Friday, 20 April 2012

Saying No To Tax And Silliness

It's been a busy week at Puddlecote Inc. but it ended on a high with a most satisfying Friday.

Some may remember previous articles where I touch upon taxation, and how I'm buggered if I'm letting those Westminster chimps get any more than is absolutely necessary. Hey, I didn't start this. Blame Nick. Well, we signed off our accounts today and our accountant saved us, legally, double his original estimate in the first year.

A result like this must, of course, be followed with a celebratory smokey-drinky, which is where I'm off to very soon. It was a Ruby and Sancerre on Wednesday, so perhaps Chinese and Elegant Frog tonight.

Talking of alcohol, you will notice I have a new widget in the sidebar.

It is rather self-explanatory, but the Pub Curmudgeon points out that the corresponding e-petition isn't gaining much traction. I'm sure we could add a few signatures to it, especially if the link is spread around a bit. The logo and HTML can be found here if you'd like to join in on a blog or other medium.

The interesting thing about this is that it perfectly confirms the futility of the e-petitions site. There is much grumbling about how the petition to amend the smoking ban had attracted far less support than expected considering the widespread dissatisfaction we all know exists, and anti-smokers took this as proof there wasn't dissent at all.

The minimum alcohol petition shows this to be misguided. It was crystal clear when Cameron announced the daft idea, that minimum pricing was derided by a huge majority of the country, from all political backgrounds. If the e-petitions initiative was working, we'd see the numbers sky-rocketing.

The lack of signatures on these petitions doesn't prove they are not valid campaigns, merely that no-one trusts the process itself; that no-one trusts the government to act on public opinion; and that merely harvesting public opinion from online sources is deeply flawed.

The campaigns aren't failing - politicians are. Probably purposely.


Jay said...

The lack of attention on the petitions is not due to smoker or drinker apathy. It's political apathy. It is because people have no faith in politicians, and believe that the petitions are a waste of time and won't be honoured.  Separately, I have been told a few times that someone won't sign a petition on a gov't web site for fear of being retaliated against in some sad soon-to-exist Orwellian future...  Black bags await those who do not conform.

…Zaph said...

And, of course, we all saw what happened after the one on Europe. People have perhaps decided there's no point in these petitions since it's been shown even if they do garner the necessary 100,000 signatures or whatever, that only means a Commons debate. If all three branches of the British Party then put the whips on* it'll still come to nothing.

*a phrase my Modern Studies teacher in the 1980s used to follow with "well, not LITERALLY, obviously. Not unless you're Harvey Proctor." :)

Mudplugger said...

E-petitions will remain futile until they carry a mandatory national referendum upon attaining a predetermined volume.
If, for example, 1 million signatures guaranteed a national referendum within 3 months, that would light the blue touch-paper of real people-power - but that's precisely why it won't happen.

The current farce of merely logging the issue with the Commons Business Committee, leaving them to decide, pretty much guarantees that nothing will ever come of it.

Oh to live in Switzerland - you know, that frightfully successful country, not in the Euro or the EU, more guns per capita than anywhere else but less gun-crime, and with a referendum-based democracy - coincidence, or not ?

Limited Edition said...

Get real
Petitions which are poorly supported ,are used to justify no support
Petitions which are well supported are ignored
The vast majority dont do petitions,they dont haunt fibre optics,they
dont eye ball LCDs,they stand outside pubs and clubs waiting for the
shining Knights ready to do some RealTime jousting
How many campaigners from 4 or 5 years ago have fluttered of to
twitter land and Facebook prison thinking they were heading for the promised land only to find out ,they had been herded into an unnoticed
and ineffective controlled vacuum.
Can they be re awakened ,we ask,if so,how
We should know by now, who the Judas Goats are,should'nt we?

Pavement Artist

Curmudgeon said...

Cheers for the link. Is it a waste of time? Maybe. But at least we are declaring our support for a principle. 

Jaxthefirst said...

I’m sorry Dick, but I probably won’t be signing the e-petition against minimum pricing.  I’m so fed up with non-smoking drinkers still not accepting that it was their joining in with the anti-smoking jollities that has now brought all this upon themselves, that as far as I’m concerned they’re on their own on this one.  I’ve thought long and hard about this issue ever since we smokers saw it rolling inexorably over the horizon (even though very few non-smoking drinkers did, and fewer still can see the connection, even now), because I like a drink myself on occasion (although not as much as I like a smoke), and there’s a bit of me which wants to be magnanimous and big-hearted and say: “Just because you lot sat back smugly whilst we were getting a kicking, doesn’t mean that I should sit back and do the same now that you are getting one.  I’m a better person than that.”   But the fact is, I’m still so angry at the ban and at everyone who’s played a part in it – even by their deafening silence – that these days I regard the targeting of any other group as a welcome break from everything - always and without exception - being the fault of smokers and no-one else.  I admit that I breathe a sigh of relief with every drip-fed “alcohol-fuelled crime” and “town centre chaos” TV programme and newspaper headline I read, these days, just because it’s no longer “only about smokers.”   Unless and until I see some real humble pie being eaten by non-smoking, erstwhile ban-supporting drinkers, then as far as I’m concerned, they can fight their own corner on this, just like they left us to do.   I could be persuaded to support drinkers, but not without some show of support coming back in the opposite direction from them, because the way I see it, we both need each other now, and that has to work both ways, and as it was the drinkers who deserted the smokers in the first place, it has to be drinkers who make the first move to build some bridges.  For starters, I’d be interested to know how many previously ban-supporting drinkers have signed the e-petition for an amendment to the smoking ban, having seen the error of their ways.  Yep – your guess is probably the same as mine.  And we’re probably both right.  I rest my case.

Junican said...

Aren't petitions just another form of survey? The only difference between a petition and a YouGov survey is there is no 'or not' element. In other words, there is no 'yay' or 'nay' element; no "70% agree" element. In which case, the matter, no matter how worthy, devolves into mere numbers. 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Can't argue with any of that. A perfectly valid point of view, even though I don't personally share it. :)

Publican Sam said...

Apathy ... it's a killer ... still a thousand mile march starts with just one step ...