LONDON, UK – No.10 Hopeful and Secretary of State for Environment: Food and rural affairs Michael Gove recently admitted his use of cocaine as a young Journalist. This has led to calls to step down in the race for role of Prime minister. He has been accused of being a hypocrite, due to his control over the policy of Class A drugs in relation to the teaching profession whilst being the education minister. In addition, governing over a UK prison system in which individuals could receive a seven-year sentence for possession whilst as Justice secretary.
The backlash has reflected a common occurrence in the political arena, where the past actions of an individual can greatly impact their future in office. Other examples in Britain include in 2007 when David Cameron was brought under fire by Media for his use of cannabis whilst a student at the prestigious Eton college. Later in 2015 a more bizarre occurrence was revealed with him and a pig’s head whilst a student at Oxford University.
What is clear to see here is that politicians are held to a much higher standard than the regular working individual due to their position of power. As they are representatives of the people who they govern, they duly have a lot more responsibility to behave in a manner which is deemed to be morally upright. However, this usually relates to whilst the individual is in office, whether if what they did before office should be criticised is debatable. In relation to Michael Gove, his use of drugs was 20 years ago. It should be kept in mind that politicians are still human and can make mistakes just like anyone else, especially when young and in the process of discovering who they are.
To place this argument on an international scale, if Barrack Obama were to be held accountable for his cocaine and cannabis usein his earlier years as if he had done it whilst a candidate for the Presidency, the United states may have never witnessed history with its first black president. The main point is that people grow and shed behaviours which are no longer beneficial, after all no one is ‘squeaky clean’. Instances such as the above may even reflect the transparency and relatable aspect of politicians, revealing that they are much more than ‘liars in suits’.
However, it must be acknowledged that some actions are irreconcilable and therefore agreeable that the individual should be judged for what they have done, even if it was one hundred years ago. For example, 114thSupreme court Justice Brett Kavanaugh fell under allegations of sexual assault in July 2018. These occurrences were alleged to have happened over 30 years ago. These claims threatened to falter his route to his current role, though in the end they seemed to just die down.
Nevertheless, if those accusations were proven to be true, then his career would have duly ended. This is because there are certain actions which cannot be brushed aside or marked up to being ‘young, dumb and full of cum’. Harvey Weinstein can attest to this. In the modern age of rights and social media, the things which one could get away with before are no longer permissible. To exhibit this, take the case of Republican politician Doug McLeod who was arrested after assaulting his wife after she took too long to undress for sex. It is highly likely that he will be forced to resign as a result. Perhaps 30 years ago, such a case would have been swept under the rug and not even made it past a short police report, if any at all. However, in 2019 certain behaviours, especially those that affect other people, are no longer tolerated and rightly so.
To summarise, politicians should not be judged too harshly on the actions of the past. Though this is very dependent on the content of those actions and the effect it has had.
By: Temi Adedeji
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