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Thread: The democratic process

  1. #1

    The democratic process

    There is considerable and useful discussion on this forum on the "bigger" issues surrounding shooting where it interfaces with politics and those people who don't shoot. These discussions are often tied in with discussions of which shooting organisation is best to represent us, often driven by a small number who are dissatisified with one or other organisation. Many people clearly hold a range of strong views on many topics relating to shooting and the politics involved.

    Recently there was a thread here about SNH and enforced training for stalkers in Scotland. There were lots of views expressed, but not a lot of facts. It was a simple matter and the work of 15 minutes to compose a FOI request to SNH and establish the facts and it was interesting that the thread detailing the facts as outlined by SNH attracted a tiny fraction of the posts on the thread of wild speculation and predictions of doom.

    It has not escaped my notice, or that of others, that a lot of the people who complain on this forum or who announce that various political events will impact upon our sport never actually engage in the political process by bothering to contact their political representitives or by contacting organisations like SNH and demanding answers.

    Why is it that many people who hold strong views and who express them here in useful, constructive and often very well argued threads repeatedly fail to bring these concerns to the attention of their politicians? Why is it that people can type for hours on this forum each week, often predicting doom or detailing what needs to be done and usually fighting with fellow stalkers, and yet it seems very rare for these same people to contact their MPs to make their views known?

    Most MPs and similar can be contacted by email or through a simple web interface and it takes only minutes to bring your views to their attention and, therefore, to have your say in a democratic process where a very small number of very loud mouthed people often appear to create the policies and laws of the land.

    Are those people who feel strongly about shooting matters, and who frequently fight for long periods of time with other stalkers on this forum, willing to agree that for every hour they spend on SD posting to the faithful they will also spend 15 minutes writing to their MP or other representitive on shooting matters?
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  2. #2
    I agree. I do indeed write to my M.P. about shooting and other related matters and I have always found him very helpful. I know that personally written commmunications as opposed to standardised templates from representative organisations do have some influence on him. atb Tim

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by timbrayford View Post
    I have always found him very helpful.
    Actually that is a very good point - my experience is also that my MP has been honest and, generally, supportive. The whole thing is a much more positive experience than you might imagine and I think that many MPs are glad to get a communication from people outside of the usual Greenpeace campaigning types who are disgusted and offended by everything that happens around them.
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  4. #4
    I marched in London ref the pistol ban in 1997 . The decision had already been made by the government on that one. That we live in a Democracy is a nice myth.
    Martin

  5. #5
    Superb post.

    Direct contact with MPs, if phrased articulately and reasonably, is astonishingly effective.

    As to why so many forum based demagogues generally fail to engage with the wider world, I think it's generally because they are not genuinely interested in effecting constructive change. Instead, their main purpose generally appears to be prestige among peers. In real life, prestige among peers usually requires action. Online, prestige can be obtained merely by saying the right things.

    I would guess that the people who contribute most to protecting/advancing the interests of field sports will be those you seldom (if ever) see posting on fora such as this. They are likely to be too busy...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bavarianbrit View Post
    I marched in London ref the pistol ban in 1997 . The decision had already been made by the government on that one. That we live in a Democracy is a nice myth.
    Martin
    Tricky one: since a democracy essentially amounts to majority rule, and the majority (rightly or wrongly) is suspicious of hand guns, then in this case democracy worked. It could only be said to have failed if a majority had wanted hand guns, but a ban went ahead any way.

    Therein lies THE critical problem with minority interests such field sports. It would probably cost the government remarkably few votes overall to ban private ownership of firearms outright - a substantial majority are either mildly suspicious of them or have no opinion either way. This is why it is so critical to engage with MPs - one of their implicit roles is to protect the interests of minorities where those interests do not harm the interests of the majority.

  7. #7
    Very quick post - I'm sure I just heard a collective sigh of relief there - excellent thread and very well put.

    Not sure its about democratic process so much as human nature!

    I'll come back with a post later - but just a quick well done for raising the thread.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mungo View Post
    Tricky one: since a democracy essentially amounts to majority rule, and the majority (rightly or wrongly) is suspicious of hand guns, then in this case democracy worked. It could only be said to have failed if a majority had wanted hand guns, but a ban went ahead any way.

    Therein lies THE critical problem with minority interests such field sports. It would probably cost the government remarkably few votes overall to ban private ownership of firearms outright - a substantial majority are either mildly suspicious of them or have no opinion either way. This is why it is so critical to engage with MPs - one of their implicit roles is to protect the interests of minorities where those interests do not harm the interests of the majority.
    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments but feel that you are missing and important factor in modern day life.
    Trial By Media!
    Despite so many denying its existence it is by far the most dangerous force in the UK.
    The media hold sway with the politicians to such extent that we end up spending millions upon the likes of the Leveson Inquiry!
    It is the media that scream and shout for firearms bans whenever there is an incident. (Usually involving a "High powered Sniper rifle)
    In order to deal with the media you need specialised and particular knowledge. I work in the Oil Industry and believe me they take the media VERY seriously!
    I write to my MP, sign petitions and also hold membership in a sporting association that takes the media very seriously!
    Regards,
    Dave

  9. #9
    Great post. I share your view. Far better articulated than me describing it as 'hot air' and getting shot down for it!!



    Quote Originally Posted by Mungo View Post
    Superb post.

    Direct contact with MPs, if phrased articulately and reasonably, is astonishingly effective.

    As to why so many forum based demagogues generally fail to engage with the wider world, I think it's generally because they are not genuinely interested in effecting constructive change. Instead, their main purpose generally appears to be prestige among peers. In real life, prestige among peers usually requires action. Online, prestige can be obtained merely by saying the right things.

    I would guess that the people who contribute most to protecting/advancing the interests of field sports will be those you seldom (if ever) see posting on fora such as this. They are likely to be too busy...

    I also agree with everything you say here mungo, except I do think there is a 'real life' forum - its called the Pub!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mungo View Post
    ......since a democracy essentially amounts to majority rule ....
    See http://www.notocosta.co.uk/camerons-...fee-colonists/

    (The important bit is " Well aware of this, 5,749 people of Totnes, three-quarters of the town’s population of 7,500 signed a petition against Costa’s application and are demonstrating and planning boycotts. All in vain.")

    What happened to "Localisation" and why is it that even minor civil disorder gets more attention than 100,000 pensioners peacefully marching for pension reform?

    The mushroom principle?
    Last edited by Eyefor; 25-08-2012 at 14:14.
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