Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Fighting Back: Petitions to Sign

A 2013 report highlighted the BBC's danger of slipping towards Tory bias in its reportage. This has to many minds reached its absolute partisan peak under the political editorship of Laura Kuenssberg and most recently their handling of last week's election results does suggest a blindside when it comes to Labour. This petition calls for the BBC to review the position of its current political editor Kuenssberg but, in a time when (no) Culture Secretary John Whittingdale believes demolishing the BBC to be a 'tantalising prospect', such petitions and the reaction to left's claims in this country are viewed negatively and in the sense that they are seeking to do Whittingdale's work for him. Personally, I don't agree; I think it's imperative that 'our' BBC be held to account when it performs badly. To view it as a 'no go' area for criticism at a time when the Tories threaten to close it is helping no one - do we really want to go back to the prejudiced broadcasting of Orgreave? I love the BBC as I think any regular reader of this blog will plainly see, but it needs to be held under scrutiny if it is to ensure its impartial public service foundations are not chipped away any further. Oh and it's got nothing to do with Kuenssberg being a woman either, it is entirely to do with her bias.

**STOP PRESS: A similar petition on 38 Degrees asking for Kuenssberg's sacking has been taken down on account of 'misogyny' See Here Note that the petition starter was NEVER sexist towards Kuenssberg but admits that some traction his petition received did worryingly veer towards it. It seems a twisted minority has scuppered a very topical and important campaign. But equally, it seems to me at least, that there are some very powerful people who refuse to listen to such allegations**

Speaking of the BBC and the government, the Tories are looking to cut funding from BBC Children's Programmes in order to give money-making channels a chance to compete in this arena. This petition asks that CBeebies be protected.

The living wage should not mean a pay cut - yet that's what seems to be happening at everyone's favourite supermarket Tesco, quele surprise. Sign here

In 2015, 6,337 of 20, 736 women looking for protection in Women's Aids refuges were turned away due to this government's funding cuts. Sign here to ask George Osborne to save women's refuges.

Following Channel 4's Dispatches broadcast last month, this petition from Disability Labour calls for an inquiry into the Capita PIP assessment process and its unethical conduct.

Irene Nel is 73. She has six children and eight grandchildren and requires life saving dialysis treatment three times a week. However the government claim she now has no right to live in the UK and must be sent back to South Africa, where such treatment is not available for her on account of her age and her heart condition. This petition asks Theresa May to show compassion and reconsider their calls for deportation.

1st June, 1985 saw Wiltshire police prevent with extreme force the Peace Convoy from setting up their Stonehenge Free Festival. The subsequent violent hours that followed became known as 'The Battle of the Beanfield' and now, this petition asks for an independent inquiry into the actions of the police.

And lastly, a word about the growing trend to ridicule or slur the intentions of the left in this country. I have lost count of the amount of times anyone who believes in grass roots political activities from the left of centre has been called something like a 'Corbynite clicktivist' It shows to me a particular degree of arrogance that suggests that politics is no longer personal and that the fight can only be conducted in our name behind the walls of Westminster by people who understand and appreciate the system. What rot! That is not democracy and it is dangerously close to creating a subservient state in which we are expected to hand over all responsibility to 'our betters'. That this kind of guff comes not from the Tories but from the middle ground of the Labour party, the Blairites, is particularly damning. Grass roots politics got justice for the 96, it was not the successive governments of Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron. Left to them, the families would never have seen the day they so richly deserved the other week. It was the families who kept the faith and took the fight to the highest office - just one of several examples of positive campaigning. 'Clicktivism' is not something to deride, ridicule or be ashamed of. If you are political but your only course to having your voice heard is signing petitions and becoming part of campaigns such as those listed above, then keep on doing it.

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