At first it sounds like an attention grabbing policy, that a petition delivered to Parliament containing 100,000 signatures will have to be considered for debate. But there are far too many weasel words in it for my liking.
I’ll hand you over to the loving embrace of the BBC (emphasis mine):
It allows popular petitions to be discussed by the backbench business committee of MPs, which has the power to propose debates on non-government matters.
So, if you get enough people together, there is the chance that your petition might be discussed by a backbench committee who might propose a debate which will be subject to the usual whippings and even if they did make it through a vote would then besubject to committee hearings, secondary debates and the Lords where if it survives it will probably be changed beyond all recognition.
To be honest this sounds more galling to me than just being told to sit down and shut up. They ask for our opinion, will make the flimsiest attempt to consider it and then punt it out of play while turning to us and sneering ‘well, we considered it, prole. What more do you want?’
Labour has said the petitions could lead to debates on “crazy ideas”.
Which I take to mean any idea they’ve not come up with.
It is lip service at democracy when not actually providing any at all. I’d be happier to see a policy of bit of legislation that means the submission of a petition of, oooh, let’s say, 1.5 million people forced the holding of a referendum.
The Daily Express, slightly smarter than The Sun, has a petition calling for an EU membership referendum. This is a referendum I will sign. Assuming the debate is successful and we pull out of the EU, no doubt the Express would then start another one for the return of hanging.
However I really think it makes no odds. If you want out of the EU, I’d urge you to sign the Express’ petition anyway, just to send a message if one really were needed. But be under no illusions, the answer will be ‘nah, we don’t fancy it.’
The bunch of bastards sat in Westminster couldn’t give a damn about our opinion, and asWitterings from Witney points out, are starting to get spooked by us. Our best hope for getting out of the EU is to vote UKIP en-masse (unlikely) or wait for Cyprus, Italy and Spain to bring the whole house of cards down (much more likely). The problem with the latter is that it will cause us significant pain.