Twenty seconds. That's all it takes to spin a digital roulette wheel. Twenty seconds and you're on the road to financial ruin, relationship breakdown and despair. These pernicious machines are destroying the lives of the poorest in society. Gamblers can bet £100 per stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) whereas fruit machines have a limit of only £2. When you're on the minimum wage, £100 is a lot to lose. These high stakes make FOBTs a major source of profit for the industry and it's why I want their use curbed. Many addiction charities and MPs agree... Imagine my disbelief then to discover the Government won't act.
Thatcher's attacks on unionised industries devastated vibrant communities. The impact is still being felt, with high levels of unemployment and drug abuse. Her cull of manufacturing, mining, steelworks and shipbuilding led to the current unsustainable situation where our core industry is finance, with volatile banks run by questionable people.
If we are to challenge a culture of abuse, we must listen to our children. We must also create a society where all are listened to, regardless of gender, class or race. Only then might such systematic abuses become a thing of the past.
The problem with politics at the moment is people saying we can't do things. We can't hold down student fees, we can't hold down VAT, we can't keep EMA. I don't agree. More than ever we need to do things that help people ease the burden on their household expenditure and reduce the squeeze the great majority are feeling. I have been spending a day in every London borough as part of my Tell Ken tour. Across the city, what I hear most about is transport issues - and the spiralling cost of fares.
Spying on lawyers, paying police officers, hacking phones, buying silence; as we listened to the litany of charges against News Corporation I think James Murdoch had also come to our parliamentary select committee to deliver his own message straight from the script of The Godfather
Moments of truth can define public lives. Single instances or images forever captured in the public imagination can cause people to be inextricably ...
At long last, then, the Labour Party is showing signs that it can get it right online. They will need to. A friend close to Tory Towers at Millbank told me earlier this year that tech-savvy Conservatives are "under the hood, developing big new ideas that could shape the next election".
Truly, this relationship has damaged our governance. It has infected every Party and made it ever more difficult to make complex but essential arguments on behalf of those unable to defend themselves against the mob. The tabloid press, its campaigns, its lack of ethics, its use of emotive rhetoric to advance its causes and its influence on government has changed our democracy for the worse. It is the responsibility of all political Parties, not just the government of the day, to turn their back on cheap tabloid headlines and act, for once, in the public interest.
Nobody has done more to bring the truth about phone hacking at the News of the World into the open than West Midlands MP Tom Watson.