Friday, August 5, 2011


I'm entirely skeptical that the NuGovt's E Petition site will bring any meaningful change for smokers but I'll still sign it because the choice otherwise is to do nothing.

I said over on Simon Clark's blog that I have little faith in what Simon himself calls a "gimmick" because:

Only petitions which back Govt thinking on policy will be accepted so my guess is that we will be dismissed with the "cranks and nutters." The coalition didn't listen on the fake Freedom Bill/Great Repeal Bill and I'm too cynical to believe it will listen now because it has a set agenda on lifestyle issues including smoking. The last No 10 E-Petition site has made me skeptical that this is any more than a means to make pet political issues look popular while giving the appearance of a listening Govt which has proved itself exactly the same as the last.

It's the very fact that the EU has ignored public opinion on smoking restrictions that makes me skeptical that the UK Govt would break the chain and actually do what the British public wants. I've also still got the spectre of NuLabour's idea of "direct democracy" deflating my enthusiasm.

I hope I'm proved wrong and if an E Petition on smoking and choice is accepted, then I will put my name to it and hope others do as well.

As DP said : They may not be listened to, but the debate is intensified if they are supported - politics is a long game, remember.

Those against EU membership have been fighting that "long game" for a couple of decades or more on that issue and it does now appear as if it is finally being taken seriously by the wider public at least - even if most politicians still want to bury their head in the sand over it.

The Daily Express is on board with the campaign and UKIP is urging members to sign and share.

I put my name to it because I believe the EU is undemocratic, authoritarian, and illiberal and no one ever asked us if we wanted to go further than just trading with member states which is what we were asked back in the 1970s.

I also hate the fact that it castrates our Govt's power to do anything but ask you to sign a petition which it will ignore if the EU doesn't agree.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has obviously urged the Govt to listen to what he expects to be a groundswell of support for a debate on EU membership and the idea of E Petitions is right up UKIP's street. He said :

“Direct democracy is a great principle and one that UKIP has been advocating foryears. It is great news that the Government is introducing this scheme, and of course the Daily Express is absolutely right to take the opportunity to call for a referendum on our EU membership."

I'm also signing this one. I don't support capital punishment and I think we're having the wrong debate which should be life for life for justice and a deterrent.

But I'm still as cynical as hell that any of it will make any difference.