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Discussion > The right to bear arms

In the UK the armed forces are...., the police are armed, the criminals are armed and the rest of us are effectively stuffed.
The US constitution gave their citizens the right to bear arms not to help defend against criminals, not to defend against invadors but to protect citizens against the state.
I think it is time we got the same right.

Aug 9, 2012 at 11:57 PM | Registered CommenterDung

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

I don't think that means that they have the right to overthrow the state by armed force.

Aug 10, 2012 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

I have no intention (currently ^.^) of trying to arrange the overthrow of our government by the use of armed force. However the three parties who effectively rotate power between themselves are currently colluding to deprive UK citizens of their democracy.
There is a chance that UKIP can cause this to change (one way or another) but it is more than possible that they will fail.
Should this situation continue then at some point I believe it would be right to attempt to remove a government by force.
Feedom and Democracy has already cost this country millions of lives and we would be wasting those lives if we did not protect what they gave us.

Aug 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, do you think the UK public care that much about their democracy? They lost their best chance in decades to improve the voting system by not supporting the proposed voting reforms and recent attempts to improve the democratic position of the Lords have fallen through without a trace of public disquiet.

Aug 10, 2012 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Mr Bucket

The British public have a basic desire to just live their lives and let politicians wory about politics and looking after the nation. However they are finally coming to understand what has been done to them. If our governments continue to deny them democracy then I believe there will be a reckoning at some point.
Proportional representation is a recipe for for fudge and I think the public quite rightly reject it.
Reform of the Lords is not needed, it is an imperfect institution that has served us well.

Aug 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Splitpin

Your quote from the US constitution has a KEY word in it and that word is FREE. The public should be armed to protect the FREE state not just the state. When the state starts to move against democracy and votes do not solve the problem then the citizens can fight for their rights.

Aug 11, 2012 at 1:02 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dave_G

The suggestions over at Dr North's site are first unlealistic and second they would not be practical.
I have no desire to see armed revolt in the UK but we are in a political situation that is unlike anything that has happened before in my lifetime (64 years).
Once the Labour party and the Conservative party agreed that we should be in the EU we lost our ability to remove from office the party that made laws we did not approve of.
North's blog is a voice in the wilderness.
The only ways our problems can be fixed are:

We are offered the chance to vote for a party that will take us out of the EU.

We take the law into our own hands and remove from office the government that denies us democracy.

I sincerely hope UKIP succeeds

Aug 11, 2012 at 1:25 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, the current UK electoral system disenfranchises millions of voters who happen to be in constituencies that are 'safe' for one party or another. The Lords are stuffed with party hacks and place-men or people who happen to have been born into the right family. It is a corrupt system of patronage. You favour these arrangements and decry PR, in favour of this system that allows a party with 30-40% of the vote complete control over the majority that did not favour it. And yet you complain of a lack of democracy.

My feeling is that you have no interest in real democracy, but just want to have things your way. Hence the talk of guns etc.

Aug 11, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Voters who happen to live in a seat that is usually won by a different party to the one they would prefer are not disenfranchised they are just outvoted.
They had a vote, they used their vote, there was a candidate that represented their views but they didnt win, tough!
Not only do I believe in democracy, I believe that without democracy all other issues are irrelevant (since you are not able to do anything about them).

Aug 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I gather that immediately after the recent cinema shooting in Colorado, gun sales went up! Not sure what that says about the American public, but I'm quite glad it's different here...

Aug 13, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

I know suggesting that everyone should be able to carry a gun sounds pretty stupid and that people's instinctive reaction (in the UK) is to fear the idea but for example if one member of the audience had been carrying a gun, many lives could have been saved and if ALL of the audience had been carrying a gun then it would be a certainty.
My basic reason for wanting us to carry arms is to protect or reclaim democracy but it may be useful for self defence as well ^.^

Aug 13, 2012 at 10:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Democracy requires that an electorate is able to vote according to its principles and conscience, that it can replace its representative and that the representative represents the majority view of the electorate. 'Safe seats' contradict these principles and whether they occur as an 'accident' of history or by deliberate ancient or modern gerrymandering (eg US congressional seats) is immaterial. They disenfranchise the electorate.

Aug 14, 2012 at 4:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Bucket

It may have escaped your notice but given the opportunity to provide a majority for a political party, the electorate do not always deliver the goods (hardly ever). What would you do, keep forcing people to vote again and again until they provide a majority?
You state that "Democracy requires" and then you give your opinions, these are just your opinions.

Wiki says:

While there is no universally accepted definition of "democracy,"[5] equality and freedom have both been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times.[6] These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to legislative processes. For example, in a representative democracy, every vote has equal weight, no unreasonable restrictions can apply to anyone seeking to become a representative, and the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimized rights and liberties which are generally protected by a constitution.

Within your safe seat all the votes had equal weight, all eligible people were free to vote and there was a winner...that part was democratic.

Aug 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

When the end result of any election is the same policies being carried out regardless of the wishes of the MAJORITY (not the 'winning' party) can you still claim this to be a democratic result?

Aug 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

So in creating a new electoral system (for Syria say), by your reckoning, the electorate can be divided deliberately into constituencies where there is a built-in majority for a particular party (by manipulating the boundaries, as they do in the US). In doing this you can guarantee that every seat is won by a preordained party and that the election result is known in advance. Yet you can proclaim the election democratic because in each constituency, every vote had the same notional weight. Sounds like Soviet style democracy.

Aug 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

The basic problem is the system. It allows (nay encourages!) deception and fraud. The only way to restore power to the people is to give the people control of that one factor that allows the current political establishment the hold they have over us - and that is the MONEY. If the electorate had the final say on where the money was spent the politicians would have to cede to our wishes - as it should be in a true democracy.
Sadly UKIP are still a part of the established system and there is nothing to stop them abusing it in the fullness of time despite their assurances and concern for a greater UK. Indeed, the second they lose control the usual lot would step right back in where they left off and we'd be back to square one - albeit (possibly, just possibly) sans the EU shackles.
Dr North's EUReferendum site offers an insight to the changes that must be made to restore power to the people and casual dismissal of the cause that is 'referism' only goes to show you may not have read or understood the issues behind the movement.
There needs to be a complete rebuilding of the political structure that puts the people at the top and the politicians below them - where they truly belong.
A one-trick pony like UKIP can't (won't) change the SYSTEM.

Aug 14, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

Dave_G

It is not that I do not support many of the things suggested, what I doubt is that the changes can happen. I am focussed on getting us out of the EU because that will give us back democracy. It is taking a hell of a long time for the electorate to get wise to the EU but I think we might be getting close now.
Once we are out of the EU then I agree that really the system should be changed although I am not sure how to achieve the things that little old me thinks need doing.
How do you get money out of the political system?
Is giving the people control over every thing a good idea? Most of them have no clue about what goes on. I think the whole culture needs to change but I have no idea how it can happen.

Aug 14, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Bitbucket

Bringing Syria into the discussion is not a good move, the people there are not used to democracy, may not be ready for democracy, I have no idea.
Politicians drawing lines on maps usually ends in tears (Isreal/Palastine for example). Africa is tribal but europeans drew the lines and it does not work yet.
We can not sort out the whole world so lets just stick to the UK. I did not say that our elections are democratic, I said basically that selecting MPs was democratic, unfortunately our MPs are not the ones who govern us and we dont get to vote for or against those who make our laws.
You seem to say that those people who vote for a candidate who does not get elected, are disenfranchised. I say they simply lost, can we start there and then work forward? ^.^

Aug 14, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung: You seem to say that those people who vote for a candidate who does not get elected, are disenfranchised. I say they simply lost. If people had reason to believe that the election could go either (any) way when they cast their vote, then yes, they just lost. If they can predict years in advance who will be elected, then they are disenfranchised. That is what happens in safe seats and, so I read, in many US congressional seats (they used to talk of the nifty fifty seats that were subject to change; now I think it more like the dirty thirty).

As a UKIP supporter (I assume; no offence meant if I'm wrong) I would expect you to be keenly aware that you effectively have no vote. Same as greens or liberals etc.

Aug 14, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Bucket

I honestly believe that you have the wrong idea about how (our form of) democracy works (truly no offence), for example:
Am I disenfranchised if an opposing politician has a safe seat in my constituency but my party gains power overall?

Aug 15, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Am I disenfranchised if an opposing politician has a safe seat in my constituency but my party gains power overall?

Yes, of course. There is no point in you voting. I am in this situation and have decided not to renew my postal vote as there is really no point bothering. If the boundary commission were politically biased and redrew your constituency so that the Labour Party had a permanent majority, would you consider that democratic? If not, why would you accept an accident (or design) of history doing the same thing?

Aug 15, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Bucket

You are "enfranchised" if you are able to vote, if you vote but lose you are not disenfranchised, you just lose. I am a card carrying member of UKIP but so far there has been no UKIP candidate in my constituency, I do not consider myself disenfranchised. When a UKIP candidate stands in my constituency for the first time I will vote for him/her even though they will have no chance to win and I will not consider myself disenfranchised.
The problem is that the people who ARE voted into parliament do not make our laws, for that reason I AM disenfranchised.

Aug 15, 2012 at 10:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I notice you couldn't answer my question about the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries, but I'll grant that it is a difficult one for someone taking your position.

So you are against political arrangements within Europe that allow laws to be made without your involvement and yet you defend the system at home that has the same effect. I find that unconvincing, but maybe you backed yourself into a corner from which a consistent position is no longer possible.

Aug 16, 2012 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BitBucket
The implication in your comment about gerrymandering constituency boundaries would seem to imply that you consider it quite acceptable that the electoral map should have a built-in bias towards any one party. I could assume that you find that OK as long as the bias is towards the party you support but I'll behave myself (for the moment).
I wonder if you know how the Boundary Commission operates. In the first place it is an independent organisation and it might be worth paying a visit to its website.
This, if you care to follow it, could lead you to the legislation that dictates the current review and which strikes me as being extremely reasonable and in many ways not dissimilar from the rules under which the Commission has always operated.
Since I no longer live in the UK I have no particular axe to grind but the two areas where I have lived for most of my life both appear, under the Commission's proposals, to have been quite fairly dealt with.
I cannot see any objection to the reduction to 600 in the number of MPs.
I cannot see any objection to the target figure of 75,000 electors (+/- 5%).
I cannot see any objection to the decision to limit the geographical size of the constituencies to 13000 sq km.
I am pleased to see that a common-sense decision has been included in the legislation to provide for discrete constituencies for the Isle of Wight, Orkney & Shetland, and Western Isles.
Since the Boundary Commission does not sit with a map of the UK in one hand and ward-by-ward breakdown of voting figures in the other, there is in fact no way of knowing which party, if any, will end up being favoured by this review.
I'm not sure where the 'gerrymandering' comes in. Can you explain?

Aug 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson