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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Wednesday, 17 March 2004
The anti-war crowd insult the people of Iraq.
This page from the BBC news site's 'Have your say' (click here) has given me much pleasure.

The public were invited to comment on a recent opinion poll taken in Iraq that shows most people reporting that their lives are better than one year ago and that most expect their lives to get even better next year.

If you look at it, you'll see that all the people who have written in from Iraq and all the Iraqi exiles who express an opinion agree with the positive findings while many who have written from western Europe, other arab countries and some from the USA disagree!

How can it be that ordinary Iraqis' lives are better? That's not what the Guardian and the Independent's Robert Fisk are telling us. Why does the Iraqi public deviate from the script?

It proves too much for Hamza in Iraq who says "...How dare foreigners tell us we are not better off? Do you think we are children who can't see what's around us?"

Yes, Hamza, that's exactly what the fashionable anti-war poseurs do think! In the postmodern world, it's the cynics who are the most gullible.

_ DY at 11:13 PM GMT
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France discovers that there is no 'Get out of terrorism free' card.
France has received threats of terrorist retaliation for its ban on religious symbols in schools. Click here.

I'm puzzled why this story was prominent on ITV's news website but took a great deal of effort to track down on the BBC.

_ DY at 1:04 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 16 March 2004
Paella-eating surrender monkeys.
Congratulations are due to Al-Qaeda for its victory in the Spanish election. From now on there is only one party in power in Spain: the Terrorist Party. What does it matter what a conservative or a socialist politician thinks any more? As soon as they say something that Al-Qaeda doesn't like, the country will be bombed until the electorate replaces them with the person most likely to wave the white flag. It would not surprise me if in 10 years time, Iraq has no terrorism problem and Spain still does.

_ DY at 4:41 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 March 2004 8:02 AM GMT
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Saturday, 13 March 2004
Apology to Guy Bowles.
A few weeks ago, in a post titled 'Playing the villain', I said that Guy Bowles had intentionally misled readers on the Gutshot forum about how he would play a poker hand in a given situation. Not wanting to talk about him behind his back, I e-mailed him at the time to tell him that I had made mention of his advice on my site. I received no response at the time and could not be sure whether he had received the e-mail.

Tonight I met Guy for the first time since I wrote it and after establishing that he had received the e-mail, I realised that he was angered at the suggestion that he had lied. I've been forced to consider the possibility that I misjudged the situation.

My only premise for believing that he was misleading readers was a very flimsy one: a vague recollection that he once e-mailed me to express surprise that I had given some advice about a poker situation on a discussion forum. From that and only from that I went much further to assume that he would intentionally mislead, but I should stress that at no point in that e-mail did he suggest giving out 'disinformation'.

I don't know Guy well, but I have spoken to a few people who know him far better than I. All have said that they trust him to act in the manner he recommended. So I withdraw what I said and apologise for any hurt caused.

_ DY at 3:24 AM GMT
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Monday, 8 March 2004
Show me the money.
A new incentive scheme to tackle truancy in Manchester has taken an interesting approach. Schoolchildren could win prizes just for attending lessons! As this story explains, each week, a computer will select random names of six pupils from six different schools across the city. They will each win vouchers worth up to #100 if they have been in classes at particular times.

I think that the schools might be on to something. They may have at last realised that children are mostly motivated by money and not by the beauty of aquiring knowledge for its own sake. As a child I was always astonished at how little connection was made between the world of commerce and my education. I recall my friend Tony asking a maths teacher if he could show us how to use maths to invest on the stock market and getting a completely blank look in return, not because the teacher regarded the question as impertinent or distracting, but because he had absolutely no idea what to say. It had probably never once occurred to him.

In a previous post, I described going to a presentation for a perfume company called 'Maison d'Essence'. Most of the people in attendance were young, about 17 to 20. Nearly half were black. They would have left school only a few months earlier. Had they been academically gifted, they would have stayed there or gone on to colleges.

So the people I was looking at were the ones who had not succeeded. But were they disruptive or distracted during the presentation? Not a bit of it. You could have heard a pin drop in that room because they believed that someone was finally telling them what they wanted to know: How to make money.

The real solution to truancy in Manchester or anywhere else is to make every lesson a "prize" for the discouraged kids. One start would be to demonstrate clearly why any given lesson taught is of value financially. The love of knowledge for its own sake comes later to people who are secure in their career. The educational establishment needs to make education more vocationally relevant.

_ DY at 2:16 PM GMT
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Saturday, 6 March 2004
A setback for the Middle East.
Over at Armchair Angst, James Butler expresses his disdain for the Arab version of Big Brother. He agrees with Islamic protesters who want the show cancelled "because like they, I don't want to be force-fed an alien culture. They know, as well as I do, that the sham that is multi-culturalism is actually mono-culturalism."

Yet again, poor James makes common cause with people who would cheerfully wring his neck if they knew what else he believes and fails to mention that they themselves would dearly love to force an "alien culture" on the rest of the world.

Since he wrote this, the show has been taken off the air because of the protests of a minority of fanatics. James will no doubt cheer this.

I won't. I feel that the show genuinely had something to offer the Middle East region in particular. And that is why it was so frightening to those who want the region to remain in ignorance.

In the first series of Big Brother in the UK, a lesbian woman came second and a black man finished third. In the second series of the show, a homosexual man was the winner. In the third series, a tomboyish 'ladette' woman won. These showed that race, sexuality and rigid gender roles do not matter to the majority of people in Britain today.

Of course an Arab version of the show could not have dared to include homosexuals, but it could have helped change attitudes by showing unmarried men and women talking with one another without the pressure of parents or religious figures. And it would have given many viewers their first ever experience of voting.

Writing as someone who would like to see the Middle East become a normal part of the world where people live at peace with themselves and others, I see this as a lost opportunity.

_ DY at 12:33 AM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 6 March 2004 12:36 AM GMT
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Thursday, 4 March 2004
Razzies update.
I got the clean sweep on the Razzies. Ben, Jennifer and their film 'Gigli' all won hands down and I made a profit of #111. This is small beer compared to the swings I experience at poker but it seemed like free money, it was free money and I am glad I took it.

I really do believe that these 'special bets', as the exchanges call them, are the best value for people like me who don't spend hours analysing batting averages, football injuries or race results. There is of course money to be made in sports betting and I know several people who profit well from it, but it's a lot of work.

My next tip for a 'special bet' is to back the Republicans for the US presidential election. John Kerry can't win, despite the popular gloss he gets in the media. If the election were held in Europe, he would win but in the US, especially the southern states, he will be destroyed. I could list dozens of faults the man has but I will save that for a later date. I am not having a bet on the US election yet, as I don't want to tie up my money for so long. I just hope that the odds don't shorten in the next three months.

_ DY at 2:50 PM GMT
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Saturday, 28 February 2004
Wishing Ben and Jennifer good luck in the Razzies.
I have some bets on for the 'Razzies' tonight. In case you don't know, the Razzies are the Golden Raspberry awards, given to the worst films, actors and actresses of the year. They are always staged exactly one day before the Oscars.

This year the betting exchange Betdaq has quoted a market for them and I think I've spotted value. One film and one couple stand out in my mind as dead certs for the awards. I'm counting on the film 'Gigli' with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to get a clean sweep.

The film has earned some of the worst reviews any film has ever had. But there's more. Many people were sickened by the overexposure of the on-off relationship of Ben and Jennifer ('Bennifer') in the media. This is their chance for revenge. I've laid out about #250 in bets at prices less than evens, but I'm confident. Wish me luck.

I should also update my final result on 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here'. I only made #90 out of it from an outlay of #300. I was a little disappointed with this but earning 30 per cent on your money in less than three weeks is not to be sniffed at. You don't get that at the building society.

The amazing part is that much of what I initially forecast was completely wrong. I said that only four people could win. None of them made the last three! The winner was someone I said was too young.

I was very glad that made the decision from the start that I wouldn't play the eviction markets. Had I done so I would have continually backed Jenny Bond to be next out and lost every time. In a million years I would not have expected her to come second.

Brocket would have been a big winner for me and it looked like he was going to do the business once Johnny Rotten walked out. However he imploded because of his irritation with Jenny Bond. He made jokes about wanting to strangle her on the same day as the conviction of a man for strangling his girlfriend in what was said to be a sexually motivated crime. Brocket's timing could hardly have been worse.

Kerry confronted Brocket about something when he had been unreasonable. I've forgotten what it was. Being seen to combat someone who is 'out of order' is often the key to winning these elimination shows. It is what propelled Craig to win the first series of Big Brother.

So how did I win, given that my early forcasts were wrong? Well, that's the beauty of exchange betting. You don't have to pick the winner. You can also lay a loser, which I did with Jordan on the basis of advice from an expert on these markets. I also backed Brocket at long prices and laid some of it back when his price shortened. And I put some money on Kerry once it seemed certain that only she or Brocket could win. I nearly put a lot more on her but I was keen to lock in a profit and go 'all green' so I didn't push the boat out. I won't be so cautious next time.

The real lesson is that it's not about picking winners when there is so much betting-in-running. It's about the trading. There are a lot of people on Betfair who overreact to fresh information and they should be exploited. I feel I've got a lot better idea of what to look for next time the show is on and I can't wait for it to start.

_ DY at 3:21 PM GMT
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Friday, 27 February 2004
What do they teach them in journalism school?
This story saddens me. Click here!

It's such an opportunity wasted. A company director gets obsessed with a prostitute with a 34DD chest. He embezzles from his company until it is broke.

And the headline writer can't even come up with the obvious: "Crooked boss sees healthy firm bust." He's nearly got it, but either he's missed it or lost his nerve.

Did Benny Hill die for nothing?

_ DY at 1:16 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 27 February 2004 1:17 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 25 February 2004
Playing the villain.
Lately I've been getting really irritated at the number of posts I see on poker discussion forums that are titled `Poker in xxxxx'. I always click on them thinking that there is a tiny possibility that someone has been to play there and has written a report about it.

But it never happens. Instead such posts are merely requests for information, usually from people who haven't lifted a finger to help themselves. Yesterday I snapped after someone in Penzance named Ben wrote on Gutshot to ask about poker in Torquay, as he had heard that there were poker games in the town's only casino. I was really hoping for an update about the action there, but as usual it was just a request for information. So I angrily wrote:

"It's a shame that there aren't any telephones in your part of the world or you could call directory enquiries and contact the casino to ask them. I'm getting a little tired of clicking on posts that say 'Poker in X-ville' and finding out with 100 per cent reliability that they are lazy requests for information rather than news or information supplied.

A brief rummage through my drawer finds an old membership card with the no 01803 294901. I think it's still valid. Now call them and write here about what you learn from them."

It was a little harsh as the person asking did say that he was an internet player who hadn't ventured out to play live yet. I should perhaps have waited for another victim, but his snotty reply erased any sympathy I might later feel:

"Yo David.

Thanks for being so utterly patronising. I'm sorry that you had to read a post about a card room not based in the hamlet of London. I'm sure that if I ring the casino I can garner the relevant info as regards the games they spread etc. However I'm not sure that they'll be able to give me the background information I was looking for. E.g. general information about the experience of playing there, the quality of the opposition and what games/times are softest, and perhaps relayed in the context of this being my first time playing in a card room.

I mistakenly thought that this forum might be the perfect place to discover such things,(posts on 2+2 I assume would not be very productive) but no, I discover that I am in fact lazy for not going into the card room blind of such knowledge and then selflessly volunteering it on the forum for others. That in fact I should be an information gathering service for those that live in the real poker world and not "x-ville" as you put it. You londoncentric XXXX.

This was my first foray into this "Poker Collective" I am going to assume that not every member is as rude, patronising and ignorant as yourself and will continue to persevere here. As to you David happy suck outs and bad beats."

Perhaps I deserved some of this, but it's a lot of attitude from someone who's never even played the game! He's clearly been reading a few forum discussions in his time of playing online and has already acquired a disdain for those who tell him things he doesn't want to hear. Remarkably he attacks me for being Londoncentric when it's quite obvious that I want to read about poker outside London or I wouldn't have clicked on a post about poker somewhere else.

It should also be noted that prior to this he had had one response from the owner of the website who said: "Your nearest casino with poker would be The Aviation club in Paris!" And that's really helpful.

Still, nobody had yet given our hero any information about Poker in Torquay. I wrote back:

"I love playing outside London. I've been to Torquay many times. The last time was December last year. I was looking forward to an update on how the games were going.

As for the other things you mentioned - like most provincial places, the poker is ?10 or maybe ?20 (I was hoping you could tell me) comps. "The quality of the opposition" is abysmal; "what games/times are softest" - there is isn't much to say. There will almost certainly be only one cash game and it won't be anything like what you've experienced before. Nobody will want to play hold'em with you. Not in the provinces. You might get some great 7-card omaha hi-lo split action.

Nearly everyone in Gutshot is London-based. I'm not strictly a member of the 'collective' but I've been more helpful than any of those who are."

Next to chip in was Guy Bowles who wrote:

"Well said Ben,

David is not a member of the collective, as you will see from the absence of his name from the member profiles. In fact, he has publicly stated he does not wish to join. I for one am pleased about this as he has the wrong attitude to be a member. He plays primarily for profit rather than enjoyment and has a stated policy of not helping new (or indeed, any) players on how to play better poker.

If you are ever up in our "hamlet" come along to the Gutshot cardroom where I can assure you of a friendly welcome."

I'll have to let you into a little secret here. Guy has gone far further than I in preventing knowledge from spreading. In an infamous thread about one year ago, someone asked what one should do holding AA in the early stages of the WSOP main event when the blinds are small and someone has gone all-in in front of you. Guy wrote back to say that he would give it some thought and pass, because he would only be an 80/20 favourite and was sure of getting a better spot to stick his chips in later.

It's pure bullshit and he knows it. I think I may have written in to disagree, which shows that I am not nearly cynical enough under pressure.

Anyway, I had to write back:

"Does nobody see the irony that I've answered his question and nobody else has?

As for "I discover that I am in fact lazy for not going into the card room blind of such knowledge and then selflessly voluntering it on the forum for others."

Well, er ... yes, that pretty much covers it. It would be really nice if people were to give once in a while instead of take. On several occasions I've written about places I've visited: Southampton, Dundee etc.

I certainly don't help people to play better. I learned the hard way.

My reasons for not wanting to join a 'collective' were because I don't go in for that pseudo-socialist image. Soon Gutshot will be a business and I am really looking forward to it.

The next post to appear was from an anonymous writer. It thanked Ben for mocking me:

"May I second the big thanks. Whenever I read a posting by this 'David Young' character, I'm invariably cheered. It's a remarkable comic construct you've invented, blustering, preposterous, self-regarding without any trace of self-awareness -- Bravo! Perhaps it errs too much on the side of pomposity to be entirely believable, but I recognise that's in the service of comedy and therefore only to be applauded."

Nice attempt at humour as far as it goes, though far from original. I got support from a few people including one named `Dave Young fan' who wrote:

"I'm with you Dave. Who wants to play poker for fun with a bunch of pussies? Keep earning!"

As things stand, I am the only person who come close to answering Ben's request for information, albeit begrudgingly. But I'm the villain when all I've done is let him into one of the best kept professional gambling secrets there is: "Do your own homework!"

What odds will anyone give me that Ben ever writes back on the forum with a report about his experience of Torquay if he ever does go? I doubt it. Why should he be "an information gathering service" as he put it?

That's my job, I suppose.

_ DY at 10:49 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 February 2004 10:54 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 24 February 2004
Celebrities with guts.
One of my Viz favourite characters is Roger Mellie 'the man on the telly'. Roger is a crude and brainless television presenter. Every one of his stories contained the same basic elements: He is given a new show to present. He gets totally drunk. He offends everyone and gets sacked. At the end, he is always shown pitching his next disgusting idea to his long-suffering producer.

In one story that made me laugh years ago, he pitched an idea for a show called 'Celebrity arseholes' in which members of the public are shown the sphincter of a famous person and have to guess who it is.

Last night I think I saw it.

I slumped in front of the television to see a show on Channel 5 called 'Celebrity Detox'. Four D-list celebrities were sent to a spa resort in Thailand where they were made to diet and endure daily enemas. There were also courses in various spurious new age activites but the enemas were the real story.

I had assumed that they would take place behind closed doors. But no! Viewers were shown the celebs from the chest up, while they lay on their backs and filled their colon with liquid. Each set up a camcorder so we could see their facial reactions. Although I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen, I certainly had my fingers in my ears at many points.

There have been many ridiculous celebrities shows recently but this one has beaten them all. What I find fascinating is that some celebs (Tamara Beckwith, Kim Wilde, Richard Blackwood and an Irish singer from either Boyzone or Westlife) were handed this as a proposal and each thought to themselves: 'Hmm. My career needs a bit of a boost. My fans must be missing not seeing me on TV any more. What they want is the sight of me grimacing and the sound of me crapping at high velocity. Where do I sign?'

Can we sink any lower?

_ DY at 2:07 AM GMT
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Saturday, 21 February 2004
Feel God's hate.
I like to look at atheist websites, as most of you know. I discovered one a few months ago called It's based on a few verses of the bible that appear less than flattering about figs, including the peculiar story of how Jesus cursed a fig tree because it was out of season when he wanted to eat from it. The story is told in St Mark Chapter 11 between verses 12-14 & 20-23 and also St Matthew Chapter 21 verses 18-20.

Call me na?ve but it was only yesterday that I discovered that the site, though based on genuine Bible verses, is actually intended as a parody of a religious and homophobic site called, which is run by a hate-filled minister from Kansas named Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Phelps sees himself as the final saviour of a corrupted United States - mainly corrupted by homosexuals. In fact the only country that he sees as being `correct' on the issue is Zimbabwe.

He hates George Bush for appointing an openly homosexual man as US ambassador to Romania.

He says that the attack on the US on September 11th 2001 was punishment from God for tolerating gays. He describes the heroic New York Fire Department as the Fag Fire Department for having a gay chaplin who died in the atrocity. He sees this as a fitting punishment. He pickets the funerals of noted homosexuals to declare that the deceased is burning in hell.

The most disgusting thing on his site is his page devoted to a lesbian who was killed by dangerous dogs: Click here! It shows a picture of her in flames and if you have the sound switched on you can hear a woman's voice scream in pain `Arghh. For god's sake listen to Phelps'. Depending on your mood, it's either hilariously funny or utterly sick.

The scary part is that he can support his revolting view with scripture. It makes you realise how fortunate we are to live in the present day, when few people form their views according to the written word of a more savage age. Once upon a time, people used to pay money to visit the lunatic asylum at Bedlam, to laugh at the deranged. Now, thanks to the internet, they are only a click away.

_ DY at 6:11 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 21 February 2004 6:18 PM GMT
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Saturday, 14 February 2004
Memories of Club 18-30.
A few days ago, I mentioned on the Hendon Mob forum that I had gone on a Club 18-30 holiday in the mid 90s. I was asked to tell some more about the trip and so I wrote a lengthy expose of my week in Ibiza. Many people have written to me to say that they found it very funny. I'm a bit shocked by this, as I assumed that everyone would have had a similar story to tell.

For the sake of those who don't read the Hendon Mob forum, I attach the story in its entirety. I forgot to mention one other vignette of the week: the time that a girl tried to chat me up. I asked her what her hobbies and interests were. In response, she listed the drugs she was taking.

Here it is again:


I was about 25 at the time and this made me a fossil by comparison with most people in the group. Despite the name, almost everyone was in their late teens. I went with a friend whom I had met on a skiing holiday the previous year.

I didn't know a lot about how such holidays worked. In particular I had no idea that the operator block booked the whole hotel. In a previous holiday to Spain I had enjoyed myself mostly by hanging out with some Germans and I expected to do this again. I brought some textbooks on German grammar to give my mind something to work on and improve my chances of communicating. It was a great disappointment to discover the lack of variety in the social mix of the hotel guests.

The first couple of days were OK but after that, drinking and dancing got rather stale for me. I looked for some Germans to mix with in town but there didn't seem to be many at that end of San Antonio. Desperately needing to give my mind something to do, I looked around the town for a language school where I might learn some Spanish. There were lots of schools offering English to the local Spaniards to help them work in the tourist trade. I wanted the opposite. I found someone who would teach me Spanish. By a weird irony, my teacher, a woman, was German.

I mentioned this to very few people in the hotel but word somehow got around. I was asked two questions about my lessons with the teacher.

Question 1 was 'What were her tits like?'.

Question 2 was 'So what's Spanish for "Do you like it doggy-style?"'

Another notable occasion was the Club 18-30 trip to an isolated beach further round the bay. It was awkward to reach over land as the roads were poor so we went there by a chartered boat. One guy, named Dan, the same guy who asked me Question 2, got so amazingly drunk that he went into a coma and an ambulance had to be called.

He wasn't seen for a couple of days after that but when I next bumped into him in the hotel corridor, the first thing he said to me was 'You know what ... they charged me #14 for that ambulance!' Failing to share his sense of outrage, I replied 'Dan, you stopped breathing!'.

My holiday coincided with the first week of Wimbledon and I read a report of a game between Henri Lecont and Boris Becker in a copy of the Star that one of the other guests had bought. I was shocked to see the use of WW2 stereotypes in the account of the game, in particular the line 'Becker crushed the token French Resistance of Henri Lecont ....'

I pointed this out to the guy who had bought the paper and said 'Look at this. It's disgusting to read this in the 1990s. Look at that "crushing the French Resistance" with capital F and capital R'.

I got a blank look in response; number unobtainable. I slowly recalled that he had told me that he worked in MacDonald's and that I was talking to someone who washed lettuce for a living and gave up.

I had somehow expected that I might bump into a few people who had just finished university or polytechnic with whom it might be possible to have a vaguely intelligent conversation. I never did.

_ DY at 6:11 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 10 February 2004
The battle for law and order should concern our daily lives.
I'm puzzled by news that the government is creating a new agency, inevitably dubbed "the British FBI", to tackle organised crime. The agency, whose real name will be the Serious Organised Crime Agency or "SOCA" for short, will not deal with terrorism or murder cases.

You can read the story here.

I can see the merits of better co-ordination across the force and of course I want crime reduced, but the move seems based on old-fashioned concerns to me.

For a start, one of the targets of the new agency will be drug smuggling operations. I personally don't worry much about drugs for the simple reason that I don't take them. It affects my life very little whether one tonne of drugs enters Britain next week or one thousand, because I won't be taking any of them.

Of course there are knock-on effects when others around me start taking them. But much of that is due to the expense of the hit to which any local heroin user is addicted. A junky's risk of death by overdose is due to the inconsistency in the purity of the drug. His crime spree is the direct result of his need for ready cash. His decision to inject small quantities with dirty needles, rather than smoke larger amounts with no risk of catching AIDS, is due to the expense of the drug. The expense is due to the illegality.

Drug laws are killing people!

I differ in my view on how drug crime should be tackled. If you take the view that drugs should be illegal, which it so happens I don't, then it would make more sense to me to attack the people who worsen the quality of life for everyone.

That would mean arresting those who harrass young people into taking drugs, if this ever actually takes place. It means taking little notice of the "Mr Big" types who live in yachts off the south coast of France, for the simple reason that their actions are not affecting my life in a direct basis. I don't see the point in being lenient with the former in exchange for information about the latter Why bother? Preventing pushers from selling on the streets is enough for me. I don't care about the rest of the supply chain.

The zero-tolerance approach, which was so successful in New York was based on a focus on "quality of life" crimes. These included aggressive begging, petty vandalism and theft. The results have been dramatic and I can't understand why more cities haven't copied the measures.

But I would go in a different direction with respect to drug laws. I would make the government the provider of narcotics, clearly labelled and unadulterated. Before anyone shakes their head in horror, please remember that the government makes billions from duties on cigarettes and alcohol; two drugs that kill far more people than any of the illegal narcotics.

I'm not alone. North Wales police chief constable Richard Brunstrom said exactly the same thing recently. Click here! Many of us know that he is right, but few politicians have the courage to say it.

But you ask, "What message would this send the young?" I have a simple answer to that. It would send the message loud and clear that they won't be able to make a living selling drugs in the future and will have to focus harder on getting good grades at school to improve their employment prospects. The easy money that their elder brothers and sisters used to make by acting as lookouts or intermediaries will be gone. Back to class, kids.

What comes over again and again when listening to the views of the public is that most of us would like to see the rank and file police being more effective at dealing with the crimes that affect our daily lives, like burglary. I don't see how this new agency can achieve this.

Interesting footnote: The word "Heroin" is actually a trade name patented by the German drug company Bayer. The product was intended as a remedy for coughs. You can see an advert for it from 1897 if you Click here!

_ DY at 2:59 AM GMT
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Monday, 2 February 2004
Update to my last post on 'I'm a celebrity'.
After I wrote about 'I'm a celebrity' I spoke to a friend who is VERY good at making money betting on TV elimination shows. He is a professional gambler who now spends most of his day trading the markets on Betfair and has never had to work in his whole life. In the first series of Big Brother, he correctly worked out the winner after only three days! I could not go ahead without consulting him first. His view on Saturday midday was:

He could not see Jordan winning. All her best 'assets' had already been on display. She has little to say and is lazy regarding the general duties of maintaining the camp. He encouraged me to lay her at the short prices available (3.75). His forecast said: 'As the group gets smaller, I think it will emphasise how little Jordan does'.

He agreed with me that Brocket was value in the 7 region.

He disagreed with my idea of laying Kerry, but agreed that Peter could be laid, although it would involve tying up a lot of capital.

He said that Alex Best should be bet at the high prices she was fetching (high 40s), with a view that she would last longer into the show and her price would shorten. He thinks that she could outlast Jordan. In particular, she had not yet performed a task and had no profile with the viewers. But that was soon to change as he explained: ...Alex doing task tonight, so her odds will now shorten. He stressed that last year, Linda Barker did absolutely nothing for the first four days yet still made it to the final three.

As a consequence of the discussion, I put #300 into Betfair and bet Brocket at 6.8, laid Jordan to potentially lose over #250 and bet a small amount on Alex. I have no other positions.

Since then, Jordan's price has drifted in the market, exactly as I want it to. As I write this she is at 4.9/5.0 to bet/lay. Early on this morning, my advisor was worried: Watching live feed, she has apologised for being lazy in first week, said she's ready to be herself and explained that since she left school and went into modelling she has always had everything done for her, so has never been in team environment; and is now getting on OK with Johnny.'

This was potentially a disaster and I had the dilemma of whether to hold out, given that he still didn't think she could win, or to take some profits. Luckily I had done nothing before his next e-mail: 'Forget last e-mail, Just got wind of The Sun front page about Beckham, that will go against her for sure.'

I had a look at the paper's website and found to my great relief that Jordan had made remarks insinuating a scandal involving David Beckham. What a close shave that was! This will turn the public against her, especially as she seems to be using the show to promote a forthcoming book. Good old-fashioned British jealousy should ensure that enough people hate her for trying to make more money from it. It's already been reported that she got #100,000 for the show and has ordered a Bentley.

This extract from the Sun is not likely to help either: JORDAN, tipped by The Sun to win, yesterday told Peter Andre she fancied him and was ready to dump lover Scott Sullivan. Jordan, who has already shared a steamy bedtime cuddle with Peter, moaned that Scott hadn't wished her luck before her jungle stint.

Exactly as he forecasted, Alex shortened from 46 to about 30 at time of writing. Brocket is unchanged. My best case scenario would be for Jordan to be eliminated and then for Johnny Lydon to walk out. That would be the 'perfect storm' for my positions. My advisor was in profit before the show started, as the advance market offered high prices on Johnny, which he knew would fall once it was clear that he wasn't a lunatic.

I'm hoping to reach that much revered 'all green' scenario, where you win whatever the outcome because of your successful trading. Wish me luck.

_ DY at 2:50 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 2 February 2004 3:21 PM GMT
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