It would seem if the phone call I had from the Huffington Post and their subsequent article are to be believed. That a certain Mr. Hollobone MP has openly admitted to trying to rig my petition to trigger a debate in parliament about his National Service Bill. A private members bill, which, like most other private members bills, would in all likelihood be consigned to the dustbin of parliament through lack of attention. Mr. Hollobone discovered what he considers to be a clever way to get his bill more attention.
He has been encouraging his supporters to sign my petition, a petition I set up to stop the National service bill from becoming law, by showing the strength of opposition to it. He thinks by getting his supporters to sign my petition he can help it reach the magical 100,000 signatures to trigger a debate.
This man’s actions could have massive implications for groups such as Change.org, 38 degrees, Avaaz.org and even the government’s own e-petitions. For if his underhand tactic goes unpunished how will we the public ever be able to trust that petitions truly reflect the opinions of those that sign them. How can we be sure if a petition triggers the possibility of a debate and that that debate goes forward and leads to a new law that it hasn’t been hijacked by unscrupulous MPs prepared to do anything to get their own way.
How many of the 30,000 plus signatures I have been lucky enough to get on my petition are real objectors to his bill and how many are not, we have no way of knowing…
However, I will not give in to this underhand tactic.
I am reliably informed, and this just goes to show that our MPs are not as well versed in how these things work, as they should be.
Only Government e-petitions, which are automatically referred to the Backbench Business Committee (BBBC) on which Mr. Hollobone used to sit between 2010-12, can decide if a petition should go forward for debate. Other petitions can be considered but are not automatically debated nor are they automatically referred to the Backbench Business Committee for consideration. It is a myth that petitions of 100,000 qualify for automatic debate in parliament. Government e-petitions qualify for consideration through the BBBC at 100,000 that is all.
One wonders if he has indeed been telling his supporters to sign my petition? Because it would seem that even if it does reach 100,000 it may still be ignored, why would he bother, it could just make the number of those against his bill appear to be more. Yet still not trigger a debate. A big risk. I suspect that it may have just been a ruse to try to scare me off. Which didn’t work.
This brings in to question the integrity of this MP and I think he and his peers should seriously consider his position. Generally speaking we don’t like cheats in this country so the Tories keep telling us anyway.
But why do I object so strongly to his bill…
Mr. Hollobone’s Bill is badly written, it tramples all over the equality and human rights of young adults, and it is basically a blank check to the government with the lives and futures of our young. This bill is left wide open to be rewritten by the Sectary of State and we all know how much I trust Mr. Ian Duncan Smith.
There is no exemption for young adults in full time work or education they would be risking a criminal record if they refused to do a years service doing charity work, working in the caring industries, work over seas, for the NHS, emergency services or the military. They may in all reality have to give up a well-paid jobs or a hard won place at uni to do their national service. Doing minimum wage jobs in industries already laying off hundreds of people as austerity bites. What happens to their planned futures if their places at uni cant be kept back or their employer says they can’t keep their jobs open for a year? And do the sick, disabled and elderly really want hordes of unwilling, unqualified young adults helping them wash and dress I wonder.
There is no exemption for young carers which is possibly its only redeeming feature because its about time they where included in something rather than being taken advantage of by a government that refuses to acknowledge their caring role and compensate them for it. But he makes no mention of how, social services would go about affording the bill, for replacing the 700,000 young carers that we know currently care for relatives in the uk, quite a big care bill for local councils to find.
There is no exemption for parents or single parents, we could find our councils once again called upon to find the money to supply care for children forcibly abandoned by those being coerced in to doing their national service before the cut of date, or face a criminal record. Even more likely if they have no relatives to take over caring for their child. Potentially placing hundreds of parents in the position of putting their children in to a care system already at breaking point because child services are also coping with cuts to their budgets.
There is only exemption for those with severe mental health problems or disabilities, which would leave thousands of people with disabilities and mental heath problems still libel to serve. Will there be the facilities to accommodate the many sick and disabled people that will still qualify for national service.
And as if all of that wasn’t bad enough this bill demands that everyone of these young adults spend some of that year in residential accommodation away from home learning how to dress smartly, respect themselves and others, cook, budget their money and catch up on any schooling they failed to achieve at school.
Again there is no mention of where these residential places would be, who would run them or how much they will cost the taxpayer.
It seems to me that existing government schemes could cater for most of these things along side industry led incentives. Schools should be instructed to spend some time on practical things like simple cooking for all, perhaps that clever Jamie Oliver could stop bashing the poor and teaching our grand mothers to suck eggs for long enough to teach the young to cook in school instead.
The apprenticeships schemes could be extended and expanded and colleges could run more vocational courses… There are ways and means with in current systems to make almost all of Mr. Hollobones wishes become reality with out resorting to an expensive compulsory national service.
What happens to those who already work in these industries when it becomes flooded with compulsory cheep labour? We already know that workfare is costing jobs, overtime and P/Time workers their living, this would have the same effect on a grander scale.
All of these young people would be paid minimum wage, but do not be fooled by that fact these young people will still be made to work in placements; placements that don’t currently exist, that they have little control over against their will. All at the taxpayers expense…
This Bill is wrong to suggest in the 21st century that it is ok to force someone against their will in to servitude for what ever reason, the basic premise of this bill goes against everything we have fought to improve in our lives for generations.
And finally one last point for the naysayer’s out their, this bill would not help get the NEETS in work for two reasons, one it doesn’t actually target the biggest youth unemployment group the 38% of 16-17 year olds. And two it won’t teach or train transferable skills that will have practical applications for further employment.
So Mr. Hollobone has shown his true colour’s he has decided that cheating is a good way to teach our young adults how to behave well, he thinks that by attempting to rig my petition we will let him and his bill through to teach our young adults about respecting themselves and others…
I may not know a lot about politics after all I’m just a mother and art teacher in Cornwall but I know not all our young people are trouble and I know those that are, deserve a government that will help them, not just try to fob them off with half baked schemes, designed by MPs that manipulate the truth or try to rig the system in their favor.
I intend to fight on against of this awful one-size fit’s all, ill thought out, piece of legislation.
Watch this space for news on the National service bill another excuse for the Tories and private companies to tax us and our young adults… I will not sign my child up to this blank cheque… Dxxx
And the Government Epettion for the same Bill...
I apologise for the delay in posting this I’ve been to ill and to busy to cope… Dxxx