Letter:Lottery preys on the gullible

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IT SEEMS only a few days since the media exploded with righteous indignation at the "obscene wealth" heaped on the chairman of British Gas. This indignation is evidently not shared by a public which is prepared to make possibly undeserving individ uals mind- bogglingly rich via the National Lottery each week.

I have to hand it to the Tories. First, they persuade taxpayers to buy shares in industries they already own; next, they allow those industries to make huge profits at the expense of the taxpayer, who has no choice but to use their products; finally, they make them pay even more tax on those products, rather than taxing the utilities' own excessive profits.

No doubt encouraged by their success with con tricks, they have cleverly harnessed the greed and gullibility of the public in the National Lottery. Result? A few people made immensely wealthy; a new company created, destined to become quite wealthy itself; and a small amount to charity, which, amazingly, includes the arts and a piece of fatuous nonsense called the Millennium Fund.

If only most lottery ticket-buyers were not self-excluded from the arts by our class-based education system; if only we had a Government which would take an extra £2 or £3 a week from people like me, (annual income around £16,000), and spend it on something sensible; and if only there were an opposition which looked more inspiring than a public relation man's idea of a political party.

M J Foster Malvern, Worcestershire

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