Mike Vickers' Blog

July 21, 2012

Aurora shooting and Gun Control in the US

Filed under: History in the making, USA — derryvickers @ 8:17 pm

A recent article in Time on the tragic shoot at Aurora in Colorado takes up again the need or otherwise for Gun Control in the US.  Like most British people I am horrified about the power of the gun lobby in the US.  The article quotes the Second Amendment and I thought I had better look up this amendment which I did on Wiki.

You too can read it at:


It’s a very detailed and I would think very precise article and the Second Amendment of 1789 looks very much involved with establishing a balance between the Central Government and the States and the rights of the States to take up arms against the Central Government if the balance gets out of kilter in favour of the Central Government – a balance still very much at the heart of the upcoming Presidential Elections.  Interestingly the article goes on to indicate that it is only in the 20th Century that the Second Amendment has been reinterpreted to allow US citizens almost cart blanche to carry arms specifically for their own protection.

However the point that intrigued me was that the Second Amendment was to the US Bill of Rights and the Bill of Rights in this respect is based on the English Bill of Rights of 1689 which allows the English citizens to carry Arms for their Defence – in this case their defence against the monarchy.

I am mortified!  When was this English right ever rescinded – I need to delve further.

July 15, 2012

John Clare – a poet of a changing landscape

Filed under: In Our Time, Scotland — derryvickers @ 9:46 pm


Not often George Monbiot of the Guardian is sentimental but in the attached article about John Clare he is moving that way:


John Clare a little known poet lived in Helpston 6 miles north of Peterborough at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century.  His poems describe a countryside long gone as we can attest as we discovered Clare while living in Peterborough.  Well, as George says, Clare’s poems also describe the destruction of his landscape by the enclosures and the dispossession of the local people.  It would be interesting to compare Clare’s poems with the slightly earlier and much more famous ones of Robert Burns.

But of course George can’t resist relating the enclosure of the land in Cambridgeshire with the parcelling up and rationalising of the land of the Maasai in East Africa.  George could equally have compared the land enclosure with the Scottish Highland Clearances over a similar period in 19th century.  The Clearances were instigated to bring in sheep whilst the enclosures were to make farming more profitable but in both cases for the benefit of the landlords and not for their tenants.  There was a little despite for the Highland Scots with the introduction of the Crofting Act of 1886 which brought a small degree of land tenure for those crofters who hadn’t been cleared to the colonies and the US.  For those who don’t know, the Crofting Act was to some small degree as a response to the Battle of the Braes on Skye in 1882.

It could just the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments could be persuaded to protect the nomadic life of the Maasai in a modern Battle of the Braes.


July 3, 2012

Time to work out a new deal?

Filed under: economics, Politics, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 8:47 am


Interesting article in this week’s Scotsman by Lesley Riddoch:


where she have managed to bring last week’s two hot topics together.  Barclays and Europe.

Since the article appeared Barclays CEO has now resigned

But it not just the UK banks who have played the high risks,  dubious dealings and suspect rewards , the German Banks have not been immune and as I recall the Icelandic Banks seemed to have bitten the quick buck bug (OK they have been thrown out by a popular revolt).

She brings out the distinction in economics between the US and Europe – fine, but I would be happier if she said Northern Europe of even the Nordics of which she is a great fan.  Lovely as Italy is to visit I ‘m not sure that I would like to be governed by the likes of Berlusconi.

UK in Europe – last evening the Guardian pole was 1/3 to stay IN – however there are a number of key decisions affecting the country that may be overturned if put to the popular vote.

Yes, it would be lovely to have a clean start in Scotland, may be across the UK also; but she is  right, you would need to make the City of London a separate principality like Lichtenstein.

But the real question is, is the SNP up to it; nothing I hear of the SNP first team inspires me that they are social democrats  who would be willing to distribute power from the city of Edinburgh  and give up swilling Bollinger in Bute House.

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