I’m in what you might call an emotional whirl. I feel I have to apologise to you all. I found out this lunch time that there is a way for all of the signatures on the Glenfield Children’s Heart Unit Campaign petitions to be counted and nobody is going to be disenfranchised. This is brilliant news, and I’m only sorry I didn’t know this before and that I gave you all incorrect information.
Then I feel that I don’t have to apologise because I could only act on the information I was given, and despite asking everyone from my MP down, nobody was able to tell me the correct information until lunch time today. So actually, I did the best I could with what I had.
Then I feel really, really angry that despite asking everyone from my MP to the House of Commons Petition Committee, that it was so very, very difficult to find this information out and clarify it, and no wonder campaigns just give up and go home.
And then I was exhausted, and was too busy to tell you all this earlier, and then I had to go to bed with a headache, and couldn’t go to see I, Daniel Blake at the cinema. Which about set the tone for the whole day.
I had forgotten that campaigning could be like this. Particularly if you’re trying to deal with both the NHS and the government at the same time. It’s a wonder I have any teeth left, and I’m just grateful that nobody wants to check my blood pressure right now.
So hooray, because we now have nearly 67,000 signatures and nobody’s voice will be lost. I cannot tell you how amazing this feels. Or it will feel, when I’m awake and functioning and don’t have a headache.
For those of you who think you might want to run a campaign in the future, here’s the deal:
If you are a member of the public, you are unable to count paper and online signatures together to reach a target total.
You are able to transfer paper signatures to online petitions as long as you have a verifiable email address for the signatory and they then validate this through the email that this generates (for those of you who are stuck at this point, it often sends these validation emails to your spam, by the way).
If you are simply trying to upload names and addresses, it will block a single ip address after ten signatures are loaded as a method of stopping what it perceives to be spurious or spam addresses.
If you wish to combine paper and online petitions that are asking the same questions about the same issue/campaign, you need to effectively be sponsored by an MP who volunteers to take your paper petition to the House and put it up for debate. My understanding is that there is no cap on the number of paper signatures that can be submitted by an MP, and that he or she can ask, when submitting the paper petition, that the numbers in the online petition (or petitions as sometimes happens) is taken into consideration by the house as a measure of the strength of public feeling on the issue.
In this case, that’s what’s going to happen, although there still seems to be something magical about hitting 100,00o signatures as the MP in question, Liz Kendall, won’t be taking this to the house until that number is achieved.
So YAY! and also ARGH! And GRRR! and a bit WEEP, because how fucking hard was that? And don’t forget kids. If you don’t have a pet MP, you cannot do this and your petitions will be counted as separate, even though they might be identical.
Also, your paper petition has to conform with House of Commons petition guidelines, and if it doesn’t, it will be rejected out of hand regardless.
And remember if you want to transfer paper signatures to your online petition you must have a) permission and b) email addresses for validation, because if you don’t have b) even if you have a) you will have the devil’s own job uploading them.
Anyway. You are all still brilliant and if it wasn’t for your pesky kids we would have about five hundred less signatures than we currently do, so you are bloody amazing pesky kids, and I thank you and your mystery machines from the bottom of my heart.
p.s. if you can keep being pesky, I would be much obliged.
p.p.s. I will be talking a lot less about campaigning in the weeks to come. I’m still doing it. I’m not giving up. It’s just that I like to talk about other stuff too. Normal, sporadic, eclectic service will be resumed to the bafflement of all. As you were.