Petitioning the Government

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to sign an e-petition on the re-vamped HM Government e petitions website.

The petition that I signed asked for Recognition of Cornwall as a National Minority, which was a subject that I was happy to support, despite a lack of faith in on line petition sites.

The site is an interesting place to browse, not so much because of the influence it may or may not have on British politics, but because it is an interesting cross section of the sorts of things that people in these islands think are important enough to petition the government on. There were, when I last looked, over 5500 petitions that one could sign which range from the eminently sensible to the outright whacky!

Apparently the difference between the new site and the old Number 10 petitions site is that there is now a commitment that if over 100,000 people sign a petition then that issue will be debated in parliament. From my latest visit I noticed that only two petitions have actually broken the 100k benchmark:

Convicted London rioters should lose all benefits.
Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them.

Full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster

Full government disclosure and publication of all documents, discussions and reports relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disater. As requested by information commissioner Christopher Graham.

The petition originally backed as the one to be the first to get 100k votes was Guido Fawkes' petition for a reintroduction of Capital Punishment, that petition is floundering at the 17k mark, whilst the opposing petition to retain the ban on Capital Punishment is the third most popular petition on the site with 25k+ signatures!

This raises an important point! Guido's petition received a lot of publicity and backing from certain sections of the online and mainstream media, but with a mainly online fightback the petition is currently being beaten, but not every petition has its oppisite.

What if I think that making every person convicted of offences during the recent riots vagrants and beggars is going to increase social incohesion and is a bloody stupid idea?

How do I oppose this tabloid backed petition?

I could start my own petition, which might be one of a hundred similar petitions with only a couple of dozen votes, but without similar tabloid backing what chance would my petition have?

Surely every on line e-petition, that is supposedly going to influence government thinking should have two options - I support or I oppose this petition!

It seems wrong to me that the Daily Hate Mail, The Sun, Dale and Co, Guido etc can push petitions in a way that others can't, without a simple NO button option that enables those of us who read their propaganda and disagree with them to note our disagreement.


  1. I tried to start a petition during the English riots calling for devolution of Police and Criminal justice to Wales (in order to avoid the reactionary right wing measures that are bound to be brought in to counteract an English problem), and I received a confirmation, but was told they would be in touch 'shortly'. So far, nothing, and the petition (RF608) is not there for anyone to sign. How long do they normally take to become signable?

  2. I just started a petition too, it took about a week to have it up & running.


  3. There is a difference between your petition anonymous and Siônnyn's. Siônnyn's is a petition to the Westminster Government, yours is a petition to the National Assembly. The Assembly petitions system is much more efficient and open than its counterpart in Westminster.

  4. Anon's petition reads:

    We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to formally drop the name “Wales & Welsh”. Wales comes from the Anglo-saxon word Waleas meaning "foreigner" We find this word insulting and that our nation should only be known as its original name ‘Cymru’ (land of comrades or countrymen).After over a thousand years of being called “foreigner” well feel its time this degrading word should be relinquished.