Bar Man, January 2,, 2015

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Kerry Smith. I doubt that name means anything to you as his 15 minutes of fame have passed.

For the record he was the prospective parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock for UKIP, who resigned after being recorded using racist and homophobic language. Nothing odd in that. Indeed it seems that the only time members of the party other than the leader make the headlines is when something similar happens.

What is more unusual is the reason he gave for his outburst. It seems that the comments were uttered as a result of him taking sedatives.

Personally I have never taken them, and if I did I would be unlikely to read the small print in the leaflet detailing side effects, but I guess somewhere in there may be a warning that taking the drugs may cause you to utter racist and homophobic comments which are at odds with your normal opinions.

Worryingly, it seems that this distortion of common sense may also be caused by drinking alcohol.

In 2006, Mel Gibson was reported as having launched an anti-Semitic rant whilst being arrested for drunken driving and subsequently apologised, blaming his alcohol addiction for the outburst.

In 2011 fashion designer John Galliano was suspended after an alleged anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar. Once again an apology was forthcoming, in which multiple addictions (including alcohol) were blamed.

Just when I was becoming worried that after a couple of pints my beliefs would undergo a radical change and I might start expressing my undying love for Bolton Wanderers, I remembered the old Latin expression ‘In vino veritas’ or ‘In wine there is truth’. A bit of research soon showed that this is a common belief in a number of cultures such as Russian “What a sober man has in his mind, the drunk one has on his tongue” and Chinese “After wine blurts truthful speech”.

Indeed the Roman historian Tacitus describes how the Germanic tribes always drank when holding councils, believing that no one could effectively lie whilst drunk.

William Pitt the Younger served for almost 19 years as Prime Minister and earned the nickname ‘Honest Billy’ due to the contrast between him and the dishonesty, corruption and lack of principles widely associated with his rivals.

He also drank three bottles of port per day.

So next time you hear of someone blaming the drink for an uncharacteristic outburst, it might be as well to consider that they are

more likely to be revealing their true colours, normally concealed behind a sober façade.

In these days of twitter, indiscretions have wings.