Fleet Street's favourite nut is back. He has a new theory on where all our money went - some nasty men stuck it in their face holes.
But it is not any old nut, this is Professor David John Nutt who has more letters after his name than you'll find in a Scrabble bag. At the Imperial College London he is the professor of neuropsychopharmacology, a word so big that it just killed my spell checker. This indicates that he is a man of knowledge, someone whose opinion is to be valued, a person due respect, but not if you are one of the fourth estate's finest and you see that the fella is called Nutt. Even QPR could score in front of a goal that open.
His opinion is also to be dismissed by politicians if he says anything about drugs, which is odd as he was appointed the government's drugs expert-in-chief to do exactly that. Perhaps he misunderstood the rules of the game which are:
1. Do not say anything that the government has not already said before, and
2. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT ALREADY SAID BEFORE!
They fired him because, as he says "I gave a lecture on the assessment of drug harms and how these relate to the legislation controlling drugs. According to Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, some contents of this lecture meant I had crossed the line from science to policy and so he sacked me. I do not know which comments were beyond the line or, indeed, where the line was."
Silly Nutt - the line was wherever the home secretary of the day had been told to draw it to gain maximum political advantage to the prime minister of the day. His job description was really that of one of those back shelf puppy car ornaments: stay quiet and keep nodding.
The former drugs czar said an awful lot of things that were received by his masters as though he had delivered unto them a brim full doggy bag of doggy do. "Drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse-riding and ecstasy.", he said. That may be statistically true but on no account should you attempt to ride a horse while IT is on ecstasy. The laws on marijuana are a bit silly, he said ( I am paraphrasing) and lately he indicated there is a component of magic mushrooms which may have a beneficial effect on the treatment of depression, but who can tell because the government has set its face against any such study. The newspapers love this sort of stuff and fill the spaces between the adverts for maximum strength lager and deep fried salted snacky-bombs with copy about how awful and dangerous a man this is. He's a nutt. See? Too easy.
Professor Nutt's latest pronouncement goes beyond all that, past the territory already accepted by governments more enlightened, less conservative and desperate to appease the Daily Mail. The most recent issue from his office goes right to the heart of why we are in the soup.
The soup of the day is catastrophe because too many bankers were taking too much cocaine, said Professor David John Nutt FRCP FRCPsych FMedSci and he is absolutely WAY OFF there, apart from quite possibly being completely correct in every respect. Let's look at the evidence and compare what we know of the ways of the City boys, that we have hitched the fortunes of our country to, and how their behaviour resembles that of your average consumer of the magic bogey dust.
Cocaine makes you: loud, arrogant and aggressive. It makes you feel impervious and imperious. It increases the engagement in risky behaviour, makes you feel on top of the world, energised and bullet proof. It also turns you into the most overly confidant, colossal, shouty bore. Ring any bells? It is also reassuringly expensive and is termed the champagne of drugs. Sounds right up their private, gated street.
Cocaine is a "more" drug - the more you have, the more you want, like money, and for a while there, cocaine made our dear friends in the banking rackets take greater and greater risks that made them bigger and bigger piles of money, which they used to buy larger and larger piles of the star-spangled powder. Quite a tight little reassuring circle there. And they were all having so much fun, until the smoke cleared and they saw they were standing in mid air and not on solid ground, like the Roadrunner in a Warner Brothers cartoon.
Of course, there is absolutely no proof of this and it is just another Nutty theory to be swept aside as "the time for banker bashing is over" and the government peddles furiously to re-integrate their close personal friends, the financial finaglers, into our hearts and restore them to the pedestal they so firmly believe is their rightful position. How embarrassing it would be if there actually was some evidence that the reason the Square Mile fell on its face was because it had been up for twenty years straight shoving the Inca glitter up their hooters.
There is actually no evidence of such a thing whatsoever, unless you count the current clamp down by the City of London officials who are introducing new licensing rules to attempt to drive out drug taking and dealing and the violence that accompanies it from the clubs and bars in that area. Under freshly minted regulations, hundreds of bars and clubs used by City bankers and traders must sign up to a code of practice as of this month. It recommends that bar staff swab lavatories and that any flat surfaces be removed to stop them chopping out lines of the devil's dandruff. I am not making this up.
This was the same area, the same glorious square mile that in 2011 shut down a "cocktail and cocaine club" that passed on the powder with a round of, presumably, suspiciously expensive drinks. When police swooped, they found £7,500 of cocaine wrapped and ready to go. Officers said the majority of members were professional City people buzzed in via a video entry-phone.
So, when you survey the wreckage of our once prosperous nation, just remember where all your money went - up some pin striped, be-braced, supercilious, clamorous and conceited man's proboscis.