Monday, 10 March 2008

I knew there was a flaw in this democracy business

Skimming through my inbox this afternoon, I was somewhat surprised to find an email which started, "You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to facilitate the issuing of Biometric Visas in Mogilev in order to avoid the prohibative cost to charities of transporting children to Minsk". Now, normally I don't consider a day complete without signing a petition asking the Prime Minister to facilitate the issuing of biometric visas somewhere or other, but, you know, I've been busy, and I didn't immediately twig what it was going on about. Once I'd worked it out (and established a few pesky geographical details, like where Mogilev actually was), I thought I'd have an idle browse through other petitions to the Prime Minister's Office, which I heartily recommend if you've got a spare half hour and no vested interest in whether the British electorate is fit to vote. Just to give you a flavour of the pressing matters Gordon Brown is forced to deal with (and bear in mind that these all had to get at least 200 signatories to make it through):

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to:

  • "impose a maximum weight limit for women wearing stiletto heels"
  • "establish hedges on central reservations of motorways and dual carriageways"
  • "legalise gay incest"
  • "legalise otter clubbing"
  • "alter the earth’s orbit to compensate for global warming"
  • "do something about bonsai kittens"
  • "make cheese available free of charge"
  • "create a subsidy to make cheese cheaper" (obviously a key topical issue, this)
  • "ban gorgonzola" (not to mention a contentious one)
  • "slaughter every single badger within Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, and any Marine Badgers at large within UK territorial waters. Also, to not rule out strategic military strikes against rogue badger elements harboured by other states. (The curious may ask themselves exactly how a badger gives TB to a cow. The truth is unrepeatable on a governement website, but let me assure you the process is as perverse as it is cruel.)"
  • "force the Daily Express to admit that Diana, Princess of Wales, is dead"
  • "remove the green sweets from Starburst and to reinstate the Opal Fruits brand name"
  • "give free houses (near a beach) to people called Mike"
  • "seriously consider not allowing children, unless they have been suitably sedated, to travel on aeroplanes"
  • "invade France, and thus provide us with a war we can all get behind"

and, of course

  • "stop wasting tax money employing people to review online petition requests"
What I particularly like is the fact that the Prime Minister's Office has to give a reason for rejecting any given petition. Thus the official response to a request to "force terestrial television newsreaders to wear underpants on their heads" was, "it was outside the remit or powers of the Prime Minister and Government", whilst a plea to "ban pretty average European scramz from dragging down the quality of global screamo" was turned down because, "it contained wording that is impossible to understand". And just in case further proof were needed that the good ol' British nation is doomed, the third most popular petition on the entire site - with a whopping 46908 signatures - is a motion to make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister. Not meaning to jump to conclusions or anything, but somehow I doubt he'd have much to say about the issuing of biometric visas in Mogilev...

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