benefit-sanct2ionsI have been reading other blogs more than writing lately. I also sign petitions that I feel are worthwile.

One of the blogs I use for ‘keeping up to date with the world’ is Jonny Void‘s.

So yesterday I read the latest from Jonny Void and it struck a chord; he explains how, under the definitions used in that piece of UK legislation called the “Anti-Terrorism Act”, the benefit sanctions imposed by the Department of Work and Pensions on people on receipt of benefits do indeed constitute acts of terrorism against part of the British population.

The title had a bit of a demand (Sanctions ‘must’ be stopped). I had just signed a petition on 38degrees and somewhere on the page it said ‘start your own petition’. Sounds easy enough. I thought, why not? And I copied and pasted as much of the post as it was allowed, with a reference back to it.

A few minutes later I shared the fact that I had started this petition (my first) with a housemate. Sarcastic comment: ‘And you have, what, two signatures?’ Answer: ‘two … hundred’.

About 24 hours later, there are more than three thousand, (that’s 3,217) and counting.

Johnny void has also blogged about the rapid influx of signatures to this petition. Some thoughts worth highlighting, both on the blog post and on the comments, are:

“No government ever changed anything because of a petition.  Power needs to be forced to make concessions, not asked nicely.  But strong support for this petition will show that there are many people in the UK who reject completely the idea that anyone should be left unable to feed themselves or their children in one of the richest countries in the world – for any reason.”

And also some warning about 38degrees maybe not being as helpful as they should be:

… we had a petition on 38 Degrees which was going strong – it was then somehow “merged” with another petition and thousands of signatures were lost. And rather than try and help, 38 Degrees went utterly quiet.

So, there are reasons to think that this petition has no chance of being effective. But as from where I’m sitting it is the only place where the massive discontent about this aspect of the cuts can be somehow ‘documented’.

So, thanks for all those who have signed, blogged, tweeted, facebooked, emailed or talked about it.