If Lord Sewel wants to snort coke off prostitutes then let him

There are more serious things to worry about than a pensioner having fun


Before this weekend, Lord Sewel would have struck you as another sad old man trying to cushion the blow of his lack of political weight by claiming up to £300 in expenses for a few minutes of pointless political posturing in the House of Lords every day.

Given how pitiful an existence that is, why have we decided to attack a creepy, fairly insignificant pensioner for allegedly honking lines of coke off the breasts of a sex worker? This so-called scandal is about as interesting as a night out with Iain Duncan Smith. As Ron Weasley might say, the public “needs to sort out their priorities”.

Drug taking and hiring prostitutes may be illegal, but they don’t make you a bad person. Drug taking is rife in society: the foundations of our financial services are cemented with cocaine, and young people, according to The Telegraph, smoke more dope than any other generation. So you can’t be serious if you suggest a boorish granddad is immoral for snorting coke and hiring prostitutes. Save your ire for paedophiles and murderers.

Can you blame him?

Can you blame him?

Politicians can never get it right. Ed Miliband faced repeated snarky remarks about his bland, nerdy, number-cruncher appearance, with this over-zealous focus on his “weird” public demeanour ultimately peaking with a bacon sandwich. In the run-up to the election, you’d have assumed a political leader who was a nicotine-addled, racist drunkard was more appealing to the public than a face-less, uninspiring liberal.

Take Boris Johnson, a student favourite if you believe The Economist. He’s made more money from his Machiavellian political career than Sewel and has more power at his greasy fingertips to boot. BoJo is not only a serial adulterer, but in the mid 2000s he compared gay marriage to dogs marrying men and was recorded on tape conspiring to help a mate locate a journalist so he can beat him up.

While those far more serious offences go ignored, Lord Sewel is hung out to dry by the press. It’s easy to paint him as a charmless old creep, who used his expenses to snort lines off a sex worker’s breasts. There are far more vicious things to treat with scorn, whether it’s child poverty, the casual erosion of The Human Rights Act, public sector cuts or the “war on drugs”.

Getting red in the face over one stupid individual, as opposed to institutional corruption, is easy and doesn’t require any intellectual effort. Whether it’s MPs claiming expenses for duck ponds and cleaning moats, or multi-national corporate chains avoiding tax, we love to attack what is insignificant. Yet Lord Sewel isn’t insignificant, and it’s only out of ignorance you haven’t heard of him. In the mid ’90s, he was instrumental in devolving powers to Scotland and has been an active member in the House of Lords – becoming the Chair of Committees in 2012.

There are of course many self-righteous sanctimonious shits who’ll think “I’m a strong moral person – I’d never behave like that” and I hope the Tories will choose to cut them, not the public sector. Because if given the motive and opportunity to indulge in drug-fuelled parties at the age of 70 I probably would – and let’s face it, you would too.

If you’d bothered to watch the video of Lord Sewel rather than just read the headlines, you’d hear the mumblings of a sad old man, desperate to be adored. He clearly wanted these sex workers to see him as the hedonistic youth he was in his prime, not the wrinkled, pasty former academic from Aberdeen he is now. He wanted to seem important, by claiming he was close to “Tony” and that he alone knew the sole reason for the intervention in Iraq was the “love” Blair reserved for George W Bush.

He’s a guy who has worked his entire life and found nothing at the end of it apart from boredom, old age and looming death. In those circumstances, you can understand why he might dream of droves of adoring female fans and respect him for raising two powder-stained fingers to the fun-police.