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First digital Citizen’s Initiative — citizens say no to fun


“You stupid woman, digital signatures don’t count,” we said less than a year ago, but a new law has changed that rule. If you want to tell parliament to put certain topics on the agenda, digital signatures are good enough to support your Citizen’s Initiative. Last year for instance, a group of women wanted parliament to debate on binge drinking youth. That bid failed, because the autographs had been digitally collected. The law has now been changed, and as of 1 January 2009 digital signatures do count.

So, with this great democratic leap forward, what do citizens elect to do with their new found power and responsibility? Why, declare their support for the War on Fun of course! The first digital Citizen’s Initiative is here, and it’s about fireworks. The citizens, led by Green Party city council member and sour puss David Rietveld, want it outlawed. To be precise, they demand that only professionals are allowed to light fireworks on New Year’s Eve, an activity often shared between dads and their sons.

As is typical for this time, something that is clearly wrong and illegal is taken and glued to something that is fun, yet irritating to some. In this case, the New Year’s celebrations are a signal to a very few troublemakers to start burning cars and houses. And so the David Rietvelds of this world figure that it is clearly the fireworks that are at fault, not the troublemakers—who in my opionion won’t be hindered by fireworks-banning legislation in the first place, and if they did would just find other ways to be dorks.

Photo by Mark Crossfield, some rights reserved.

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  1. Orangemaster says:

    That’s so not going to happen! I for one do not like the loud noise of firecrackers and just stay away. In Canada, it’s too effing cold to go light fireworks on New Year’s Eve, let alone that it’s not the tradition. On other holidays, their have huge professional fireworks and no one would want to look at your stupid little Roman candles anyways.

  2. ace says:

    Well, it’s pretty clear where you are standing. I would hardly call it objective reporting, though. The arguments that David Rietveld presents are not so much about cars being molested, but about the high number of casualties each year. Each year hundreds of people are severely hurt by fireworks, and almost half of them are kids. Additionally, Rietveld and Bonte mention damage to the environment, to public health and to animals. They do not want to forbid all use of fireworks, but they want to reduce it. Calling them a ‘sourpuss’ and leaving it at that, is hardly fair. Both to the petitioners and to the 52.300 people who signed it.

    See also

  3. Orangemaster says:

    I agree that those casualties are horrendous, but I think it’s not going to work. Again, the Netherlands can barely enforce the laws it has now, and adding more is not going to help.

    Telling people to be careful seems to work according to the press. I’d keep it at that.

  4. I agree with ace. And, well… a ‘sourpuss’? Would a class-A sourpuss make sites like these:

  5. Neil says:

    Here in the states, my dad would have fireworks for the 4th of July, our Independence Day, but he would also save some for New Years, firecrackers and bottle rockets. I did not know it was a tradition in the Netherlands between a father and son. I wonder if he knew that himself or just that his father did with him

  6. Orangemaster says:

    I heard on the Dutch news yesterday that most fireworks accidents don’t happen to people lighting fireworks, but people throwing them at others. So I go back to my position that prevention of stupid behaviour is better.

  7. Neil says:

    You can keep the tradition and protect the children by making fireworks legal for adults and illegal for children under 17 except with parental supervision. This way adults can teach children firework safety.

    Governments do best when they can address the safety issue with a policy that protects the vulnerable but does not make the item illegal.

  8. […] David Rietveld (yes, him), who posted more posters for that year. These icons link to social bookmarking sites where […]

  9. […] this year the first digital citizen’s initiative was organized to force parliament to talk about the right of citizens to light fireworks at New […]

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