Friday 20 November 2009

Gun today, gun tomorrow

Lobbydog was chatting to a dad who has been campaigning for a change in the law governing the use of airguns.

A couple of years back his son was playing with two other lads who had an airgun, and was accidentally shot in the eye – he died two days later.

The dad had, among other things, wanted a law saying that air guns should be kept in a locked cabinet when not in use.

He was understandably happy when the Queen’s Speech included a line saying there would be a law requiring the weapons to be kept out of kids’ reach.

But after LD read through the detail of the legislation, which was published this morning and gave him a call, he was not so pleased.

The wording of the law, rather than requiring guns to be kept locked up, simply said “reasonable precautions” had to be taken to stop youngsters getting them.

Anyone that has watched any sort of court case knows that is far too vague a wording to make it easy to prosecute anyone who commits the offence.

The question has to be asked why they didn’t simply spell out that it should be locked up when not in use, as the dad put it – what harm would it do?

One MP mentioned it may be because the Government had wanted to keep the rural lobby happy, judging by comments on some airgun websites they are pleased with the “flexibility” of the wording.

Unfortunately I fear that in trying to keep everyone happy the Government may end up with a dud law.

I'm back, Hoon isn't

Sorry for being distant over the last few days, I was busy preparing copy for Brown’s visit to the East Midlands.

Oh, and there was the Queen’s Speech too – it’s amazing the amount you can find to write about an event with nothing in it.

Anyhoo, to start the day I notice that Baroness Ashton is the British contribution to the ‘big two’ EU jobs.

This is a woman who has never won any sort of election, for whom the Daily Mail description “relative nobody” is an understatement.

I do note, however, that Geoff Hoon was passed over for the job. Which is worth a mention.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Lady Bercow

Sally Bercow was glowing as she watched her Speaker hubby take part in the state opening of Parliament just now.

She tilted her head to one side in pride as she watched him traipse into the Commons in full ceremonial dress.

Either that or the huge fascinator she was wearing – really, it was the size of a second head – was proving too heavy for her neck muscles.

More on the Queen's Speech later.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Independent thought

The Independent Network (IN) - the association that guides parliamentary candidates without party affiliations – has launched its own blog.

With the expenses scandal fresh in people’s minds as we come to the election, independents may feature in quite a big way.

There are already noises that independent candidates will stand against dozens of MPs including Alan Duncan, Keith Vaz, Geoff Hoon and even Alistair Darling.

Martin Bell, one of the IN’s chiefs, has said there are some 200 MPs who are “unfit for purpose”.

As it’s not a party IN has no policies – it’s up to the individual candidate to decide what to think.

But the organisation seeks to give candidates some legitimacy. To become registered with IN you need to undergo certain background checks and up hold certain principles which are laid out on their blog.

There is talk that at least one of the three main parties, the Lib Dems, will stand aside for independent candidates where they are challenging a big name.