Tonight, the Spectator will host a debate on the motion: ‘Addiction is not a disease’. Damian Thompson, Theodore Dalrymple and Dr Aric Sigman will lock horns with Trinny Woodall, Dominic Ruffy and Vic Watts to decide whether addiction is a medical condition or a pattern of immoderate behaviour.
The extraordinary story of Reverend Flowers is likely to feature in the discussions. As Melanie Phillips writes in this week’s Spectator cover piece:
‘So what about all those drugs and orgies? The behaviour which even his former rent boy described as ‘debauched’? How could a man with such predilections have got away with being a Methodist minister for 40 years? Flowers claims the pressures of his Co-op role and a family bereavement drove him to do things that were ‘stupid and wrong’. But it emerges that, back in 1981, he was fined for committing an act of gross indecency in a public toilet.’
Paul Flowers has sought professional help, which implies that he thinks he has a medical problem. Is his behaviour mere licentiousness, for which he is wholly responsible? Or does it constitute something deeper? Tickets to tonight’s debate are still available.