Daniel Hannan is a Tory MEP probably best known to most people in the UK for his extreme right wing views that even make some Tories uncomfortable and of course, his comments on the NHS on Fox News which got him a bollocking from David Cameron.
He’s one of these Tories who adores America, and seems to be intent in bringing the worse of that country over here. Yesterday Hannan Tweeted this:
If anyone needs reminding what Hannan is referring to is the banning of handguns after the Dunblane shootings where 16 children and one adult were murdered by the gunman Thomas Hamilton The tabloid campaign which followed saw hand guns severely restricted in the UK.
Hannan has been campaigning against hand gun regulation for some time, and has written about it in the past in the Telegraph, which is where he said this:
Instead, a filthy tabloid campaign suggested that anyone who voted against a total ban somehow didn’t care about the dead children. Tony Blair’s most nauseating speech as Labour leader was the one he gave to his 1997 party conference, in which he brandished the shrouds of the murdered infants:
That’s right, Hannan cares so much about dead children that he sweeps past the memory of those 16 children to have a pop at Tony Blair. Now Blair was a dreadful Prime Minister but by enacting harder laws upon handguns based upon a ‘filthy tabloid campaign’ has ensured we don’t have masses of hand guns in the UK, and we don’t have a situation like the US where gun crime is out of control.
On the back that Tweet, Hannan has written this today in the Telegraph, and it’s partially a rehash of an older piece he did but slightly updated to take into account his Twitter activity which seems only to have been to help him create his self-satisfied sense of outrage. He doesn’t present any figures, or engage in facts or nuance. Nope, it’s all about feeling smug at ‘Lefties’. The only problem for Hannan is that gun crime in the UK is falling and has been for some time, and in England and Wales the latest figures show a 6% decrease in gun crime. This isn’t to say there’s still not massive problems with guns in parts of the UK, but freely owning handguns should be legalised and licensed which is what Nigel Farage says, and is the idea Hannan supports is not a good idea.
The idea of owning handguns is mainly the reserve of the libertarian far right who see it as an ‘essential right’. That perhaps owning a gun would make them safer, and if say, Thomas Hamilton came storming in then they could pull out their gun and scare them off. That’s a fantasy. All that would happen is there’d be more dead people and things would be worse. All of this ignores the underlying problems of crime such as poverty, education, addiction and mental health. The idea of owning a gun makes people think they’re safe and can opt out of society because they’d be their own protectors but reality isn’t like that. Hannan though by backing Farage thinks it is, but really it’s rabble rousing by Hannan to have a pop at Labour as he still lives in this binary world where you’re either a Tory or Labour supporter.
Of course he’s built this argument by positing that others have used the dead of Dunblane as political weapons, while at the same time using the dead of Dunblane as political weapons and then casting them, and any future such massacre aside in order to preach libertarianism and slag off ‘Lefties’ but the victims are a ball to bat aside while he cranks out a recycled article in the Telegraph for money.
It’s worth reminding ourselves of the victims and how young they were. It’s worth reminding ourselves that although gun crime is still too high in the UK, it’s falling and it’s worth reminding ourselves that we don’t suffer the monthly shootings that plague the US. There’s a reason Dunblane lives on in our memory and stands out and that’s because it’s one of the few times we’ve had such a massacre. Opening up handgun ownership is opening up a Pandora’s Box that we don’t need, and it’s disturbing that Farage and Hannan think this is so important at a time when the majority of the UK is suffering through the recession.