Last week, the hitherto libertarian blogger Guido Fawkes announced that he was launching a petition on the new government e-petitions website to reinstate the right of the state to execute its citizens. The rightwing media leapt on the story, giving him acres of promotional copy. However on the day of the e-petitions launch, today, things didn’t go entirely to plan.
At the current time of writing, while Guido has managed to persuade 1,040 people to sign his petition, an anti-death penalty petition currently has 2,414 signatures. The latter petition, tabled by former Liberal Youth Chair Martin Shapland, appears to have thus far done a far better job at capturing the popular imagination on the social media – despite lacking the far bigger platform of Guido Fawkes’ blog.
Of course, it is early days and if the tabloid press decide to aggressively promote the petition we may well see a reversal of fortune. Both petitions have also been hamstrung by the e-petitions website itself which appears unable to cope with demand (although looking at the size of the petitions, it would look like they only planned for a few thousand visitors at a time, which was rather amateurish). But it is good to see that this isn’t quite the one-sided debate that the media would have us believe.