Coffee House

Rushing to judgement on the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

20 December 2013

4:35 PM

20 December 2013

4:35 PM

Ed Miliband’s pledge to crack down on the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’  is a significant moment in the extraordinary moral panic over fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Earlier this year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport found that there was very little data to back up the anecdotal evidence of the anti-FOBT brigade and so decided to commission some research. This process will take 18 months and a decision about stakes and prizes will be made once there is some evidence to study. This eminently reasonable, evidence-based approach has naturally been howled down by the anti-gambling lobby whose campaign has thus far relied on anecdotes and, at best, half-truths.

Earlier this year I wrote a report for the Institute of Economic Affairs called ‘The Crack Cocaine of Gambling?’ which examined each of the anti-FOBTers’ claims in detail. The facts are clear for those who have eyes to see them. The ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ label is a generic, scaremongering soundbite that has been used by moral reformers to describe virtually every new gambling product since the mid-1980s. Britons are not ‘losing’ £46 billion on FOBTs each year, as newspapers routinely claim. We are putting £46 billion in and getting £44.5 billion back in winnings. We are ‘losing’ (ie. spending) £1.5 billion a year, which is about the same amount that we spend over the counter in bookmakers without anyone throwing hysterics. Punters are not spending more in bookies than they did a few years ago, they are just spending it on different gambling products.

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Contrary to conventional wisdom, there has been no ‘dramatic proliferation’ of betting shops. Their numbers peaked in the late 1960s at around 16,000 and reached an all-time low in 2000 at around 9,000. Since then, there has been only the mildest revival, with numbers rising by 4.5 per cent between 2000 and 2012 – barely enough to meet population growth. The popular perception of ‘dramatic proliferation’ is probably due to betting shops moving out of the side streets and onto the high streets at a time when rents have fallen and shops are boarded up. With their unerring ability to mistake correlation for causation, the anti-FOBTers have inferred that the bookies have made the shopkeepers flee. In fact, they have just made themselves more visible to middle class moral entrepreneurs.

As for the claim that FOBTs have led to a rise in problem gambling, there is no clear evidence of any increase in problem gambling prevalence since 1999, let alone as a result of any one game. Of course FOBTs can be addictive if you are a compulsive gambler. So can online gambling, casino gambling, fruit machines, poker, spread-betting, dog racing and scratchcards. The question is whether there is something about FOBTs that makes them so problematic that the 99 per cent of us who are not compulsive gamblers should have this avenue of pleasure closed off to us. That is what the new research seeks to answer. Miliband seems unwilling to wait.

Fifty years after casinos and bookmakers were legalised, gambling still retains a certain taboo. It is difficult to think of an innovation in the gambling market that hasn’t sparked a moral panic of some kind. Few people remember how controversial the early bookmakers were in the early 1960s and most people have forgotten the concerns that were raised about the National Lottery when it was introduced, but the more recent panic about ‘Vegas-style’ casinos was a classic of the genre. Similar worries about various ‘crack cocaines of gambling’ around the world—including pokies, Keno, scratchcards and virtual horse-racing—all follow the same pattern in which epidemics of addiction are predicted only to be quietly forgotten when it becomes clear that the new gambling product is neither especially pernicious nor particularly contagious. For campaigners against the latest ‘crack cocaine’, it is crucial that FOBTs are suppressed before the panic subsides.

Christopher Snowdon is director of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs

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Show comments
  • Colonel Mustard

    No you don’t. No-one made you class monitor or block warden.

    • telemachus

      Yes we do
      Turn our backs and we read this xenophobia in the Telegraph

      *
      “David Cameron will veto any countries from joining the European Union unless long term and tighter restrictions are imposed on them to prevent another “vast migration” of people from Eastern Europe into Britain.
      The Prime Minister made his pledge following talks in Brussels on the future of European enlargement as Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Albania line up to begin negotiations to join the EU.”

      • Colonel Mustard

        Better go and monitor the Telegraph then, Mr Thought Police Commissar, plenty of Home Counties, little englander, revanchist, xenophobic and makhnovist comments there and they are growing daily as people get angrier.

        Even you, with your determination to control what people write by tagging as many comments as you can and re-inventing the English language to comply with the Thoughts of Chairman Miliband, will no longer be able to keep a lid on it. Your day is over, comrade.

        • telemachus

          My associates do

          *

          My time with you is at an end. Will you profit from what I’ve shown you of the good in most men’s hearts?

          • Colonel Mustard

            I don’t need you to show me. You and your comrades need to stop presuming you have a monopoly on being good and get your bogus morality out of politics. The very fact that you play this game of monitoring, “team” and associates, as though you wield some kind of supervisory power over others, is creepy beyond belief. But typical of the mentality of the Labour party, the national socialists, who want to control everything we do, say and write to conform to their ideology.

            • telemachus

              The quote my child was Jacob Marley

              *

              And in the spirit of the Christmas Carol

              *

              “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

              *
              I leave you all now
              *
              Have a very happy Christmas

              • Colonel Mustard

                Four asterisks and a poor insult from the “caring” one. And if it were true you would not spend so much time stalking and biting.

                No doubt you’ll be back after your very un-egalitarian and champagne socialist winter holiday. Hope my own wishes speed you on your way at terminal velocity.

  • paulthorgan

    Vote Labour And We’ll Close Down Your Local Betting Shop.

    Great slogan.

  • 1jamessmith1

    Will this extended to Royal Mail who’s service is a gamble too?

  • DaveAtherton20

    The numbers of people who are problem gamblers is very low 0.4% – 0.5% of the population and betting shops will refer customers for help as they train their staff to do.

    “The rate of problem gambling in the adult population is estimated to be 0.5% on one measure and 0.4% on the other measure used.”

    http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/gh-press/news_archive/2013/health_survey_for_england_give.aspx

    • Noa

      The 0.5% figure is actually over a quarter of million adults, most of them benefits dependent.

      • Richas

        Problem Gambling rates are similar across social class. Problem Gamblers may become benefit dependent, they may lose everything, family, home, job but most are not.

        • Noa

          You simply confirm my point.
          The working and non/working benefits dependent class is numerically far larger than the pressed middle and ‘louche’ upper classes.

      • DaveAtherton20

        So they should take their wager to criminals like American Alcohol Prohibition?

        • Noa

          I see you didn’t read what I wrote, or if you did didn’t understand it.

          • DaveAtherton20

            People like that will still gamble no matter what. They may well go to criminals to bet like people still drank through American Prohibition. It maybe more than their house they have to worry about if “Big John” does not get paid.

            • Noa

              “”…People like that will still gamble no matter what. …”
              Oh dear!
              Surely that de-humanising categorisation is the counsel of despair
              Do you believe there is no hope and no help for them?
              So it’s better that ‘legitimate business’ and government takes their money than the mob, eh?
              Why thenshould your same argument not also apply to prostitution and drugs?

              • DaveAtherton20

                Noa I am glad you are coming round to my way of thinking.

                The decriminalisation of class A drugs in Portugal “…drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically.”

                Consumption is static, if not slightly lower, and is viewed “..by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalisation framework has been a resounding success.”

                http://www.trendingcentral.com/enjoying-healthy-christmas/

                • ButcombeMan

                  When you have the time, you can perhaps explain the recent headlines this summer in the Portuguese Espresso newspaper about increased crack and heroin use there.

                  After that you can explain why the Portuguese Government are urgently reviewing their toleration policies or why they were panicked into legislation in March, to deal with Headshops, legislation which is more robust than that in the UK.

                  Portugal has a big drugs problem. Increasing, when the UK’s is dipping down.

                • DaveAtherton20

                  Decriminalisation happened in 2001, twelve years ago, not last week.

                  I see you have no link so I can only assume you dreamt it up while reading the Daily Mail.

                • ButcombeMan

                  No I can produce the data, but generally I like to encourage and indeed, train people, to seek out the facts themselves. Otherwise they get lazy. Anyway this thread is not about drugs.

                  I suggest you look at the European Monitoring Centre data.,

                  Actually of course Portugal does not have true decriminalization but presumably you know that?

                • Noa

                  Again you fail to understand what I write. I no more advocate the legalisation of prostitution and drugs that I support the liberalisation of gambling and its subsequent centralised micro management.
                  And to link the highly contentious claim of a reduction of sexual disease and drug related deaths to legalisation of class A drugs is based on a major fallacy. If drug users were not taking drugs to pleasure themselves in the first place they would not be at such risk.

      • paulthorgan

        …because you can cross-reference this with DWP data, naturally…

        • Noa

          Or naturally you can look to disproveit using reputable sources….

          • paulthorgan

            So, I am obliged, in your opinion, to perform research to disprove a factoid that you invented out of thin air.

            Back to the Staggers with you…they are your kind of people there.

            • Noa

              If you think I’m wrong, try and prove it. Otherwise you’re just another opinionated blowhard.

              • paulthorgan

                Yes. But only in your opinion.

                • Noa

                  And the converse only in yours.

                • paulthorgan

                  Oh dear. Back to the Staggers with you.

                • Noa

                  Rarely been, too full of rude ignoramuses like you.

                • paulthorgan

                  Typical. Socialist. When you have nothing to say, you denounce.

                • Noa

                  And a very happy christmas and new year to you too, comrade.

  • saffrin

    Ed, calm down dear.

  • David B

    Not like Miliband to jump on a passing bandwagon. Populism is more important than facts in the scramble for votes.

    • Holly

      It would be even mopre ‘popular’, if it were popular.

      Normal folk are wondering where all these ‘poor’ people get all their money from, to gamble.
      Lifestyle choice, so little, IF any, sympathy.

      • David B

        In Miliband’s view this is popular. A pressure group making noise about “evil” capitalist taking advantage of the poor who are to stupid to think for themselves. It’s got everything a socialist could need.

        Questions like where the money comes from or personal responsibility don’t even touch the sides. It’s a flag waving exercise based on sound bites not reality.

  • ButcombeMan

    Without commenting on the issue it is worth understanding who you might be agreeing with and why this article was maybe written.

    The IEA is a secretive lobbying organization. The IEA does not seem to disclose its funding, it is therefore quite likely that some funding comes from the Gambling Industry.

    • Noa

      Yes, Mr Snowden has bet on his own horse in this race.

    • Dick_Puddlecote

      Cowardly shorthand for admitting that you have no credible rebuttal to the points raised.

      • ButcombeMan

        Eh? I made it clear I was NOT commenting on the issue. Just as i am free to do. I do not feel very strongly about it.

        I DID comment on the IEA. To educate people l like you.

        When you have anything sensible to say instead of sniping from the sidelines, no doubt you will.

        I suppose you are one of the idiots who supports smoking so the IEA feeds your prejudices.

        Prejudices are not a substitute for real thought or brains

        • James Strong

          Why do you throw in the ‘idiot’ tag?
          I don’t smoke; I am firmly opposed to the smoking ban, and proud to be regarded by people like you as an idiot.

          • ButcombeMan

            It is very difficult to justify smoking as a sensible life style choice, it is even more difficult to justify imposing it on non smokers in confined spaces.

            The IEA and you, apparently do.

            They get money, so it is said, off the tobacco industry, so Mandy Rice Davis applies.
            You presumably have no such excuse for your views, however irrational and anti social they are.

            Stay proud.

            • James Strong

              On the contrary; it is very easy to justify smoking as a sensible lifestyle choice: it can provide pleasure.
              Whether or not it damages the health of the smoker, that smoking can provide pleasure remains true.
              You might balance pleasure against health costs and money costs in a different way than I do, and you are free to do so. But I will not accept that you have the right to impose your balance on others.
              You are correct that it is more difficult to justify imposing smoking on non-smokers in public spaces.
              There is an easy way around that; require pubs, restaurants, bingo-halls etc. to display a sign outside saying whether or not smoking is permitted inside.
              Then non-smokers would not have smoke imposed on them.
              And if no pubs etc. in an area had non-smoking policies then non-smokers would be free to start one.
              I think that solves the problem.
              I suspect that you don’t agree.
              Would you .like to tell us why?
              I suspect you would like to ban smoking altogether, I suspect you would like to control people’s lifestyle choices much more than I think is acceptable.
              By typing this I am ,of course, giving you an opportunity to deny that and explain what you really want.

              • ButcombeMan

                No you are trolling and trying to tell me what I think.

                The smoking battle is over, get over it.

        • Holly

          Another comment pointing out you do not wish to comment..

          Mmm…Very interesting, but stupid.
          As they used to say, back in the day, when stuff were funny.

          • ButcombeMan

            I have not commented on the gambling issue, until now.

            I have commented on the IEA and why they might not be trusted.

            Your “no sympathy” could be a little myopic do you not think?

            Addiction to gambling does not just affect the addict. It can affect, family, children, employers.

      • Holly

        No comment either…Apparently.
        Tee hee.

    • DaveAtherton20

      Bit of a cheap smear. And yes I do believe that smoking in pubs should be allowed. based on my own convictions/research.

      • ButcombeMan

        But that battle is over.

    • Holly

      Sorry to bore you, but….
      That IS a comment. Regardless of the Miliband-made ‘issue’.

  • Andy

    These Fascists want to control everything we think, say and do. Why doesn’t he just get lost ? Idiot.

    • telemachus

      Andy
      Every time I read your posts I curse Sidney Silverman

      • Andy

        Indeed, but for him you would have an appointment with the hangman at 9am on Thursday. Actually we could sell tickets (for a good cause of course like the Conservative Party funds) for the right to pull the lever.

        • telemachus

          I guess it beats having to rely on contributions from their friends who they have given unjustified tax breaks

          • Andy

            The fat slug Mcwhatever has bought the Fascist Labour Party. God knows why he would want that load of toss heads.

            • telemachus

              If you mean McCluskey
              Remember the magnificent statesman like way Ed Miliband consigned the influence of Unite to history

              • Andy

                Bollocks he did. Miliscum needs to grow a pair.

                • telemachus

                  He has his shadow chancellor

  • RavenRandom

    Here we go again. Miliband the no ideas single issue chancer. What about unemployment, growth, immigration, the EU… he has nothing to say on anything of genuine national importance. This it seems is his policy, take a single issue and aim for cheap publicity.

    • Tim Reed

      Ed Miliband – concern troll.

      • RavenRandom

        I like that, “concern troll”. The more he does this, the more obvious and pathetic his strategy becomes… and the easier to counter.

        • Tim Reed

          The cap fits…(almost)…

          concern troll :
          “A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of “concern,” to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don’t really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending. “

          http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=concern+troll

          • Colonel Mustard

            That’s the stunt telemachusallvomit pulled when he first poled up here, with his silly little “charter” of rules about what should and should not be written and a plea for “reasonableness”. His brand of “reasonableness” of course, which is in the style of Stalin and Pol Pot.

    • telemachus

      I guess the cost of living is of no consequence to the majority posting here
      But to the majority in the country struggling to put food on the table and shoe their young it is paramount
      As is the comounding of poverty by foolish fathers gambling

      • Andy

        The majority blame the decline in income, which has been going on for over 8 years, on the Fascist Labour Party and the Great Moron Brown.

        • telemachus

          Thank you for giving me the opportunity again to remind all of the longest period of untrammelled prosperity in living memory engineered by Gordon and Gordon alone
          Sad Lehman spoiled it

          • Andy

            Gordon the Moron Brown has all but bankrupted this country. The Fascist Labour Party should be made a proscribed organisation.

            • telemachus

              Gordon saved not only our banks but showed how to save the worlds banks after Lehman

              • Andy

                Tripe.

          • Holly

            All built on debt.

          • RavenRandom

            Blimey you must be the last person on the planet who thinks team Gordon was economically competent.

      • RavenRandom

        Yawn. Trotting out the last remaining Labour attack line like a good little doggie. What will you do when income (lagging indicator) grows faster than inflation, as it probably will do later next year?

      • Colonel Mustard

        I know for a fact that you earn far more than I do.

  • anyfool

    Labour really have it in for their old core vote, the white working class, it is they who traditionally use betting shops, it is against Islamic law so this will help them with their replacement voters.

    • telemachus

      Where it counts the Party support the poor and their families
      We have no truck with the drunken fathers who drink and bet away wages while children starve
      That is the politics of the uncaring right

      • starfish

        ‘ The Party’ – those two words in that context reveals so much

  • Tim Reed

    Someone ought to remind this weird Socialist busy body that he was a member of a government whose proposed policy of ‘regeneration’ amounted to dumping super casinos in towns lucky enough to have been chosen.

    Now they’re anti gambling…until they seize power once again, empty the nation’s coffers, and need to scramble desperately for more sources of revenue. Then gambling will become morally acceptable again.

    • HookesLaw

      McDoom’s moral compass would not allow casinos (unless you werew a casino banker) and remember who is a McDoom acolyte.

    • telemachus

      That was revisionist Blair son
      The less said about his crazy ideas the better
      Miliband is a socialist

      • Colonel Mustard

        And yet you and the other commies voted for him – how many times?

  • CharlietheChump

    For those ensnared by the gambling bug it is possible to bet on anything – e.g. Cat Racing / Jeffrey Barnard.

    I worked with a guy who trained as an on course bookies clerk in the early ’60’s. One winters’ day there was thick fog and all racing (indeed all sport) was off.

    The bookie and his crew repaired to the nearest betting shop to find solace among fellow travellers; boredom took hold after a couple of hours so the discussion turned to alternative betting opportunities.

    In those days every man and boy wore a hat, the hat on the next man through the door would determine the winner.

    So the book was set up, flat cap at favourite, trilby second, a full range of military and naval headgear was priced in.

    They waited.

    Finally, after almost an hour a Sikh in full turban entered and was stunned by the uproar that greeted him.

    Gamblers will bet on anything. Internet Bingo is more insidious than Fixed Odds.

    • Richas

      What a juicy prop bet for the bookie regular waiting to meet his Sikh mate…

      Meanwhile the problem gambling data for 2012 from the Scottish and English health surveys is in this wek.

      In 1999 the UK as a whole had 0.6% Problem Gambling and Scotland alone was 0.7%. In 2012 the figures are 0.7% for Scotland and 0.5% or 0.4% for England depending upon which measure you use.

      Problem Gambling has definitely not risen as a result of the FOBT introduction in 2001 and their regulation in 2003(Gaming Board) and 2005.(Gambling Act).

      It turns out gamblers gamble and adding or subtracting one product makes little or no difference to that, it is all about the industry sectors fighting over the money via “regulatory capture”.

    • telemachus

      You are correct
      It is more a ruiner of families than drink

  • Noa

    Simply socialist micro-management both ineffective and wasteful.
    It ignores the real problem of massively increased gambling addiction by an already benefits dependent underclass, caused in turn by tory and labour politicians, succumbing to the blandishments of the lobbyists who wanted, and got, the long established controls on gambling dismantled .

    • omnissiuntone

      In other words, boo to socialist micro-management, unless it’s ‘long established’ socialist micro-management I approve of!

      • Noa

        It’s a shame you know so little of your own history.
        Following the Gaming Act 1845, the only gambling allowed in the United Kingdom was at race courses.
        The system of Magistrates licencing betting shops was intoduced by the Mcamillan goverment in 1961.

        • Richas

          You should check out the history better yourself. Betting on credit and even by phone was legal, debts were not enforceable. The concept was that by allowing account betting only the respectable and credit worthy middle class would be able to gamble.

          Naturally this led to a big rise in cash gambling by the working classes anyway, they used street bookies. The 1906 Street Bookmakers Act was even clearer that the aim was to end working class gambling and naturally the working classes just got on with betting anyway. Illegal bookmaking continued and was regularly seen as corrupting of the police who did not like the criminalisation of decent people who otherwise stuck to the rules.

          The bookmakers used a system whereby bets were collected and run by children as they were not prosecuted and also kept someone about called the “joey” or “mark” who would take the conviction if they were raided – the penalties escalated 1) £5 fine 2) £10 fine 3) Fine and 3 months gaol. Bookies avoided the gaol time by having a losing mark take the plea..

          The banning of gambling was remarkably and completely ineffectual, indeed it brought children and the problem gambler into the business as runners or “joeys”.By the time of the 1961 Act there were at least 200 illegal casinos and many thousands of illegal bookmakers.

          If you look at the history of BetFred and William Hill both sizeable firms with decent market caps, their history is as illegal bookies pre 1961. Fred Done,(BetFred) now worth about £850m and paying over £80m a year in duty started out as an 11 year old runner for an illegal bookie.

          The farce of banning betting is not just a Labour thing, the tories have done it as have the Liberals. The unionist in NI still try. In the past week we had unanimous votes to ban in Brighton, The Highlands and Liverpool. Libs, Greens, Scots Nats the whole lot of them are sacked in by this puritan wish to control how the poor spend their money

          • Noa

            I am aware of the history of gambling, thank you. And have seen its untoward consequences at first hand.
            However your description does not consider the social and moral issues which earlier legislation sought, however inadequately,to address.
            The default position of modern government is non-judgemental and generally adopts a free market position. The tax raised from gambling is now a significant contribution to its total revenue. Government does not come to this debate with clean hands. Having uncorked the bottle and unleashed the genie politicians are now, with their usual ineptitude, in the process of trying to recork the plethora of genies they have unleashed; most notably increased gambling, with resulting poverty and criminal money laundering.
            Significant restrictions will merely inrease on-line gambling and create new problems.
            A modern,secular and amoral government has succeeded in creating a virtually unregulated and ungovernable gambling industry. That, allied with the free sale of alcohol, the de facto legalisation of drugs,mass immigration and a clear decline in education, and moral standards, means we now have a problems of an order of magnitude greater than those which faced governments in the 18-20th centuries.
            However whilst stenly moralising and oppresively legislating on canards and chimeras like ‘racism’, ‘hatred’ and ‘diversity’ our politicians have neither the will nor the ability to address, however inadequately, the ageless human vices which cause such harm and tragedy.

            • Richas

              Gambling remains highly regulated and we have a new bill in parliament now that has all party support to increase the regulation of online gambling.

              I am amused by your “going to the dogs” mantra when by any sensible measure we have had social and economic progress in recent decades (though I am an interloper here, I don’t like the rise in inequality) it is difficult to reconcile your view of social, moral and economic crisis.

              You see I quite like my vices, I like being an adult and making choices – I think that I am best placed to make them not you.

              The amusement is reading your tale and recognising in it the last moral panic in the UK on gambling – “going to the dogs” The crack of the 1930s.

              • Noa

                I have no wish to police your vices, smugly worn as they are and with a devil take the hindmost dis-interest in those less fortunate.
                Let me be the first to congratulate you as you go to the dogs.

                • Richas

                  Goodnight then, I will leave you to your class antipathy and moral superiority.

                  As a leftie who respects freedom I have my difficulties with the control freaks who push this sort of proposal. It was kind of you to remind me that the righties of the Spectator also have their demons within their camp. In fact their’s are far worse.

            • telemachus

              Council of despair
              You can outlaw anything and enforce the law if you have the will
              The rot comes from the aristocrats and their Racing and then their gentlemen’s clubs

              • Noa

                Which is not what I wrote comrade, though Karl and Vlad would deal harshly with your revanchism, they did not accept the ruthless exploitation of the proletariat by bourgeois capitalists.

                • telemachus

                  Look son
                  Any government can with a will stop something
                  Your post really is a counsel of despair
                  Ed Miliband is showing the qualities of leadership that we will all laud in years to come

                • Noa

                  No you cliched moron,
                  I’m advocating a return to real local responsibility, not centralised meddling by local authority lackeys..

        • omnissiuntone

          Paternalistic micro-management carried out by the judiciary is paternalistic micro-management all the same. Your response to Richas’ post exposing the failure of the gambling restrictions you refer to is to say, ‘Ah, but gambling is bad!’ and then to go off on an irrelevant diatribe about the other social ills of twenty-first century Britain. Incidentally, despite the allegedly free sale of alcohol, alcohol consumption in this country, especially among the young, has been declining for a decade or so.

  • Nicholas chuzzlewit

    I do not gamble so this latest bout of sanctimonious and histrionic chest-beating from this dreary sixth-form oik should pass me by. That said, I am wondering seriously whether or not there is any single element of our lives over which Ed Miliband does not believe he has a god given right to interefere.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘dreary sixth-form’ – is not a bad analogy

    • dalai guevara

      Then how about not socialising the losses of gambling, mate?

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Impenetrable gibberish as always. FO.

      • Holly

        ???
        Fluent in metric there matey.
        Can you repeat that In English please.

    • telemachus

      If you were reasonable and had an ounce of care for your fellow man, this would not be necessary

      • Colonel Mustard

        I see that you are up to your usual tricks. 16 “comments” from you so far in this single thread and all of them inane twaddle of the most rancid kind.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Opening salvo for another round of authoritarian Labour ‘we know what’s good for you’ puritanism. If they get in in 2015 expect more projectile vomiting of ‘something must be done’ bad law and bans.

    Look at that picture. Another haranguing commie dictator. Kim Jong Mil.

  • HookesLaw

    Soundbites riding on passing band wagons are the crack cocaine of opposition parties.

    PS
    your headline then really should read, ‘Miliband makes a total @rse of himself – Again!’

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Uh huh, and if history is any guide, your mate Dave will be standing beside him shortly.

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