Friday, September 23, 2005

Young people, look away now.

I return to Kate Moss.

I have to report that things have not improved since my last entry. Now our dear Metropolitan Police chief, Sir Ian Blair, has solemnly pronounced that he has 'personally' instructed one of his officers to investigate the matter. Given recent events in London, one would think that this man had better things to do with his time. Sure, the Police can investigate her if they think a crime has been committed, but why do we need the Met Commissioner to pronounce gravely on it as if it were a matter of national importance?

Even worse, he has announced that any decision to prosecute Ms Moss will take into account the impact of her behaviour on young people. Hold on, but that is manifestly unfair. Is this man saying that just because she is a famous supermodel whose behaviour is bound to make the papers, she should be judged more harshly than, say, a single mother on a sink estate of whom no-one has ever heard? I would have thought the criminal law, like the law in general, applied equally to everyone. I would expect the authorities to apply to Kate Moss the same standards they would use in deciding to prosecute anyone else who had committed a similar crime.

The argument that Ms Moss is a 'role model', and so should be judged more harshly, does not stand up. I am unaware that anyone looks up to Kate Moss with the intention of copying her behaviour. In any case, I don't think anyone was shocked to hear that she took drugs. We should all have assumed that, anyway, not least from the fact that her boyfriend is Pete Doherty. More importantly, it wasn't as if Ms Moss was seen out in public snorting cocaine. Those pictures were surreptitiously taken while she was out of the public view. Why should she be held accountable for what she does in private on the off-chance that some impressionable young person somewhere might somehow get to know about it?

Kate Moss has now publicly apologised for her actions. True, the apology was to her family and friends, but the fact that is was made public reveals two things. First, Ms Moss understands that some sort of damage limitation is in order. Second, she realises that the British public possess the power to make or break her. By indirectly appealing to the public in this way, she will be hoping to take the sting out of the story. It is sad that someone's career can so depend on the public judgement. I would think that not even the glitz and trappings of celebrity can compensate for that hard truth.
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