Rik Worth 21st March 2019
When I signed the latest petition to revoke Article 50 (and thus time travel back to a beautiful age, a time when politicians just ate butties stupidly and denied putting their genitals near pigs for a bit of fun) there were already over 200,000 signatures. When I looked this morning it was at 400,000 and people were signing it at a rate of 5.5 signatures a second. The petition crashed the government website at 600,000, was back up just in time for me to take a screenshot and has crashed again as I’m writing this.
In part, that probably has to do with excited signees checking in to see if their voice is being amplified and journalists hunting for an easy story. Luckily there is a useful bot,@UltraButt, you can follow on Twitter so you don’t add to madness and actually give people a chance to sign it.
Does anyone even know if these petitions do anything? After 100,000 signatures, there’s supposed to be a debate in Parliament, however, Parliament has done nothing but debate Brexit recently. Certainly, in this case, it has been pointed out repeatedly that no amount of signatures would mean anything — after all nothing in the constant clusterfuck that is Brexit has to mean anything anymore. Theresa May can make official statements about how annoying the MPs she is trying to convince to support her are while Jeremy Corbyn — a man both famous and infamous for his history of sitting down with almost any group — walked out of talk cross-party talks because a man he doesn’t like is there. Yes, technically The Independent Group (TIG) is not a party yet but, and this is very technical, that is the behaviour of a baby man.
The point being, this petition could have multiple millions of signatures and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to our spectacularly incompetent political class because they do what they want. And besides, Brexit is now the will of the people and the petition won’t get numbers higher than those who voted to leave. We all know this and we all need to stop pointing that out.
Best case scenario, the press covers this story for a news cycle and maybe a few MPs show support for revoking Article 50 (it’s like a mega-extension, Brexiteers, think about it) or more likely a few more maybe talk about a second referendum. But really it’s not even about that anymore. It’s a cathartic scream of a nation watching a government and opposition endlessly dick about achieving nothing either way.
It’s the swearing after a stumped toe and the stabbing of a voodoo doll. It doesn’t do a goddamn thing but we need that release
Yes, revoking the needlessly invoked article would be the cutting of a Gordian knot, a decisive move that would realistically and dramatically create a new political landscape and a faster path to a future that we’re endlessly and relentlessly trudging through shit to, like characters in an Umberto Eco novel. But this faint glimmer of hope isn’t the only reason why people are signing the petition.
It’s to vent steam. To release some of the internalised pressure that has built up after literally years of scans revealing the cancer of Brexit is still a part of us and no one knows how to treat it. It’s the swearing after a stumped toe and the stabbing of a voodoo doll. It’s sympathetic magic. It doesn’t do a goddamn thing but we need that release. It falls on deaf ears but we need to scream “fuck you!!!” into the ether.
This was the year I truly understood in my heart that politics and politicians will always let you down
For Remainers, it’s a halfway home to a second referendum, a referendum we might lose again (though I’m not sure you could describe the current climate as Leavers “winning”) but they need to be heard when we have endlessly been told that this mess is our will is valuable to us.
I get the cynicism about the petition. I honestly do. This was the year I truly understood in my heart that politics and politicians will always let you down (you were supposed to be the one Jeremy!). The chance of this having any effect is minuscule — though it increases infinitesimally if you sign the damn thing and we keep people talking about — but we know that.
Let people scream into the void. It is cathartic. A mocking idea of what it would be like to able to actually take some control back. To grab the steering wheel, drive home, put the kettle on and cuddle. It’s not realistic and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference but we need it. We’ve nothing else to look forward to.
The petition just hit 840 715.
Rik Worth 21st March 2019