touch with reality
was sitting in the cafe, watching John Howard in London on the TV news
when it struck me. If it hadn't been Honest John, coke would be the
first thing I'd have suspected. There were all the signs: he was unnaturally
bright and upbeat ... he had delusions of grandeur and prowess ... and
there was something abnormal in his craving for affection from people
who didn't even know who he was. He was slobbering all over complete
strangers like a pig-dog on speed.
went back to the office and rang an old mate who runs a cheap detective
agency in London.
been watching our man Howard on TV and he looked like he's doing drugs.
What's the story? I mean, his spin doctors in Canberra are doing the
Nancy Reagan 'Just Say No' thing. The whole harm minimisation strategy
is out the window. The Salvation Army mullahs are running drugs policy
over here and Howard's over there acting like Hunter Thompson."
you should call", Alistair said, "I've been having exactly
the same suspicions. There's been talk about Tony Blair for years --
maybe he's been slipping something to your Prime Minister."
made some sense. The only way you could really explain Tony 'Rupert'
Blair -- the silly grin, the speedy jiz and the bright eyes -- was that
he was doing something powerful. Hell, the man was so addled he didn't
know the difference between America and Australia. Then the penny dropped.
on the other hand, maybe they're doing steroids. Steroids will do that
to you. According to the papers we're one of the world's largest exporters
of steroids and it's all certified and quality-assured by the Federal
Government's National Registration Authority."
not suggesting that your prime minister's really here on some sort of
export drive demonstrating the merchandise?"
it makes more sense than any other explanation I've heard. The Centenary
of Federation crap is probably just a cover. And it also makes sense
of this: After Howard flew out, the Justice Minister, Big Amanda Vanstone,
ordered a crackdown on the steroid exports. Amanda must be making her
move for the leadership, or maybe she's a stalking horse for Costello."
had a ghastly vision of Howard in the grip of 'roid rage, at 40,000
feet over India, rampaging down the aisle of a 747; having to be subdued
by a dozen hosties and a half-pissed rugby team.
promised to keep me updated. I hung up and went back down to the café
for a cider.
fight for a sane drugs policy is an entirely unequal one, I reflected.
On the one hand you've got this motley collection of awfully sincere
do-gooders who recognise that the problem's a medical and social one
and on the other you've got the full house of moralists, God-botherers,
punishment freaks and political opportunists.
I was a drug baron I know who I'd back -- I'd back the 'Just Say No'
crowd every time. Keep it illegal and keep the price up. Hell, in the
globalised world there'll always be a pool of willing low-rent pistoleros
and fuckwits to peddle the shit and take the rap. The street dealers
go to gaol and the junkies clog up the morgues, the courts and the hospitals.
It's a perfect example of the old capitalist principle: privatise the
profits and socialise the losses.
I were a drug baron I'd bet on 'Major' Brian Watters of the Salvation
Army. Ah yes, the Sallies: the fundamentalist lower middle class mullahs
in comic opera uniforms. Sing us a hymn and we'll give you a bowl of
soup. Brian's so paranoid he wants to waste the public's money on random
drug tests for public servants.
you imagine? A whole bureaucracy collecting piss in little bottles only
to find that nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of
a ten thousand found traces of nicotine, caffeine, tannin, No-Doze,
codeine, Chateau de Cardboard or export quality veterinary steroids.
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 2000