I’m a grumpy old so and so. One thing that is making me particularly grumpy at the moment is the unhealthy obsession many in the media and politics have with “Brand Nigella”. There are plenty of rights and wrongs in the whole tawdry saga and goodness knows, we all “fall short of the glory of God” as Paul writing in his letter to the Romans so eloquently puts it. I know I do. Even if you have no faith or a different faith to Paul, you can’t help but notice what a lot of ne’er do wells and downright evil bastards there have been, and still are, in the human race.
It doesn’t take much digging around to find accounts of the appalling human suffering that the illegal drugs trade causes. If there was no demand for illegal drugs from the privileged few in the West, a large proportion of this suffering would end. You may argue that it would be displaced by other suffering, but a long journey always needs a first step. In the case of illegal drugs, I’d argue that the vast majority of us have the personal capacity and control to decide not to take them in the first place – no demand, no supply chain, no suffering. You may of course want to argue over which drugs should or should not be legal, based on scientific assessments of their harms, but that’s a very different debate.
So this Christmas, I wish that our media and politicians would spend a little more effort in examining and addressing the issues of slavery and trafficking that are at the heart of the illegal drugs trade, rather than filling column inches and airtime with vacuous observations about what the outcome of a single trial will mean for a few rather privileged individuals. And it’s not just the media and politicians of course. We all need to focus on what we can personally do to try to alleviate the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world – the forgotten victims of our collective selfishness.