John Kay from the Financial Times wrote a good article on the 21 October 2014. The headline caught the eye was “Mob Justice is a dangerous way to deal with bad business”. The sub -heading read: “Politicians resemble gangsters roaming around extorting money from unpopular individuals”.
This would strike a chord with anyone involved in the gambling industry.
Kay did not mention gambling but cited the following from Prime Minister-in waiting Ed Miliband:
It is not only Labour. The Tories announced that some of the fines levied on banks for fixing LIBOR will go to armed forces charities.
The gambling industry has to face Point of Consumption Tax and increases in Machine Games Duty. These two measures will reduce William Hill’s profits from £300 million down to £200 million – a tax grab that will take £ 100 million from one company alone.
If a government needs to raise tax revenue, fair enough. But what concerns John Kay at the FT and others is the process. In gambling we are told the new measures are about consumer protection in spite of the fact the evidence shows the UK gambler has never had it so good in terms of value and problem gambling is not on the rise.
By assigning tax increases to good causes you eliminate protest. How can you fight against money going to cancer research, youth employment training and the NHS?
People flock to the UK because we have an independent judicial system that protects individual’s rights and we have a due process based on consultation. All are worthless if the Daily Mail, with a circulation of three million, decides you are today’s target.
John Kay sums it up perfectly:
“There are compelling reasons why advanced societies have abandoned the rule of the vigilante in favour of careful, dispassionate, deliberate processes. Proper judicial proceedings are free of the pressures of 24-hour news. Frontier justice often emerges when the existing law is too slow and cumbersome, and too much in thrall to established interests, to respond to the legitimate anger of the public – and this is a fair characterisation of what has happened in finance. But the right answer is to reform the law, not to act outside it. Something politicians seem reluctant to do because they somehow manage to get it wrong so many times.”
Thanks to a coalition Government, a recession and rising debt the UK politicians have become anti-business. They have always been anti-gambling.