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Gambling companies soon stop betting that puts their profits at risk. They can surely do the same when it comes to the risk to customers

August 12, 2019 Leave a comment

DqLbANEU0AAAE3aJust like there will always be those who drink too much, eat too much or find themselves addicted to just about any number of things in this life that we could all find ourselves hooked to, it is the same with gambling. So before I roll out some thoughts on the problem that the Betting Industry has, it is important to add the caveat that no matter what Companies do voluntarily or as the result of legislation to make them do so, there will always be those who will somehow fall through the net and the perfect solution to any of these problems is not one that will be easy to find.

Like most things we are experiencing within our culture today, gambling and the upsurge of problem betting is a frustrating, but nonetheless horrid illustration of everything wrong with these times. Whether it’s the ease of online betting where temptation is ever present on your phone, or the seeming market saturation of our dying high streets by Bookies appearing on ever corner, we have perhaps never had so many warning flags flying in the face of us all, telling us that something is fundamentally wrong with the way the world around us is working, and that government not only could, but should be doing a hell of a lot more.

We are an unhappy culture. An unhappy society. And much of that unhappiness is based on the idea of want, and that we must always be looking for ways to get more.

People are unhappy with what they have and this situation is one that is relative. It doesn’t matter whether others would class you as being rich, poor or somewhere in the middle. In this material and money-led world, everything going on around us tells us that we must do everything that we can to obtain and yes secure much more.

There are no easy rides, no matter what anyone actually says. The odds of winning the National Lottery are apparently 1 in 45,057,474 and even if you were to find yourself an overnight millionaire, the problems that you once had are just swapped for many more and there are very few of us who can temper such change with realism and practicality once we have been there and looked it in the eye.

Nonetheless the temptation is always there. And once we have that buzz from a win – no matter how small, it is easy for anyone to fall into the trap of thinking that winning is actually easy, and that by simply throwing a few quid (which is never is on this pathway) at it, we are on a sure way to accumulate much more.

Yes, there are those who gamble and are very good at it. But they are actually few and far, or rather fewer and farther between, because Bookies and Gambling Companies don’t wont to take the risk of large bets from people who have been around in the gambling game long enough that they know how to play the games properly or bet strategically so they have covered themselves in everything they actually do.

The cynicism of the Betting Co’s is mind bogging really, as they are more than ready, able and equipped to rid themselves of gamblers who statistically are going to take more money from them than they will actually ever lose. Yet when it comes to those who have lost any realistic form of control or discipline over their own actions, they can speak many different words and tell us stories that suggest that they are stewarding responsible gambling. Yet their level of inaction at actually stopping the risk to others as opposed to building a wall to protect any risk to themselves is simply wrong.

Whilst you will hear mixed opinion on the validity and impact of the 2003 Licensing Act on the Sale of Alcohol and the impact it has had on bars, pubs and clubs, the upshot was that it created a much more responsible approach to bar management and the drink-place management of alcohol addiction that would have perhaps been much more evident had successive governments done more to protect drinkers and in so doing, protect community assets and the pubs that many of us still love.

Requiring staff that manage Bookmakers Retail Premises and online gaming to demonstrate competence in managing gambling and then compelling them to intervene should long ago have been the way that things are done. But it is the self-governance of the betting industry itself where the changes that would make a real difference should surely be made.

All the government needs to do is give them the option of either removing restrictions to any level of gambling down to an individual bet level, or require that the Companies refuse to take bets from anyone whos actions are creating a risk – whether that be to Company Profits or to themselves, their health or indeed anything that they own.

Categories: Uncategorized

Boots Corner: Let Cheltenham decide

August 12, 2019 Leave a comment

img_3811Over 13 months has now passed since the closure of Boots Corner took place in Cheltenham, and the trickle-down impacts on the Town began.

Cheltenham BID recently released the results of a petition that echoed the many comments that have entered the public domain before, telling us that the changes have effectively screwed local businesses and that for business people and entrepreneurs that rely solely on their location and passing trade to keep their offering in customers minds, a retail future in Cheltenham Town Centre is looking rosey no more.

As has now become normal, the arguments against the Borough Councils’ scheme have been rebuffed on the basis of discrediting the data offered, rather than suggesting they accept any questions are justified.

Yet the most interesting development by far was the story circulating on Twitter from ITV News West Reporter Ken Goodwin that in a BBC Radio Gloucestershire interview, a prominent Cheltenham Borough Councillor has admitted that the Boots Corner closure formed part of an agreement between Councillors and Developers to secure the arrival of the Brewery Quarter in the Town.

If accurate, this admission potentially creates a whole new dimension to the Boots Corner story.

It could confirm that the so-called trial of the Boots Corner closure has always been phoney from the very beginning.

It would almost certainly raise questions over the money spent on monitoring traffic flow since the closure and whether it has been allocated only in some dubious hope that evidence could be gathered that could be presented to prove businesses and local people’s experience of the Boots Corner closure and the associated impact on lives and livelihoods is wrong.

It could very well suggest that above all, the Council is not working democratically and believes it has the right to impose whatever it wants on the local area, irrespective of what people and businesses based and around the Town actually want.

If the Town Centre has been sold out on the basis of a developer deal and without direct public consent, the whole project of which it appears the Boots Corner closure might only be a part, could well raise questions over legitimacy of the decisions behind it and point to illegitimate deals – even if no Councillor has personally accumulated any personal financial gain from the process.

Money doesn’t have to change hands for the behaviour of public servants to be ethically or morally corrupt.

There is simply no evidence available that shows it even likely there will ever be a tangible benefit to the community that will outweigh the negative impacts upon the area – whether it be local people, local businesses and even those who just visit or work in Cheltenham Town – simply from bringing a high profile but nonetheless solely commercial venture to the Town

Indeed, If this is how the Boots Corner closure genuinely came about, it is more than likely the case that by conducting all this post-Boots-Corner-closure analysis, this is the real-world reality for the community that those behind this vanity project are hoping they will be able to overturn.

Regrettably, we do not live in times when those with their hands on the levers of power are prepared to back down when they have been found out.

This means that the Council would have to be forced to rescind it’s decision in some other way. And if it should be found and proven to exist, responsibility for any back-room agreement that should never have been made should be lain solely at the feet of those who are responsible – rather than directed at the bottom of the pockets of local taxpayers who don’t even realise they are paying for the undemocratic ineptitude of the self-serving in many different ways, every single day.

A legal challenge on the basis of any questionable deal resting on the closure of Boots Corner might well be possible if all information were to be disclosed.

But the cost of such a challenge would need to be fundraised and there is no guarantee that the Council could not simply and yes, legitimately argue that the penalties they would incur and may well have contractually agreed to ultimately guarantee any closure would be too high to pay back to the other parties by doing an about-turn unilaterally at a time when  local government is under considerable financial strain.

No, there must be another way. And it’s not by filling out petitions that are rarely reliable enough to persuade anyone. They simply do not habitually engage enough of the people they should.

Nor is it to rely upon Public Consultations that inevitably always deliver the facts and arguments that those driving the change believe they should.

The only way to resolve the Boots Corner question properly and legitimately from here is to put the decision directly in the hands of Cheltenham People. To have a local referendum and make the question very simple: ‘Should Boots Corner be open or closed?’

If the Council genuinely believes the course it is taking by arguably doing little more than imposing a change to the Town of this size and impact as being justified, it will have nothing to fear from putting the decision Democratically in the hands of local people via a plebiscite. And yes, it really should.

The impact from the clash of egos between Boris, his team and Farage should be a concern for us all

August 12, 2019 Leave a comment
Hope Boris

Anyone who thinks that there isn’t a turbulent sea ahead of us over Brexit needs to stop and think about where we really are right now.

There were many different and arguably much better ways to have delivered the Referendum result rather than the pathway we are now on. Even Boris could have chosen a different route that would have put the weight of responsibility on him rather than us and then delivered a no deal Brexit – albeit a much smoother one – all the same.

What we are facing instead, is a General Election campaign in which the very act of Brexit is only a part or feature. It is the part that Boris intends to use to make the electoral threat to him from the three other Political Parties in the race void.

Opinions do vary about the realities of a four party race in a first past the post system. But after the blockage and leaps backwards from democracy during the May era and the many years of political mishandling that led to The European Referendum Vote before, it is only opinion that suggests the months ahead for this Country can be in any way straightforward.

Whilst Boris clearly believes destiny is now his to control, he – and therefore by default we – are staring down the barrel of a gun which is about to deliver an explosive situation in this country where none of the Political Party leaders are in possession of the gift of control of what now happens.

This rule by ego that he shares with the three other Leaders – as we look Brexit some 80 days away in the eye – is set to brutally prove to this last tranche of old politics politicians that the world has now changed. That they cannot go on within their bubbles thinking and behaving on the basis that despite a Referendum result, everything has actually remained the same.

Boris might have been right about his plan we now see materialising for Brexit if it wasn’t for just one small problem that will always be the same: You cannot judge the mood that results from an event or series of them at a future point based on how you believe people will react nor how they feel about only the possibilities associated with those events now.

This rule extends beyond the realities that will feel very immediate at the point of Boris’ Brexit on Halloween. This is now almost certain to be a snapshot in time where only the most logical will see that any disruption is only temporary and won’t last.

There is also a major problem with the way that Boris is reading the Leave voting constituency. Because within it there are Hearts (left), Heads(right) and even a large number of floating voters populating the middle inside.

These Leave-leaning Voters are not going to all come rushing back to the Conservative banner the instant that the Prime Minister can stand outside No10 and announce that Brexit is no longer ahead of us – but – in his mind – something that is now behind.

The Conservative Party has retained the trust and credibility problems that it has been developing with the wider public over a very long period of time.

Whilst the robust appearance of this seemingly ongoing tranche of policy announcements is all that Boris and his advisors might believe necessary to change that, there is simply no meaningful thought or consideration apparent in any of this. No recognition either for the real reasons and feeling that led to Brexit; how we fee about being robbed of our democracy and what we all now want to see different in the post Brexit UK that is yet to come.

None of this would seem as bad as it is, if the event we know as Brexit were not now being rebranded in the land of Boris and his legacy plans as an insignificant event that just needs to be sandwiched appropriately between everything else and manipulated for any use it has as it sits there snugly in between.

The opportunity that Boris held in his hands on 23rd of July was to take all of this a very different way. To have faith and trust that the people are actually right. That by changing politics for the better and by genuinely becoming more inclusive too, he could have won that outright majority in Parliament that he covets, this Autumn before the 31st of October and at the same time guaranteed that the UK would be unshackled permanently for the EUs orbit too.

That isn’t going to happen. Or at least not with the playing cards for this elaborate and potentially very costly game for us all, laid out along the table as they currently are.

The result that will come in the General Election that Boris now believes is in his control and is already won, will not respect the rules that are now being laid out by anyone.

Indeed it is as likely now that there will be even less definition to Parliament’s make up and therefore even less chance of a political solution once the Election has taken place than there is now.

Instead of the crowning glory that Boris believes will now be his simply by showing that he was the man to get Brexit done, he may well become the door opener to a Marxist Government.

Not one that will not be elected into office legitimately. But one that feasts off the chaos that the control freakery of this outgoing political culture has created over Brexit and what mess this coming Parliament could be with Politicians failing to put the People first. All coupled up with the inherent ineptitude, fear and indifference present amongst these self-serving-servanst that will need to disappear quickly if anyone is going to step in, lead and stop what could then be only a moment of darkness for the UK being one that could last.

Many commentators and politicians dont think it could happen. In fact, they see a stalemate coming from the next General Election at worst. But when thats what we have basically had for three years already, what exactly do they think that all these so-called representatives of the People will want to use the opportunity of chaos for?

The biggest risk of inaction comes from the relationship that the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party has, based on meaning taken from past realities and in the case specifically Dominic Cummings, Nigel Farage and the hatred they share from the way that the Vote Leave Campaign was managed and handled.

Brexit will ultimately be lost for all of us if the key players on the democratically inclined side of the Brexit debate dont put their rivalries to one side and realise that working together is now, then and for the foreseeable future the only way that they are going to deliver Brexit. Make Brexit meaningful and permanent. But above all, make the return to democracy and putting balance, fairness and doing whats right for everyone at the centre of a true political and reenfranchising cause.

Categories: Brexit
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