Remember that the £5 notes release last year have traces of animal fat in them? The banks are keeping them.

Let’s ignore the controversy around the fact that there are traces of tallow in the new £5 notes for a second. I don’t like them. I don’t like that they are plastic, they feel like monopoly money. And I don’t like that even though they are a tougher material, they just feel flimsy. I’m not just being a sulk, I know many who share these gripes. But all of these complaints pale in comparison to the fact that they have tallow, made in part from meat products, woven into their fibres. It’s no wonder that vegetarians, vegans and religious groups oppose this. If you have devoted your life to ensuring that you do not participate in systems that involve the suffering of animals, then how do you justify using the new note and effectively be complicit in animal suffering? But rather than just finding a polymer that doesn’t involve meat products or even apologising and recalling the notes currently circulating, the Bank of England has now decided it is ‘appropriate’ to keep them.

This isn’t the first time that a petition gaining over 100,000 signatures hasn’t been acknowledged by government anywhere near to the extent that petition signing would like. The petition to ban the new note has so far reached 134,571 signatures, but others like the petition to ban Trump’s state visit, which reached 1.6 million signatures, have also left the public with very little faith that government petitions can actually create a difference. It looks more to me that these petitions are now used in the same way that polls are used, to gauge public opinion. Therefore, the next time that something is implemented the public don’t like, government already have their spin and planned responses to objections sorted. In a sense by signing the petition you are doing parliament more favours than not. At the time this article is being written there are currently 48 petitions on the government petition website that are to be, or already have been, debated by parliament. And sadly as I scrolled through them I did not recognise any that have made enough difference to be reported in the news. Obviously it is the news that sparks the public to raise these petitions, but the promise that these petitions will be debated (should they reach enough signatures) does not mean they will receive the PMQs spotlight you feel they deserve. It means simply that they will be debated, which unfortunately means that the thing you felt passionately enough to petition against could be debated by a very small number of MPs, of whom may not feel remotely passionate about your petition or the number of signatures it has received.

It was once said that a culture can be judged on the way it treats its most vulnerable, even DoE teaches that you are to walk as fast as your slowest walker. It is undemocratic to ignore the voices of those who have concerns over national decisions. If your signature doesn’t count toward making a difference, then how can you be sure your vote will come election day? Regarding the polymer £5 note debate, never forget that it could always be the case that the desire is for the public to resent physical money, because then the transition to remove it completely will be a smooth one.

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