Sunday, March 18, 2007

Odds Against

So, the public have spoken and decided upon the UK's entry for this year's Eurovision song contest. Apparently the event was marred when the two presenters of the Song for Europe TV programme simultaneously read out different winners. Could this be yet another of those phone-in scandals which have (according to the press) been rocking British television of late? First it was Richard and Judy, then Saturday Kitchen, followed by Blue Peter and now Song for Europe! Not that it would make much difference in the case of the latter - whichever song the public chose, it would be guaranteed to be utter shite. The voting public clearly have no musical taste or judgement. Song for Europe is the most compelling evidence, if ever any were needed, that the vote actually needs to be taken away from some people in this country. Clearly we need to restrict the size of the electorate, not expand it.

The best thing to come out of this fuss over premium rate phone ins is that ITV has axed ITV Play, its interactive games channel. Ultimately, I must confess to having little sympathy for those who phone into these things - they're all idiots. No, really, they are. Just take the case of that pillock who ran up a £9,000 phone bill calling up ITV Play. I heard an interview with him where he claimed that it wasn't his fault, it was the telephone company's! Apparently they should have cut him off before he ran up the bill, instead of now threatening him with court action because he can't pay it! Jesus Christ! The Year of the Idiot never ends, does it? Of course, this controversy is used as an excuse to attack other forms of gambling and denounce plans for 'super casinos' in the UK. Such arguments are, I feel, completely spurious. There is a world of difference between someone entering a casino (an institution whose sole purpose is to get you to loose your money through gambling), and being enticed to phone premium rate numbers in the privacy of their own homes. The casino (or the bookies, for that matter) makes no bones about the fact that you will be gambling when you partake of their services. The TV programmes, by contrast, present their activities as a competition in which all entrants have an equal chance of winning. Pull the other one. I think you'll get better odds at the roulette table.



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