As is my want, I signed my name to a couple of petitions to the government today. Or to be more exact – e-petitions. There is now a website at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ where online petitions can be created and signed, for delivery direct to Downing Street.
No doubt the efficacy of petitions is up for question, and many may ask “why bother” signing a petition at all? But I prefer to be optimistic and think “why not?”. As far as I am concerned signing the odd petition costs me nothing. A large collection of signatures on a petition shows, if nothing else, the strength of feeling that exists on the particular subject of the petition. Who knows, enough signatures might even force the government into a rethink on a particular area of policy? As we say where I come from “if ye dinnae buy a ticket, ye cannae win the raffle’.
Anyway, below are the two petitions I signed. If you agree with the substance of them, go on, sign them. What have you got to lose?
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to end military recruitment in all schools and colleges in the UK.
We are very concerned at the drive by the military to attempt to use schools as recruiting grounds for the armed services. Given the terrible wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we demand that the school authorities resist pressure for increased military input in to our education. We do not believe schools should be used to recruit to the military directly or through recruiting agencies. We demand that no military force should be allowed into any school at any time. If spokespeople for the military are allowed in to our school we demand that all students are informed in advance, have the right not to attend the event and that there should be a right of reply from an anti war military parent or a speaker from the anti-war movement.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to give back the Chagos Islands to their original inhabitants.
We believe that the forced expulsion of the Chagos Archipeligo at the request of the USA for the sole purpose of establishing a military base on Diego Garcia to be a shameful episode in our countrys’ recent history.
Perhaps even more shamefully, the UK government now intends to stop the Chagossians from ever returning to their homes. To do this it will have to overturn or ignore two High Court Judgements allowing the Chagossians the right to return. This is in spite of Home Secretary Robin Cooks position of not contesting the decision to allow repatriation in 2000.
It seems the continuing ”War on Terror” allows for the continued theft of these Islands, simply for their strategic position in relation to the Gulf and any future campaigns.