Place your bets

Lottery. We suppose we should take it all far more seriously, but it still seems pleasingly fitting that the affairs of the National Lottery are such a, well, lottery. Nevertheless, one of our competitors was angrily demanding to know yesterday whether you would trust the lottery commissioners to run a whelk stall.

Lottery. We suppose we should take it all far more seriously, but it still seems pleasingly fitting that the affairs of the National Lottery are such a, well, lottery. Nevertheless, one of our competitors was angrily demanding to know yesterday whether you would trust the lottery commissioners to run a whelk stall.

This seems gratuitously insulting to whelk-stall owners, who are an upright and sober body of men and women with all the qualities - entrepreneurial skills, willingness to roll up their sleeves and get on with it - to make them welcome in Mr Portillo's inclusive New Tory Party. Besides, could you make a go out of selling whelks? Much easier, we should have thought, to run a lottery.

So, while regretting the passing of such a fittingly named commission chairwoman as Dame Helena Shovelton, we have a suggestion to make: once certain requirements have been met, why don't they stop bothering the courts, put all the names on little balls and get Dale Winton to sort it out?

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