It’s been a long time since I last looked at the parliamentary petitions website. I did visit it this week to add my support to the asylum seeker petition, so while I was there I decided to take a look through the 800 or so others that are currently open. If nothing else, wading through them gives you a fascinating insight into the hopes, fears and concerns of UK citizens.
There are a few petitions in the lower reaches of the chart that seem to define the essence of what it is to be British. Like this one, for example.
Many countries treat pedestrian crossings as purely ‘advisory’. I’ve lost count of the number of times that drivers simply ignore them (and the people using them) in places that I love – like Italy, for example. I somehow can’t imagine an Italian motorist starting a petition like this.
However, it is an interesting idea, even if the cost-benefit analysis of introducing it is
pretty shaky zero. Although the petitioner has written it from the perspective of a driver, I’m sure pedestrians would like this facility as well. I too have felt the eyes of angry motorists drilling into me when I’ve pressed the wait button, only to subsequently cross the road in a gap between vehicles before the lights have changed.
But I am certain that debating the pros and cons of small technological improvements to traffic lights are not a matter for parliament. My scepticism shouldn’t discourage the originator from seeking their fame and fortune on Dragon’s Den of course. It’s a better idea than many I’ve seen featured on that programme in the past.
Many of the petitions in the forgotten reaches of the site appear to be the work of the green crayon specialists (there are 11 people who think the government is withholding information on UFOs), thinly disguised racists and authoritarians (the 22 people who support everyone being issued with a blank identity chip should hang their heads in shame. Watch the supporting 18 minute youtube video if you don’t believe me – I did – its terrifying) and, err, Liberals – there were only 37 signatures supporting the introduction of the single transferable vote for English local elections (cough – there’s now 38).
On reflection, I think I’d better stop here.