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Being Labour

The mysterious disappearance of the Burscough Curves petition

06.15.10 | Comment?

There was an interesting little piece in last week’s Ormskirk Champion about a Sefton councillor’s petition about the reinstatement of the Burscough Curves

As far as I can see it’s not online, but the original article about it from November 2009 is here, and gives the background:

Cllr Sumner launched the petition on the Downing Street website in April this year to persuade the Government to investigate reinstating the Burscough Curves, a half-mile stretch of railway linking both the Southport to Manchester and the Ormskirk to Preston lines.

He believes that if the track was re-laid there would be potential to run services from Southport to both Preston and Ormskirk, and restore services not seen since the 1960s.

The piece last week accepts that the petition won’t be successful as it only gatherered 900 signatures, though the councillor thinks this is in itself a success.  Fair enough, if that’s what he thinks.

What the LibDem councillor doesn’t mention is that his new coalition government made it impossible to reach the target by the 03 June deadline (revised to June because of the election).  When it came into power, it stopped accepting signatures.

When I emailed the No 10 site’s administrators in May to ask when the facility might be up again, in case people wanted to meet the 03 June deadline with a late flurry, I was told that no decision had been taken, and the 03 June deadline came and went without the site starting to accept signatures again.

The following statement now appears on the No 10 petition website:

Existing e-petitions, submitted to the previous administration, will not be carried forward to the new administration as part of this process. E-petitions that were live at the time of the election announcement on 6 April, when the e-petitions system was suspended, will therefore not be reopened for signatures.

Now I’m not sure whether the LibDem councillor in question  simply didn’t know what has happened, or whether he’s deliberately obscuring the actions of his chosen government in stopping the petition facility without notice. I certainly didn’t see any commitment to NOt listening to people in the LibDem manifesto.

Either way, the coalition’s been shown up for what it is – more interested in making its mark as a new administration than respecting the rights of local people to express a view in the way they were promised.

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