”Up in arms” bandwagon

I always think there is a lot to be gained from not jumping on the ”up in arms” bandwagon and, instead, taking  time to consider a situation that has occurred more rationally than perhaps others are doing.
Tabloid newspapers like to jump on the ”up in arms” bandwagon all too quickly, but this is understandable because rational headlines don’t tend to sell.
So recently the headlines screamed: Revealed, children as young as seven have received a shot gun licence. In fairness this wasn’t an overly sensational headline as the story itself is enough to make people sit up and take note. Indeed it was strong enough to make national radio even in these current time when the Japan and Libya situation have dominated everything.
And hearing the story, it was easy for anyone to take the ”that’s disgraceful” line and instantly you picture some clueless youth fresh out of failing their GCSEs rubber-stamping all such applications without so much of a second glance.  ”What is this country coming to” you find yourself shouting, and so on.
But then I stepped back for a moment and thought of that rational thing. Not particularly difficult given we live in a rural area (and Devon and Cornwall Police having granted 418 out of the 7000+ applications for junior shotgun licences approved in the last two years, the most of any force).
Farmers obviously make up the majority of the people making these applications. Shooting is, of course, one of the most effective forms of pest control. Sorry if this upsets any Beatrix Potter fans out there but it is true. Instantaneous and environmentally friendly and no chance of other animals being targeted, providing your aim is good. And farmers can only ensure this by training their heirs sooner rather than later. You don’t want a 16 year-old getting hold of a shot gun for the first time and holding it the wrong way do you?
Then there are the ways they have to control their livestock, should there be an accident or if they get poorly. Any regular viewers of All Creatures Great and Small will know what I mean. Or, indeed, if it is the pheasant hunting season. Hey, look, they have got to make a living somehow – isn’t it enough for the supermarkets to be bleeding them dry on every pint of milk they supply, not to mention all their crops.
The other reason for these shotgun licences for kids are leisure pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting. Slightly less valid in my opinion but again it is better for these things to be licenced and controlled rather than parents teaching their kids how to shoot clay pigeons without there being any process of regulation.
So, in short, journalists shouldn’t be too quick to meddle in what people in the country have been doing extremely responsibly and safely for a good many generations.
Quite frankly there are dangers lurking far closer to their media homes which are more dangerous to family life than irf all 7071 junior holders of a shotgun licence were to go on the rampage, and it is something that fills me with genuine anger every time I come across it, usually on rotation when the kids are watching one of the cartoon channels.
I am talking about these companies that offer to provide struggling families with loans until payday. You can get cash within an hour on one that is being heavily advertised at the moment – up to £1500. The catch? The APR can be up to 2246%. Even at the representative 1734%, you are talking about having to repay the £1500 plus the £400 or so interest. In 30 days. Don’t get me wrong but aren’t there usually 30 days between pay days – so if you are having trouble with your bills one month, having to stump up an extra £400 the next isn’t going to help is it? Oh hang on, you can roll over the loan amount until the next month into a new loan and just pay a small charge. That’s nice of them. No extra interest incurred there then.
I can’t see how these companies can help people at all but I can see how people are so easily drawn into using them. No more so is this the case during these hard times of rising prices of food, petrol, well, everything. The fact the companies are advertising during the day shows they are aiming at people who are only in part time work and likely to be struggling to make ends meet even more.
Isn’t it time we ban these companies? They are not providing a service, they’re in it for the money. It’s legal exhortion.
It’s just like all these online bingo games that are springing up. They lure women in with free money to spend on their first few cards with the sole intention of getting them hooked into playing regularly, even if they can’t afford it. In fact they are more than likely not to be able to afford it and will be playing to try and win and solve all their financial issues. Invariably these sites add an online forum so you can chat to other players so as to block out the feeling that you are taking part in the internet equivalent of going to a Las Vegas casino. What a lovely woman that luckygirl123 is – she’s just spent £100 on the bingo today and is about to lose her house too.
It is so sad. It is the rich feeding off the poor and should also be outlawed. It is robbing many families out there of their livelihoods, their homes. One title even features ‘success’ stories of people who have won on these bingo games but these are usually enhanced because the question so what are you going to spend your winnings on?’ is more often than not answered by a simple: ‘towards my debts’ or ‘on more bingo’.
It needs to stop. David Cameron and George Osborne don’t have a clue about this sort of thing and how it can affect people. And if they get wind of it, chances are some lobbyist for these gambling corporations or media companies will be saying how their business is bringing in so much tax revenue for the country. Which surmounts to yet another tax on the poor who can ill-afford it. Yes, they don’t have to play bingo but like with the payday loan companies, I can see how they are drawn in. So my point is can we skip over the kids with their shotguns and start concentrating on two things that really are threatening to destroy the fabric of our society.

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