Down amongst the forgotten petitions

It’s been a long time since I last looked at the parliamentary petitions website. I did visit it this week to add my support to the asylum seeker petition, so while I was there I decided to take a look through the 800 or so others that are currently open. If nothing else, wading through them gives you a fascinating insight into the hopes, fears and concerns of UK citizens.

There are a few petitions in the lower reaches of the chart that seem to define the essence of what it is to be British. Like this one, for example.

Change pedestrian crossingsMany countries treat pedestrian crossings as purely ‘advisory’. I’ve lost count of the number of times that drivers simply ignore them (and the people using them) in places that I love – like Italy, for example. I somehow can’t imagine an Italian motorist starting a petition like this.

However, it is an interesting idea, even if the cost-benefit analysis of introducing it is pretty shaky zero. Although the petitioner has written it from the perspective of a driver, I’m sure pedestrians would like this facility as well. I too have felt the eyes of angry motorists drilling into me when I’ve pressed the wait button, only to subsequently cross the road in a gap between vehicles before the lights have changed.

But I am certain that debating the pros and cons of small technological improvements to traffic lights are not a matter for parliament. My scepticism shouldn’t discourage the originator from seeking their fame and fortune on Dragon’s Den of course. It’s a better idea than many I’ve seen featured on that programme in the past.

Many of the petitions in the forgotten reaches of the site appear to be the work of the green crayon specialists (there are 11 people who think the government is withholding information on UFOs), thinly disguised racists and authoritarians (the 22 people who support everyone being issued with a blank identity chip should hang their heads in shame. Watch the supporting 18 minute youtube video if you don’t believe me – I did – its terrifying) and, err, Liberals – there were only 37 signatures supporting the introduction of the single transferable vote for English local elections (cough – there’s now 38).

On reflection, I think I’d better stop here.

Open University petition reaches the top 10

41,500 signatures and climbing.

Marianne Cantieri, OUSA President said “I am proud of what our students have achieved already. There are a very large number of petitions on the Parliamentary website … and for this petition to reach the top ten in such a short space of time is fantastic news.”

If you want to see the Open University remain truly open, please sign if you haven’t done so already and spread the word to your friends.


Open University epetition reaches 20,000 signatures

Wow. When I signed the petition a couple of days ago, it had a few hundred signatures on it. It’s put on another few thousand today, presumably in response to messages circulating on the usual social networking sites and this email, sent by Marianne Cantieri, OUSA President, to all current OU students this morning.

Dear Tim

We don’t send many communications direct to your mailbox since we’re only too well aware of the frustrations of spamming. However we hope you’ll agree that we made the right decision on this occasion since literally a couple of minutes of your time could help to save everything we hold most dear about our University.

You will be well aware of the UK government’s proposals to make massive cuts to public funding for Higher Ed and to shift a lot of the costs onto the shoulders of students. The changes will affect different sections of our student membership in different ways depending on where they live and what they are studying. The OU is providing lots of detailed information for students and we’ve given the web link to their fees information below.

However, we are writing to you about something that affects all of our students wherever they live and whatever they are studying – and that we believe all of our students really care about – keeping our University truly open!

We are supporting a petition on the UK Parliamentary website. If we can get 100,000 signatures we have a chance of forcing a debate in Parliament which might provide us with a real turning point in the fight to ensure that our University can go on providing life-changing opportunities to those who need them the most.

Please give us your support by a) signing the petition yourself by following the link below b) passing on the link to any friends and family members who you think might also want to make a contribution to supporting this fantastic institution.

Marianne Cantieri
OUSA President

Related links:

The Petition:

More OUSA information:

OU Fees information:

Only another 80,000 required – and it may be debated. Gaining 100,000 signatures in itself, as Marianne points out, doesn’t automatically mean that a debate has to be scheduled – there is some wriggle room for the government (click the ‘i’ icon next to the final step for a more detailed explanation of the epetition rules).

However, let’s not worry about that for the moment … please sign the petition!

Open Univeristy epetition adds 3,000 signatures in one day!

As I write, the epetition I mentioned earlier on today has just passed the 4,000 signature mark – adding around 3,000 signatures in the last 24 hours according to my reckoning. At this rate, it might just stand an outside chance of reaching 100,000.

It’s been produced by the OU branch of UCU and is also being supported by OUSA. If you’d like sign the petition (and are a UK resident or national), this is the link you need.

Another “save the Open University” petition

There have been a couple of epetitions started over the past few months about the Open University, but this one seems to have got a head of steam up behind it over the last couple of days. It’s been produced by the OU branch of UCU and is also being supported by OUSA.

If you’d like sign the petition, this is the link you need. I just hope that it’s not too little, too late to save truly open access to higher education for all.