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We the undersigned....

Just in case Tony Blair ever forgets where Cherie is coming from, there are reminders of Liverpool everywhere on the Downing Street E-Petitions website. Just sign on the dotty line...

Published on April 17th 2007.


We the undersigned....

What is an E-Petition? Is it a new game for the habitual “green inker” who loves nothing more than writing letters to newspapers and ringing Roger Phillips? Or is it an instant and ingenious new voice for the nation?

It was the idea of conferring a knighthood on the late Bob Paisley that got E-Petitions in the news here recently. An amazing 45,000 signatories bought into it, prompting a letter of reply from the PM in which he patiently explained that a departed person could be nothing like a “Sir”, let alone a “Dame”. Where would it end? he reasoned. As for the Queen, sword in hand, ordering a legion of new knights to “Arise”, from beyond the grave... Why, he didn't even go there.

Arise Sir Doddy

A quick look at the Downing Street portal reveals a wealth of e-appeals from across Liverpool ranging from the slightly sane to the mad and the plain strange.

A request for an MBE for Colin Harvey, the ex-Everton manager, is doing nicely with 700-odd signatures, as are four separate petitions for the very alive and tickling Doddy to be knighted. In addition, there is a call for the Knotty Ash squire to be made Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is presumably intended to breathe new life into all those money-under-the-floorboards gags that Chucklebutty dines out on.

And while a petition for a new Hillsborough public inquiry gathers speed, as does another for The Sun newspaper to be pressurised to print a page one apology on the related subject, some proposals are not so popular. Renaming Merseyside “Greater Liverpool” floats just three people's boats, and one Jonathan Chernick is all alone in his plea to “give the King David High School of Liverpool more funding for text books”.

Other ideas are rejected on “political grounds” or because of their perceived humorous intent. A “repeal of the offside rule”, is one, as is another that urges “the removal of the green sweets from Starbursts and restoration of the Opal Fruits brand name”. A call to stop “that American man” from building on Stanley Park is kicked out because it's allegedly outside Tony's powers.

But it is a niche petition from a chap called David Knipes, insisting that someone called Bernie the Bolt “be condemned for continually peeing himself on a Liverpool FC newsgroup”, which makes us wonder where reality ends and hallucination begins.

“It's natural as one gets older,” writes Mr Knipes, “to suffer from water problems. However, Bernie the Bolt delights in informing the Liverpool FC newsgroup as to how many times he has wet himself. Mr Blair, I voted you into office and I demand that Bernie is fitted with man nappies..”

Light relief, in every sense, but a word to the befuddled: What you can't get away with discussing on a Pete Price phone-in, might make you a star at virtual Number 10.

What do you think of E-Petitions? Have you signed one? Are you E-curious but too shy to propose one yourself? Let us know here.

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

colinApril 17th 2007.

I will

Tori BlareApril 17th 2007.

The latests e-petitions for Liverpool are SACK HENSHAWhttp://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Henshaw/andFREE MICHAEL SHIELDS petitions.pm.gov.uk/MichaelCShields/Important… issues, give your support and sign up today.

mary janeApril 17th 2007.

E-petitions are a really good techy tool, I'd say. Thik I'll sign up to the greater Liverpool one!

shirly togoodApril 17th 2007.

I can't believe 45,000 people went with the Bob Paisley thing. There's still one on there to get Bill Shankly knighted even though you can't knight a dead person.

Simon SmithApril 17th 2007.

The subjects should be moderated and controlled better, timing too. What's the point of a petition that's up for years or trying to bring in something totally pointless? Would be far better to have set time scales on important issues.

paul o'sullivanApril 17th 2007.

I would like to propose a totally topless Mathew Street festival for 2008. Cheap and very cheerful. Anyone want to second that?

paul mathersApril 17th 2007.

I think Ken Dodd should definitely get a knighthood. But these petitions are just too easy, and that means that their value will be cheapened because anyone can go off on one and get loads of people to follow them. Doesn't mean any of them are any good, or sensible.

colin harcombeApril 17th 2007.

Wot's wrong with man nappies?

Tony ParrishApril 17th 2007.

One of the best petitions, which all right thinking Liverpool people should sign up to, is the one calling for David Henshaw (Sir Diddy) to be sacked from the North West Health Authority.

AbbsApril 17th 2007.

Since our dear leader(s) take not the blindest bit of notice of protests from their electorate (remember the million+ people that filled the streets in protest against the Iraq war?), e-petitions are of zero effectiveness in themselves. But they do provide some entertainment (especially the loonier ones), keep the e-wallahs at the Cabinet Office in work, and occasionally spark a public debate. So the more the merrier, I say.

shirly togoodApril 17th 2007.

You might as well rename the E-petitions thing and call it Fantasy Wish List. The trouble is with e-petitions is that there are so many rubbish and completely outrageous ones that it makes the whole thing lose any value it might have had. There are too many people with not enough to do if they can idly sit making up these loony ideas all day. What we need is a good war!

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