Win­ners and losers on the cam­paign trail

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others -

While not every pe­ti­tion is a suc­cess, are there enough vic­to­ries to sug­gest they are an ef­fec­tive means of get­ting politi­cians not just to lis­ten but to act?

The ev­i­dence so far as Kent County Coun­cil’s track record is con­cerned, is mixed.

Changes by KCC to the pop­u­lar Free­dom Pass, its sub­sidised travel scheme for 11-16 year-olds, have been chal­lenged sev­eral times via e-pe­ti­tions. Last year, more than 3,000 peo­ple urged KCC to re­con­sider an in­crease in the charge to £270.

Pe­ti­tion or­gan­is­ers got the chance to ask for a re-think at a back­bench com­mit­tee meet­ing but the coun­cil even­tu­ally de­cided to stick by the in­crease.

There was more suc­cess for cam­paign­ers call­ing on KCC to re­con­sider its pol­icy on turn­ing street­lights off at night.

Tina Brooker col­lected 11,000 sig­na­to­ries on her pe­ti­tion. When she first pre­sented her case be­fore county coun­cil­lors in 2015, her call was re­jected.

De­spite this, the author­ity even­tu­ally ended up do­ing a U-turn.

Na­tion­ally, cam­paign­ers de­mand­ing an end to the tax im­posed on san­i­tary prod­ucts - the so-called tam­pon tax - won a con­ces­sion from the then Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne af­ter 320,000 peo­ple signed a pe­ti­tion.

But it is worth not­ing that none of the top 10 pe­ti­tions on Par­lia­ment’s e-pe­ti­tion web­site se­cured any change of pol­icy by the gov­ern­ment.

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