Former Labour minister Lord Sewel yesterday resigned from the House of Lords after being filmed allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes.
He said in a statement his resignation would “limit and help repair” the damage to the Upper House’s reputation, while apologising for the “pain and embarrassment” his actions caused.
But what reputation does the bloated, sordid, and widely reviled House of Lords have? Was anyone truly shocked that a member of the Lords would get up to something like this?
This is a man who has been married three times. A man who claims to have slept with 13 other women in the last 17 years, “not including prostitutes”. According a former Labour councillor, “the women used to form an orderly queue”.
Is he a role model? No. Are taxpayers justified in ‘their’ anger at public money being spent on drug orgies? Yes.
Nobody is arguing that his actions aren’t ethically questionable. However, if this story makes you revel in the sordid details of a powerful figure getting ‘caught out’, your heart’s in the wrong place.
For example, The Sun call it a “sleazy romp”, while the Daily Mail focus on the prostitute being “45 years his junior”, calling the photographs “excruciating” and highlighting his family’s humiliation.
The public vilification of this man would, in any other circumstances, through any lens, be seen as intrusive. Feminists call it kinkshaming, libertarians call it an infringement on his freedoms, and conservatives call it the nanny state.
According to a 2013 survey by The Tab, 29% of students have tried cocaine. It’s well known cocaine abuse is rife at the top of society. It caused the banking crisis. We’ve all seen Wolf of Wall Street. It’s a symbol of power for the wealthy young class leaving their peers behind in the ashes of austerity.
But John Sewel is 69 years old.
If, at 69, wearing an orange bra under a leather jacket and smoking with hookers is what it takes to for him to be stimulated, more power to him. If a 20 year old is allowed, even encouraged, to plough a line before smashing the Popworld dancefloor, why can’t a distinguished public servant?
Watch the video. He snorts coke through a £5 note and then says “There we are”. Play it back and close your eyes. Picture your grandad setting a cup of tea down in front of you. “There we are”.
Who among us wouldn’t snort a mystery powder from between a prostitute’s breasts as we search desperately for excitement and fulfilment as our lives tick towards the end? If you prick Lord Sewel, does he not bleed like us?
Adult life is already such a restrictive nightmare, why do we feel the need to be puritanical over a flickering flame trying to go out with a bang?
What do you think of Lord Sewel’s resignation? Let us know in the comments below.