So where are we now? 2000 signatures on a petition proves what? Only that 2000 people (out of a population of around 60,000,000) support the proposal. So in essence, we have demonstrated that 0.003% of the UK population support the wildcamping petition, or in terms of votes (there were 44,401,238 registered voters in 2001) 0.005% of the electorate.
Hardly going to get the government quaking in their boots, is it? No. Twenty times as many people (41,000) petitioned to have Jeremy Clarkson as Prime Minister (a considerable improvement perhaps, but, sadly, that hasn’t happened either).
So, this is the just the beginning of winning hearts and minds. If you wrote to, or emailed your MP, he might just have had a peek at your website, so construct your arguments with due care. A measured and credible approach is required - Oh, alright, no ranting - OK?
My MP, Richard Spring, wrote to Hilary Benn on my behalf, and received a letter from Jonathan Shaw who rejoices in the title "Minister for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs and Minister for the South East" (no, I’ve never heard of him either) so I was acquainted with the official position some time ago. I regarded it as a neutral stance, which I found both surprising and vaguely encouraging.
What is needed now is a steady campaign, gaining publicity and building support. Eventually it will gain the same currency and credence as the CRoW legislation did. Yes, it will take time. Maybe a long time. There really are problems peculiar to England, Wales and Northern Ireland that need to be addressed. Much of the land is managed very differently to Scotland. The new Marine Bill is the current government access project, and one can see that suddenly advocating free access to wild camping on top might considerably increase opposition to the access proposals in this bill, limited as they are.
So I say let the Marine Bill pass. Keep up the publicity – let’s at least out Clarkson Clarkson!
We haven't really lit the touchpaper yet.
Softly, softly catchee monkey.