The United Kingdom Location: Home Page> Europe > The United Kingdom

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

The appeal of British public to central government, parliament and royal family stems from vibrant local culture. Petitioners not only petitioned local governments, but also used local institutions as channels to send petitions to national governments. Although Charles Tilly's study of popular debate shows that parliaments were increasingly subject of public demands at turn of nineteenth century, these demands were still often made at assemblies of magistrates in response to signed requests, in fact above was before petition.

Locals sign petition to officials such as mayor, sheriff, or sheriff, who may agree to approve a rally where attendees can discuss merits of petition before council or other agency. In counties, landowners requisition lord lieutenants or chief sheriffs to hold county meetings, as in 1823 a reform county meeting was held in York following a demand signed by 2,400 landowners.

Because constitutional right to petition is more deeply rooted than freedom of assembly, this process provides some protection from state persecution for a contested opinion, as well as from attempts in 1795, 1817, and 1819 to restrict publicity of radicals Repressive Meeting Legislation. The Chartists might also have taken precaution of expropriating mayor and allowing a meeting of parliamentary reform movement, as in Nottingham in 1838.

However, in nineteenth century, as number of public places of assembly increased and legal restrictions on public gatherings were lifted, expropriations signed by Congress became less and less common. In any case, from Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 to creation of county councils in 1889, local government reforms often required residents to support creation or dissolution of local councils by collecting signatures. will of society.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

New industrial towns such as Birmingham or Manchester applied for incorporation in late 1830s, sparking bitter disputes between Liberals and Conservatives over authenticity of signatures for and against incorporation. Richard Cobden complained that in Manchester anti-merger Conservatives "feigned to have received over thirty thousand names, for which they were well paid, but four out of five were bogus".

The Public Health Act of 1848 allowed taxpayers to petition General Sanitary Office to intervene in affairs of their area, and in 1887 alone Distribution Act allowed six voters Or taxpayers petitioning for community gardens, although authorities have many opportunities to evade requirements. Petitions provide central government with a mechanism to obtain consent of local residents, and petitioners can call on local authorities to exercise their legal powers even in absence of a statutory invitation. implementation of dormant Stuart legislation to fix their wages.

The author argues that throughout nineteenth century, delineation and expansion of local governments "and Westminster's preference for common and permissive legislation over local and special legislation" encouraged residents to petition Parliament and other bodies. Hull has a large number of surviving petitions from city officials that provide an important example of a particular city's characteristic culture, many of which dealt with practical issues of "street politics" such as debate over whereabouts of city's fishmongers.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

In 1836, ten residents petitioned to remove fish counter on church wall, and in 1848, when city council ordered removal of fishmongers from Wellington Street, twenty people signed a protest and proposed installation of a water faucet to help prevent "our stupidity." Other petitions at local level fought against struggle for moral and social politics pursued in Westminster, 1890 churches and Sunday schools organized a petition with over 1600 signatures against allowing bands to play in parks on Lord's Sabbath.

The following year, some 700 women signed a protest against election of local brewer Edward Robson as mayor because of widespread harm that "the liquor trade has done to our sexuality and neglect of 'innocent children' has to endure." Petitions to local governments add to those submitted to councils in previous years on issues such as closing museums on Sundays or limiting sale of alcohol, and provide additional evidence that campaigners moved strategically between different levels of government to switch.

The authors argue that petitions to local governments express collective preferences for amenities or public policy, but petitions also played a routine role in meeting individual needs early in our period. For many ordinary Britons during this period, a petition meant turning to authorities for help in difficult times or asking for some kind of privilege, it could be handouts from local branches of state or private charities.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

Convicted prisoners, their families and allies can organize petitions for clemency from judge and then to Home Office or Monarchy if local appeals fail. Petitions are systematized in Royal Navy to discuss matters of employment or welfare, and use of petitions is varied, as seen in instructional texts such as The English Letter Writer, whose "Universal Petitioners" section offered a petition form to try become a Chelsea pensioner, win "places at customs, stamp office, post office, etc." and be accepted as "a young person with a venereal disease".

These were mostly personal petitions, but in form of petitions rather than letters, and during nineteenth century these types of personal petitions gradually gave way to letters and pre-printed petitions. Wealthy work revived tradition of letters and petitions for poor under old and new English poverty laws, and by early nineteenth century beggars seemed to be sending private informal letters to parishes in many parts of England.

Thomas Sokol's research showed that only a small proportion of parishes he studied observed stylized features of petition. By contrast, a recent study of Scotland shows that "highly stylized petitions" persisted, reflecting "more formal" attitudes and more similar to continental Europe, until late nineteenth century, when the Highland Scots adopted British "rights" rhetoric. , civic duty and disobedience" in more informal request letters.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

In nineteenth century, however, petitions began to be largely replaced by pre-printed forms as primary means of applying for benefits or other government services. While "petition" remains synonymous with "please" in everyday speech, petitions will increasingly become a physical form, associated with collective demands of public action rather than individual statements for personal gain.

As evidence of ubiquity of petitions, evidence scattered through archives shows that petitions can be adapted as a form of pressure, expression and request even in absence of a tradition or institution of acceptance. This genre adaptation allowed servants employed at York Retreat Shelter to petition board to start supplying kitchens with free-raised rather than slave-grown sugar in 1827.

In 1836, three hundred residents of Torbay sent a petition to trustees of local Turnpike Trust, forcing them to resolve a dispute with landowner and continue to provide expected long-term transport link. . Startup unions sometimes use signed petitions to communicate workers' demands, although this inevitably runs risk of retaliation against signatories.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

A study of London civil servants found that their petitions to employers tended to get bigger, with one petition to Great Western Railway garnering thousands of signatures. Petitioners do not even have to be employees or dependents of their petitioning body—as in case of local clergy who petitioned Hindhead Golf Club in 1908 against "hiring young caddies on Saturday" until twentieth century, petitions are still available and flexible. weapons in activist's arsenal.

Between 1780 and 1918, authorities and petitioners opened up new, often specialized channels through practice of subscription in many parts of country. The historical development of state's decision-making function is closely related to and influenced by interaction between authorities and applicants, and history of petitions provides an alternative lens to view relationship between state and its people through a different from formal electoral politics. mediation.

The authors argue that during this period, petitions became a practice of political expression and representation, as application forms and other bureaucratic documents undermine relative universality of other forms. Analyzing a wide variety of signature texts, often found in individual archival series and studied in one or another historiography, it can be established that nominal signatures or their own distinctive signs are common themes of common political and social experience.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

Edward Higgs proposed "the alphabetization of Manual of Signs as an important part of transformation of written culture since late Middle Ages" as names replaced seals of nobility representing consent of "legal persons". Britons at all levels may allow use of their names, in person or by permission, when signing petitions and related documents, but this does not mean that signing implies a purely personal act of self-representation;

As can be seen from above, signatures on petitions can be an expression of patronage, duty, virtue or will. Of course, social significance and familiarity of act of signing remains when it is used in letters and legal documents Intersected, but during long nineteenth century petitions and their likeness became more closely associated with political representation.

For millions of British citizens who do not have right to vote for MPs, signature texts are one of main forms of self-representation and community representation. Even for those who can vote, subscription culture allows for creative and adaptive strategies, putting initiative, time, and content in hands of organizers and signers, unless there are specific restrictions.

Thus, petitions have played as important a role in changing expectations of political representation and popular sovereignty as electoral reform and rise of organized parties. However, due to complexity of social relationshipswe see that wealthy and well-connected interest groups may receive more satisfaction and appreciation from those they reach out to, especially in form of ministerial memorials and representation.

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK

Legislators face numerous petitions that only highlight art of interpretation involved in reconciling different, conflicting views, except that most of our time, lawmakers tend to think they serve interests of country's fiduciaries, not representatives whose legitimacy depends from their response to representation.

Petitions to Parliament grew with electorate during nineteenth century and it was only in recent decades that they began to falter, perhaps reflecting a shift in initiative from parliamentary government to Downing Street administration as MPs become representatives of a "merger", perhaps after party whip. However, result of these important changes seems to have been a shift towards other central or local government goals, rather than abandonment of ballot box petitions.

The broader subscription culture survived decline in public petitions to Parliament, which only highlights importance and diversity of these models for petitioners and authorities, and for British political culture in general, even after 1918. While it is clear that officials and agencies gain authority and information by receiving subscription calls, acceptance may simply be a way for organizations and signers to measure "success".

The authors argue that: As S. Erdem Aytaç and Susan Stokes have written in Contemporary Politics, collective action in protests or elections can be an emotional response that generates fear of cost of abstention, and same seems to , be case for petitioners. Thus, signing of petitions provides signers with a form of expression, not just an instrumental one, and while petitions and social movements are usually considered separately from threats of violence and revolution, it is clear that in a People's Charter Or signing an Ulster Agreement can gather a perceived and expected threat of rebellion.

As more and more people have right to vote, subscription texts can be displayed for or against delegates as punctuation between elections. Through a century of scattered archives and forms, it is clear that these signature texts achieve hybrid forms of participation and representation, that signature culture intersects with elections, print, protest, language and institutions that make up modern British political culture, reflecting how this in turn leads to change. in state, society and representation.


Speech and Oversight: The British Parliamentary Petition System. Zuo Yitong, Li Hongbo

Local Government in England. (English) Wilson, (English) Game,

Modern British politics. (British) Robins (Robins, L.)

History of British political system. Yang Zhaoxian

British parliamentary politics. Norton

Related Blogs

Petition Politics: Parliament, Government and Subscribing Culture in UK A History of British Political Institution: The Politics of Petition What happened to Japanese congressman who drank nuclear sewage? His account was banned in 2014 and he retired from politics following year. Swedish history: fall of Kruger consortium and succession of government In 1956, Monroe and Queen of England were in the same frame, and her good figure was not worth mentioning in front of her elegant temperament. Women of bin Laden family: as many as 22 wives, and it's normal to "marry in morning and divorce in evening" In Renaissance: role and communication of Latin Queen Eleanor of France: She was abolished for having a daughter and had 5 sons after her sudden marriage to UK, which angered her ex-husband Why during Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, 189 schools of thought evolved from 189 schools, and in end only Confucianism and Taoism survived? Swedish Ambassador in Madrid: Triple Alliance between Sweden and France