21 May 2006

Five right wing hypocritical arguments.

1. THE DAILY MAIL PROMOTING UNIVERSITIES OF CRIME: Unless you support locking up ALL prisoners for ever, it is too simplistic to rant about the crimes of those released from prison (also whether they are foreign or not is irrelevant).

Right wingers LOVE prison, they think it reduces crime. In the short term they may be right that increasing the number we lock up does reduce crime (we lock up more people than any other country in Europe) but in the long term it is also clear it INCREASES the crime rate UNLESS prisoners are rehabilitated before release. In most cases we know that people who go to prison come out even WORSE and are even MORE likely to re-offend. Prison sucks as a crime reduction tool and it is damn expensive to boot!

2. THE TORIES AND POVERTY REDUCTION. The Tories drastically CUT international aid and tripled UK poverty when in power. Labour have increased international aid and have cut poverty by a third. Do I need to say more?

3. CUTTING TAXES (i.e PUBLIC SERVICES) HELPS THE POOR. See point no. 2.

4. THAT SOMEHOW SPENDING MORE ON SOMETHING MAKES IT WORSE. What nonsense. Average waiting times in the NHS are now 9 WEEKS compared to 18 MONTHS under the Tories. How can more nurses, teachers and doctors be a bad thing?

5. LEGALISING HANDGUNS REDUCES CRIME. Believe it or not, some people seriously claim this. The truth is gun deaths in the UK have halved since the handgun ban. The rise in gun incidents is down to the use of less lethal LEGAL weapons such as replica guns. Increasing the availability of something obviously increases its use. The gun lobby should be honest and argue that the extra gun deaths resulting from legalisation are WORTH IT because of the enjoyment they get from playing with guns. Of course that argument wouldn't win them many converts!

I recently read FREAKONOMICS and they repeat a common myth used by the gun lobby; that "Switzerland proves that guns don't increase crime". They claim that Switzerland has just as many guns as the US and yet the crime rate is much lower, therefore guns can't be the problem. This is disingenuous for a number of reasons:

i) The US actually has 3 times the number of guns per head as Switzerland.
ii) They are not comparing like with like, most guns in the US are handguns, most guns in Switzerland are rifles. A concealed weapon is obviously more dangerous, try hiding a rifle down your pants!
iii) The US has much higher levels of inequality fueling the crime rates (and hence the criminal use of guns).
iv) Although it is true that gun deaths per capita are much lower in Switzerland than the US, Switzerland has FIVE times the number of per capita gun deaths than the UK where gun laws are more strict.

21 comments:

  1. BradfordLabourdude21/5/06 4:26 pm

    What about 24 hour drinking? Wasn't Britain supposed to have melted down by now?

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  2. These are just 5 I immediately thought of, of course there are 100's more.

    You are right, 24 hour drinking is a great example that deserves a mention.

    In Brighton, serious violent crime has actually fell by 5%. There has been a rise in the report of low level incidents but I am very dubious about these reports.

    I live on a road that is surrounded by late licence pubs and if anything I would say the late night noise levels have fallen not risen (probably because people are indoors drinking rather than wandering the streets). That is my experience. I think because some people (who read the Daily Mail etc.) are looking out for problems when they weren't looking before they are now finding them.

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  3. Neil, relative poverty depends upon how it is defined. If it is always 60% of average earnings then we will always have poverty in the UK regardless of whether the Government is Conservative or Labour!

    How much of the recent increases in expenditure on education and health been directed at the frontline!?!

    You can cut taxes without reducing key public sector services, however, I suspect we would disagree on what 'key' means! Tax cuts that reward work should be encouraged. Too many people currently on low incomes face high marginal tax rates as they move from the benefits to paid work. In the vast majority of cases, people should never be better off by relying on benefits than working if they are of working age.

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  4. "In the vast majority of cases, people should never be better off by relying on benefits than working if they are of working age."

    This is something that the Labour government has achieved through working tax credits (and low earners with high rents can also still claim some housing benefit). This means that no-one who works (even on the minimum wage) is financially worse off than being on benefit. Under the Tories we didn't even have a minimum wage, no wonder unemployment reached over 3 million. The Tories were forcing people into work that paid less than benefit.

    What you are trying to suggest is that the Tories would 'manage' government expenditure better than Labour. I saw no evidence of this when the Tories were in power. Yes they cut taxes (for the rich) but there was for example, a massive expansion of managers in the NHS even under the Tories even WHILE THEY WERE CUTTING EXPENDITURE.

    It is not surprising that with the massive increases in public expenditure, some of this has been wasted, but it is still a small percentage. Most of the expenditure has improved services. NHS waiting times falling from 18 MONTHS to 9 WEEKS is an example of this, the drop in cancer deaths and heart deaths is another example. Look at how the market in private health insurance in this country has been decimated. They have only maintained numbers by massive cuts in premium prices and levels of cover.

    Relative poverty can be eradicated if there was the political will. Using the same definition it tripled under the Tories and has fallen by a third with Labour. Which is better?

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  5. Legalised handguns do reduce certain types of crimes...For instance, 65% of burglaries in the UK take place while people are at home.

    Only 15% in the US, and usually by mistake (i.e. had the burglar known, they would not have burgled in the first place.) The main reason given by career burglars in the US is the thought of dying in the line of duty.

    Most crimes are perpetrated because criminals make a cost/benefit analysis of doing the crime versus the consequences of said cirme. If, for instance, someone runs the chance of dying in the line of duty, they are only going to take that chance when the payoff is greater.

    If the only consequence of the unlikely event of getting arrested for, say, mugging people professionally, is to go to jail for six months or so, or even a "community sentence", how much more likely would a person turn to mugging as a career if they were a) likely to get caught and prosecuted and b) likely to go to prison for 5 years before parole?

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  6. What you are proposing will result in more burglars carrying guns, this will not reduce crime, it will escalate it and result in more deaths of homeowners, burglars and everybody else. The best way to increase your chance of dying is to keep a gun at home. More guns means more gun deaths. It is not difficult to work this out.

    If you want to argue in favour of more guns then be honest and argue that your enjoyment is worth hundreds or even thousands of deaths. Of course the reason you are not honest about guns is because you know the truth won't win you any converts.

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  7. So let me get this straight:

    People should not be allowed to defend themselves in a way that would equalise the playing field because the criminals would up their game? So we structure society to accomodate the scum? So that there is no real consequence to their actions?

    I think most burglars would either a) give up or b) only try breaking and entering when people are not in their houses.

    I think the stats from the states bear that out.

    If I was a pensioner (one of the main targets of the scum), I think I'd rather have a handgun to fight off a burglar with a gun than have nothing at all to stop a burglar who has no weapon.

    There is also another stat from the states which estimates that about 40,000 lives a year are saved by people owning handguns (which surpasses that of lives lost).

    I think you either have to recognise the right of a person to defend themselves from others or a tyrannical government (which is what the 1689 Bill of Rights was about) or you don't believe in that right. That's the issue.

    I think the scumbag up in Dunblane would have taken a machete to those children if he didn't have guns...Or a knife, or a bludgeon or whatever. If someone is intent on killing someone it doesn't matter what the weapon is. It does not appear, from the numbers you present that making guns illegal actually changed anything. The death rates would look more like alligator teeth if plotted out on a graph...

    Like I said, the legalisation of guns is not about enjoyment it's about the right to self-defense. It's like free speech, you either believe in it, or you don't.

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  8. This means that no-one who works (even on the minimum wage) is financially worse off than being on benefit.

    Not entirely true, Neil, I'm afraid. Anecdotally, I knew someone (she was a schizophrenic) whose benfits were worth just under £16,000. She did not want to get a job, because it would pay less than benefits. She has, alas, been sectioned again now, but she was a bright girl who might have been able to integrate with society, rather than succumbing to isolation and boredom and, ultimately, forced hospitalisation.

    Under the Tories we didn't even have a minimum wage, no wonder unemployment reached over 3 million. The Tories were forcing people into work that paid less than benefit.

    Can you not see the contradiction in what you have written up there? Really?

    Yes they cut taxes (for the rich) but there was for example, a massive expansion of managers in the NHS even under the Tories even WHILE THEY WERE CUTTING EXPENDITURE.

    You really do love banging on about "the rich" don't you? I suspect that my definition of rich and yours are very different. However, when Lawson cut the top rate of tax from 60% to 40%, the tax take went UP (in absolute and not relative numbers). This is demonstrably true, and simply reinforces the veracity of the Laffer Curve concept.

    NHS waiting times falling from 18 MONTHS to 9 WEEKS is an example of this, the drop in cancer deaths and heart deaths is another example.

    Firstly, you know as well as the rest off us that the figures have been fiddled (mainly by adding a waiting list for the waiting list). The NAO found, last year, that NHS prductivity had increased by 0% to -1%, i.e. a decrease.

    Secondly, you would ascribe the drop in heart deaths and cancer deaths solely to the influx of cash, would you? Not to any advances in medical techniques or drugs (pioneered by private companies)? You wouldn't ascribe, for instance, a drop in deaths from breast cancer to the new(ish) drug Herceptin (which, alas, is very far from available to all.

    Thirdly, would this massive influx in cash also be responsible for the massive rise in MRSA deaths and injuries, or is that the fault of the Tory government of 9 years ago? Perhaps they deliberately bred MRSA in order to discredit Labour?

    Look at how the market in private health insurance in this country has been decimated. They have only maintained numbers by massive cuts in premium prices and levels of cover.

    What? You mean that the market works?! The vast majority of people that I know -- and, no, not all of them are "rich" -- have private insurance for at least non-emergency procedures (the drop in prices has made it affordable). They obviously lack your faith in the NHS.

    And why should it be a triumph that those who can afford private care should be using the NHS? Surely it is better that NHS resources should be focused on treating those who cannot afford cover.

    Relative poverty can be eradicated if there was the political will.

    No, it can't; by it's very definition. Poverty measured on an absolute scale can be, yes. But then you have to define what absolute poverty is. And, what is your comment on the report that suggested that, by some measures, poverty has increased under NuLabour?

    Using the same definition it tripled under the Tories and has fallen by a third with Labour. Which is better?

    I don't know: where are your figures?

    DK

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  9. James: "So let me get this straight. People should not be allowed to defend themselves in a way that would equalise the playing field because the criminals would up their game?"

    James. It is you who is not thinking straight.

    "If I was a pensioner (one of the main targets of the scum), I think I'd rather have a handgun to fight off a burglar with a gun than have nothing at all to stop a burglar who has no weapon."

    I love this Daily Mail imagery you use. We all know what the truth of the matter is;

    The burglar arrives, shoots the pensioner as he trys to get his handgun out of the top draw (where he keeps it) and the burglar adds yet another handgun to his collection (thereby adding another weapon onto the illegal market and making the burglar's booty even more worthwhile).

    Another scenario is this, the pensioner comes home to find the handgun has been stolen by a burglar or worse than this, his grandson has found the weapon and blown his friends and his own head off with it. Oh yes, guns make the world such a safer place don't they?

    "If someone is intent on killing someone it doesn't matter what the weapon is."

    You may not mind what weapon your assailant has, but I would rather take my chances with a nutter with a machete than a nutter with a handgun. At least I might stand a chance trying to run away in the first scenario.

    DK: "I knew someone (she was a schizophrenic) whose benfits were worth just under £16,000. She did not want to get a job, because it would pay less than benefits."

    This site explains how she would have been financially better off working.

    "Can you not see the contradiction in what you have written up there? Really?"

    Obviously the 3m plus unemployment under the Tories means I should have put 'trying to force people in work that paid less than benefits' rather than implying that the Tories had succeeded in their aim.

    "the figures have been fiddled (mainly by adding a waiting list for the waiting list)."

    In fact the opposite is true. The Tories introduced the WL for the WL. Labour has abolished this. The waiting times now refer to the first time you see your GP.

    "The NAO found, last year, that NHS prductivity had increased by 0% to -1%, i.e. a decrease."

    DK, you defeat your own argument. If productivity has remained fairly static as you claim, that is wonderful news. It means all the extra spending is being as well spent as the previous smaller budget was. You are confusing productivity (performance per unit) with overall performance.

    "What? You mean that the market works?...the drop in prices has made it affordable."

    Basically the improvements in the NHS has meant that the private sector has had to raise it's game and drop it's prices benefiting your rich friends. Isn't this good news for all of us? You should be pleased the NHS is doing so well.

    "No, it [relative poverty] can't [be eradicated]; by it's very definition."

    Wrong! It is possible to reduce inequality you know. Scandanavia seemed to manage it. Relative poverty is defined as 'less than 60% of median earnings - 60% of 21k'. It is possible for everyone to earn over 13k and the median would still be 21k but relative poverty (by this definition) would have been eradicated completely. It is a political decision not to do this. I could do this tomorrow by setting an appropriate citizen's income to achieve this objective.

    "I don't know: where are your figures?"

    Here.

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  10. #1, prison does work, because the more people who get away with crime causes more people to get involved with crime, if you take a tough stance and lock the real bad ones away then less of the easily lead people would be dragged into it.
    This can be seen in the massive drop in crime in the US.

    #2, cut international aid? what the hell right does the government have to 'take' British peoples money and divert that to another group of people?
    It used to be called stealing..
    Poverty figures are constantly being redefined by the left so there will always be 'poverty'.

    #3, ...

    #4, They don't say that. Its leftists that claim more money = automatic improvement which is the nonsense.

    #5, Thats a difficult issue, the problem is that the gun crime stats don't show who is getting killed. If its criminals either getting killed during robberies or killing each other in drug fights, then that can only be a good thing.

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  11. #1 The massive recent crime drop in the US has also happened across most of the developed world. There is one factor that links them all -legalised abortion. Places that legalised abortion earlier found their crime rates started to fall earlier.

    In the short term prison does work, in the long term it doesn't. The problem is, what do you suggest doing with all the career criminals prison creates that are eventually released into the community?

    #2 Have you no compassion for the plight of those in other countries? If you want hypothecated taxes, fine, the majority in this country would like less money spent on the military and more spent on health, transport, education etc. The majority also vote for parties that advocate tax increases - Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, etc. It is a disgrace that countries such as Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, France and Germany all spend more (as a proportion of GDP) on health than we do.

    #3 Let's not forget that the Tories made the poor poorer by cutting taxes.

    #4 We still spend below the EU average on our public services such as the NHS, so it is no surprise it is not as good as it should be.

    #5 You have such an Old Testament vindictive view. It is so short sighted. More deaths affects all of us, even if by some magic it was limited to people you don't like. More guns means a less safe society.

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  12. Neil, how do you make the poor poorer by cutting taxes!?! Many people on middle and low incomes also benefit by tax cuts and are rewarded for working!

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  13. Neil, when people are in prison they are no longer committing any crimes and the communities they blight get some blesed relief. Is this not true?

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  14. "Prison sucks as a crime reduction tool and it is damn expensive to boot!"

    good point. A bullet is far cheaper, and a quicker solution for dealing with criminal scum.

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  15. the moai: As I have already stated prison DOES work in the SHORT TERM. The problem is what to do with all the career criminals it creates when they are eventually released and go on a crime wave. Unless you agree with anon and want to shoot them all, prison creates more problems than it solves.

    Of course some people have to be locked up for the safety of all of us, but we should be locking as few people as possible, there are other methods that work better.

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  16. snafu: "Neil, how do you make the poor poorer by cutting taxes!?"

    Don't you remember Thatcher? She moved the burden of taxation onto the poor from the rich. She liked the Poll Tax and VAT (which she more than doubled) and other regressive taxes, BUT even if she had tried to cut taxes exclusively for the poor. I'll give you an example.

    Say I propose raising the tax allowance to 12k, this could take millions of the poorest paid out of the tax system but it is still a BIGGER tax cut for those earning over 12k than those under it. This cut would mean massive cuts in public spending. Public spending benefits those on under 12k the most by providing them with healthcare and education they couldn't otherwise afford. Hence the poor suffer the most from tax cuts! Taxation is a redistributer of wealth, hence tax cuts help the rich become wealthier and the poor become poorer.

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  17. #1, if what you say about abortion is true, why are British jails full? and why are over 1 million people in US jails?
    Clearly there are still a lot of criminals.


    #2, I am all for compassion but tax isn't compassion its a 'forced' payment, the government has no right to spend that on anyone other than the group of people it governs.

    #4, money isn't everything you know..

    #5, I think the crime stats need to properly reflect who is getting hurt in violent crime.
    A little old lady being beaten up by a thug vs a couple of young drunks having a bar fight. The two are totally different. Talking about increase in violent crime or gun crime doesn't tell the story.

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  18. Neil, why are you so against tax cuts simply because the rich gain more!?! They contribute far more to society through hard work and by paying far more tax in nominal terms than they can ever expexct to recieve as recompense from the state. They are far more likely to send their children to private schools and have private healthcare, far less likely to rely on the state for benefits, indeed, most of them wouldn't qualify as benefits are means tested anyway! I want a society where people are rewarded for taking risks, using their initiative and enterprise, not one where it's not worth bothering to work! How small should the wealth gap be between rich and poor?

    What is the benefit of taxing millions on people on earnings under £12k when it must cost nearly as much to administer their taxation? Do you fear that too many public sector jobs would be lost through reduced administration costs and a streamlined bureaucracy? It would have been better for Gordon Brown to have raised the personal income tax allowance by £2,000 per year rather than subject the UK to the nightmare of tax credits.

    If tax cuts incentivise people to work harder and end up paying more tax overall swellling the tresasury coffers, would you object?

    The current system of benefits and tax credits discourages work far too frequently. You should ask job centre / DSS office staff how many claimants receive more in benefits than they are paid for working. You'd be shocked!

    Thankfully I do remember Mrs. T, a remarkable woman. Love her or loath her, quite remarkable.

    I tend not to have a major issue with regressive taxes. Food prices are regressive but there is little call for Tescos to charge wealthier families more for a tin of beans than a poorer family.

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  19. PS Should tobacco and alcohol be subsidised for those on benefit?

    They are regressive taxes that cost benefit claimants far more of their income (in percentage terms)than for wealthier smokers and drinkers!

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  20. dave:

    #1 Obviously there are other factors in play as well. Crime will never be zero but the legalisation of abortion has played a part in the recent falls.

    #2 We have less taxation and worse public services than most other countries in the EU. The wealthy are doing very well financially. We need and can afford better public services and we need less inequality. That is why we need to increase taxation.

    Taxation is spent on us not some mythical 'them'. The majority is spent on frontline services that vastly improve our lives and the less we earn the more we gain from higher taxation.

    What is more wasteful, providing the rich with more disposable income and second homes etc.(that make our rural areas ghost-towns and increase environmental damage) or reducing inequality by having better public services?

    #4 Money isn't everything. So why do you want more inequality and tax cuts?

    #5 "A little old lady being beaten up by a thug vs a couple of young drunks having a bar fight. The two are totally different. Talking about increase in violent crime or gun crime doesn't tell the story."

    I totally agree, lets have more detailed stats and less misrepresentation in the press.

    snafu: "Neil, why are you so against tax cuts simply because the rich gain more!?!"

    I'm not. Go and re-read what I said. I am against tax cuts because they HARM the poor. The benefits that rich people get in their pocket do not outweigh this harm.

    We are the most unequal country in the EU. All I want to see is our country with the levels of equality seen in Scandanavia or at least similar to the EU average. Do you think this country cannot afford this? Why can other countries manage this and we can't?

    "Do you fear that too many public sector jobs would be lost through reduced administration costs and a streamlined bureaucracy?"

    If you have been following this blog for a while, you would know I am in favour of a citizen's income to remedy the benefits trap and I am certainly no supporter of bureaucracy. The Tory led government we are sleepwalking towards won't cut bureaucracy and management consultants.

    It was Thatcher who gave us masses of Quangos, politicised the civil service and centralised control in London emasculating local government.

    By 1995 the Tory Govt were spending over £100m on management consultants and this practise was rapidly expanding as internal markets and PFIs took hold (Francis Wheen - How Mumbo Jumbo conquered the world p56).

    The semi-privatised prison service was in chaos as rapists and murderers were escaping (remember Derek Lewis and the mess Michael Howard was in).

    Some of the recent press headlines are a scandalous misrepresentation of the facts as some of these scandals date from 1984, 1987 and 1994. The Tories were allowing foreign rapists and murderers to stay in the country and putting private agencies in charge of prisons who were then letting them escape.

    Just as privatisation started under Callagham and was expanded under Thatcher/Major, the management culture started under Thatcher, expanded under Major and has accelerated under Blair. I tend to think that competence levels between Labour and Tory are similar. If anything Labour are slightly better.

    People might think 'time for a change'. And a change is what they will get under the Tories, but it won't be the change we want. The Tories will cut frontline services before they touch the management consultants and bureaucracy (if they touch them at all). The Tories past record is poor.

    Every government wants to improve competence and efficiency and if it was easy the present government would be doing it.

    "If tax cuts incentivise people to work harder and end up paying more tax overall swellling the tresasury coffers, would you object?"

    Of course I wouldn't object if it was the truth, but you are talking the discredited 'trickle down' theory that took Reagan from a budget surplus to the biggest deficit ever.

    Tax revenues didn't expand when Reagan cut the top rates of tax and they are not expanding under Bush Jr's top-rate tax cuts either.

    Thatcher had the same problem, she had to expand spending on social security as unemployment ballooned, the money she gave to the rich either left the country or embedded the inequality we are fighting today. Thatcher had to increase public borrowing. Labour have reduced the National debt and increased spending on the NHS and education etc, the national debt is lower than 1997.

    "Food prices are regressive but there is little call for Tescos to charge wealthier families more for a tin of beans than a poorer family."

    Well it is impractical obviously. I agree we can move taxation to more indirect regressive taxes (but eco taxes not VAT or council tax) but only if we have a citizen's income to address the inequality. Brown's tax credits are providing a more livable wage incentive to work but are too bureaucratic compared to a CI which could also mean an end to the benefit trap disincentive.

    "PS Should tobacco and alcohol be subsidised for those on benefit?"

    No. As explained income tax and a CI are the most efficient ways to redistribute. Tax should, where possible, be used to discourage bad behaviour like smoking, drinking, environmental damage etc. and reduce taxation on the good behaviour - income etc.

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  21. Ah crime!! Crime is created in large part by SOCIALIST FUCKING TWATS telling scumbags that they can infact claim to be the victim in the crime they committed by saying that "my daddy left when I was three", "my mummy wouldnt let me get my own way when i was six" and various other shite lines.
    PC WANKERS ARE THE ONES WHO PUSH CRIME. They are responsible and therefore they should be jailed along with the various other cunts in society who dont want to do a real job and only wantto ponce off society and/or other people.

    Handguns dont reduce crime aha ha ha ha ha ha ha Of course they do. I have a relative in the USA and they can leave their car windows open ALL NIGHT, leave their house windows open ALL night AND house robbery is a non-event. That isnt the case in the former UK. People are not going to risk going in someone's house if they think they're going to end up stone dead. The same would apply in England IF people hadn't been disarmed years ago. And why would the cunt government of the time disarm England? So they could force alien migrants on them in the future?

    "These are just 5 I immediately thought of, of course there are 100's more".
    You fucking plank. New labour have had it you twat. English people wont be voting tory either you numbskull. Gawd! ha! ha!

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