Not that we think this is unusual, a politician getting things the wrong way around, but David Gauke is displaying a particularly disturbing misunderstanding of cause and effect here.
Middle class cocaine users who take the drug at dinner parties should feel responsible for rising levels of teen violence and murders in inner cities, the Justice Secretary has said.
David Gauke said the drugs trade was “strongly linked” to violent crime as he took aim at people who take the Class A drug in the safety of their own homes at suburban get togethers.
We admit to being a little out of touch with what is fashionable at middle class dinner parties these days, car keys in a hat, cocaine, some triumph of a dessert with Carte d'Or, who knows? But responsibility here is easier to work out.
There being, we are sure, many things that the middle class enjoy consuming in the privacy of their own homes. We are also quite certain that the violence is indeed linked to the drug trade.
But not to that middle class desire to consume said drugs. For the markets producing the steak, car keys, hats, ice cream and so on which are consumed at such gatherings do not produce violence nor dead teenagers. The market for drugs does.
There is therefore something specific to said market which causes the violence, middle class dinner parties not being it.
Ah, yes, that's the one, it's the illegality of supplying those goods to said tete a tetes, isn't it? Just like when the booze which is consumed at them - in moderation these days of course - was illegal that provision led to that Prohibition caused violence.
Who is responsible for the illegality? Mr. Gauke, please go find a mirror.
Markets are voluntary cooperation, it's only when they're illegal that they produce violence. Over to you Mr. Justice Secretary.