The Third Leader: A safe bet

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Gambling, we report, is set to increase several fold over the current decade. Many place the blame for this with the Government, citing permissive attitudes, beneficial regulation and its own widely publicised examples of the practice, like invading Iraq.

In my view, however, the rise has a deeper source, which those factors, like the increased online opportunities, are tapping into rather than creating. The urge to take a risk is the instinctive, even sensible, response to an increasingly risky world, in which the foreseeable future shrinks ever nearer. The rainy days, you might say, are here, as is evident in the same report's predictions of increased spending on other instant entertainments.

The problem with betting, though, I've noticed, is that you can lose. That's why I want to recommend to you other strategies for coping with all the uncertainty. Pipe-smoking is a bit of a loss, and the climactic upheavals make growing vegetables a less rhythmic process than of old. Taking the dog out for a quick one before closing is also unavailable now, obviously.

No, the answer is to count and relish what certainties there are, such as footballers earning more than you do, other people always travelling more quickly, the first flatpack erection attempt failing, the other queue moving more quickly, your not getting to pensionable age before they move it, it being where you look last, you've lent it, it's off, it will cost more, it's made in China, the batteries will be low, you didn't save it, that was your bus, he'll sit next to you, she's will let her seat back, the warranty's expired, the good ones have gone, there are no poor bookmakers. There, I bet you're feeling calmer already.

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