Friday, 13 April 2007

e-Petition pillow fights at 10 Downing St

Petitions

This is either democracy in action or a fad of activism that is the hallmark of the era of Tony Blair's reign.

In the last 2 weeks I have signed petitions on the 10 Downing Street e-Petitions site, whilst none have yielded the kind of response we the undersigned have desired, there has been some movement indicating that the petitions do have some effect.

The first was pertaining to an administrative error by the AFC Wimbledon football club which lead to them being penalized 18 points in their league. The petition garnered over 1,000 signatories and eventually there was reconsideration and a clemency to just a 3 point deduction and a 400 Pound fine.

Reactions

That first petition was rejected, but it spurned other petitions, one to reconfirm the original 18 point penalty and the other to reinstate the club in the Football Association Trophy competition which reads like the first and has since been rejected.

Basically, we have created turfs for opposing activism on the e-Petition site. The principle was that this punishment was too draconian considering other clubs with greater influence and resources have hardly been sanctioned for similar errors.

The club accepts they were wrong and pleaded for leniency, something that has now been achieved to the satisfaction of many and the chagrin of the few who would prefer to win the league by other means than by playing football.

Petition to: PLEASE Stop AFC Wimbledon being deducted eighteen points

Petition to: Stand by and confirm the 18 point deduction on AFC Wimbledon

Petition to: Bring pressure to re-instate A.F.C. Wimbledon

Those Naval cretins

Then as I have written in recent blogs about the Naval Personnel News Stories debacle, I came across an e-Petition which called for the Prime Minister to first name and then sack the official who allowed the naval personnel to sell their stories.

That gathered quite a few signatures and whilst I am no budding activist, I felt so strongly about committing my name to that petition because the whole episode is just so shameful.

The e-Petition was not that well worded but it had its purpose and the many who supported it identified with its particular message.

The petition read - We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to name and sack the person responsible for declaring that members of the armed services can sell their stories to the media.

The details read - We the undersigned consider the statement to allow members of Her Majesty's forces to sell their stories to the media to be a major government failure -and PR disaster for the Royal Navy - and "heads should roll" at the highest level.

It was a definitely a propaganda disaster but it was a bit of wishful thinking that heads would roll.

Our petition was rejected with the following statements indicating the stories were sold in good faith.

11 April 2007

Tony Blair says the decision for the seized Royal Navy personnel to take money from the media was a response to a "wholly exceptional" situation.

In an interview with Sky News, the PM said the situation wouldn't occur again but insisted that the decision had been taken in good faith.

The MOD decided to allow the sailors and marines to sell their stories but has since ordered a review of the decision.

The 15 Britons were seized by Iranian gunboats in the Gulf on 23 March and freed last Thursday.

The PM's words in full

Look, I didn't actually know about the decision until after it was taken but really that is not the point. The Navy were trying to deal with a wholly exceptional situation in which the families were being pursued by the media to sell their stories and the Navy took the view that it was better to manage the situation rather than let it happen.

Now with hindsight was that a good idea? No, precisely because people would then misrepresent that as somehow the Navy encouraging people to sell their stories, which they weren't doing at all. Do I believe it will happen again? No. But were people acting completely in good faith and honourably so far as the Navy was concerned? Yes, they were.

Now I think we've had days of this now and really it's time to move on.

Well, I am not sure it is time to move on till the people who allowed this shameful situation to manifest are accorded both deserved opprobrium and requisite sanction.

Then we can all move on.

Seeking my next petition - this is fun stuff.

© All references to the e-Petitions are quoted in full or excerpted from the 10 Downing Street e-Petitions website and I acknowledge their ownership of the quoted and excerpted parts that appear in this blog.

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