16 February 2007

We the people...

Much has been made of the recent e-petition against the proposed imposition of "car tax as you go", signed by 1.5 million UK citizens and rising. The biggest surprise to most people was probably the fact that the government had created such a thing as an e-petitions page in the first place. Some people have been very excited by this revolution in e-democracy: at last there is something to stir the apathetic of this country to think and act politically, from the comfort of their armchairs. So let's look at what's been vexing the minds of the nation alongside car tax.

For Sam Kiss the government needed simply to make provisions for a free society. Sadly, by the close of that petition, she remained the only person willing to commit her name to such a proposition - surely a damning indictment on our sleepwalking into a police state? On the other hand, Roger Colwell urges us to join him in asking the government to consider security at airports - possibly suggesting he hasn't actually been on an aeroplane in the last 40 years.

But this is not merely the preserve of the foolish. Nick Bloom managed to convince 2,556 people to sign up to support his proposition that We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevail on the Civil Aviation Authority not to ignore the findings of its consultation with General Aviation on the mandatory imposition of Mode S equipment.

Similarly, 2,174 people were confident enough to put their names to support the proposal that We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to get the Health Service and medical profession to accept the WHO classification of ME/CFS as an organic neurological disorder and not as a psychosocial syndrome.

All in all, some 3209 petitions are currently live on the site, covering everything from petitioning the PM to make it compulsory... to employ a Traffic Warden in busy east coast holiday resorts through to asking him to help stop the satalite [sic] company from rubbishing scottish affairs.

Perhaps my favourite is Tim Ireland's proposal that We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream. Disappointingly, for the future of the country, that particular sentiment was 3,564 times more popular than making provision for a free society.

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