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Discussion > The right to bear arms


I find it hard to tell whether you are pratting about or whether you really do not understand? I have been trying to find some common ground with you so we could develop a discussion.

Again from Wiki:

political franchise, or simply franchise, distinct from other rights to vote, is the right to vote gained through the democratic process.

In terms of the process in your constituency; you are able to vote (plus as a bonus there is a candidate who represents your views) you have the franchise.
You appear to be saying that if your candidate loses then you are disenfranchised but that is not the case. The political franchise simply refers to your right to vote (for a candidate for government), nothing else. Can we agree on this?
The disenfranchising occurs because your MP is not part of the real government, that is currently unelected officials in the EU.

Aug 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Mike, are you winding me up (as if ;-) ? What I said was:

... 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?

Notice that starts with 'If'. It was a hypothetical question, designed to test Dung's attitude to seats with built-in bias. He seems happy that seats can have a huge bias one way or the other making them "safe" seats. I find this undemocratic and consider those in such seats who might as well not vote to be disenfranchised. The quote above doesn't imply that the commission IS biased, and I have no objection in principle to its current work (600 seats etc)

So when you said:

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...

you misunderstood.

Aug 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Dung, yes, strictly speaking, you are correct. People do still have a vote, but when the result of that vote is predetermined, a wrong is committed; they are deprived of representation. The soviets had votes but it is hard to think of them being truly enfranchised.

Aug 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


I would be just as upset as you if I felt that safe seats had been created as opposed to being random. Scotland was once a tory stronghold then a huge labour safe seat and now it is SNP, things change without manipulation. Like Mike I believe it would be almost impossible to create a new constituency and know exactly how it would vote.
In a system which does not restrict the number of political parties it is impossible for everyone to have an MP who holds their political views.

Aug 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung and others:
As an American I firmly believe in that right guaranteed by our second amendment to the Constitution.

That right, is a direct descendent of rights concepts born in England and first codified under the reign of King John (Magna Carta and the preliminary Assize of Arms). Followed by the English Bill of rights circa 1689). America's founding fathers took these historical documents along with their incentive causes and subsequent governmental actions (especially as how selective and often arbitrary enforcement that directly impinged the colonists) as major influences on the concepts in our "Bill of Rights".

Bluntly put, we Americans took our liberties and rights directly from England's groundbreaking breakthroughs in civil obedience and government. Our second amendment directly came from England's rights, only England's right was originally defined as a duty requirement before later becoming somewhat of a freeman's right. Those rights have been chipped away substantially over recent years. For your own good, of course.

The act of requiring sovereigns to abide by civil legalities and restrictions is prima facie for the acts of civil disobedience (e.g. Magna Carta). Acts that are not injurious to the realm generally, but are actually against unwise or injudicious government. The Magna Carta itself would have been unlikely if the Assize of Arms had not already placed arms in the hands of what were then freemen of station.

Pursuant to this concept, the United States was formed, (after some other somewhat looser affiliations) as a republic, not as a direct democracy. The idea being that only people who actually owned property could vote since they were both responsible and directly affected by their votes.Among many reasons for conversion from a republic to a democracy was also the rather abhorrent idea that a slave owner owned property and could vote, but a slave could not.

In the construction of America's governmental forms are the two houses of Congress and the executive branch. Representatives are elected for two year terms and their representation level places them much closer and more responsive to citizens. Senators are elected for six year terms and their are only two senators per state. While farther away from the everyday citizen, because of their longer terms they tend to be more sensitive to the long term issues and benefits. The Executive branch leader (President and his cabinet) is elected for four year terms forming a middle ground between the immediate and long term. While the Executive branch is responsible for enforcing the nation's laws, but can not make law. Congress can vote to pass law over the President's veto if they consider the issue important enough.

This rather ingenuous and frankly diabolical construct is designed to prevent ease of law making. Or in different terms, prevent as much as is possible tyranny of the majority in enforcing their views on the minority. No matter the odds, minorities eventually prevail in America if their cause is right and just. It just takes time to let the wheels and cogs of government to act.

When democracy always rules by the vote of the majority, what are the steps to prevent tyranny by that majority?

Citizens have the right to be free and remain so. Police/soldiers as guardians are terrific. When Police/military begin to believe they are guards and we are inmates to be controlled then citizens are no longer free. Arms are ever the thorn freemen can wield in their own defense and are amongst the first things confiscated before tyranny can be enforced. Wherever you read history, armed citizens are feared by those in power, especially if those in power are lacking basic human equality and brotherhood.

Whenever someone tells you that they're doing it for your own good, you have very strong reason to suspect their motives.

Aug 16, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

I misunderstood. :-(
Where I think I'm on safe ground is agreeing partially with Dung about what representative democracy is about. FPP is far from perfect but 99 times out of a hundred it delivers a "majority" and at the constituency level MPs represent everyone in the constituency. Personally I have never met an MP who asks how a constituent voted before agreeing to take up a case. And since there are enough marginal seats to ensure that power changes hands reasonably well and mostly we avoid the sort of shambles we're seeing this time.
I don't agree that just because you are Tory in Barnsley or Labour in Kensington & Chelsea you are therby disenfranchised.
I would feel myself much more disenfranchised if I thought that it wouldn't make any difference whether I voted Labour or Conservative because inevitably government policies would have to meet the approval of the Lib-Dems!
Or perhaps even the BNP.

Aug 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike, Dung, although we all enjoy an argument, I don't suppose we are in reality all that far apart. I imagine that there are not many people whose views are represented by one party alone, so there is always compromise in voting. I'm not looking for perfection, but I did believe the proposed changes to the voting system would improve the situation for voters in safe seats, removing the need to vote 'tactically'. As it happened, 80% of the population didn't care either way and the remaining 20% didn't support the changes. I was upset at the time, but since I don't live in the UK it is really of no consequence to me. I was rather surprised though - but maybe the changes were just badly sold.

Aug 16, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


Great post mate! I knew that we did have the right to bear arms for a long time but I did not know that the USA actually copied that, I learned a lot from your post.
I like your system of government and admire your second ammendment. The UK currently is not a Democracy and unless a new party (UKIP or some other) can gain enough support to get us out of the EU, then we will not get our freedom back. The problem here also is the dumbing down of the news, a great many people do not understand what is being done to them.

Aug 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dear BitBucket

Nice to see a friendly post at last hehe.
I think that a mistake that many people make and governments make most of all is to change a system that works in order to make it perfect. Nothing is ever perfect and even more important; perfection is subjective in politics.
The British system of Democracy has been copied and adapted by many countries for one good reason; IT WORKS or it did work until quisling Edward Heath lied to us and talked us into joining the Common Market, now the EU.
Ignoring the EU for a moment:

In our system every citizen of voting age (with a few exceptions like some prisoners) has the right to vote. The First Past the Post system (as Mike rightly points out) has historically almost always given us a decisive result whereas many countries are constantly bogged down in trying to form a coalition of parties to form a government. The system is not perfect but it has worked which in my opinion is more important ^.^

Aug 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I think it's fair to say that life is a long series of compromises and it's hardly surprising that electing parliamentarians is no different.
I agree in theory that proportional representation ought to be an improvement on FPP but since nobody has yet devised a system which is truly proportional it's arguable whether any of the compromises deliver a better result — and even then you need to define "better".
I stick with Churchill's dictum that "democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others" and go along with Dung in saying that the British version isn't any better than any other but it works even if (as in the case if the HoL) you wouldn't start from here!

Aug 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Watching the case of the - in in Saginaw, Michigan - (reportedly) well known Milton Hall, who called the police, got "p***ed off" and then tried to walk away from six police officers while bearing a knife ...

Aug 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSeptember 2011

September 2011

I just watched the video and I am stunned. Six police officers could not disarm one man with a knife without firing 40 shots into him?
I do not think he would have been helped much if he had been carrying a gun but maybe he could have taken one of the bastards with him.
I didnt get the message that Hall himself called the police? OK I watched it again and those police need to be on death row. He obviously needed help but he didnt threaten anyone or hurt anyone and although not a wise decision, he had every right to carry a knife. Murder.

Aug 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Since the days when the right to bear arms protected one against a tyrannical state, things have changed that make the right to bear arms for such a purpose, ridiculous.

Your carrying a handgun, against a tank, a helicopter gunship, jet fighters, satellite controlled drones that launch missiles, various weapons of mass destruction, etc., etc., is a zero sum game, and you loose.

The world has changed, and your method of controlling the state needs to change as well.
Change your media. Change your political options. Change your financial enslavement.

Dec 17, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Thanks a lot Dung. The day that Andrew Montford gets invited on a mainstream TV programme to discuss energy and climate policy, his opponent will bring up this thread in order to label him as a rightwing nutter who runs a blog where people express their fantasies about guns and piano-wire. And you’re not doing UKIP any favours either.
Discussing energy and climate policy is boring, I know. Discussing ways of furthering the discussion or organising the discussion of energy and climate policy even more so. So let’s fantasize about stringing ‘em up or shooting them down.
Psychologists call it displacement activity. Our opponents will call us dangerous fascist climate deniers who should be deprived of a voice. Which we are of course (deprived of a voice, I mean). Which is why Dung is so angry. And so on.

Dec 18, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

BitBucket finally writes some sense. Hurrah!

Dec 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Can I please also separate myself from Dung's views on gun ownership, which sound ludicrous to me. We're all safer if everybody has a gun instead of just one man is the most stupid logical fallacy ever invented. Can I further separate myself from his implication that if UKIP can't get us out of Europe that somehow justifies armed revolt by the populace. If anything illustrates exactly why people shouldn't have guns, that is it.

Not sure how the thread changed from gun control to revolution, but there it is. Stupid.

Dec 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Due to technical issues beyond my control I've only just caught up with this topic, even then I've had to skim through some of it. This caught my eye:-

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!

As an ex-resident of Derby South wher one M Beckett attained 50%+ of the vote on several occassions then I'm familiar with the tougn aspect of this. But even in Derby South there were avenues open (apart from moving), in the neighbouring ward an anti-speed hump candidate won a council seat, our ward had an independent councillour for a number of years. In my voting lifetime things have changed largely as a result of the electorate getting totally frustrated by what is happening in there area. Prior to moving to Derby I lived in Kinross & West Perthshire and my first experience of an election was when Sir Alec Douglas-Home was given the seat so he could become PM. At that time Scotland still returned a majority of Tory MPs. Winnie Ewing and the SNP were not regarded as a threat. Unpopular taxes and policies placed on only part of the country are a recipe for being unelectable for a couple of generations. Even Labour trying to fix a voting system can be outwitted by the electorate. At the same time the political map in England changed radically and as it turns out David Steel was only about 20years premature with his "prepare for government" speech.

What will happen at the next election is very interesting, although I feel that the electorate has had enough of coalitions for the time being and a Labour government will be the end result. It's the one after that which may cause a digital shift away from the current situation, as a new Labour government will just be more of the same. By the election after next many of the long term decisions taken by the previous government and this one will have reached their inevitable conclusion. It's my belief that this will be very much to the detriment of the majority of the population. If handled badly then the Poll Tax problems (both) may seem like a minor problem.

With regard to bearing arms, Dung is not stating anything new as far as I am aware under the 1689 Bill of Rights the British people are

"That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law"

The reason for this was to prevent Tyranny and Oppression, obviously the Protestant bit was in keeping with the times and would require modification in the 21st century!

Dec 18, 2012 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Glad this discussion came alive again but rather sad that geoffchambers things I am a right wing nutter :(

TBYJ you dont need to separate yourself from an opinion you never expressed mate, the people on BH have many many areas of disagreement and nobody is tarnished by the views of anyone else except perhaps when talking about our dearly beloved climate change.

Firstly I would like to say that as far as I can see His Grace set this discussion section up for people to discuss things duh?
I have apparently expressed some views that some people do not agree with, fine but just express your own opinions without all the huffing and puffing.

There are some serious problems relating to democracy in the UK and they need to be fixed. I am not willing to live in an undemocratic country and keep silent. All of you can make your own minds up about how willing you are to live under a government which has given sovereignty to a foreign power.
The UK ceased to be a democracy over 20 years ago and all the electable parties were/are happy for that situation to continue. In that situation and with no sign of any change then UK citizens would have every right to consider any and all actions to take back democracy.
Fortunately UKIP has become strong enough to force the Tories to rethink the idea of leaving the EU but it is still in the balance. I think it would be good for a government to know that its citizens were armed.

Dec 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

There are opinions and then there are opinions.

Dec 20, 2012 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I think the American Colonials (when they were colonials) got it right, No taxation without representation. In too many areas of both the UK and EU taxes are levied by unelected officials. Worse, there is no easy way of getting rid of them.

I have always been in favour of co-operation in Europe, 3000 years of wars isn't the best way to get along. Many nations still hanker after territory lost many centuries ago. However we let politicians and their cousins the administrators takeover and the last thing they want or need is to be kicked out of office.

So I think the EU has come too far too fast, each step along the way happens before we've had time to asses whether we liked the last one. What should have taken a couple of centuries has been done in a couple of decades. We live in an undemocratic country in Europe whichever part of the EU we're in. PR as practiced in many countries creates a worse situation, 1 or 2 members of a party which got a few percent of the vote dictating policy for a party which received 40% hardly seems like a better system.

Unfortunately most people don't notice or don't care about what is happening.

Dec 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


I do not think there is anyone of any political persuasion who does not approve of cooperation with other European countries. We need to trade with them and there are good economic, political and military reasons why we should try and stay close.
I also agree that

3000 years of wars isn't the best way to get along.
although I think you may have exaggerated just a little there ;)
However there is no justification for giving up or giving away our sovereignty. In line with my views on the right to bear arms there is also the fact that sometimes someone will stand in your way and will not be reasonable. The British Government of Eden certainly did not favour going to war with Germany, Eden did everything he could think of apart from standing firm, to avoid war but Hitler had his own agenda. Fortunately under Churchill we did stand firm and many people gave their lives to protect not only our democracy but also to help restore democracy to other European countries.
That democracy should be sacrosanct, non negotiable and unshakable but Heath gave it away and so far no government has taken it back.
I am a law abiding citizen (er apart from sometimes in my car hehe) but in the face of what successive governments have done to us, I say that taking up arms would be acceptable. However It seems that through the determination of UKIP that possibility is now receding. I still want my gun though, just incase :)

Dec 20, 2012 at 11:33 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, you keep re-iterating the point that "if not for the UKIP I'd need a gun" as if it's just a little throwaway statement. Basically you're threatening armed revolution if a purely non-humanitarian political question (EU relations) is not decided to your satisfaction. You keep grinning and adding smileys when you say it, but it's still a deeply serious and foolhardy thing to say under any circumstances.

Dec 21, 2012 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames


Firstly I am too old and unfit to get involved in a revolution so I am not likely to be taking part.
However I am saying that if democracy is taken away then "at some point" the population not only could but should take action to restore it. If the general public are happy to have the EU govern their lives with no chance to vote out people they dont agree with then there will never be a revolution. I happen to think that at some point the population will say enough is enough and if they can not get democracy through the ballot box then they will do whatever it takes but that is just my opinion.
I keep mentioning UKIP because they were the only party openly standing on a policy of recovering our democracy.

Dec 21, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Registered CommenterDung

This stupid thread caught my eye again on the side bar just as a right-wing crank and a gun-nutter on TV said words to the effect that arming teachers was the way to go to prevent gun violence in schools.

"Firstly I am too old and unfit to get involved in a revolution..."

Too young and unfit to even be talking about a revolution, perhaps, let alone be entrusted with a firearm.


Have a better year in 2003 for all our sakes.

Dec 22, 2012 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

It is obviously true that the more strongly you express your views then the more unhappy will be the people who hold a different view. You call this thread stupid but the Bish has commented on the right to bear arms at least once during my time on this blog, if my memory is correct he said "now is not the time".
I have already started one discussion that the Bish took down almost immediately so I assume that since he did not take this one down he is at least happy for people to express their views.
What you need to believe is that your opinions are worth at least as much as anyone else on the blog, do not worry about telling me you think my ideas are rubbish just speak out and say it like you see it.

Dec 22, 2012 at 4:25 AM | Registered CommenterDung