Following the closure of the No.10 ePetition website, details are starting to emerge of the successor. The leader of the Commons, Sir George Young, has signalled he wants to press ahead with government by petition in the new year. This comes as the localism bill wants to repeal the local duty to respond to petitions…which is madness to be fair as petitions are proven to be much more effective at the local level.
A quote from the Guardian (27th Dec) is as follows:-
“In an attempt to reduce what is seen as a disconnection between the public and parliament, ministers will ensure that the most popular petition on the government website Direct.gov.uk will be drafted as a bill. It is also planning to guarantee that petitions which reach a fixed level of support – most likely 100,000 signatures – will be guaranteed a Commons debate.”
“Efforts will also be made to ensure that those people petitioning the new website are registered voters rather than what are described as “super users”, the kind of people that repeatedly back a petition on an issue.
The government is also looking at how petitions can be converted on to Facebook and other social media sites so petitioners can keep in touch with one another as they campaign for a particular issue to be taken up either by ministers or backbenchers.”
It sounds like a step closer to direct democracy..and chaos. However, the idea of participatory legislation has been around for a while in EU circles.
Interestingly enough the comments that follow this web article are mostly negative. However, there is this gem:-
Wait, what? Why are people complaining?
First petition will be: Reinstate the maximum cap of 3.500 on tuition fees. Second petition: Reinstate Student grants.