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The other side of the bet. The ethics of political gambling.

The other side of the bet. The ethics of political gambling.

Gambling doesn’t exactly have a good reputation.  Most Christian denominations are very chary of  it (my mother’s church had only recently relaxed the ban on church tombolas when we moved to the area in 1978). It is haram for Muslims. Even among agnostics and atheists few would regard it as a laudable activity. Some of these moral objections come from the greed that the lure of large prizes can provoke. Some comes out of the potential impact on losers. We all have…

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The Small Print

The Small Print

When you bet on football, by and large you know whether you’ve won or lost.  There are rules.  There’s a referee.  You can argue about whether a goal should have been given but you can’t argue about whether it was given.  There is little room for interpretation most of the time. Betting on politics is not always so straightforward.  The refereeing is more complicated.  Even when dealing with something as granular as vote-counting, the participants can and do sometimes argue…

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The Ballad of No Deal “WTO” Brexit

The Ballad of No Deal “WTO” Brexit

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a ma … I’m an interesting and important character. I don’t exist, will never exist, yet I lurk in the minds of millions and am discussed and written about constantly. Most fear me, some worship, only the hardiest, most detached souls are indifferent. Am I the Devil? No. As I say, I don’t exist. The Devil might. And He is not trading at a ridiculously short price in the current betting markets. Who…

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The Martingale system

The Martingale system

It’s not exactly gone as Leavers planned, has it?  We’ve reached the stage where they’re angrily blaming everyone else for the outcome, while simultaneously trying to claim that it’s glorious.  It’s hard not to wince watching them doing the splits. For it turns out that many of the things that Remainers said were true.  It wasn’t possible to leave the EU with the exact same benefits.  It wasn’t the easiest deal in history.  The eagles aren’t coming and the German…

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In other news

In other news

What important news has slipped by barely noticed recently? The planet continues to warm up If you aren’t worried enough about Covid-19, try a side serving of global warming to keep you awake at night.  This year should have been relatively cool, given that it was a year with La Nina, the converse of El Nino.  But it seems to have been the third warmest on record for the planet. The last decade (2011-2020) was announced as the hottest on…

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What is a level playing field?

What is a level playing field?

As we approach the ultra-final round of discussions, it may be useful to set out what the level playing field argument is actually about. Leaving emotions aside, it’s not essentially an argument about muscle-flexing or sovereignty, but a practical choice. In general, I’m a reformist – I like seeing countries take the initiative to make changes that other countries may not be ready for. Otherwise, reforms take much longer, as you have to hang around waiting for everyone to agree….

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Leaver or Limpet – How long with Johnson lead?

Leaver or Limpet – How long with Johnson lead?

When dictionaries announce their ‘Word of the Year’ it will undoubtedly be ‘COVID’, ‘Social Distancing’, or something related. But ‘Superforecaster’ is another word which has had a big 2020. Promoted by Dominic Cummings, who gave copies of Philip Tetlock’s ‘Superforecasting’ to all SpAds as required reading, a Superforecaster is someone very skilled in the practice of prediction. While they aren’t flawless, their track record is impressive. I raise this because political punters (and gamblers of all kinds) could learn a…

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