The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Clarky Cat Is On The Loose

Posted by The Futility Monster on March 17, 2010 @ 11:40

And so it begins...

It is extremely unfortunate, or perhaps richly ironic, that the drug mephedrone, making headlines this morning because of the tragic deaths of two teenagers who had taken it, has the following nicknames: “M-Cat”, “MC”, “mieow” and “meow”.

Because, when I heard this, my mind turned to thoughts of yellow bentines, cake (the made up drug) and, of course, clarky cat.

Satirised by Chris Morris and the Brass Eye team almost 13 years ago, in scenes that caused great controversy at the time due to the willingness of popular figures to lend their names to a campaign that was entirely fictitious, the problem now is that satire ceases to be funny if it’s actually true.

I have no doubt that mephedrone is indeed dangerous if you stick it up your nose. I imagine snorting most things are. Cillit Bang, Mr Muscle, soap powder…

What worries me is that we are now in danger of witnessing yet another full scale moral panic regarding a drug which has been the result of no research, no previous media information, with the resulting effect that almost the entire population know nothing of it.

That is where things start to go wrong. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so too do the media.

Into this void we are going to see endless tales of the “dangers” of mephedrone. Politicians will jump on the bandwagon. There is even talking of classifying this drug as Class A, and yet you have Peter Mandelson admitting this morning that he had previously no knowledge of it.

Perhaps in a month or so, or less, we will be seeing celebrities coming out to warn da yoof about the dangers of this drug. And, naturally, the celebrities will know no more than anyone else.

Evidence. Evidence. Evidence.

I wrote about this same subject before when Professor Nutt resigned from government’s drug advisory panel. Where drugs are concerned, if we must be going down the route of prohibition (being a crazy liberal, I am unconvinced), the best we can do is to do things thoroughly. Yes, there will always be a political decision, and there will be variations in human physiology, but science is pretty damn good in fields like this, and we should use all the tools at our disposal.

But since that’s not going to happen, and with an election imminent, democracy is once again going to be exposed as a failure when it comes to resisting short-term bouts of populism. I’ll bet even the Lib Dems will find it hard to resist the tidal wave of calls for a ban. After all, would you want to look like the outsider on an issue like this?

No. Not when we’re going to have the Daily Mail and Express, with a dash of The Sun and Sky News dictating the agenda.

But still. As long as we all don’t have to live with arms that feel like a couple of fortnights in a bad balloon.

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