Sunday, 17 July 2011

We the undersigned

One of the proliferating phenomena of our times is the online petition. If Mass Observation were still around today, no doubt it would be examining these calls to arms in its attempt to draw up what it once called ‘weather maps of public feeling’. On the other hand, the ease with which these petitions can be raised, seconded and signed should perhaps caution us against reading into them a definitive articulation of the popular psyche. The following are examples of rejected petitions on the No 10 website.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to …

Instruct the relevant Minister to block the Halifax television adverts


Allow Colette Newton to remain on our table at work and not be moved to GN

Please stop the redistribution of the Yellow Pages

Promote potatos as a super carb

Facilitate the BBC in gaining legal permission to allow people to listen again to Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4’s website

Persuade Graham Coxon to rejoin Blur

Stop Neil Bamford from growing his hair any longer

Change ‘Holloway Road’ of North London to ‘Chuck Norris Road’

Make it illegal to pick your nose in public

Fight for British Milk!

Force William Gilbert to sell his Land Rovers or stop going on about them

Show support for the British home improvements industry by repainting the door of 10 Downing Street in a new colour every spring

Make cheese available free of charge

Offer a Knighthood to Mr. Gareth Hesketh

Wear a straw boater during Prime Minister’s Questions

Bring Back Discovery Mexican Sauce

Boil RMT Leader Bob Crow down for soap, in order that he may be of use to someone

Encourage Andrew’s Dad to grow back his moustache

Have a Neighbours omnibus on Sundays for all to enjoy

Do something about Bonsai kittens

Read the book ‘Shrub’

Supply the visually impaired with Guide Badgers


  1. Priceless. I especially love "GET A PRIMARK IN BLETCHLEY" and "Make cheese available free of charge."

  2. This petition seems provocative but it to some extent makes some actions or policy more transparent and fair!maybe it is a little progress.

  3. You couldn't make it up!
    Or did you make it up?
    Where did you get this wonderful list?
    I came here from your lovely piece on bird-watching on Caught by the River. Interesting to discover that I am a robin-stroker. I emailed some pictures to a friend, a twitcher, asking if they showed a hen-harrier. Her reply filled me in on her news and finished with an answer to my query: "The raptor in your photographs is a common buzzard."
    She means common as in not a honey buzzard, but isn't there a whiff of disdain there?
    Does your new office have a view with birds - I'm anxious to know.