Margaret Thatcher dies

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It was announced only a mere few minutes ago that the former Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, passed away due to a stroke this morning. She was Britain’s longest serving post-war PM and the only woman to ever hold the job.

I will be honest, on a political level, Thatcher symbolised and represented nearly everything I stand against. Her policies as PM have done more untold harm than of any PM since the war. But on a personal level, I do have great respect for her. The thought of a woman PM in the early 1970s was almost unthinkable, even to Thatcher herself at the time. Upon becoming leader she spent the next seven years fighting an uphill battle, effectively fighting those within her party who deemed little would become of her leadership and then Administration. No post-war Prime Minister has so radically shifted the discourse of British politics (with the exception of Attlee). Taken all together she commands at the very least, considerable respect for how radically she changed and shaped Britain for better or worse. I do admire most principled individuals and Thatcher is no exception.

This is how I will remember Thatcher, a skilled, principled and determined supreme heavyweight figure of 20th Century politics, but a political opponent and adversary all the same.

Max

BULS AGM 2013 results

Yes, it’s that time of year again where BULS has chosen it’s new committee to lead the society for the following year. The committee-elect stands as follows:

Chair-elect: Alex Swanson

Vice-Chair-elect: Ellis Stacey

Secretary-elect: Joe Armer

Treasurer-elect: Jas Kandola

Campus Campaigns co-ordinator-elect: Mike Grocott

Social Secretary-elect: Stephen Bowcott

Publicity Officer-elect: Rob Parkinson

Local Campaigns co-ordinator-elect: Tarquin Pritchard

Congratulations to the new committee-elect and comiserations to anyone who was unsuccessful.

‘Nasty Party’? I think we’re beyond that now…

Martin Rowson 5.01.2013

So how much of the Welfare budget do you reckon is spent on unemployed people? 42%? How much do you reckon is claimed fraudulently from the Welfare budget? 27%? Who do you reckon will be hit most by the 1% limit on benefits, the unemployed “scroungers”? And how much do you reckon is given to the skiving “scrounging” b*rstards on Job Seeker’s allowance (2 kids aged 6 and 10) a week? £147?

If you’d given answers close or on the same as the ones suggested, well, then, you’re completely full of sh*t.

This is what was revealed in a YouGov poll where respondents gave answers similar to the ones suggested. Want to know the real answers?

  1. Welfare budget spent on unemployed people? – 4% not 42%.
  2. Welfare budget claimed fraudulently? 0.7% not 27%
  3. Who will be hit most by the 1% limit on benefits? – Primarily the employed and those seeking work.
  4. And average weekly Job Seeker allowance? – £111.45 not £147.

(Don’t believe me, check the link above).

This is of course shadowed by the outright attempt by Conservative HQ’s attempts to divide the nation like never before by turning the working poor on the unemployed poor (most of whom are seeking work).

While instead, this is the poster they should have published.

I’m tired of this, I’m tired of the demonisation and scapegoating of the poor. But hey, why try solve society’s real problems when you can lie and create scapegoats out of the most vulnerable in society?

Max

How many more?

I’m not naturally a fan of Piers Morgan (who is), but something clicked yesterday (don’t worry, I will get back to this original point). Admittedly I’d spent a very long time at work, (same lifeguard in two days was over half an hour late to relieve me from poolside, not a happy bunny) I was listening to the radio on the way home and I just happened to stumble upon the speech being delivered to a press conference by Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association (NRA). This was then followed by an NRA spokesperson being interviewed live on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Even now, over 24 hours after hearing these two men, I’m still struggling to comprehend and properly articulate a response to the sheer detachment from reality and supreme level of wheedling these two men committed. In case you missed either men, LaPierre advocated that US schools should be guarded by armed guards and that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,”. The latter blamed gun violence in the US on mental health issues and lack of proper treatment.

At this point I was seething in the car. Now, I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I have a pretty good idea of what the problems are. No Mr LaPierre, giving “good guys” gun to stop “bad guys” is not a good idea. You see Mr LaPierre, I’ve never had crack cocaine for breakfast, one because I never would, but mainly as I don’t keep it in the fridge. I’ve never been butchered by my slave’s in a bloody uprising, primarily by not keeping slaves. Because you know what Mr LaPierre, not having the means to commit crimes is a far better method to preventing gun homicides than simply believing everyone should arm themselves in the name of mutual deterrents.

I’m not advocating outright banning of guns in US right now, as like I said, I don’t have all the answers and there’s a chance there’d be a backlash against such a move. But when you live in a country where there’s no nation-wide policy on firearms this allows dangerous people to easily buy guns from other states without any background checks and then bring them into other neighboring states. The system also has no check for those “good guys” who you so uphold Mr LaPierre who may turn dangerous (and indeed they do, for whatever reason). It gives no account on a federal level for other members of a family who may own firearms (as what happened with the latest Connecticut shootings). And Mr LaPierre, you live in a country where there are roughly 300 millions guns or 89 firearms per 100 civilians and have an average death toll of around 10,000 gun homicides a year (roughly 3.2 deaths from guns per 100,000 people). This is in direct contrast to countries like here in the UK or in Japan, (countries you probably believe have “bad guys” running around unchecked) have roughly 6 and 0.6 guns per 100 civilians respectively yet have a mere 0.1 and <0.01 deaths by firearms per 100,000 people respectively.

I’m sick and tired of hearing such divorced ideas from reality that if you give people more guns there’ll be less gun crime. This is something that really struck me with Piers Morgan, I actually agreed with him on something:

Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, but how many more people are going to have needlessly die before the likes of Mr LaPierre realise that having more guns to solve gun crime is an absurd idea?

Max

firearms 3

For Jack Matthew’s benefit (and yes, Norway is included).