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UKIP it is, then

The UK version of the Huffington Post reports that Ukip’s ‘NRA-Esque’ Gun Control Comments Described As ‘Inaccurate Upsetting Drivel’. Furthermore, advises the author of the piece, Felicity A Morse,

Farage’s support for relaxed gun control is particularly controversial given there is a cross-party consensus that restricting firearms helps reduce gun crime and protects communities.

Emphasis added. Consider yourselves warned.

42 comments to UKIP it is, then

  • AndrewWS

    Ah, “communities”, that celebrated/notorious feelgood buzzword.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    What I find amusing is that they embedded 2 NRA graphs that make the claim excellently, and then completely ignored them in the main text. They clearly demonstrate that even if there is not a causal relationship between the number of firearms owned and violent crime, that increasing the number of guns clearly does not make the problem worse.

    The best they could do was flag one in a million events like Dunblane to try and make their case. They really would have been more convincing if they had not included the graphs.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I noticed that HuffPo claimed the NRA graphs were “discredited” without saying why, so I decided to do their job for them. Best as I can figure this claim comes from stats which show that the % of gun owning households is falling.

    But the graph refers to new guns in the market, which is rising even according to independent data. And the number of guns manufactured is rising. And the number imported. And the number sold.

    Now if all these are rising and yet the number of gun owning households is falling, either those who own guns are buying a shit load of new ones, or people were lying on that survey.

    Frankly I suspect both. Would you tell a government statistician you had guns in the house if you didn’t have to?

  • Bod

    I think you’d be quite surprised at – in advance of what I consider the *inevitable* universal registration legislation – the number of firearms being lost in tragic and costly boating accidents. Multiple firearms, along with large quantities of ammo, ending up at the bottom of the Connecticut River. Right in the deepest bit.

    This mysteriously coincides with vastly increased sales of cosmolene, 4″ drainage pipes and ends.

    It’s a total frickin’ mystery to me why this should be happening right now.

  • Farage’s support for relaxed gun control is particularly controversial given there is a cross-party consensus that restricting firearms helps reduce gun crime and protects communities.

    This ignores the fact that UKIP was specifically formed to break the cross-party consensus, especially on Europe, but also in other areas such as taxation and gun control.

    Farage might be a bit of a comic-book character, but that doesn’t make him wrong in all times and in all places…

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    John Galt,

    Your comment is along the same line as the thought that prompted this post. The HuffPo piece reads as if the writer expects the reader to flinch at the idea of someone going against an all-party consensus. I see it as a selling point. I suspect that in the current climate it is such a strong selling point that a lot of people who vaguely favour gun control will give the argument against it a second look simply on the grounds that it does go against an all-party consensus.

    Those who put their trust in political parties or politicians are doomed to disappointment, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t have a preference.

  • RAB

    “Farage might be a bit of a comic-book character,”

    Compared to whom? iDave? Mr Ed the talking horse’s arse? The Boy Clegg? John Prescott?…

    We are never going to get our guns back in the UK, but I’m voting UKIP anyway. First things first… out of Europe.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Judging by their own government’s treatment of them, Britons are so dangerous that they shouldn’t be allowed into the US, where they might get hold of a gun and run amok.

    It’s probably a good thing I’m too broke to take up barratry.

  • Rob

    I am astonished why ‘consensus’ in a political context is almost universally seen as positive. When I read the word I see ‘stitch-up’.

  • llamas

    When two parties, which generally hate each other with a Hot, Hot Hate, come to a ‘consensus’ about anything, you may be sure that that ‘consensus’ is just about as wrong on the facts as it is possible to be. And that what’s actually being cooked up is a cross-pary consensus to screw over the voters in some way or other. Again.

    Individually, they may be right, or they may be wrong. In agreement, they must be wrong – by definition.

    I’ve noticed that in the UK, restricting firearms has helped to reduce gun crime and protect communities.


    I’m quite amazed that a bald-faced lie like this can be spoken on a major political website and simply accepted as true.

    I’m joking, of course – I’m not amazed at all. In the UK, there is simply no lie about firearms or firearms ownership (and ESPECIALLY about these issues as seen in the US) that is so outrageous that it will not be repeated and accepted as true. None. You could claim that US shopping malls in leafy suburbs are shot up by AK-47 toting madmen (all registered Republicans) at an average rate of 16 times per day, and a UK newspaper would print the claim as fact.

    I’d like to launch the Llamas Challenge Cup – a case of Laphroaig for the person who can get the most outrageously-untrue story about guns and gun ownership in the US printed in a UK newspaper, winners to be jusdged by a panel of S’data editors. I preduct equal parts hilarity and amazement will ensue.



  • Edward Smith

    “Farage might be a bit of a comic-book character.”

    Well, he is not a spineless jellyfish, or dour and humourless. And he clearly enjoys being in public life, and being around people.

    If he is a “comic book character” he is such in a good way. He is vibrant and interesting; he engages people without trying to be all things to all people. He is the kind of “ordinary” people like to see in politics.

    BTW, I despise that term “ordinary people”. I’ve met extraordinary people, but I cannot for the life of me tell you what an “ordinary” person is or does. Is a person with a passion for Rugby or or Cricket ordinary? What does that make the person with a passion for Tournament Bridge or Stamp Collecting … or Trainspotting (ever been to the National Railway Museum in York – it is fantastic!) or Astronomy (I just came back from a weekend retreat away from NYC – I love being able to find the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt … they’re the only stars I can readily identify, but I love it nonetheless)?

    Don’t damn Nigel Farage with faint praise. he is the best & most natural and frankly honest politician you have – and he makes a hell of a lot of sense.

    UKIP needs Nigel Farage. So does Britain.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    It’s not about guns in America, llamas, but the most egregious example of misinformation I’ve ever seen published in the UK is below. It was spoken by Anthony Colman the MP for Putney in 1997, and it is from the debate that had Britons stripped of the last of their rights pertaining to firearms. If this is the standard of accuracy our MPs are held to, no wonder they make bad laws.

    Mr. Robathan: Does the hon. Gentleman not believe that the role of this House, among others, is to defend the rights of minorities?

    Mr. Colman: I do indeed. The minority exercised their right to hold their march in Putney and those 75 people were extremely well protected by the 78 police officers.

    I am against the alternative of storing handguns at gun clubs, as are the police. I have a personal reason for that. Some years ago, my brother Ronald Colman, a police constable in King’s Lynn, was called out after a break-in at a local gun club armoury and he cornered the criminals in the local sports pavilion. He did not call for back-up, although he should have done, and found himself looking down the barrel of a .22 gun. I remind hon. Members that a .22 can kill at a range of more than two miles and he was staring at the gun from a distance of 10 ft. He nevertheless went in unarmed and disarmed the two criminals. He was subsequently awarded the British Empire Medal and I am proud of my brother for what he did that day.

    Emphasis mine. You can view the original transcripts here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmhansrd/vo970611/debtext/70611-43.htm

  • For a case of Laphroaig, I believe even I might put something together. It would be easy for example, to equate the draconian gun laws in Illinois to the relatively low statewide murder rate. It would help if one ignored last years bumper crop, citing global warming or something as being responsible for the uptick, and never mentioned that most of the murders in Illinois occur in only one county. Or one could simply leave the 2012 numbers out. After all, they’re too new to be accurately considered.

    For the benefit of those of us in the colonies, which paper would be the most likely to print something like this?

  • John K

    Only today we learned that several Islamic nutters went out to murder people at an EDL event, armed with two sawn off shotguns, machetes amd home made bombs. Clearly, the laws against owning sawn off shotguns, carrying knives in public or making bombs did not have much effect on them, but no doubt they expected the EDL supporters, and indeed the police, to be unarmed, and thus unable to defend themselves against the attack by the brave Jihadists, who sadly for them managed to turn up late for the EDL event, and then got nicked for not having insurance on their car. That is the British situation, criminals have guns, bombs, knives, anything they want, and the rest of us are expected to rely on sheer luck and the general crapness of Islamic loonies, rather than having the ability to defend ourselves. Vote UKIP I say.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Billllllllllllllll….lll..ll.l, anything in the Guardian or the Daily Mirror pertaining to guns is likely to be complete, unfettered bullshit. In fact, anything of any sort in these papers is likely to be complete unfettered bullshit.

    The other papers in the UK can be a bit hit and miss. The Independent tends to be full of bullshit as well, but it is an equal opportunity offender and it’s bullshit tends to be equally on the left and right so it kind of balances out.

    But generally UK journalists are completely ignorant of guns, so anything they write is going to be wrong. For example shortly after Virginia Tech the BBC reported that the shooter had used both 9mm and 22mm handguns. Eventually someone corrected them and they changed it, hoping no-one would notice. But many did. But basic ignorance of the fact that calibres are reported in both metric and imperial measures is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The fact that reporting the shooter to have somehow used a man-portable piece of artillery did not stand out as odd to them goes some way to emphasising just how little they know.

  • llamas

    Just to be clear, the case of Laphroaig is for the most-egregious falsehood that can be passed off as true and printed in a UK newspaper. No prizes for typos, but stories which are totally false, and yet totally fact-checkable, or which deliberately omit highly-pertinent facts, definitely qualify. The UK press suffers from a bad case of ‘too good to check’ in this area, and will print almost anything on this subject as long as it paints the US and American gun owners in a bad light.

    My favourite to date – ‘anybody can just walk into a WalMart and buy a gun, no questions asked!’ I think that is a pretty-much word-for-word quote.

    Go ahead – what can you get the Daily Mail to print as unquestionedly-true? Let’s see the imagination of the Samizdatistas at play.



  • Kevin B

    given there is a cross-party consensus that energy rationing is good for growth.
    given there is a cross-party consensus that bureaucrats can manage businesses better than their owners.
    given there is a cross-party consensus that paying money to people to not work is investing.
    given there is a cross-party consensus that the more complex the tax system is, the ‘fairer’ it is.
    given there is a cross-party consensus that when the public ignore the current laws then more laws are needed.
    given there is a cross-party consensus that giving ‘offence’ is a more heinous crime than mugging.

  • greg

    llamas, would that be a case of 10 year, 18 year, or 25 year old Laphroaig?

  • John K


    Laphroaig is something of an acquired taste, I prefer a Speyside malt to an Islay. Make mine a Glenfiddich or a Glenmorangie if you don’t mind!

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Ah, the good old Guardian. I was able to find a version of the VTech story in their archives which still contained the UK journalists’ patented ignorance:

    It was revealed today that the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui, had been carrying a 9mm Glock pistol and a 22mm Walther semi-automatic. One of those handguns was used in both crime scenes on the campus.

    Receipts in his backpack suggested he had bought the guns legally earlier this month, but the terrible death toll at the university has inevitably revived the debate on the nation’s relatively relaxed approach to gun ownership.


    22mm handguns don’t exist and are impossible. And it has been established beyond doubt that insane South Koreans cannot purchase guns legally. That he purchased guns did not mean he did so legally.

  • My favorite source so far is the ever-reliable Inspire, which suggested that one could walk into any gun show in the U.S. and walk out with a fully automatic weapon and ammo, no questions asked. I seem to remember some references to .357mm handguns as well. Useful on very small game I guess.

  • I have not yet seen a 22mm pistol, but here’s a 19mm unit.
    Very dangerous sahib. You shoot first.
    22mm works out to be about 7 ga FWIW.

  • Ernie G

    When journalists write howlers about 22mm or .357mm weapons, or high capacity clips, or fully automatic M16s, they are indicating that they should be taken seriously because they are on the right side of the issue, facts be damned.

  • jerry

    Has anyone else noticed the relatively new adjective being used ?
    As in –
    Reducing the number of guns will reduce crime
    to the now
    Reducing the number of guns will reduce GUN crime.

    What is NEVER mentioned is that yes, while gun crime may go down, almost everything I read says that overall crime increases due to lowered risk to criminals !!!
    Being shot or stabbed to death makes little difference to the victim !

    There is also a ‘side effect’ of gun ownership that is never mentioned.
    Take burglary.
    Breaking into a home ( especially if it’s occupied ! ) becomes, from an probability standpoint, much safer if firearms are essentially illegal
    ( just as an example. I give you Britain ). the chances of being seriously injured goes down appreciably.
    If, on the other hand, firearms are relatively common ( Just as an example, I give you Texas ) then, burglarizing an occupied home becomes a very risky proposition and,
    since the criminal really doesn’t know for certain WHICH households are ‘armed’, those households that AREN’T armed benefit from the doubt thereby raising the overall safety, however slightly, of a given neighborhood.

  • Paul Marks

    Natalie is correct – whenever one hears or sees the words “cross party consensus” being used, one should be on one’s guard. When the words “cross party consensus” are used freedom is normally under threat.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    In your dreams, llamas and the lot of yer!

    I am not signing up to provide £5.04 Tesco Value Whisky, let alone Laphroaig, to anyone for providing examples of the British press believing absurdities about guns. I’d have to supply it with a water cannon in order to keep up.

  • Mr Ed

    @ JV: Perhaps the pistol was 0.22″ not 22mm. Anyone who has handled a 20mm cannon shell would have serious misgivings about firing a 22mm pistol. The RAF’s main AA armament at the start of WW2 was 0.303′ calibre machine gun (same as the Lee Enfield rifle), with 20mm cannons being a welcome boost to firepower. 30mm shell are anti-aircraft calibre and capable of bringing down a modern aircraft with a good hit, so 22mm is simply not feasible, nor is it a standard.

  • Here’s why it is very dangerous for ordinary citizens to possess firearms: they may shoot intruders and get shot in return.

  • llamas

    @ Natalie Solent – I know full-well that the UK press is capable of printing the most absurd things abous US guns and gun ownership. But the prize is for the most-egregiously-false story that somebody can feed them on the subject and get them to print. I’m trying to raise the bar 😉

    Stop concentrating on camels-on-pinheads arguments about printing 22 mm instead of .22 caliber – these are side-tracks that focus on ignorance, not their unique mixture of gullibility and deliberate malice.

    Get them to print a story claiming that 226,000 Americans are killed every year by handguns. Or that there are 27 deaths per day in the US as a result of road-rage incidents escalated by the presence of a handgun. Something so outlandishly-impossible that it can’t be played off as a typo. Get them to the full commitment – editorial bloviating would be a bonus.

    Have them report that a sheriff in a major urban county in the US threatened a reporter with a loaded handgun and told him he would ‘blow his f*cking brains out’ if he published stories derogatory of the sheriff – no, wait, that one’s true, we can’t have that, it surely does spoil the ‘only the police can be trusted with firearms’ meme, and yet it still shows that Americans are all crazed maniacs when it comes to guns, even their policemen, so it’s a horrible dilemma for them, I guess?

    The possibilities for Alinsky-style fun are endless.



  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Stop concentrating on camels-on-pinheads arguments about printing 22 mm instead of .22 caliber – these are side-tracks that focus on ignorance, not their unique mixture of gullibility and deliberate malice.

    I beg to differ llamas. The fact of the matter is your average journalist genuinely believes a 22 rimfire has the stopping power of a howitzer and wouldn’t believe you if you said otherwise. They think a person who is willing to fire one at another living creature is as off the wall as someone who would keep a flamethrower for deer hunting. And since they perceive it as wanton, they want it stopped. So there is both gullibility and malice in that simple typo, because they are showing themselves unwilling to recognise the gradient of force principle. They believe guns to be WMDs, and are going to run with that meme come what may.

  • Laird

    Hey, I like the idea of using a flamethrower for deer hunting. Sounds very efficient.

    But then I also like the efficiency of fishing with dynamite.

  • Someone over here actually did use a 6# mountain howitzer to hunt deer. Got one too. Another fellow has an article on hunting feral cats with a Coehorn mortar although I do not believe he has actually bagged one. When talking about American gun nuts, we set the bar high.

  • Eric Tavenner

    There are indeed pistols of greater than 22mm. The 26.5mm and 37mm flare launchers are by strict definition pistols as they are designed to be fired with one hand. They are also not weapons according to US law and can be bought without any restrictions.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    April 30, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    But then I also like the efficiency of fishing with dynamite.

    Have you considered sodium metal? Very satisfying bang and the catch surfaces as lutefisk.

  • Stephen Willmer

    Mark Steyn calls cross party consensus, “ganging up on the electorate”, which is a typically pithy distillation of the essentials

  • But PFP, who the hell wants lutefisk? 😉

  • Phil B

    Get them to print THIS and see if they can’t detect the tongue in cheek sarcasm


  • Mr Ed

    @ Eric A flare pistol was used by an otherwise unarmed and enterprising RAF man in WW2 to capture a German fighter that had landed in South Wales by mistake. ‘Jerry’ had been over the Bristol area and got out to sea, thinking he was off to France but he was going North ish not South, and he mistook the Welsh coast for France, having crossed the Bristol Channel. He found an airfield and landed, to the consternation of ground staff, one of whom grabbed a flare pistol, no firearrms being to hand, and scrambled onto the wing and pointed it at Jerry’s head to require him to surrender, and he did.

    The German pilot was sent to Canada, he faked epilepsy and was repatriated, resuming service in the Luftwaffe in 1944.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I got rather distracted on my way out today, and instead of going into Uni and working on my PhD I spent some time plugging the FBI crime stats for 2011 into my statistical analysis software. I was comparing the crime rates for all 50 states with the Brady Score awarded for those states.

    I was hoping for a nice clean picture, but alas it turned out to be rather more complicated than I thought. Using a stepwise linear regression I found that using Rape and Robbery alone you could account for 48% of the variance in the Brady score for those states. Rape was highly negatively correlated with the Brady Score and robbery was highly positively correlated. Rape and Robbery were positively correlated with one another though , which I thought was interesting. The “High-Brady” states had a higher level of robbery but a lower level of rape, by almost equal amounts. For every extra point on the Brady scale rape went down about 0.4 per 100,000 and robbery went up by the same amount.

    Unfortunately the data (especially when you added in more predictors like Murder) badly suffered from multi-collinearity (where the predictors are highly correlated with one another) and this seriously screws up the interpretation of the data in a linear regression. Strictly speaking this disqualifies us from using a regression altogether. I don’t think too much can be read into these results, especially since we don’t have any information on those states pre-existing crime rates.

    At some point I’ll try and figure out a way to do a time series analysis on the crime stats following the implementation of new gun laws. Observing the effects of new laws within a state allows that state to be its own control, whereas comparing fundamentally different states is very difficult.

    Suffice to say the pro-gun mantra of the most permissive states being the safest is not true, but equally the anti-gun mantra of the least permissive states being the safest was also not true.

    I was rather disappointed that Brady don’t rate DC, since I’m sure that would have had an interesting effect on my analysis. 😉

  • There is a red/blue map pair that shows a strong correlation between population density and crime rates. This may well suggest that crime rates are more affected by population density than we think and the best cure for a high murder rate is suburban sprawl.

    I found a graphic that suggested that at present, your overall odds of being murdered in the U.S. are about the same weather you’re inside or outside of prison. If it makes you feel any better, your odds of being shot by your room mate are much lower in prison.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Addendum: I got my IVs and DVs mixed up in the above post – rookie mistake.

    For every extra 1 rapes per 100,000, Brady scores went down by 0.4, and the went up by 0.4 for every extra robbery per 100,000.