by Jeanne Hambleton © 2007
NFA Leader Against Pain-Advocate
Like most of us, I am sure that anyone who uses the Internet and receives emails these days has been asked to sign and support an e-petition. Oddly enough that is just what I am about to do, if you are an ex-UK-ier or are still hanging on and living in this country hoping thing will improve.
I am not sure if Kitchener still needs you – you know who I mean – the military man with a white topped peak cap and a very pointing finger who you see on posters – but I need you or at least I need your help. I hope it feels good to be wanted, as I would like your attention now.
I am always rattling on about fibromyalgia, lack of government funding for research and people who say Fibro what? I bet Gordon Brown would “Fibro what” if I met him face to face. I might bet my bottom dollar (if I had one) that he has never heard of fibromyalgia or has no idea of the pain, anguish, fatigue, sleeplessness, isolation, depression and cognitive problems we suffer, even though there have been a number of e-petitions.
I will say again, I am so fed up with the lack awareness about fibromyalgia that I have spent almost two years getting together a self help book about fibromyalgia, and raising funds to self publishing, so that the sales money from the book can go to research – yes a labour of love by all concerned – and may I say here I am truly grateful to all those who have donated and helped, especially Penny Jarritt who has read chapter after chapter looking for typos. Watch this space for news of
I first heard about e-petitions when someone wrote and asked me to sign four of FMS e-petitions all created by different people. In no time one expired and I was so incensed that the fibromyalgia community was being left ‘out in the cold’ I thought I would submit an e-petition myself asking for more funding.
When I started it went well and now about one signature a day is added to the list – currently 534 – but it really needs to reach 1,000 if the petition has any chance of even being taken seriously by the web team responsible for vetting these petitions, presumably before our PM sees them – if indeed he does.
You will find my petition under
You are asked for your name, email and address (which is not published) and you will receive an email to your desktop asking for confirmation of your support. It only takes a minute but I really would like another 500 signatures if you will tell your friends, family, business acquaintances – anybody – folk in the bus queue – I am not proud. Let us move a mountain this time.
The e-petition reads:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to allocate funds to help FIBROMYALGIA with research, finding a cure and raising awareness. We implore the new PRIME MINISTER to listen to those suffering with fibromyalgia, for which there is NO CURE, and provide financial help for them to survive – (as the Government has for ME). Who else can we ask for help?
The e-petition website tells us that, “Downing Street is working in partnership with the non-partisan charitable project, mySociety, to provide a service to allow citizens, charities and campaign groups to set up petitions that are hosted on the Downing Street website, enabling anyone to address and deliver a petition directly to the Prime Minister.”
I was interested to read, “mySociety runs many of the UK’s best-known non-partisan political websites, such as HearFromYourMP.com and TheyWorkForYou.com. mySociety is strictly neutral on party political issues, and the e-petition service is within its remit to build websites, which give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives. For more information about mySociety and its work, visit its website.”
It has a great website called a PledgeBank. You can write and offer to undertake a litter pick if 10 other people will assist you – or something like that. The mySociety website “PledgeBank is about reassuring people who want to do something altruistic or socially beneficially that they will not be alone in their actions. It allows users to create pledges, which say “I will do something, but only if 10 other people will do something”, for example “I will clean up the banks of my local river, but only if 5 other local people will pledge to come and help.”
There are lots more sites to look at including FixMyStreet, HearFromYourMP, WriteToThem, TheyWorkForYou and NotApathetic. It is worth a look. Try –
It all began
The e-petition site was launched in November 2006 “to offer a modern parallel” to those who delivered petitions to No.10 by hand.
You might find the following information interesting?
· Over 29,000 petitions have been submitted, of which over 8,500 are currently live and available for signing, over 6,000 have finished and 14,601 have been rejected outright.
· There have been over 5.8 million signatures, originating from over 3.9 million different email addresses.
· The most common reason for rejection is duplication – many users have commented that there are petitions on similar subjects clogging up the site. We are trying to eliminate too much duplication or overlap, although we need to balance that with the need to allow for the nuances of similar petitions.
· The other common reasons for rejection are: legal issues, offensive language, party political content and issues outside the government’s remit.
· If a petition is rejected, petitioners are given a chance to reword their petition. Some users choose to resubmit their petitions, some prefer not to.
Originally the e-petition team accepted humorous e-petition but this expanded rapidly with the risk of offence or including something in bad taste. It was then decided to discontinue acceptance of these e-petitions.
MySociety also receives petitions proposing people for honours. These petitioners are advised to use the downloadable forms on the honours website.
This site is an education and certainly gives you guidance if you believe someone you know is deserving of recognition for contributions to some cause. This will guide you through the type of Honours, how to nominate, case studies, the process of nomination, and Emblems for Honours.
Thank you for reading my ramblings. Please sign the petition. Take care.