How not to run a Government.

One of my pet hates are the F.O.B.T. (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals ) Machines, and their pernicious presence in betting shops up and down this once-pleasant land of ours. The Christian Institute echoes my concerns, and with the capability to allow a gambler with a credit card, together with an unshaken belief that the next spin will be ‘the one’ is always there, the addicts can, and do, lose eye-watering amounts of cash in a single session. The simple truth about gambling machines, mechanical (old school) or modern electronic types is that there is a bias, set into the very basic layout of the machinery’s innards, that the House always wins. A speedy review of the majors in gambling provide an interesting statistic, with the leader, William Hill, booking a massive $2.17 billions. Obviously the UK’s proportion of those earnings is smaller, but still substantial, and the tax take to HMRC is again, substantial.

I once worked in the commissioning phase of a Casino, and I can state, categorically, that the machines are as fixed as expected, the odds are set, and the House always wins. The manner in which this was shown was the view of three strong-armed casino staff members using flattened paddles, to wedge open an already crushed safe interior, stuffed with wads of cash so that ever more wedges of bundled notes could be shoved in, until the armoured bank truck appeared on the Monday morning, complete with armed escort, to transport the House winnings to the safety of a bank vault. But, as I was writing about a Government, our Government; I digress!

There has been, for years, ever since the lunacies of not only loosening the Gambling Law belt, we saw the surrender to the Gambling Companies, the vast expansion of casinos, and later the speedy avalanche both of online gambling; and the steady advance of these machines which hold a hook out, with a metaphorical carrot of winning based on the really silly idea of “It’ll be my turn on the very next spin”. My headline stated ‘How not to run a Government’ and I shall now demonstrate that very thesis.

With headlines such as “Gamblers in poorest constituencies are spending the most money” and “William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power collectively making more than £1 billion a year from the machines.”, the Government was warned, years ago, that the scourge of the  F.O.B.T.s was becoming ever larger, and that they should actively place exemplary measures in place to protect those who simply cannot protect themselves. So what did this truly caring Government do? They held a series of Committee meetings, with that same committee packed with MP’s who sat comfortably in the back pockets of the gambling companies, and decided to do: absolutely nothing! They then, stung by criticism from all quarters, decided to hold a Consultation; and asked, well, ‘What do you reckon? Should we drop the £100.00 top limit to £2.00; oh and what about Bingo prizes?’

They have the ability to Legislate, right now, and ban all those pernicious F.O.B.T. pieces of electronic excrescence from anywhere within the borders of the U.K.. But will they? Just think of all that lovely cash flowing towards the HMRC coffers which the Government must forgo if those machines are banned. And then you will see the redundancy notices handed out to the betting shop employees, who supervised, but never, ever warned a single punter that maybe he should quit, and cut his losses!

The Labour surrender was blessed by the Tories, and the tax take was too good to ignore!

Don’t get me wrong, I pay the ‘Stupid Tax’ alongside millions of others, but once a week, £2.50 is not exactly placing me on skid row, or anywhere near it.

Builder, or Mason?

I am, myself, speaking in purely personal terms, not a great fan of the Masons. I dislike the very idea of a secret society, or secret grouping of any type or character. The specific statement regarding Masons is that they might be a purely social club operation, made special by their peculiar regalia, oaths of loyalty and bonds of friendship; with a truly impressive operation in charitable endeavours; but they do tend to choose very carefully whom they ‘raise up’ . The Mason’s demur from the title of Secret Society; rather stating that they are a Society with Secrets. As the old saying goes, ‘You pays your money; etc.’ There is, however, the slimmest of chances that one Mason may seek to gain advantage in one particular area of British life, by appealing to another Mason for assistance above that which would normally be made available. The area is, of course, service as a policeman.

It is a fact that, certainly in the last three decades, some expose՝s or campaigns were published by senior policemen who, for one reason or another, felt they had been overlooked for promotion because of Masonic favouritism during the selection process. Another problem, ludicrous to me because of the attitude that states ‘there must be more black policemen because of the need for diversity’, is being blocked by Masonic policemen. A speedy check on certain BAME officers given advanced promotion would seem to stop that ‘diversity’ attitude in its tracks. A listing of serving police officers has long been mooted, but has been denied on the grounds of ‘Privacy’ and the Human Rights Act.

I believe that there remains a slim chance that, through a Lodge membership, a policeman, senior or junior, may be adjacent to, or friendly with, criminals who are also members, and obviously would be a prime target for corrupt activities. Because of this slim possibility, I believe that Police Staff, of whatever rank, should forebear the comradeship of the Lodge until they retire; that way, even the slightest whiff of impropriety could and should be disavowed.

……and nothing but the truth.

Rape is an ugly word for a truly ugly crime. Suspects are usually charged with  sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. If the charge is made in a timely fashion, photographic evidence of clothing, bruising and other more intimate tests; with DNA samples available, taken, tested and categorised; along with tests taken on the suspect; the evidence alone is usually enough to convict: it no longer becomes a “he said; she said” category, and becomes a solid case, placed by trained police officers before the Crown Prosecution Service; who will, take the case through to trial. The cases become fuzzier, and more difficult to prove, when any length if time has elapsed, forensic evidence is no longer available, (Showering, bathing, underwear and clothing being necessarily changed, washed etc.) and it all comes down to the demeanour and statements of the suspect and his accuser, the wronged woman during the trial; and the impact of the evidence upon the jury.

But, it must be argued, what happens if there is a ‘culture’ of “We must believe her; if she says ‘Rape’, it must be Rape; lets throw the book at this scumbag, lock him up and throw away the key”?  What happens if there is either a selective search through statements made on, say FaceBook; or even worse, if the accuser gives the police officer an ‘Edited’ series of messages, and that same police officer is either too dumb, too lazy, too ignorant or TOO COMPLICIT to check that she hasn’t taken out any or many incriminating messages which would ruin her case and charge of Rape against the male suspect.

The case goes to trial, the Suspect pleads ‘Not Guilty’, confident that the train of messaging will bear out his story that the sex was both consensual and welcomed; and then the boom is dropped on his head by the prosecuting barrister; when the ‘Abridged’ series of messages is presented to the Jury. When he protests, the prosecution barrister got angrier and louder and kept saying, “I put it to you that you raped this girl and now you’re lying to this court.”. Found to be Guilty as Charged, he was sentenced to 4 ½ years for Rape.

After a chance conversation with another inmate, he got his sister-in-law to log in to his Facebook account, and she discovered the whole series of messages still existing in digital form. When she showed the Facebook exchange to the officer in charge of the investigation, he said: ‘How did you know how to find the messages and we didn’t?’ I reckon the term ‘Pig-ignorant’ would suffice.

But you have not read the worst, most damning part of this story; even after the Defence and Prosecution were made aware of the total collapse of the evidence, he had to wait another two years in jail before release whilst his Appeal was being prepared. And his accuser? She is still free, still retains her anonymity;, and as far as is known, has not been charged with perjury, withholding evidence, or perverting the course of justice.

Two other Rape cases have fallen apart in the past few weeks, both where evidence had simply not been revealed, as is required by Law, to the Defence. The question which must be asked? Is there a shady pattern being revealed, case by case: or is this just really bad work by the fuzz?