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 Politics.co.uk 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.”