The zombie existence of the No.10 e-petitions site continues. First they killed it, then they replaced it with a half-baked version commissioned from some character in Nepotism II: The Kids that didn’t involve anyone in government having to read the stuff, and now they want to integrate it into Directgov and, ah, introduce citizen-initiated parliamentary bills.

Actually, the proposal in question is fairly similar to the system in Austria where any petition with 100,000 signatures gets a parliamentary debate. This sounds ineffectual and is - the biggest ever Volksbegehren was opposed to the construction of a conference centre in the suburbs of Vienna, and the then chancellor Bruno Kreisky ignored it on the grounds that if a million people had signed it, another 7 million Austrians hadn’t.

There’s also this bit:

Efforts will also be made to ensure that those people petitioning the new website are registered voters rather than what are described as "super users", the kind of people that repeatedly back a petition on an issue.

So if you actually care about an issue or know anything about it, you’ll be censored. Given that pretty much any issue worth bothering with involves some sort of organisation, this means that the new proposal will be less use than just writing to your MP. Meanwhile, did you know we still aren’t allowed to see parliamentary bills before they start the legislative process or know who amended them in time to do anything about it?

Fortunately we have journalists like Patrick “Unseasonably Mild” Wintour.

The government is to follow the lead of The X Factor television programme and allow the public to decide on legislation to be put before MPs.

Lazy, vacuous stenography for the powerful, then.