If you are trying to run a totalitarian police state, why on earth would you set up an internet petition platform for people to object to one of your heavy-handed policies? Why? Is it just so you can thumb your nose at those sign it?

It must be, because that’s the only explanation for what’s happened.

I was first made aware of the petition on the 10 Downing Street website concerning vehicle tracking and road pricing by Elizabeth, though it has since made big mainstream news. When I signed it today just as I started this entry, I was number 1,028,925. By the time I got to this point in the entry, I refreshed the petition website page and there were 1,029,332 signatories. Even the Government admits that because they have made the signing process a bit convoluted, considerably more people have attempt unsuccessfully to post legitimate signatures.

Just in the time it took me to finish that sentence the number has increased to 1,029,608.

No matter. The Transport Secretary has made it very clear that even though the signatures showed the strength of opposition among motorists, this would not deter him from commissioning large-scale road-pricing trials. “I understand there are strong feelings on this issue but strong feelings alone are no substitute for considering how we tackle the challenge of congestion.”

In other words, “It doesn’t matter what you want. We don’t care what you want. That would be a democracy, and you know we can’t trust you with that.”

The Department for Transport has calculated that road pricing could result in tolls of £1.28 a mile on the busiest roads in peak periods.

There is an email circulating suggesting that when the petition closes, all opportunities to object to the Government’s plans on pay-per-mile motoring are over. This is not true. The petition was not set up by Number 10 – it is a private petition merely hosted by them. Other petitions, either electronic or paper are possible. The issue is whether the Government will bother to pay attention to them.

Other petitions on the website are relatively harmless. The next largest is “to ensure that inheritance tax is scrapped in this year’s Budget.” It only has 42,014 signatories. However, these are far overshadowed by embarrassments like the road pricing petition. I wouldn’t be surprised if Number 10 quietly removes the E-petition system.

As I click the “Publish” button for this entry the number of signatures is now 1,032,432. That’s 3,507 more people ignored in the last half hour.


One Response to Ignored

  1. Pingback: The Personal Prime Minister « David’s Daily Diversions

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