I don’t know why I bother really. Another day goes by and I have received yet another email from the Government responding to a petition that I have signed. Whatever the worthy cause, in my opinion, the answer is always the same.
The problem I have though is that the email is always a stock answer. My understanding is that at 10,000 signatures I get a response from the government whilst at 100,000 signatures the petition will be considered for a debate in Parliament. Considered perhaps, debated clearly not. I have signed several petitions that have exceeded the 100,000 signatures and am not aware of any being debated.
The latest was around the illegality of the referendum. A subject which continues to perplex me for one reason. How can a democracy ignore the rule of law?
The response said that ‘It is regrettable that fines were levied on multiple groups’ though it failed to mention that all were on the same side of the argument. It went on to say that’ In the last General Election, over 80% of people then voted for parties committing to respecting the result of the referendum’ though it failed to say that the party political system leaves the public with little choice.
Why do I bother then? The Government bangs on about the will of the people yet clearly has no interest in the will of the people, otherwise it would pay more than lip service to the petition process.
The answer is because I can. Democracy requires the active involvement of people in the political process. A government aloof of the people it represents is not democratic and the actions of this government have strayed into being autocratic whilst the official opposition has been complicit.
Getting involved in the petition process is one way of being involved. It allows the drip, drip of a constant reminder to government that others think differently. It gives strength to opposing views.
Water will eventually wear down the mountains. One day, one of the petitions will hit home.