Friday, July 07, 2006


New Labour Plumbs New Lows with Prezza

Call me old fashioned but I never thought I'd see the party I've supported all my life surrender so totally to those forces of Mammon it was established to resist over a hundred years ago. According to Simon Jenkins New Labour was targetted by $100m lobbying campaign by big casino interests as it was considered more likely to roll over than those other European governments which have steadfastly refused to let the mega-gamblers in. Compulsive gambling is as addictive and destructive as alcoholism and it is well known that they and their familes are the first to suffer in areas where such establishments are set up.

One might have expected one of the only two working class representatives in the Cabinet, to have considered the interests of vulnerable mebers of their own class rather than the monied high rollers who can take the hits without collateral family damage. Instead, it seems Prescott has cosied up to this Anschutz and has been so keen to take his shilling that he expects us to believe his seven meetings have dealt with the likes of a shared interest in Willaim Wilberforce(Anschutz and his boys must be smirking over that one)and Prezza's childhood interest in the wild west. The Guardian leader expresses its own disillusionment with the DPM today with a broadside against 'a hollow man and an empty tent'.

We are also expected to believe that not once did the meetings touch on the topic most important to the billionaire: the future of his casino project. And whilst on the subject of the guy- something which, surprisingly, has not been so far raised- aren't gambling tycoons usually mixed up in organized crime? Finally, is Tony really content that a country studded with huge betting palaces close to our major cities is going to provide a highly visible part of his precious legacy?

I'm tempted to argue that, if people want to gamble, that's entirely up to them. This is probably reconcilable with Labourism: Crosland-style socialism allows for "private morality" while advocating social democracy and the welfare state. These "mega-gamblers" would, surely, be heavily taxed, after all.

However, as always, I'm torn between this, and the argument you put forward - that "Compulsive gambling is as addictive and destructive as alcoholism and it is well known that they and their familes are the first to suffer in areas where such establishments are set up". You plausibly - and convincingly - argue that the detrimental economic consequences of the social ills of gambling offset its supposed benefits.

I have one question: if gambling is equivalent to alcoholism, and you abhor the former, are you advocating some sort of rationing, or even prohibition, of alcohol? It would seem to logically follow.
No, I wouldn't prohibit alcohol; previous efferts in USA came to grief. I certainly would not make it worse than it is via regulations and so forth. But extending gambling opportunities is going to make the problem worse.
Maybe we can't stop or even cure it but we can try not to make either problem worse.
The biggest gamble right now, with the risk of damage to the home and family environment, is with Prescott's career!

How long can he expect to get away with being the focus of fun with the general public? Blair, at present seems to be content with gambling with the country's wellbeing by leaving "two shags" in charge whilst he takes a holiday!

The man (Jabber the hut) would do the decent thing if he were anyone else, but I suspect that there is some very good reason why Blair is happy to let him remain in the trappings of office, and the motives will not be the most altruistic!
Interesting, but what might that might be then?
Is Curly suggesting that John Prescott should resign/be sacked because of being fat ("Jabber the Hut"), because he had "two shags", or because he is the "focus of fun"?

I needn't point out that none of these relate to his responsibilities as DPM and chair of several committees.
You could argue that the third-being a figure of fun- actually does have a bearing on his political 'day job' role as how one is perceived is part of doing it properly. But being fat or promiscuous is no bar to such activity though being found out might be productive of the figure of fun condition....
You're quite right, of course. I suppose I was speaking normatively - Prescott's private activities shouldn't have a bearing on his job, but because of an over-intrusive media, they sadly do.

I find Iain Dale's personal campaign against Prezza repulsive. What power bestowed on Mr Dale the moral superiority necessary for him to make these judgements?
Agree re Dale's campaign. Prezza's claim that his critics are snobs who don't like the idea of a working man being in the Cabinet assumes substance from such outpourings.
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