There’s an interesting article in the politics.co.uk that debates the rise of e-petitions in England, as well as its pros and cons. As it notes,
The Hansard Society’s eDemocracy programme director, Andy Williamson, spoke passionately about their importance in Westminster last week. He talked of “closing the gap between citizens and parliament” and described e-petitions as “the start of the transformation of parliament into the digital age”. Tentative efforts from the Welsh Assembly and Scottish parliament, as with many devolution-related issues, are leading the way. According to its Audit of Political Engagement, people are more likely to sign a petition than engage in any other political act.
The e-petition site shows some interesting statistics. Till the end of October 2007:
- Over 29,000 petitions have been submitted, of which over 8,500 are currently live and available for signing, over 6,000 have finished and 14,601 have been rejected outright.
- There have been over 5.8 million signatures, originating from over 3.9 million different email addresses.
Read the politics.co.uk article in full here, which notes that despite these figures, there’s no real guarantee even in England that e-petitions will ultimately succeed in their essential goal of bringing government closer to citizens.
Sadly, as I noted in February 2007, “…I don’t believe that for all their hype and hoopla of e-government in Sri Lanka, ICTA is going to follow the Downing Street model anytime soon.”