So the subject of e-petitions makes the headlines and in so doing does, unintentionally, re-open the debate on the subject of the effectiveness of Parliament - not that I expect the majority of people will consider that aspect. Conservative Home has an article by Paul Goodman, which in turn links to another article by Sir George Young in the Mail.
Presumably the snapshot of the Mail frontpage on ConHome is that of the print edition, in which case the Mail is guilty of disingeniousness in stating that MPs will vote on the death penalty. The fact that it is highly unlikely any debate would be held is due to the fact that a committee of MPs will be the arbiter of whether or not any petition is worthy of being considered for debate and, more importantly, any such debate would be meaningless even if it were held, as Mary Ellen Synon points out.
Sir George Young is likewise guilty of duplicity (but hey, being a politician why should we expect anything less) in that he writes:
"Parliamentary time is not unlimited and we want the best e-petitions to be given airtime. That’s why we will be closely monitoring the site over the coming months to assess whether the threshold is right, or whether it should be lowered or raised."
That statement is just 'code' for ensuring that only the petitions the politicians want get accepted and that no doubt the thresholds will be raised to make it even more difficult for the public to acquire the necessary signatures.
It also beggars belief that Young can also write:
"But if lots of people want Parliament to do something which it rejects, then it is up to MPs to explain the reasons to their constituents. What else is Parliament for? People have strong opinions, and it does not serve democracy well if we ignore them or pretend that their views do not exist."
Why break the habit of a lifetime, George?
If the people overwhelmingly present a petition for something it is not the job of MPs to vote it down and then go back to the constituents and explain their actions. Contrary to the requirements of a true representative democracy, which is what MPs maintain we have, MPs are not elected to be the moral conscience of the nation. Were such a petition with overwhelming support to be voted down by Parliament, that situation could well be the catalyst that will bring the masses out onto the streets.
And Young no longer feels Parliament is irrelevant?