I was at a breakfast yesterday with current Lord Mayor of London (“current” if you read this post within 24 hours of my writing it: his tenure ends tomorrow). I was struck by his statement that “the City needs to accept appropriate regulation”.
Is it just the way of people in charge of things that they use words which clearly mean different things to different people as if they were absolutes? As I pointed out to him, his version of appropriate and the version of appropriate in the mind of someone for whom a bonus of £10,000, let alone £10million, is an absurdity, will be wholly different.
Is there a person on the planet who wouldn’t agree with the idea that “appropriate regulation” is required, in any field? “Appropriate” may well be none at all, and it may be quite a lot. Surely, the thing that should be happening is that a case should be made as to why his perception of appropriate is, well, appropriate.
The same remains true of racing’s quest for ‘a fair return’, a concept which, as I have pointed out before, is not in debate as a concept – at least as far as anyone I have spoken to is concerned, and within Racing, that constitutes quite a number. The question is, what is fair; and the recently-published report from Deloitte suggests (not to say shouts from the rooftops) that Racing has not made the case that their version of it is any more valid that people with a directly opposite view to their own. Until they do, letters like that published today in the Racing Post from the BHA chairman will at best sound like a whinge to readers, and at worst (with his citation of Betfair and William Hill – inaccurately, as it happens, in Betfair’s case) be seen as an attempt to divide and rule, the appropriateness of which for a regulator, people will, like the Lord Mayor, have their own views on. If you don’t have a copy to hand, here’s a condensed version: “Don’t blame us: we’re great.”
While on the subject of ‘Racing’, I’ve been in considerable correspondence recently with a well-known name in the racing world, who sent me the question: “Perhaps you can tell me what “Racing” is? The title is used often enough”.
I replied, “In my language, it is the people who hold office to lead and make decisions for constituents who are either employed by or take part in the racing industry.”
He countered as follows: “Whoa, I didn’t elect them yet I pay them (monies collected by the Levy, Weatherbys for my over-indulgence in ‘racing’)….There is no formal punters’ representative – except money and as you well know punters have been voting with that for some years now…For someone usually so precise I find your use of words like “office”, “make decisions for constituents” to be nebulous. Try again.”
I confess to be at a loss. As I told him: “it’s nebulous because I share your confusion on it.”
Answers on a postcard, please. Or posted below, obviously.