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Petitions work: let's use them wisely

Some readers of this blog already know that I was deeply opposed to the Trailblaze scheme to instal ugly timing boxes on National Trails in the hope of attracting endurance runners to race the trails: please see my last entry on this subject for a photograph and more background. I have just learned that the petition campaign has succeeded and that even Natural England now admits that the whole thing was a terrible mistake: see their recent coy news item.

The folk who set up the protest website Say no to Trailblaze deserve some credit for their role in causing this climbdown. One of the wonderful aspects of the global web of personal computers is the empowerment of individual citizens to influence policy.

Another example is a petition started by Frances and Keith Smith, independent booksellers in Warwick, which I signed today. They want Amazon.co.uk - which sold £2.9 billion poundsworth of goods in the UK last year - also to pay corporation tax in the UK (instead of evading it via Luxembourg). Since all of us publishers and booksellers who are based in the UK already have to pay tax here, there is a solid argument that the playing field is not level.

Having signed, however, I baulked at some Facebook app that wanted my permission to badger other Facebook friends to sign. I may well be wrong about this (I'm a real novice at Facebook) but I'd rather people decide for themselves than being pestered by a robot that I have unwittingly set in motion. There is a degree of automation that risks credibility.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 6, 2013 8:12 PM.

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