Friday, June 04, 2010


Cumbrian Killings Sign of 'Broken Society' Dave?

If the tragic shootings by Derrick Bird had occurred during the election campaign you can be sure Cameron and his acolytes would have trumpteded that here was yet more evidence for his contention that Britain had a 'Broken Society'. But politicians of course, campaign in poetry and govern in prose so, confronted with this possible evidence he merely warns against 'knee-jerk' reactions. We won't see any more tightening of gun controls when, already, the Olympic shooting squad has to train abroad.

The Economist ponders what the event tells us about our society and is not too bothered. We suffer just over one gun murder per million people each year, one of the very lowest in the developed world. Last year only 39 people were so killed- the lowest for 15 years. Whilst 300 people per thousand own a gun in Germany and 900 in America, the figure for the UK is merely 56. This is not to say we don't have a problem with assaults and examples of hideous cruelty, merely that we are no different, and perhaps more than a little more peaceful than comparable countries. Dave's silence on his Broken Society theme is just one more sign that this idea was a rhetorical device invented merely for electoral purposes.

One should not play politics with such tragic events as the West Cumbrian shootings.
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