Here at Pat’s Petition, we obviously keep a close eye on the number of signatures for the petition. Some weeks are better than others, but every week it moves steadily on to higher numbers.
In the last month, we have had over 3,000 people signing up to show their support for disabled people and carers. The petition is by far the most successful one relating to benefits. No 1. on DWP page.
It’s fantastic to think so many people support us and we’d love to thank each and every one of you personally. But let’s put this into perspective.
A petition needs 100,000 signatures – that’s around 2000 signatures every week for a one year petition. For any small group of volunteers, that’s a huge effort – so how does anyone achieve it?
The NHS petition – to ‘drop the bill’ – was started by a GP but didn’t really take off until it had the full backing of the Royal College of GPs. Then with promotion from 38 degrees and the Labour Party including Andy Burnham, it eventually went through the 100,000 mark and more. But it did take several months.
We look at Virgin Trains – who reached over 100,000 within one week when the West Coast Line was under scrutiny. With a huge number of customers as well as employees and a sense of urgency created by a new contract – and perhaps a little promotional support from the Virgin team – they smashed the target within days.
And now there are the badgers. Again, an imminent deadline gives that a sense of urgency. People are perhaps also now more aware of the epetition site and not as wary of signing petitions. But yes, badgers have crossed the 100,000 goal line within weeks.
Is Pat ever going to reach this 100,000 mark? We haven’t got much time left – we need another 50,000 signatures in the next month. That sounds impossible – but is it?
We do know that many disabled people find access to the government’s website challenging so they can’t sign.
We also know that disabled people are often digitally excluded and just don’t have the equipment, including accessibility aids as well as basic computer equipment, to sign the petition.
We know that others are too frightened to sign and give their address when they are worried about how that information might potentially be used (despite reassurances that they can’t misuse information in that way).
So who will support us and where will the next 50,000 signatures come from?
Remember - 500,000 disabled people are about to lose DLA.
Remember – this is about welfare reform, at the same time as NHS changes in England, at the same time as cuts to local authority services – every change affects disabled people disproportionately.
Remember - individual stories – such as Colin Traynor’s story which was recently broadcast at the top of the Channel 4 news – people are dying from this.
We think back to Anne Williams last year and her petition to get an inquest for her son Kevin who died at Hillsborough. After nearly a year, she was nowhere near her target. We remember passing hers in our early dsys. But with an imminent deadline ahead of her, suddenly the media and celebrities got onto it and pushed for hers to reach that 100,000 right at the end. On the morning of 18 January, she only had 49,000 signatures. In the next 24 hours, she got 40,000 signatures. And by the end of the next day, 19 January, when the petition closed, she reached the 100,000 target.
Let’s not leave it until the last minute for disabled people and carers – show your support now.
Please note you have to ensure you activate your registration via email after signing the petition. If you don’t get an email in your inbox, please check your Spam / Junk email folder. The petition is open to UK residents and British Citizens.
The name of the game is numbers, so once you have signed please share with family, friends, work colleagues etc.
Add to e newsletters especially
If you are a member of 38 degrees, a charity, grassroots group, any of the unions contact their campaign teams, and ask them to send the details out. With a final push we can all do this together.
If you know a celebrity that will support and help raise awareness, ask them to contact me email@example.com