By Lew Knee,
Gun control. What right have the government got to tell me whether I can or cannot keep a semi automatic rifle under my bed? What right have the government got to tell me that I shouldn't be able to walk around with a concealed handgun on my person? What right have the government got to tell me I shouldn't be able to shoot an intruder who enters my house without permission? I have no history of mental illness and no criminal record after 49 years living on the planet, so who are the government to tell me that I cannot walk around dressed to kill? What is freedom if you cannot walk into a High Street Store and buy a semi automatic weapon, especially if you are a truly fine citizen of the state? Freedom is all about taking personal responsibility. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. We don't have people control legislation, so why do we need gun control legislation. God Bless America and Burnt Oak.
I guess this opening paragraph is not quite what Barnet Eye readers were expecting to read. Nope, it's not really a guest blog at all. I was reading some American blogs earlier this evening and I thought I'd give my fellow Barnetonians a taste of what our cousins across the pond seem to think are sensible rational points to raise in blogs.The views stated above are not extremist in the USA. The right to bear arms is part of the constitution and to even start to question it is viewed as a virtual act of heresy.
So does the Barnet Eye think that the citizens of Burnt Oak should be walking the streets of the Watling with an Uzi? Does the Barnet Eye think that Colindale would be better with a Kalashnikov? Strangely enough, nope. Oddly enough, this blog would like to see unlicensed possession of a firearm punished with a minimum mandatory sentence of five years. The same for possession of a knife. Pro gun campaigners in the USA make a myriad of claims, seeking to justify the lax gun laws, but at the end of the day, look at the statistics for gun related crime in the USA.
However, I'm not really interested in gun control arguments. In the UK there is pretty much a consensus on this. I've never met anyone who has seriously argued for lax gun control. Ever. What I am interested in is the fact that Conservative politicians in the UK regularly take their lead from US conservatives. Where has this lead us? To the current ridiculous situation with Andrew Lansley's "reforms" of the NHS. I've just watched Mr Lansley on News at Ten "arguing his case". Sadly he hasn't really got one. As I understand it, his sole justification for all of the changes he's promoting is "Trust me, I'm a Tory". There are three possible reasons for making changes to anything,
1. You'll get better services for the same or less money.
2. You'll help more people for the same or less money.
3. You will stop a system which is failing from falling apart.
It really is as simple as that. Has Mr Lansley proven beyond doubt that his changes will do any of the above? I believe that US right wing politicians hate and despise the NHS. Why? Because it works and because anyone who understands the way it works can see that their arguments for a private system are the modern day equivalent of snake oil salesmen. I was in the USA in the run up to Obama's election. Conservative politicians were on the TV every day denouncing the NHS. Some claimed that the UK was a communist state because it had a system of social medicine. I have many friends and family in the US. Those familiar with the UK, know our healthcare system delivers more for the money. It may not be perfect, but you get treated if you need it. The US system does not have that guarantee.
The hard right of the Tory party are in awe of uber rightists who would soundly agree with every word in the opening paragraph. These are the people who the likes of Lansley look to for political inspiration.
Without the NHS, I would have died at birth, my mother would have died aged 45 in 1970 of cancer, rather than aged 83, my nephew would have died of meningitis aged 8, my auntie would not have just had her cataracts done. Lansleys changes will put health care professionals out of work and create jobs for accountants and lawyers. In an open market, everything is subject to contract and invoice. You wouldn't want a bunch of bonkers right wing looneys writing our gun control legislation, so why on earth would you want them destroying the NHS?