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- user joined since May 21, 2009
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Firstly, if you're going to get rid of guns, it's far easier for the powers that be to seize the guns they know about (i.e. legally held by responsible members of the public)

My understanding is that the main source of guns in the UK is now imports from Eastern Europe and beyond. They're cheap because it's very easy to do. Given the sheer volume of trade coming into the UK, it simply isn't possible to inspect every container coming through Felixtowe in a meaningful way, ditto vehicles arriving on ferries or via the Channel Tunnel (and it wouldn't matter whether or not we were in the EU as we still retain full border control).

OK, if you can't stop the flow of illegal weapons into the country... the main option has to be to go after the intermediaries who sell them under tables in pubs, which requires a lot of intelligence led policing.

Taking a different tack from himnextdoor, cameras do have a role to play here. Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems are being fitted to police cars. These compare the number plates of vehicles the police car drives past with various databases. Identifying vehicles reported lost/stolen, uninsured, untaxed, un-MOTed is useful because the people driving these cars are much more likely than normal to be wanted for more serious crimes.

Go To Question - asked by Mid_73 - 0 replies -

A point to bear in mind is that all this spending cannot be guarranteed to prevent all terrorist attacks, however if it's spent effectively then it should reduce the chances of one being successful.

The 7/7 and 21/7 (and other) attacks, plus various arrests show that there is a real threat.

However, what we should be trying to do is spend money intelligently, and there's still a lot of debate as to whether i.d. cards, for example, would be helpful. It didn't stop the Madrid bombings, and the 9/11 attacks were carried out by non (US) nationals, so a national id card scheme wouldn't have stopped that either. On top of whether or not we should have things like i.d. card schemes (i.e. the principle) is overlaid the equally big practical issue as to whether the government and its contractors are capable of implementing it to time and budget, or at all. Recent major IT projects do not suggest this is likely to happen!

Go To Question - asked by Mid_73 - 0 replies -

Ellen MacArthur is probably one of the best known, but there are quite a few others, beginning with Joshua Slocum

Have a look at:

Go To Question - asked by Mid_73 - 0 replies -

I think what happened with Virgin is that NTL took over Virgin Mobile, and have bought the rights to the Virgin name for their cable TV offering.

To his credit, what SRB (Sir Richard Branson) has done is build a very strong brand (although one that some people don't like it). He then extends that brand into new areas, often by licensing and joint ventures. The reasoning behind this is that Virgin gets access to new markets to extend and enhance the Virgin brand, the partner company, which has experience in the market gets access to a globally known and trusted brand- which is good for business in this globalised world.

Virgin mobile/TV is now owned by NTL
Virgin Trains is a joint venture with Stagecoach plc
Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Singapore Airlines
Virgin Radio is actually wholly owned by Scottish Media Group, who license the brand
Virgin Megastores outside UK, Ireland & USA are owned by Lagardere

A major risk to Virgin's business model, is that it doesn't actually have complete control- i.e. if you have a bad experience with Virgin Media, you might tar the rest of the Virgin Empire with the same brush. I am sure that Virgin's lawyers have written the contracts in such a way as to be able to withdraw the rights to the brand if another company risks bringing Virgin into disrepute.

This type of structure is very different to, for example, GE- which is a genuine conglomerate with wholly-owned activity in areas as diverse as banking, healthcare and jet engines.

Another interesting fact is that nobody really knows how much money Virgin is making- many of its companies are registered overseas, so don't report results to Companies House, and Virgin is owned by SRB, so doesn't have to release results to the stock exchange. Virgin Trains has had a lot of problems (not including last night's crash), and is now (AIUI) running the West Coast & Cross Country services on a low-margin "cost plus" contract for DfT Rail. Many other ventures have not been the massive success the Virgin PR machine would have you believe. There's probably a whole career in trying to work out how much money is being made by going through the books of all of Virgin's partner companies.

Go To Question - asked by Mid_73 - 0 replies -

To take your last point first- never had a serious and unsolvable problem with HP printers not printing straight through life with DJ540, 720, 990, 880, 930 and 5150 inkjets. Unlike Osbertonbowls I'm happy to say HP have always done me well. But my parents have a Canon Pixma which seems to be doing the business for them- you'll find people with horror & success stories for all brands.

Other than price, cost per page and speed (which may depend on using a draft/economy mode), I'm not aware of any other objective measures. Although sometimes noise might be quoted too.

Page straightness and "print quality" is, AFAIK pretty much totally subjective.

Go To Question - asked by Mid_73 - 0 replies -