There have been 1011 e-petitions directed to helping Defra find its way to the sunlit uplands of truth and sustainability, launched, supported and closed on the Number 10 website. John Armitage’s will, today, be the 1012th. You have until 10:36 to add your name to his e-petition.
Only 10 of those e-petitions passed the 10,000 signatures that triggers a response from government – that’s just under 1%. John’s e-petition on licensing grouse moors is the 9th most supported of these e-petitions. By any reckoning that is quite an achievement – well done John and thank you to the thousands who have signed.
We won’t see an immediate move by the Westminster or any other government to license grouse shooting but the success of this e-petition helps to keep the issue of illegal persecution by grouse shooting interests live in the minds of the public and of decision-makers.
And, of course, one of the other successful e-petitions in that select ‘Top 10’ was Chrissie Harper’s e-petition calling for vicarious liability to be brought in in England as it already is in Scotland. Two out of that ‘Top 10’ are about the illegal persecution of birds of prey. Again – it sends a message.
Vicarious liability and licensing proposals are not exactly sexy subjects – well, I suppose it depends what turns you on! Both of these e-petitions are worded in a sensible, almost nerdy, way. They aren’t highly emotive and yet they have attracted considerable support. It is noticeable that the single e-petition that has attracted far and away the highest number of signatures (I think more than all the other Defra-aimed e-petitions put together) is that calling for a stop to the badger cull (over 300k signatures) which was a much more emotive subject and worded in a very simple way. The next raptor e-petition, for there surely will be another coming along soon, would do well to take notice of that message.
The RSPB has, strangely, not got behind either of these e-petitions. Perhaps they would like to tell us why? And whether there is any e-petition on the subject of raptor persecution, with any wording at all, that the RSPB would support and promote?
In the background there are talks progressing between shooting organisations, the RSPB and others on a Hen Harrier recovery plan that might, or might not, include ‘managing’ Hen Harrier broods. I suggest that anyone gagging to launch the next e-petition on this subject should wait a little while, but not too long, to see if anything emerges on this subject and what it looks like before taking the next step. I’d say that the end of April would be a good time to launch the next e-petition – just about a year from the next UK general election – to put pressure on the next government to do something on this subject.
I was struck by the events in Kiev over the weekend – an agreement was reached between the EU negotiators, the opposition parties and the discredited President to have presidential elections in the autumn but none of these signatories was speaking for the people. And the people made their views clear and will get what they wanted, it seems, elections much sooner.