Friday, 9 April 2010

Hackney bookies takes big Lib Dem bet - Green, Labour who hates bookies most?

Proliferation of betting shops in Hackney could become one of the top election issues. It's already turning nasty in Stoke Newington.

Greens laid claim to the Hackney betting shop agenda in August 2009 - Greens thank Labour for joining their campaign and on page 8 of the Hackney Gazette 13 August 2009: Greens claim credit for clamp down on bookies.

According to Stoke Newington Labour councillors the Green Party has overdone itself on the issue and accuses the Greens of distributing a misleading leaflet. Apparently they've made unfounded claims about who worked hardest to stop Paddy Power opening in Stoke Newington.

Meanwhile quotes a Paddy Power spokesman yesterday: "Strangely, we've taken our biggest bet on a Liberal Democrat outright victory, £200 at 200/1. The punter, in Diane Abbott's Labour constituency of Hackney North, would be set for a potential return of more than £40,000 should Nick Clegg's party pull off one of the greatest shocks in parliament's 208 year election history."

Or from Diane Abbott's website (25 March 2010): "Hackney currently has 69 betting shops which is three times the national average.

“Applications like this are turning Hackney into a mini Las Vegas. I and the people of Hackney do not want the future of our borough to be gambled away like this. Hackney has high levels of unemployment and poverty and betting shops are a temptation to make money quick. They also attract crime and anti-social behaviour to surrounding areas without offering any benefit in return. The government and local councils need to act together to stop our high streets being dominated by the gambling industry before it is too late.”


  1. Maybe I'm missing something - but don't these planning applications have to be voted on by the Planning Committee?

    Isn't the Planning Committee made up of Labour councillors?

    So er why don't they vote "no"?

  2. MPs seem to spend a lot of time talking about 'local issues' that are councillors' jobs to deal with as far as I can see. Maybe that's why ministers and civil servants (and appointed Lords *cough*Mandelson*cough*) seem to end up running the country without a great deal of scrutiny from Parliament.

  3. Well-researched stories, Mr B & P. Keep it up.
    -- Loving Dalston

  4. Comments! They're like buses.

    These are all just guesses - Kris, I think bookies are like strip clubs and because they're not actually illegal - not liking them is not an excuse to refuse a licence. They have to cause a real problem, noise, pollution etc, it can't be on moral grounds. So I think that's why it doesn't matter who is on the committee. But there's something odd about the fact that the City can refuse strip clubs but Tower Hamlets and Hackney can't (I assume it's the same with betting shops)- at least that's what I remember being told by someone.

    And Denny, I'm confused about where an MP turns into a councillor. That's what meg hillier said in her interview - that people think she's some kind of councillor. But I'd guess it is an MPs job to take up issues like this - when a law seems to make life worse and can't be over-ridden at a local level. There's no political disagreement over this betting shop issue (except over who feels most strongly about it) but the law says nothing will change - I assume the MP is the one most likely to be able to address this.

    And don't you prefer it that MPs have got something to do with the place they represent? It looks like Meg Hillier is starting to get a bit of heat from her own constituents about Yarl's Wood - but I get your point.

    How would your canvassing system work for raising topics for debate - like Diane Abbotts gang crime discussion? And early day motions. Does it allow for a bit of proactivity?