Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tories Propose to Enhance Public Participation In Government Through The Internet

British politics are fascinating to watch. It is rather amazing when one realizes that the Brits have no written constitution and no bill of rights. So much of what goes on in the the UK is based on long standing tradition and common law supplemented by modern statutory law, EU treaties and conventions.

At any rate, David Cameron, leader of the opposition conservative Torries, has announced several proposals to change government in advance of Britain's next major election cycle. The most interesting change proposed is an exercise in direct democracy - a bill to allow members of the public to create on-line petitions asking the House of Commons to debate the topic specified in the petition:

David Cameron said if enough people signed an online petition, MPs should discuss and vote on the issue in the Commons to connect Parliament to the "MySpace generation".

. . . Of the e-petitions idea, Mr Cameron accepted there could be "difficulties" about issues some people might want discussed, such as football results.

He said a new legislative business committee would act as a "filter" to frivolous petitions.

But he said it was "depressing" at the moment for MPs to present a petition on behalf of constituents to the Commons, adding: "You drop this petition in a bag behind the Speaker's Chair and to all intents and purposes it disappears."
Read the entire story here. On its face, this certainly sounds like a fascinating proposal. It is a small first step in tieing the public directly into the government through the internet.

1 comment:

billm99uk said...

We've recently gone petition crazy over here since the government started an official website for them and published responses to some of the more successful ones here

Note the popularity of the petition opposing London's mega-mosque project :)


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