Springingtiger's Blog

Restore The Right to Online Petition

The other day I was online ‒ nothing unusual there ‒ when I discovered that neither of the psychiatrists the Home Office has called upon to examine Gary McKinnon has any expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorders particularly Asperger’s Syndrome. It occurred to me that this was unfair and so I determined to petition the Prime Minister. One of the rules of the online petition is that it cannot be for an individual case so I intended to petition for a guarantee that, People with disabilities undergoing a psychiatric assessment for legal reasons will be examined by someone with expertise in the relevant disability.

I visited Direct Gov which has a page called Do it online which links to the facility to raise a petition to the Prime Minister only to discover that the facility had been suspended since the General Election, the reason given was that the Government had asked Martha Lane Fox to review the Government’s digital communications. There is absolutely no reason why the existing facility to petition the PM could not have continued during the review nor is there any excuse for the facility to still be suspended over six months after the election.

The suspension of then right to petition the Prime Minister online directly discriminates against people whose disabilities cause social impairment which includes people with Asperger’s ‒ like Gary McKinnon ‒ but also agoraphobics and people with communication difficulties. I find it hard to believe that David Cameron would actively discriminate against the disabled as his personal circumstances have given him a greater understanding of disability than many politicians but it looks as if convenience has triumphed over compassion.

I was so annoyed I immediately set up the Facebook page, Restore the Right to Online Petition then emailed my MP, the PM’s office and Theresa May, needless to say, days have passed without any reply or acknowledgement of my emails. I’m not asking a lot, just the restoration of a right we used to have.


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