Gove and Johnson’s secrets sniffed out – Steve Cardownie

The revelation that Michael Gove, one of the Tory leadership contenders, used cocaine “on several occasions” is a clear indication that the contest is under way in earnest and is surely only the beginning of what promises to be an exercise peppered with dirty tricks.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 7:00 am
Michael Gove's leadership campaign has been overshadowed by the cocaine revelations. Picture: AFP/Getty

The leak of Gove’s indiscretion achieved its intended purpose and effectively derailed his campaign – but for how long? The Gove admission has prompted several political commentators to trawl over old press interviews and TV footage which has uncovered the miscreant past of none other than Boris Johnson.

In an interview with a magazine in 2007 he admitted trying cocaine at university and on Have I Got News For You in 2005 he said: “I think I was once given cocaine, but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose. In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar.”

Good for a laugh, Mr Johnson, but it indicated intent, a bit like saying that I was going to rob a bank but the getaway car got a flat tyre on the way there.

The fact that the elite class snorts the devil’s dandruff at parties is hardly groundbreaking news and other contenders have been caught in the drugs net, but it is likely to get dirtier as the race hots up. And the winner will be Prime Minister!

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Mela machinations are finally laid bare

For those readers who are interested in the Edinburgh Mela and why it folded, you need look no further than the Government’s website where the recent employment tribunal’s judgement is laid out in full.

Chris Purnell, the former director responsible for delivering the Mela, went to the tribunal claiming, amongst other things, constructive unfair dismissal and was backed by the panel, who awarded him £67,000 in compensation.

The tribunal judgement spells out: “Where there was conflict between the evidence of the Claimant and his witnesses and that of the Respondent’s witnesses, we preferred the evidence of the former.” The judgement is quite clear and makes for interesting reading.

Chris Purnell has been completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. Certain directors caused that man untold grief and may have ruined his career on the festivals circuit – although I am sure his job prospects will be improved by this judgement.

Make no mistake, the architects of the Mela’s downfall came from within the board itself.

Those who sat idly by and watched these events unfold bear some of the responsibility for the demise of a festival which survives now only as a pale imitation of the original Mela at its height.