COMMENT: Unenviable decisions we entrust to politicians

Two stories from the weekend illustrate the dilemmas facing politicians and legislators, and provide something of a conundrum.

It was reported in a national newspaper on Saturday that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, had scrapped a review into the menace of fixed-odds betting machines, an issue on which this newspaper is campaigning.

The report was later dismissed by another cabinet member as ‘fake news’ and we await clarification of the government’s current position.

Our Against The Odds campaign, backed by Portsmouth City Council, seeks to impose a reduced £10-per-spin restriction on the machines, which are known to be highly addictive and can currently gobble up £100 per stake.

It is known that the tax from such gaming machines are worth about £400m a year to the exchequer, but it is to be hoped this will not cloud the chancellor’s judgement on these machines, dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling.’

Elsewhere today, we report on an event held in Portsmouth by pro-cannabis campaigners, calling for the legalisation of their drug of choice.

They point out that this, too, could provide valuable tax revenue and benefit the country economically.

So, on the one hand, a legal, potentially harmful pastime that benefits the economy; on the other, an illegal pursuit with the potential to do so.

The News is not backing calls to legalise cannabis. That is part of a much wider debate.

But, along with he issue of gambling, it is a debate that must be had, so that the politicians, in whom we entrust such decisions, can make informed choices.

As much as many people debunk politicians, it is clear that we often do not envy the decisions we delegate to them.

You cannot please all the people all the time. All we can ask is that they listen to us and, in the end, do the right thing.