pill popping speed freak who did a bong for breakfast says legalise, regulate, tax and remove a multi-billion pound criminal industry.

We as individual hold the ultimate ownership over our bodies, not the state. It should be up to us what we choose to subject them. It's called liberty.

Prohibition of drugs (a relatively new thing) - like previously with alcohol in the US - has comprehensively failed.

I'm yet to see a convincing moral argument against taking drugs. The only arguments that seem to exist are dodgy "slippery slope" fallacies and anecdotal personal tragedy argument.

Personal tragedys are though, just that. Tragic and personal, they cannot then be used to extrapolate general rules of what trying a spliff, doing a line, or taking a pill will do to you.

Some people will fuck their lives up with drugs, others will not. Just as some people will fuck their lives up with alcohol, but I don't hear anyone calling for that to be made illegal, and frankly that shows the utter baselessness of the anti-drugs position.

And before anyone asked, no I don't take drugs anymore. I have a job and a family so I had to stop all that shit. Plus it made me a bit crazy for a while.

tyger said...

The prohibition of drugs is idiotic in an open society.

The price on our liberties would be too great to enforce a no-drugs society. Libertarians, and those with common-sense should break this taboo that prevents politicians from talking about reality.

Drugs are a social ill, but the reality is they're impossible to prevent without a police state.

Praguetory said...

Obviously I am not a libertarian on this issue. Most of my political attitudes are based on personal experience (e.g. I have never thought about people I know who have got involved with drugs - "hey, that worked out well for you"), but drugs can be more than a personal tragedy - they blight whole communities. Legalisation has been attempted and the aborted in many places (e.g. Alaska). I'd prefer us to learn the easy way that that doesn't work. I would like us to take steps to undermine the drugs market - free heroin for addicts, prosecute dealers for attempted murder, catch a user and throw the book at them unless they finger their dealers. Highlighting the drawbacks of being caught for drugs (e.g. many countries imposing travel restrictions) would be good and so would developing an attitude of pity towards those who feel the need to blow their mind.

dizzy said...

Prosecuting dealers attempted murder? That's absurd. What about personal responsibility? No one forces people to take drugs, they choose too. The dealer that sells is not attempting to murder his client that would begate his own business model.

Anonymous said...

pity those who feel the need to blow their mind? From such a condescending attitude can we take it then that you have never even been drunk (a much more out of control state of mind than a spliff). If you have you are a hypocrite and if you haven't you are making judgements based on limited experiences out of touch with the vast majority (and by drunk i do not mean a part of blighty's binge drink culture).

I also think you confuse recreational drugs with the likes of crack and heroin and to say all dealers should be tried as attempted murderers-do you mean the guys who sell weed as well? what about the guy in the off license selling spirits to an alcoholic, is he a murderer too?- You seem to have the typically black and white viewpoint adopted by the those who feel morally superior for choosing not to do something and its that attitude that has stifled true debate on a complex issue

Praguetory said...

For the record, I did mean dealers of cocaine and heroin. Don't do absinthe either. Deadly stuff.