Please don’t blow this chance

The desertion of Liberal (or LNP?) member Peter Slipper to take up the Speakership offers the Labor government a great opportunity, but also the temptation to mess things up disastrously. The opportunity is to see out a full Parliamentary term, long enough to put the carbon tax and MRRT in place in a way that the Opposition will either have to accept them, or announce a credible plan to replace them – something that is clearly beyond the capacity of its current leader.

The temptation is that the corrupt hacks who infest the ALP machine will use the extra vote to renege on the promise to Andrew Wilkie to tackle the scourge of poker machine gambling through precommitment. A large section of the ALP has been tied to the hotel and club industry since time immemorial and have obstructed any reform that would challenge the interests of this industry.

Even disregarding the issue of principle, it would be really stupid to break the deal with Wilkie. The government’s only chance is to survive past the point when the scare campaign about the carbon tax and MRRT will be shown up for what it is. If Wilkie abandons them and one ALP member has to leave Parliament for some reason, the government will fall. In that case, electoral support or opposition from the poker machine lobby will make no difference.

105 thoughts on “Please don’t blow this chance

  1. Think how much more financially viable they would become if they were licensed to sell crack cocaine

  2. Read the Article, SATP. The failure of viability is squarely laid on the name Brands charging extortionate prices compared to the open market product ie excess corporate profiteering.

    Last weekend I had several restaurant class meals at a pub in Wagga. Beautiful building, good beer, great food, indoor outdoor and balcony dining, functions under way, no poker machines,….a memorable experience.

  3. The evidence is solid, poker machines create crime.

    Judge Roland Williams questioned at the time ”how a so-called civilised society can allow and offer the mindless operation of poker machines to witless members of the public under the euphemism of gaming and entertainment is no doubt a question for the sociologists of this world”.

  4. Also…the evidence shows that as fast as UK pubs close licensed and unlicensed eateries are opening up. Pubs need to change to survive and reliance on gambling is not helping them.

  5. Woops,

    Also…the evidence shows that as fast as UK pubs close licensed and unlicensed eateries are opening up. Pubs need to change to survive and reliance on g*mbling is not helping them.

  6. That pub in Wagga is no doubt in trouble once BilB opens up a microbrewery & pub there. A great opportunity, and a real financial killing to be made.

    Are you sharing your epicurian experiences with us so we all may vicariously enjoy your good meal in Wagga?
    I’ve eaten in restaurants both high & low brow all over the country (& the world) none of which were operating EGM’s. Your point (relevant to the Wilkie reforms) is what exactly?

    I’m not interested BilB, in reading any article written by either an ingenue or even if written by someone who knows what they are writing about.

    It may surprise you (probably does) that I didn’t get my knowledge of the pub trade from reading about it. Nor did I get my knowledge of the UK pub trade by reading about it, (even if I did read about it, I’d use more sources than two or three journalistic puff pieces)
    I keep abreast of what is occurring in other parts of the world. If a jurisdiction is easier to make a go of it in than home, then I’m off!

    For a long time the UK has had too many pubs, they’ve cut the pie into slices too small. Furthermore these have been way overvalued for the returns. To top it off they are way overtaxed & over regulated. A pub in the UK that makes 50,000 quid for the operator will have paid roughly half a million quid in one form or another of tax. This is before running costs. At the end of all that, Fifty Thousand isn’t much kick for a husband & wife working every hour god sends, never mind for an investment, where a return is far from guaranteed.

    I don’t doubt eateries, licenced & unlicenced are opening up. But any mention of eateries opening “all over the place” must also mention how long they trade before closing again. The eatery game has always been a tough one.

    None of this has the slightest relevance to the Wilkie reforms.

  7. Unfortunately I used the “G” word in my post so this is to short circuit the mod box.

    Clearly micro breweries are a bolt out of the blue for our very own Steve the Publican. and add brewery.html to see the Duxes awards and beer labels

    What it comes down to Steve is that people love a good product and reward it with loyal patronage.

    “None of this has the slightest relevance to the Wilkie reforms”

    Oh yes it does. The Clubs associations are claiming that their very viability is built on the continuance of poker machine useage. The real issue is that they are just plain bad business people.

    Our local Penrith Panthers Club have used the greedy grab of g*mbling money to buy up every club in the area, refurbishing..yes…but installing more poker machines and bad food. The whole thing is sick (not good sick).

    The links are for those who are interested in seeing how pubs can be, if we get switched on energetic publicans who believe in creating a good experience for their patrons.

    The Dux de Lux was, I believe, badly damaged in the earthquake and I’m not sure if it is up and running again.

    Unfortunately we have a lot of lazy publicans in this country. They will catch on eventually.

  8. Steve at the Pub

    “You’re against someone making money,”

    This was a lie ….

    Normal people are against profiteering where it damages others. No one opposes people making money in fair circumstances.

    This is a lie….
    “a likely envro-fascist.”

    This is another lie….
    “Gambling isn’t of the slightest concern to you.”

    It would be best if listened more and did not manufacture such falsifications.

    Maybe you have some other argument you’d like to proffer?

  9. I’m not interested BilB, in reading any article written by either an ingenue or even if written by someone who knows what they are writing about.

    It may surprise you (probably does) that I didn’t get my knowledge of the pub trade from reading about it.

    you can learn things from listening to and reading other people’s opinions. true story. yes, even about your own chosen profession. i suggest trying it some time.

  10. The simple mathematics on poker machines means you will lose. Hence, the smart collective look down upon those simple poker machine players.

    The simple trend polling up to date, tell us Abbott will win the next election. In fact this trend hasn’t changed since the day after the last election. Yet, the smart collective tell us Abbott will lose. It’s obviously an “emotional feeling”, because it’s not based on statistical evidence up to date, perhaps it’s that lucky itch?

    It’s just got to turn around, just one more spin, it’ll come good with my lucky last dollar etc.

    I reckon a good gaming machine would The Jackpot Julia, whataya reckon punters?

  11. Yes, I’m with you, Red. That would be very good, and the barrels being computer generated would have very good resolution for the images displayed. And might I point out that Jackpot Julia would be powered by a very honest computer, as compared to the Toxic Tony Terror Bonanza machine “brain”.

  12. The net money you lose is simply payment for the enjoyment you receive. Just like any other consumption good you are better off as a result. Society would be much worse off if people couldn’t ‘purchase’ this form of enjoyment. The punters are simply purchasing a form of entertainment. Don’t worry though Toxic Tony and others like Eddie McGuire don’t intend to let you be deprived of that pleasure. Great that they are looking out for us.

  13. The point I make freelander is that the expected ALP turn around isn’t based on any tangible evidence, it’s based on emotion. They are the same emotional responses that inflict poker machine players.

    There’s absolutely no evidence that the “sky not falling in”, whatever that means???, after the introduction of a carbon tax will help the present government in any way. It may not harm them further, however there’s no evidence it’ll make any difference to the major improvement in standing that’s needed to come close in the next election.

    The “sky not falling in” meme is of course at its heart, hope. No different really to what keeps the guy/girl playing that machine with the last fifty out of the pay packet.

    That’s the problem with a nanny state, who’s keeping tabs on nanny? Does she really know it all?

  14. Harry, ignore steve on this – he’s swallowed the kool-aid. You’re right that the clubs’ attittude is strong evidence it will work – they wouldn’t be trying to bring down a government if the measure onlycreated a bit of inconvenience rather than a big revenue loss.

    The government would have to have rocks in its head not to carry the measure through now. Apart from the fact they may still need Wilkie, it is far worse to fail to get a controversial measure up than to succeed in getting it in. They cannot possibly afford another major backdown – surely even the Sussex St mob must understand that.

  15. Derrida Derida, if “he’s swallowed the kool aid” is the best you can do, then give it up.
    A comprehensive refutation, or a fisking of me is fine. But “ignore, ignore, ignore” says: “I haven’t an answer for his points”

    Which kool-aid have I swallowed anyway? There are so many different vats of it to choose from.

    I reiterate: The opposition to the Wilkie reforms by the Club lobby need not be due to the clubs believing that those reforms will actually halt problem gambling.
    You will have to prove that link. You won’t, as the Wilkie reforms will not prevent problem gambling. End-of-Message.

  16. @derrida derider

    Just so DD. Since in practice, controversial measures always have at worst, considerable support (otherwise they’d not be contemplated) failure to get them passed demoralises the friends of the measure and causes them to doubt the usefulness of the regime without those opposed looking any more kindly upon the regime. The more often the government holds its nerve and presses forward, taking the parliament with them, the more competent they look.

    On the whole, the people who hate controls on pokies are either never voting ALP any way or they are voting ALP despite hating it. In the middle there are those who are to be persuaded that it’s the best measure but if the measure works (i.e. problem gambling is seen to decline) then the government gets kudos for “leadership”. A government that goes to water every time there’s a trolling populist campaign simply makes a rod for its won back — which is why the RSPT backdown was so toxic for the regime. If they were going to back down, they shouldn’t have proposed it in the first place, perhaps engaging in “extensive consultation” about “how to reconcile a strong mining industry” with “dealing with the problems of our patchwork economy” and “setting aside for the future some of the benefits of the mining boom” and “sharing the wealth in present and future Australians”. In short, you make nebulous claims that hardly anyone can disagree with, get through the election and a change of senate and then just do it. Had they done that, then carbon pricing, live exports and pokies would have gone a lot better.

    There can be no doubt that there is support on the right for such measures. Traditionally, it was the conservative right who had to be persuaded that gambling in Australia ought to be legally tolerated. They can’t be all that happy about being in the pro-gambling camp. This is potentially a huge wedge issue.

    Bear in mind also the sources of funding for the coalition in the AHA/Registered Clubs movement and anything that disrupts the clubs helps the ALP.

  17. wow, i got a jokey response from the barred in blowfly (sorry) blow in barfly.

    funny there was no response to queries about the chirpy claim to have tortured some-one quite a while back on another thread.

    is going all quiet when specifics are raised a debating technique?

    or just containment or derision or dismissal or if that doesn’t work,chuck a huge wobbly .

  18. @Red

    Don’t worry Red evidence of trend or not, with Toxic Tony, the One Trick Pony, “No, No, No”, the Libs are backing a loser. Twelve more months of the same tune will be more than the public can bear. To guarantee a loss, Toxic Tony won’t even have to provide anymore Latham moments. Toxic Tony, the gift that keeps on giving. You can hear Turnbull chuckling in the background.

  19. In all the discussion about the pros and cons of mandatory pre-commitment and the issues of problem gambling there has been no mention of the huge elephant in the room.

    Do you know that it takes nothing more than to print an on-line form and sign it and submit it with a certified copy of you ID to get a share trading account linked to your bank account?

    With a little help from google you can take it one further and fill out a form that will link options trading to your bank account. Ditto for other trading.

    Now, as much as you might be able to lose on a poker machine, you can lose a whole lot more speculating on stock movements – and, attractive to gamblers, you’ve probably got a better chance of winning against the market than against the house (I’m not 100% sure of that).

    3 things flow from that to my mind.

    1. if we must protect gamblers from themselves then should we not also do so for all forms of gambling?

    2. If it is so easy to gamble on line – then why do people go to clubs etc to gamble? What are the other issues involved? Have there been studies that have tried to shed light on why it is that people BOTH go to clubs etc AND throw their money away on gambling?

    3. There are a lot of forms of gambling available and few if any of them other than the sort that has been discussed here (ie gambling at your local club) plough anything at all back into the local community in any way at all. If local clubs are indeed stripping little old ladies and lonely old men of their home equity (which is how i see it at my local club) then the ones losing would seem to be their children (who are where prey tell?) and the ones winning would seem to be the local clubs and to some extent t6he local people – for example i know 4 people who are employed full time at the club.

    I am no expert in any way whatsoever on these issues but i can see with my own eyes who is putting money through machines at my local club and it’s not the family man with a gambling problem that takes food from the mouths of his family. It’s just all these lonely little old men and women who, rather than spend all their days locked away at home, spend their time at the clubs. I chat with them. I know a few because I live next door to them or down the road from them. I know from experience that they are happy NOT to go to the club if they have something else to do.

    Maybe my suburb is atypical i do not know. Maybe the real problems are in the outer suburbs.

    anyway that’s my 2 cents worth


  20. Pop,

    There is a huge difference between an addiction and bad judgement. Certainly internet gaming is a huge problem, and perhaps the next one to be challenged after poker machines.


    You’ve got a nerve to suggest that anyone else should “prove that link”. You’ve never yet substantiated a single one of your outlandish claims. Thrusting you chest out and declaring that you are the font of all knowledge may work over the bar at your pub to half inebriated patrons, but it is totally unconvincing in these forums.

  21. @BilB

    Did i mention internet gaming at all?

    I talked about gambling on-line by people speculating on the markets.

    As for the assertion that’s there’s a huge difference between bad judgment and addiction – really? Is not Addiction the very embodiment of the lack of ability to use judgment to influence/alter actions? Huh?

    You just brush aside all of my issues – there appears to have been no thought at all – in fact I would suggest there’s little to distinguish your approach from the approach you accuse SATP of taking.

    I’ll make it simpler – what’s the real difference between someone addicted to on line trading and gambling by any other means?

    If you are going to suggest that we upper middle class types are immune to addiction – have you some lessons to learn.

    Who really are the targets in the legislation being discussed? Who? And by that question I mean who are the target gamblers and specifically why and how much are we talking about and how does that compare with all other forms of speculation. As well where will that money go for sure? Who are the targets on the receiving end? Both gainers and losers?

    All humans react to losing the same way – with the need to un-lose – it’s well documented neuroscience.

    I have no idea what research is being used as the foundation for the legislation but I do know politicians and in general they are stupid, lazy, self interested, incredibly arrogant and easily manipulated by many forms of lobbying (not much different to the rest of us). I know from a lot of first hand experience that that they will lie through their teeth. I also know that they (or their bosses) are masters of using the side issue to hide the real issue.

    Consequently i have no faith at all that there is any value in any form of legislation.

    I’ve not seen anything in everything above to have me think it’s a slam dunk in favour of legislation. And unlike many, I spent most of my formative years surrounded by addicts of all kinds.


  22. Bilb, it may surprise you to learn that on hobby forums such as this, inhabited by closed minds such as your own, there are far less critical thinking skills displayed than in any pub.

    It is a laugh for somone who exhibits mental skills on the level you do, to attemp an ironic tone when calling me the “font of all knowledge”. Do you seriously think there is one person on this site who’s a match for me? !!

  23. pop, the argument about whether governments SHOULD make problem gambling on pokies harder is one thing, but the argument here is not about the whether precommitment SHOULD discourage it, but whether in fact it WILL discourage it.

    satp, it is plain as a pikestaff that the clubs are hypocritical liars in this. If they wanted to stop problem gambling they’d be putting forward things that we can all agree must work – tiny jackpots only (the UK approach) and/or $1 machines only, both of which Wilkie has said are acceptable substitutes for the precommitment measure but neither of which the clubs will agree to – because, of course, they don’t really want to stop problem gambling. Instead their proposal is “lets talk about it and maybe run some trials” – ie put it all off as long as possible in the hope of a change of government.

    It actually reminds me of the way governments tried to discredit the Lancet’s estimates of the Iraq war costing 600,000+ dead. The strongest evidence that they secretly thought that estimate was reasonable was that they refused to do any studies to provide alternative estimates, for fear these would be even higher.

    And satp, I can safely say there is no-one on this forum who is a match for you – or would want to be :-).

  24. of course they will blow this chance.

    They got rid of Rudd for reasons which were never fully explained. It was certainly not polling. No-one believed the internal polling except Andrew Bolt. nuff said.

    they learnt nothing.

    Their campaign was a shambles. Remember the great strategy of dissing Rudd. wow that worked well.
    They learnt nothing.

    They then said to Julia tell them the ETS is a carbon tax but we have to do it.
    wow that worked.

    They learnt nothing.

    This is a government of Aspergers.

  25. They got rid of Rudd because he was a dud, and what was worse he was incapable of doing the job of prime minister and was too big headed to let others do the job he couldn’t do behind the scenes. On top of that his autocratic behavior means that few who had the misfortune to work with him, like him. There is more to being prime minister than appearing on TV. Unfortunately the rest of the job was beyond him. They will never regurgitate him. Although he doesn’t seem to know it his prime ministerial aspirations have long since dissolved. John Howard was no more incompetent than his peers, and John Howard wanted it so much more. That is why he was left standing after a long war of attrition. A certain large Labour politician, now retired, would have been recycled if he had hung on, but then that person had no ticker and just expected it to all fall in his lap. Really appalling the choice on both sides. Rudd put then in a very difficult position. How could they really explain it. Good thing we don’t have Presidents. Then we would have been stuck with him right until and past when the internal collapse of government had become apparent to the populace.

  26. @KB Keynes

    Please, let’s leave off the Aspergers references. That’s got nothing to do with this regime’s shortcomings. These are political rather than the result of intellectual disability.


    Anthony Ball from registered clubs got a gig in theirABC’s The Drum today, scoffing at pre-commitment and $1 caps. Of the 308 responses so far about 90% were overtly hostile, with words like “parasite” and similar being tossed about and many saying the p*kies should simply be removed entirely.

    Nice one Anthony.

  27. @Fran Barlow

    For many years the ABC suffered the undeserved reputation of being a “sheltered workshop” but it can’t be called that unfairly any more. Since the right took over during the Howard era, as well as subjecting Australians to a parade of invitees like Anthony Ball, the skill and apparent education of many of their new crop of ABC staff is simply appalling. I just heard an ABC announcer referring repeatedly to the capital of Iran as Terrain. ABC NewsRadio, whenever ABC staff are on, is error after error. Now I would like to see it privatized. I don’t see why we should pay for this rubbish. Maybe that was the plan.

  28. @The Peak Oil Poet

    My second son is within the autism spectrum and has PDD-Aspergers. I’ve been through the entire process since he was verbal. There’s no doubt IMO, that it’s an intellectual disability. It is an intellectual challenge for those marked by it

    As a teacher, I understand the sensitivity attaching to what is and is not called an intellectual disability as this is often mapped to human worth. I reject such mapping. I regard the nomenclature as cultural. Soe reject categorising it with autism, but it is clearly within the spectrum.

    Your tone is uncivil and your point ill-founded.

  29. @Fran Barlow

    🙂 wanna fight?

    1. I’m on the spectrum and should that be surprising? Many a psychologist would pick it just by my quirky writing style.
    2. I’ve raised a very AD boy – Asperger’s might describe it or maybe just straight out ASD but he’s so far way way above average intelligence that to see his nature as a disorder is to see it out of balance with the whole. Sure he seems to lack “theory of mind” but what he lacks there he more than makes up in so many other directions.

    3. Being on the spectrum I’ve worked in the past as a teacher in special needs schools “teaching” math and related concepts to you guessed it – Aspergers.

    4. I’ve a black belt in karate, I’ve spent years teaching “special needs” kids – and some are quite Autistic and I’ve learned a thing or two about Autism and the family. It’s amazing just how different kids can be just based on the difference in parents – some parents refuse to see their child as handicapped in any way – they fight the system and they focus all their love on the kids and the kids, as weird as others might think them, are happy and have good lives. Other parents start and stay forever with the attitude their kids are disordered – they accept all the labeling and they use the system to get what they can to support their “sick” kid. My parents almost fell into that trap and took me to a shrink when i was a kid. Boy was that shrink dumb.

    5. as a computer scientist I can assure you that there are places where every person has Aspergers to some extent (I heard that MIT engineering had no non-Aspergers professors for some time)


    My tone is not unfounded – it comes from both being on the spectrum and having spent a lot of my life working with others on the spectrum and many years of study to try and understand myself (and why I was different).

    As for uncivil – take it or leave it – i do know that a lot of parents of ASD kids struggle with their own self-worth issues and construct elaborate defense mechanisms to deal with this. It’s very easy to prod negative reactions out of people in such cases.

    As a last I’ll tell you a little story.

    My cousin has a park named after him in Yass and so whenever I am passing through with time to spare I’ll stay the night at the caravan park there so i can go to the park and maybe some of his famous literary skills will rub off on me and make me a great poet (so far no luck).

    On a time i was making my dinner at the communal outdoor kitchen at the caravan park. I noticed this really strange young man (in his 20’s). I watched him for a while and realised he was like a super extreme version of me so i went and sat with him and we talked for a few hours about his hobby – traveling all over Australia collecting rocks. Bot did that kid know A LOT about rocks. He showed me what he had gathered on his current trip – boxes and boxes of rocks and he could tell me the whole history of every rock – from billions of years ago to the present. It was totally fascinating and I wanted to start collecting rocks again myself (i used to collect rocks when i was in my teens). Yeh he was really strange – to anyone who had no clue about his nature – but if you could get past that and get into him he was like awesome.

    The next morning I was back at the kitchen and there was a lady with her 5 year old child there. My Asperger’s friend turned up and watching her reaction was classic. She treated him like a snake or a funnel web. The look on her face was terrible – had i been the target of those looks and her behaviour and been “normal” I’m likely to have instantly become a “paranoid schizophrenic” (incidentally my brother was so diagnosed).

    I felt no animosity towards the woman. After all she was just being guided by her animal instincts and I’d seem the same reaction in countless mothers while raising the ASD boy mentioned above.

    It taught me a lesson though.

    The price we pay for having more IQ than you is terrible – we don’t have so much EQ – but I’m damned sure it is better to be oblivious to the nasty animal nature of people and not be able to “read their minds” than to have both high intelligence and high social awareness. Maybe that’s what makes schizophrenics eh?

    So yes i do take umbrage at you labeling me as having an intellectual disability.

    let’s see you worm your way out of that one teacher


  30. FRan,
    My brother has it. My sister’s son has it.
    I know all about it.

    One aspect of Aspergers is that they keep on doing the same thing without ever changing.

    The comment is quite appropriate.

  31. @KB Keynes

    You know all about it?

    Yeh from the perspective of the poor person who has to put up with other people having it.

    That makes you an expert like living with an Astrophysicist makes you know all about dark matter theories.

    I sat next to a Nobel Prize winning scientist once on a 4 hour plane trip.

    I know all about particle physics now.

    And i was introduced to a Prime Minister once so i know all about how to run a country.

    I watched a doco about mountain climbing…

    I imagined what it might be like to be a brilliant poet….

    I had a thought once



  32. POP,

    If you are livng with some-one for a while and you learn of their problem then usually you go to an expert and find out about the problem and how you can assist that person.

    One frequent complaint is thay they never want to learn. This comes from ‘normal ‘ people who often wonder why Aspies continue to behave as they do.

    You come to realise it is you that has to change not them.

    If you do not change then life almost becomes intolerable.

  33. @KB Keynes

    That’s Truth 🙂

    For a laugh (kindof) consider what it must be like for an Asperger’s to be caring for a young Asperger’s who is further along the spectrum.

    If both want to do the same thing you have harmony (actually better than harmony).

    If not then the only solution is for the older less ASD to do what the younger ASD wants to do.

    That is an exercise in egolessness that takes more than skill – because you really have to want to give up self to other (else you find some way to fob off other on some institution of caregiver).

    If you experienced giving up self for long periods of happiness with your relatives then i do not need to commend you.

    You know yourself what you gained from it.

    Unfortunately very VERY many people with ASD children/siblings/husbands/etc never learn this and never experience that sudden bright light-going-off-in-the-head realisation that comes when you truly grok giving up self to the other.

    Of course there’s never going to be any other payback than this.



  34. grok?


    (i tried to remember how to spell the name,but it wasn’t worth the effort)

    and the salivating females?


  35. Why are you anti gambling for ordinary people?
    Russell Ward made the point that it is linked for typical Australians to our egailtarianism, our independence, our hospitality, our hatred of officiousness and authority and of any appearance of affectation.

  36. @Australian Legend I’m not against gambling for ordinary people. But about half of all gambling expenditure comes from a small group of problem gamblers, who do immense damage to their lives and those around them. It is this group the legislation is trying to help. Of course, those who benefit from the money problem gamblers put through poker machines (or spend in casinos) don’t want the problem to be solved.

  37. A problem with poker machines (and this extends to the also carefully designed settings they are often found in) is that they have been designed to addict their users. Obviously not everyone succumbs to them but then the same is true of heroin, cocaine, nicotine or religion. For each of which some people manage to keep their use to recreational rather than habitual levels. And like those recreations, when for some other reason someone’s life is already bad, they are at their most vulnerable to succumbing.

  38. Freelander @ #45 said:

    A problem with poker machines (and this extends to the also carefully designed settings they are often found in) is that they have been designed to addict their users. Obviously not everyone succumbs to them but then the same is true of heroin, cocAaine, nicotine or religion.

    Not to mention other addictive substances, such as sugar and spice and all things nice. Its a wonder that little girls aren’t sticking up banks to feed their habit for these few of their favourite things.

    I am intrigued by Freelanders suggestion that Confucius, Jesus and Buddha should be put into the same boat as Colombian narco-traffickers. Obviously the fact that most religions preach against addictive substance abuse and for the virtues of free moral choice could not be admitted in evidence against his charge.

    Religion is not an addictive substance, or no more so than any club which encourages team work for the common good. Its an evolutionary adaptation which has usually enhanced the survival, sexual reproduction and social co-operation prospects of its adherents.

    Perhaps its days are numbered and liberal self-interest must now be relied on to get all good things done. (Not that narcissistic self-obsession could ever be addictive, of course.) I await with interest the outcome of this social experiment.

  39. But religion is dangerously addictive to susceptible weak minds. And what is worse, hardened addicts can turn more dangerous than anyone under the influence of any drug. Just look around you, read the newspapers, watch your TV, to see what a source of violence religion still is in the modern world. Confucius didn’t found or propound a religion. As for Buddha he did have a couple of meritorious ideas but his followers have plenty of propensity for religious instigated violence. As for the water walker if he ever existed was a pathetic mish mash of plagiarised mumbo jumbo. How many acts of genocide and other atrocities is he responsible for?

  40. The evolutionary success of religion derives from what they do to non-believers. They kill them.

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