I'm in the process of catching up on Lib Dem blogs from the past week or so. I have spotted this from Adrian Sanders MP about casinos and cite it as another example of what I was going on about here about sticking to a consistent Liberal ethic.
Now, I should say on the subject of casinos that my personal views are a bit puritanical. I rarely gamble and feel it preys on the vulnerable. Despite my usual libertarian impulses I am uncomfortable about TV adverts encouraging people to have a flutter on sporting events. So on this issue at least, I am not quite the wacky libertarian, although equally I don't want to impose my personal prejudices on everyone else.
So I feel uncomfortable about Adrian Sanders simply criticising the government for allowing casinos. To me the liberal solution ought to be about decentralised decision-making. It should be up to local areas to determine their policies towards casinos and the like.
I certainly wouldn't advocate a super casino for Watford. Yet I can't see why councils in Torbay or Blackpool or wherever should be prevented from encouraging them if they feel that would help with local employment and regeneration.
It's not so much the fact that Adrian Sanders disapproves of casinos and gambling that I have a problem with. It's the uncritical acceptance that policy in this area should be top-down and centralised.