In the light of the Cumbria shootings (they weren’t mentioned in the question, but will obviously have been in the minds of people answering), YouGov have a question in this morning’s Sun on gun control. 69% of people wanted to see tighter regulation of guns (made up of 31% who supported a total ban, and 38% tighter restrictions), 23% were happy with the current situation and 4% thought that existing gun laws should be relaxed.

381 Responses to “69% support more gun regulation”

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  1. Amber,

    See this report

    h ttp://

  2. Followed a little bit of the debate on India and China and clothing prices.

    We do manufacture in Birmingham, China, India, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Egypt. There is as much cost differential regionally within all of the above as country to country. So West China Cheap East China expensive, South China expensive North China cheaper.

    Amber quality is dictated by how well factory is QA managed and training in the workforce.

    Migration – think of China as 19th century Britain. Albeit Industrial and tech revolution all at once. For the last couple of years and 18 months in particular a huge explosion of middle class consumerism.

    Our partners provide housing for several thousand workers on annual contracts. There are actually similar schemes to Owen’s and model villages and factories in the new China.

    huge amount has gone into ethical, health and safety in the work place.

    These are low cost economies so all the basics very cheap, growing middle classes.

    India has not had anything like the investment in infrastructure China has.

  3. @ Jack Jackson

    A huge amount has gone into ethical, health and safety in the work place.
    These are low cost economies so all the basics very cheap, growing middle classes.
    The aspirations/ expectations of the growing middle class & other cost pressures will soon see the cost of doing business in China rise to same levels as other developed economies. It will not be a low cost economy for long. This is a good thing, IMO.

  4. Jack Jackson..

    Health and Safety a la housing?

    Are you sure about that- did a recent report not find that properties in the Hunan province were rather shoddily constructed costing the lives of thousands….?

  5. Eoin – where’s that from? Just that in at least one sense it isn’t correct! There is one instance of a ward divided between constituencies in Northern Ireland. Indeed, it is unique – it’s never happened before – Derryaghy ward in Lagan Valley was divided between Lagan Valley and West Belfast.

    Ironically, Northern Ireland is the only part of the country where the boundary commission is obliged by statute to have regard to ward boundaries, in the rest of the country they have chosen to do it for practical purposes, yet it is the only part of the country where a ward has been split.

    Incidentially, I wouldn’t bother getting too deep into the details of the rules, since they will likely change prior to the review.

  6. Amber

    It cost us the same to make some products in the UK as China as we have higher productivity and output in our plants here.

    As I say there is significant region variation in cost in China so costs have been rising in the moredeveloped regions. China government policy in any case to incentivise investment and developments in the regions.


    I get accused often enough for being an apologist! There are abuses everywhere. The Chinese government is sensitive to certain issues. They are rooting out corruption, abuses by local government and businessmen. I think that is well publicised.

    Some of China is still in the 19th century however the greater part of the South and the East is 21st century and they are doing their best to promote “harmony” with their rapid development of prosperity.

  7. Anthony,

    Tis from “Ark elections” (an off shoot of Uni of Ulster). A useful website ordinarily but I will disregard that little trinket…

    What struck me about about boundary commissions is the relatively wide intake of personnel onto them. Some jack of all trade type characters. It gives it the feel of less scientific and more gung ho….. Just an observation. One the plus side they do depositions from the public, which I imagien which spark some local campaigns to save their constituencies… Fun if nothing else.

  8. Back from a break and glancing through this thread, I am glad to see discussion about tax rises back on the agenda.

    I remember the 1980 doubling of VAT and the impact that had on poorer people most of whom got very little benefit from the reductions in direct taxes which came on stream during the rest of thast decade.

    This time I would much prefer to see a temporary income tax surcharge of 2.5pence which would raise between £40 and £45 billion over three years and reduce the need for a whole range of harmful and debilitating cuts as well as reducing the increaase in unemployment by a significant 200,000.

    I fear we are going to get a VAT increase which will raise less and hurt the vulnerable simply because the Tories in particular think rises in income tax, albeit temporary, are ideologically beyond the pale.

  9. I’ve said before that the seat reduction is a pointless piece of gesture politics. The fact that all three parties want to muck about with the numbers or the rules show that the current situation must be OK.

    What seems to be missed is just how practically difficult the whole thing is going to be. I would imagine every constituency boundary will have to be withdrawn substantially – even the odd seat currently with the right numbers will be surrounded by those that aren’t. I don’t know what percentage of constituencies were substantially affected in the last review (Anthony may have an idea), but I suspect it was nothing like 100%. That still took almost five years.

    And this time there’s going to be much more interest from the Parties at every level and probably from the public too. Plus all sort of possibilities for judicial review.

    The Government is intending to alter the rules to make equality of electoral numbers the main criterion. But if you do this it becomes much less obvious where the boundaries should be. The Boundary Commissions (by the way Eoin there’s a separate Welsh one as well) currently use County, London Borough, Met Borough, Unitary and ward boundaries as guides; but often breach these to even numbers up. But if don’t follow these so as to even out discrepancies, where you draw the boundaries becomes arbitrary and all interests then fight for the one that suits them best with no objective method for deciding the best.

    Then you’ve got to convince the House of Commons to vote for and make 10% of their number redundant – and nobody knows which 10%. Because the last Parliament had a big clear out, there won’t be many wanting to go next time.

    Billy Bob pointed out above Cameron’s tendency to go for things that looked like a good idea without thinking them through. This is a corker.

  10. Jack,

    Forgive me.. I was more tapping your knowledge than anything.. I am not a critic of the Chinese gov. on any issue really. My best friend works in Rolls Royce in Xian so i take an interest for conversational purposes when he returns periodically.

  11. David B,

    i quite agree on VAT. Tis a tax on children’s pocket money, the infirm, the homeless and the elderly…

    Charge me whatever income tax you want as long as it means we avoid a VAT rise.

  12. Roger,

    In fairness to DC, there is not a single shred of eivdence ot suggest that blues intend to spin the seat reduction for disproportionate personal benefit. If they do gain it is because the current system is unfair. If there was any sign that it was in any way politically influenced I would be the first to say…

  13. EOIN

    The trouble is no politician dares to mention the idea of income tax increases – maybe some will if Cameron’s big dbate on the cuts comes to anything!

  14. Eoin

    We’ve seen enough complaints on this site to show that many Conservatives believed they would benefit from a change in the boundaries (because they thought the current situation was unfair). That must have caused some internal pressure on Cameron.

    Actually I don’t think it matters what the motivation is. It’s the practicality problems and the danger that people will believe that the new boundaries are gerrymandered that bother me.

  15. I am just off to South Africa and will try to keep in touch.

    DC has boxed his government into a corner over the defict reduction by way of cuts rather by growth. Tax is bad for growth, so don’t assume.

    The emergency budget, might be overtaken by events.

    A lot of smart money says the edifice is about to crumble. So lets see what the equities market is like by the middle of July and values of Euro and Sterling.

    My long term fear for our economy is stagflation.

    DC is guided from the polling point of view as long as this administration can produce prosperity in the last 2 years of the 5 then they will remain in business. So that’s the rush.

  16. @Eoin – “If they do gain it is because the current system is unfair. If there was any sign that it was in any way politically influenced I would be the first to say…”

    I’m afraid I disagree. Viewed in an impartial manner the current system is a lot less unfair than many would have us believe, and if a true measure (ie adult population) is taken, rather than registered electors, Labour appears to have the largest seats.

    As the Times article this morning suggests, DC proposed this change for no other reason than political expediancy. For the same reason that he said current MP numbers were fine in 2003 when campaigning to maintain seat numbers in Oxfordshire, another move that would benefit his party.

    The Electoral Reform society don’t support the changes, which is a good indication that something is wrong, and while DC wants to reduce MP numbers by 10% to cut the cost of democracy, he has indicated a willingness to create 200 extra peers to rebalance the HoL.

    So rather than suggest that ‘there is not a single shred of evidence’ that thi is intended to benefit the Tories disproportionately, lets all grow up and accept that the entire proposal would never have been mentioned unless the Tories thought they would gain substantially.

    If you want a ‘fair’ system there are many different changes you could make – this isn’t one of them.

  17. @jack jackson – “A lot of smart money says the edifice is about to crumble.”

    A lot of ‘smart money’ said Enron was a great bet, that sub prime CDS’s were a great bet, and that risks were managed away in the financial system before 2007.

    Please lets all learn once and for all that there is no such thing as ‘smart money’. There’s just a bunch of people who know very little about any fundamentals about how to run an economy and who live by rumour, groupthink and panic. Smart doesn’t come into it.

  18. Alec,

    It is not an entirely unfair supposition but it is an supposition nonetheless to assume that those too lazy to vote are reds…

    They may also vote BNP in significant numbers and since many are young yellows and greens might benefit…

    I accept though that it would have a less negative impact on the boundary changes for some of the northern cities that are almost certainly on the way..

    A few have said their is no use specualting, i think there is ever use. We have to have soemthing to measure their proposals against. If a consensus builds up such as the one your are trying to garner favour for- then that may well benefit reds…

    The thing about these Boundary Commissions is that they are willing to listen..

  19. I can’t find who asked now, but of the seats in Great Britain at the last election 500 had changed boundaries and 132 were unchanged (that 132 included all the seats in Scotland, where the boundary changes were implemented in 2005).

    Alec in particular – can we limit the discussion here to the impact of the boundary changes, not whether it is a good thing or not.

    Someone might be otherwise inclined to point out that David Cameron was arguing in favour of Oxfordshire retaining 6 seats at the last boundary review… but in the context of arguing *against* an increase to 7 seats. He was arguing for fewer, not more seats.

    Equally, someone might look up the actual quote from Cameron, you’ll find that the elipsis that Jack Straw inserted rather changes matters. Cameron actually said “Somebody might take the view that at 659 there are already too many Members of Parliament at Westminster. They may take the view, depending on what happens in the European constitution, that Westminster has less to do, with less MPs – I certainly hope that is not the case”. I think some people might interpret the statement somewhat differently without Jack Straw’s trimming of it.

    … but if they did, we’d be in a tit-for-tat argument that really wouldn’t be appropriate here. We shouldn’t be picking apart politicans criticisms of each other, because that by definition gets us into partisan arguments… but in order to do so, we shouldn’t really be pasting up their political arguments here as statement of fact.

  20. @AW – understood, and appreciate the details.

    In assessing any likely impacts the Lib Dem role as coalition partners could be interesting. As possible heavy losers from any changes this could be an interesting tussle.


    Tax is not necessarily as bad for growth as rocketing unemployment and reductions in consumer demands.

    I have always argued that what’s needed to tackle the deficit is a mixture of actions. Corporation tax is already in the mix and I suspect there might be some green taxes and I see a temporary income tax surcharge as part of the mix. The government is emphasising ‘fairness’ at every opportunity and direct taxes increases hit people more equally than VAT increases- even if lower earners benefitted from a higher tax free allowance that benefit could be wiped out by a VAT increase.

    Ireckon that a lot of people would think that deficit reduction based on 40% tax increases and 40% cuts and 20% increased revenue from growth would be reasonable.

  22. Alec – the Lib Dems wont lose on the whole – because their support is not so strongly aligned with social class and they have both inner city and rural strength, boundary reviews don’t systemically hurt or hinder them.

    Where they might lose out is if the new rules force the boundary commission to put equality of electorate over and above other considerations (most specifically the rules on special geographical considerations) then the Lib Dems could lose a couple of seats in Scotland.

    I think the Conservatives put out a draft bill in the last Parliament suggesting some rules, but I can’t lay my hands on it now.

  23. Just wanted to check what we, “joe public”, are expecting in the way of cuts and tax increases.

    The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2010 provides:

    “(1) The Treasury must ensure that, for each of the financial years ending in 2011 to 2016, public sector net borrowing expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product is less than it was for the preceding financial year.
    (2) The Treasury must ensure that, for the financial year ending in 2014, public sector net borrowing expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product is no more than half of what it was for the financial year ending in 2010.
    (3) The Treasury must ensure that— .
    (a) public sector net debt as at the end of the financial year ending in 2016 expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product (centred on 31 March 2016), is less than
    (b) public sector net debt as at the end of the previous financial year expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product (centred on 31 March 2015).”

    So, at this moment we don’t know the GDP for the year 2009/10. Do we know public sector net borrowing for that year?

    Until tthese figues are known, surely there can be no calculation of what needs to be achieved in cuts etc in the period to the end of 2013/14.

  24. Anthony

    It was me who asked about the number of boundary changes. I was trying to get the substantial changes rather than say just realignment due to changed ward boundaries. I’ve since found some info on the LSE Blog on the 573 England and Wales constituencies.

    This gives 80 “new” constituencies and 76 “disbanded”. I’m assuming these are the substantial changes rather than just fiddling with constituency names. So about 14% as opposed to pushing 100% which might be affected under the current proposals.
    I don’t think altering the geographical rule will actually make much difference. On a quick skim through the last report for England, the only example they quote is Copeland where it made a difference. Of course there are more examples in Scotland and Wales, but I suspect it’s still single figures. Incidentally they say not a single person from the Isle of Wight complained about under-representation at the last two reviews.

  25. Geographical rule is mostly Scotland and Wales, the only examples in England are Northumberland, Cumbria and Isle of Wight (I suppose you could just about count the Wirral as well, if the decision not to have the cross-Mersey estuararu seat can be classed as a special geographical consideration.)

    Not sure about their count for new and disbanded. Generally only about a dozen are put in each of those categories, so the LSE must have including those with an index of change over a certain level in order to classify them.

    Worth adding that a lot of seats will only have minor effects even from a reduction to 585, especially in regions where the population is rising anyway, so I wouldn’t assume that most seats would see major changes as a result.

    Across the South-East for example, that would only equate to the loss of 3 seats (my guess is they will be in Kent, Hampshire and Sussex) so other counties would see only minor changes. Contrast that with Wales, which will probably lose a good quarter of its seats and see massive changes across the country.

  26. Why is so important to have special areas taken into consideration for boundaries, As we are often told about the ‘West Lothian’ Question its a UK Parliament so if a constituency needs to go across the Welsh English Border say at Shrewsbury why not, its no different in UK terms than having half a constituency in a town and the rest of it in a rural area.

  27. Why do we actually need to reduce the number of seats – wouldn’t it be possible to effect a ‘fairer’ redistribution using the same number of seats.

    If the likely increases in population widely discussed in the media last year (70 million by 2025) come about the current number of 650 seats will end up the same size as the proposed 585 are likely to be currently.

  28. If Wales and Scotland are to have more self-rule it makes sense to cut the number of their MPs at Westminster. I wonder if some of the more incompetent Welsh local authorities might also be scrapped.

  29. The net result of these changes might negate the west lothian question somewhat. It is one thing having Scotland over-represented but another to have them swing crucial English votes… say future academies or backdoor privatisation of NHS…

    On boundary changes it seems logical that the islands north or scotland would see a cull in seats and we know they have at least one in mind for belfast…

    How is Cornwall respesented? Xiby posted somethign very useful a while back. it is a pit we could not have it again…

  30. @Anthony – the reports of the Tories plans were for equal population +/- 3% (I think) to be the overiding consideration, expressly overriding geographical or local identiity factors. Of course this may not be the eventual plan, but it would yeild some very odd constituencies.

    Picked up these comments online following an anlysis by Robert Waller;

    “Should the legislation pass through Parliament the review itself will be expensive for a government trying to reduce the cost of Westminster. No boundary commission has ever reported in anything like the three years this would need to be achieved in and the idea that it might save money is questionable.

    A review of this magnitude has not occurred for over a hundred years and Waller for one is not convinced. “I don’t know if they know what they’re getting into.””

    @DavidB – the reduction idea must be a gimmick – you are absolutely right that the same objectives could be achieved with the same number of MPs we have now – in fact it would be easier in political terms, as under these plans 65 MPs will have to vote to disappear – in some areas this will mean Tory MPs voting themselves out of a seat.

    I think one way in which this could become a big issue is that as spending cuts bite we are all expecting the coalition to take a few hits in public support. This will come at the same time as the change in MP numbers is being discussed, and I’m pretty sure Labour will use the argument about the Tories trying to stack the system in their favour. Right or wrong, it will be hard for an unpopular mid term administration to duck the criticism and I suspect that in time this will become another policy thought up on the hoof (quick response to the expenses outrage) that Cameron will wish he never said. far batter to have left the BC to do its work in the normal course of events.

  31. Alec

    It’s like a lot of these policies – something that it was hoped would catch the public or Party mood that they then got stuck with. If you remember there was quite a lot of resentment from Conservative voters towards what they saw as an injustice, even though most of the difference was either since corrected or caused by other factors.

    It’s not a gimmick in the sense that I think it was sincerely meant, but it is indicative of Cameron’s habit of mind. Like far too many on all sides of modern politics, he says things that he believes will suit the moment. Then he hopes it will disappear like yesterday’s press release. (Didn’t he promise to retain pensioners’ free travel off the top of his head during one of the debates?)

    As far as the cost goes, as I pointed out above it took over 5 years to do the previous, much less extensive, review. A lot of money and talent would have to be thrown at the problem and even then they might not make it. Still Parliament seems to be building up a fine tradition of cost saving measures that cost more than they save. Think of both the investigation into expenses and, even more so, the replacement system.

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