I’m no gambler

From The Guardian, Charles Clarke – the Home Secretary – is quoted:

He told the Times “The thing that worries me most [about the downgrading of cannabis] is confusion among the punters about what the legal status of cannabis is.

The Free Dictionary:
1. Games To lay a bet against the bank, as in roulette.
2. Chiefly British Slang To gamble.

Curious use of a word then – “punters”. Why didn’t he say “the public” or “drug users” or “the electorate”. Why did he use a word that we attach to gambling, to risk. This isn’t about whether people are using drugs, just their knowledge of them. If a parent is seeking information about cannabis and it’s legal status because they think their kids are using it, does that make them a “punter”. No it does not – so why pick that word ? Mr Clarke isn’t a stupid man, I don’t believe it was a slip.

3 thoughts on “I’m no gambler

  1. punter is just general east end slang for someone who is buying goods. There is an implication that they are a bit dumb too for some reason.

    Is the key from the east side of london? That would explain the casual usage. You hear it all the time in essex for example.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *