Casinos, clutter and compliments

Throwing good money after badThis pleased me today: Brown scraps super-casinos.

Making gambling easier is such a bad idea I don’t know where to start. Colour me patronising, but there is a huge difference between putting a fiver on the gee-gees once in a while, and losing hours and days of your life and plunging profoundly into debt somewhere which is basically a forest of slot machines.

You see, the “Super-Casino” is not a matter of James Bond, Monte Carlo and sophisticated elegance, it is a matter of how many slot machines can you fit into one place and still have room for a bar. The bar is part of the business model – if people are sober they are more likely to know when to stop. At its simplest, what happens in Supercasinos is that people are drugged and robbed. Consensually, of course, but even so that’s what it boils down to.

The Blair government’s insouciant encouragement of the Supercasinos in the UK was one of the many things they did which disgusted me and made me uncomfortable here. It was a telling symptom of that particular regime’s impoverished imagination, lack of moral compass and cynical opportunism. Remember Cool Britannia? How smug and shallow was that?

Anyway – I’m not going to rant about something which is over and done with. I’m wary of Gordon Brown, but in this case I think he’s done well. It’s a bugger for Manchester and the other bidders, but it was their own greed that done them in, and in the long term the people there will be much better off without it.

At the moment it feels as if the kiddies have been sent home and the grown-ups are at last running the place.

I wonder how long it will last?

I’m still de-cluttering. Today I got rid of three whole things and formally met some up-hill neigbours at the same time. Freecycle is a wonderful thing. I’ve been waving to these neighbours whenever I’ve seen them for two years but, being English, we haven’t actually – you know – spoken to each other. That would be forward of us. Well they wanted some of my stuff so I took it round, and now we’ve actually met, which is pleasing.

My boss asked me how old I was today and seemed really scunnered when I told him. He said “if you’d told me you were in your late 20s, I’d have thought you looked a bit rough but believed you”. It’s a compliment, I guess, but I had to laugh at the inelegance of it.


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