The right-wing media have hyped up pro-Piers petitions and ignored much more popular ones.
Unable to handle Alex Beresford’s on-air criticism of him, Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan flounced off set and out of his job on Tuesday and is now trying to brand himself as a free speech martyr and peoples’ champion.
As part of this spin, he and the right-wing media are talking up a few petitions signed by those wanting him to get his job back. The Daily Mail and then the Sun both cited petitions on Change.org as evidence of mass support for Morgan, in articles amplified by the man himself.
There’s a few problems with this. The first is that anyone can sign these petitions, whether they’re in the UK or not. So using them as evidence of British public opinion is misleading.
The second is that one person can sign all three of these petitions. So the 200,000 figure could be double or triple-counting.
The third is that two of these petitions were set up way before the Oprah interview and the latest scandal. One was launched ten months ago, the other in October 2019.
The only new one has just 30,000 supporters. There’s a lot of petitions with a lot more supporters which are a lot more worthy of press attention. Here’s just five of them
1.Ban bee-killing pesticides
Over 80,000 people have signed a petion calling on the government to “stop UK farmers using bee killing pesticide banned in EU”.
The Wildlife Trusts says that neocnicotinoid thiamethoxam, which farmers use to protect sugar beet seed from disease, has a “devastating impact” on wildlife.
The chemical seeps into soil, flowers, rivers and streams, putting bees and inverterbrates in danger.
2. Help deaf students learn with clear masks
Deaf A-level student Dinah Mandell says she is “really worried” that students and teachers will be asked to wear face coverings in class, putting 35,000 deaf students at a “serious disadvantage” as they need to read lips.
“Many of us will be left behind academically and will become socially isolated if we can’t communicate with our friends. I know I will feel isolated as the only deaf student in my year group – especially in classes that need debate and discussion,” she said.
Mandell calls on the government to provide funding for adjustments, like transparent face coverings, note-takers or sign language interpreters.
3. Make the PM meet with holocaust survivors ahead of trade bill’s genocide amendment
Two holocaust survivors, Doritt Wolff and Ruth Barnett, called on Boris Johnson to meet with them ahead of the vote on the trade bill.
Backbenchers had attempted to insert a genocide amendment, which would empower courts to revoke trade deals with states committing genocide.
Wolff and Barnett support this amendment, saying MPs should back it “if they truly mean ‘never again'”.
They concluded: “As of yet, the Prime Minister has avoided listening to Uyghur activists, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Muslim Council of Britain and the International Bar Association. Will he now listen to us?”
4. Make Matt Hancock resign immediately
Last month, a court ruled Matt Hancock had acted unlawfullly by not revealing details of contracts his department had signed during the pandemic.
A judge said he had “breached his legal obligation” by not publishing details within 30 days of contracts being signed.
Over 40,000 people signed a petition saying he was “not fit, safe, nor can he be trusted to hold the position of Health Secretary”.
5. Ban all plastic carrier bags
Nearly 90,000 people signed nine-year-old Ruben’s petition calling for plastic carrier bags to be banned.
He said: “When plastic goes into the ocean it will not be cleaned up and will start dissolving. When fish come across these microplastics, they eat them without knowing. Who eats the fish? We do!”
“I find it heartbreaking that 100 million marine animals die each year from plastic waste,” he added.
Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward
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