The Whitehaven News Published a news item at 15:18, Thursday, 05 January 2012 which included the following statement from Copeland MP & self confessed Jedi Jamie Reed.
“It is still harder to buy Calpol for a poorly child than it is to buy bullets."
Read the full story from the source Whitehaven News
It wasn't long before people started to leave comments ridiculing his assertions. You can read them below the article in question.
A short while after an article supporting Jamie Read's statement was published which eventually resulted in a comment from the author suggesting, in no uncertain terms, that the statement was just a joke. Unfortunately that excuse doesn't hold water for a number of reasons.
[The definition of a joke is a phrase or a paragraph with a humorous twist. It can be in many different forms, such as a question or short story. To achieve this end, jokes may employ irony, sarcasm, word play and other devices. Jokes may have a punchline that will end the sentence to make it humorous.]
1) His statement wasn't humorous. False yes, stupid yes, humorous no.
2) There doesn't appear to be a punchline to turn his statement into a joke.
3) A joke shouldn't need an explanation, especially one preceded by an fallacious attempt to prove that it is indeed harder to buy Calpol than bullets.
4) If the statement was true there would have been no reason to try and excuse it as a joke.
5) In any event how did the author know it was even intended as a joke.
So whilst Jamie Reed MP may have been trying to stimulate discussion no one should try and argue that his statement was a joke and personally attack those who don't agree with his views in an attempt to invalidate their arguments. [See the reply from the author of the Jamie Reed supporting article below. (Screen shot taken at 00.14.42 AM 7th January 2012) UPDATE (6) and the later attempts to personally attack me in his comments below and, as I have recently just discovered, also on his Facebook page, on his websites & forum and on his twitter stream. (Thanks to a Copeland resident for sending me a copy of all these additional personal attacks/insults on the 13th January 2012.)]
I also checked the statement by anonymous and found, with a simple Google search, that you can buy more than two bottles of Calpol from many sources.
What the article supporting Jamie Reed's statement does is use an inconsistent comparison by comparing buying Calpol from a UK source against bullets from a none UK source so they could fallaciously conclude it is harder to buy Calpol.
PS: Before anyone wastes their time trying to suggest I wrote this blog post because I am pro firearm I am not. I hate firearms, don't own a firearm and have never owned a firearm. Neither is my blog politically motivated, check out my blogs and you will see that I post articles about elected representatives from all political parties.
Update (1) I noticed from twitter and the follow up article that Jamie Reed is now trying to introduce bulk quantity into the equation. No doubt in an attempt to excuse his “It is still harder to buy Calpol for a poorly child than it is to buy bullets." statement.
I don't know the answer to that question (nor what the tweet was in response to) but whatever it is it's irrelevant because it doesn't change the fact that "it is harder to buy Calpol for a poorly child than it is to buy bullets." was a stupid thing for an MP to say.
UPDATE (2) It has just been brought to my attention that the MP (like the defender of his statement) appears to resort to personal attacks when challanged.
With Calpolgate coming so soon after Abbotgate and Blackbustersgate I could well imagine that many of his colleagues will have their heads in their hands in despair. Especially since, unlike his two colleagues, he doesn't appear to have made any attempt to defuse the situation with an apology.
UPDATE (3) For some reason he is still trying to argue that what he said was a fact.
FACT? If I was a resident of Copeland I would be very worried that my MP thought that "it is harder to buy Calpol for a poorly child than it is to buy bullets." was a fact [A thing that is indisputably the case]. Especially since I can walk into any chemist and buy Calpol but don't even have a clue as to where to buy bullets and even if I did I would still have to undergo a stringent vetting process and obtain a license first.
UPDATE (4) The UK’s largest shooting organisation has slammed a Cumbrian MP who
claimed it was tougher to buy children’s medicine than bullets. Read the full article here. The article ends with the following A number of commenters have pointed out that a valid certificate is essential.
One poster – Ashley – said the MP had ‘devalued’ the gun laws debate
with his “ridiculous soundbite” and added that legitimate gun owners
have nothing to fear from increased protection from the public.
UPDATE (5) It has been brought to my attention that the number of comments on the original Whitehaven News article has increased. I noticed that in addition to the person I quoted above, a recent commenter on the Whitehaven News article is also now trying to defend Jamie Reed's sound bite with a similar fallacious viewpoint.
More when anything further develops. I am sure it will whilst people continue to try and defend the indefensible.
As an aside this is why most politicians apologise or correct immediately when they have said or done something silly. Two recent examples are Abbot and her 'white people like to divide and rule' remark and Cameron and his 'Tourette's' joke.
They know that whilst the majority of the public will disagree with what they said there will always be a small minority who, for whatever reason, try and support them by arguing they were right.
Experienced politicians knows only too well that delay allows such people to keep the issue alive and do more damage than good by keeping their gaffe in the news, which is not helpful to the politician in question, hence the usual immediate apology or correction.
Because then, and only then, will people begin to concentrate on the real issues and not be distracted by the gaffe, in this instance the stupid attempt at a headline grabbing soundbite.
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Please read the comments on this post.