I was told off this week for two things (by the same person): not writing much, and being boringly long when I do. Here’s a post which seeks to correct both.
I went to hear Steven Pinker speak at the RGS last Tuesday about his new book. He was in conversation with Matt Ridley, whose recent book, The Rational Optimist I read when I was on a beach the week before, over half term, and can thoroughly recommend. Both men are of the view that we should be much more positive about the world today than most of us are, and they make compelling arguments.
How does that relate to any of this week’s news about cricket, which you may feel I have conspicuously failed to write about? (You’d be right, but it’s partly because others, like for example Simon Barnes (again), have already done so very effectively). The answer is this quote from Robert Peel, which was cited in Samuel Brittan’s review of Pinker’s book in The Spectator.
“The best way to eliminate harsh punishments is to increase the probability of detection.”
Memo to governments: that means more licenses for online operators which can match the regulatory requirements offering protection against money laundering, other criminal behaviour, and problem gambling.
Memo to sports: that means lobbying for licensing so that you are better protected, not lobbying for money from the betting industry so that you can fuel the black market by increasing the differential in cost between the legal and illegal markets.