Local Democracy Notepad

Democratic perfectionism as a political method

Archive for the ‘Petitions’ tag

How to destroy public faith in democracy

with 2 comments

I generally dislike the airy way cynicism is worn like a badge of pride around political conversations. When people say “that’s a typical politician’s answer”, the phrase ‘you get the politicians you deserve’ springs to mind.

But in recent years, politicians seem to have jumped the fence. Instead of sticking to their story – that their job is to deliberate and act in the public interest – the vast majority appear to be happy to temporarily adopt the line that they are there to do whatever the public want them to do.

So in 2008, the previous Labour government announced an obligation on local authorities to encourage local petitions coupled with an obligation to respond to them in a clearly defined way.

Now, there’s a more precise way of interpreting that, but seeing as few local authorities know what it is, and seeing as I heard a rumour somewhere that the Coalition has modified this obligation (or something), I really can’t be bothered to look any further. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Paul Evans

March 12th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Posted in Petitions

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Petitions and e-petitions: A few observations

with 7 comments

Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Last week, the a 10 Downing St petition resulted in Alan Turing receiving the apology and recognition that he has long deserved. And petitions are likely to become a much more prominent fixture of public life in the next year or so.

My sources in Westminster tell me that the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (pdf) (text version) is likely to get royal assent at some point in the autumn and will come into force in May 2010 with guidance potentially in place as early as February 2010.

That’s not as far away as you think, and looking through the bill, the team here at LD (Anthony and I, at any rate) think that there are quite a few issues that councils need to deal with as a matter of some urgency.

In some cases, this will involve a tweak to the existing procedures that allow for the consideration of e-petitions. In others, it may almost be a start from scratch. Either way, I’ve been trying to look at the bill and turn it into a decision flow-chart, but there are still quite a few questions that will need to be answered before spring 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Paul Evans

September 14th, 2009 at 9:15 am