Not just a problem in the US, unfortunately
Don't assume that software patents are only a problem in the US: they are also a long-standing problem in the UK and EU, although they have general evaded media interest. If we want to complain about the crazy US patent system, we should look at our own first.
Although Europe is often cited as an area where software is not and cannot be patented (e.g. by lazy journalists and politicians), this is wishful thinking. Patents on software have been granted in EU countries for many years, including by UKPO/IPO and EPO, despite what the legislation and treaties appears to say. And there are numous examples of bad software patents in the UK and EU that match the worst excesses of the USPTO.
The usual trick is to argue that it is only "software *as such*" cannot be patented. In the topsy-turvy world of EU and UK patent offices and courts, "software as such" is taken just to be some static representation of a program (and a computer is something which is capable of running a program). According to various rulings in the UK, the EPO and elsewhere, once a piece of software is running, then for the purposes of patentability it is no longer considered to be "software as such", and so can be patented (and once a computer is running software, it is no longer considered to be a computer).
In the UK there is also the additional trick of appealing to a "technical effect". Anything that has a technical effect can be patented, even software. Technical effects can include solving a problem that has a physical manifestation, or producing a measurable change in a computer system's behaviour.
So just as in the US, there are valid and enforceable UK and EU software-only patents that simply apply some combination of known data structures, algorithms and common techniques to a known computational problem. Such patents are granted provided the intended effect is identified, and the particular combination of methods does not turn up in any search for prior art relating to the given problem. Such software patents have been upheld on appeal (despite being obvious to those "skilled in the art").
So pretty much anything can and does go in the UK and some other EU countries, provided you use the "right" language, as in the US.
In my experience, there is not much point in complaining to UK MPs and MEPs about this sophistry and abuse of language in granting software patents, against the apparent intent of legislators. They invariable defer to the opinion of a colleague who has experience as a patent attorney. I have also found the UKPO/IPO to be rather obtuse and self-interested when dealing with such concerns. In my experience it wilfully misrepresenting the results of its consultations, and gives priority to the views and interests of patent lawyers, and US-based companies over those of software developers and companies based in the UK and EU.