Monday, April 27, 2009

Wanna Bet?

After having observed politics for some decades, I'm surprised every once in a while, to encounter a story I've never heard before.

Such is the case with this BBC report about a minister in Britain's Labor government getting into trouble because he allegedly placed a bet against his party in the next general election. That election will be held some time within the next year or so, at a date to be determined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Gambling is less restricted by law in the United Kingdom than in the U.S. One can place a bet over there on just about anything, including all aspects of electoral politics. So, politicians might be subject to the same temptation that sometimes gets athletes and coaches in trouble in the sports world.

Involvement in betting on activities in which one is involved, especially when the bet is against one's own side, has been troublesome. Some of the most famous such allegations are those that have kept two of baseball's all-time best hitters, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and Pete Rose out of that sport's hall of fame. If the allegations in the current British case are true, it seems that Lord West has not learned a lesson from those players of that strange variation on cricket in the Colonies.

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