Tech for good

13 things the public care less about than Jeremy Clarkson

One of the web's greatest achievements is the ability to rally together, very quickly, to use our voices to speak out about, and act on, something we believe in. But it seems we may need to collectively sort out our priorities.

By Reason Digital · March 11, 2015

Update: Fifteen thousand people have read this article in less than 24 hours since it was published. Please help raise awareness of the important petitions below by clicking the “Share” or “Tweet” buttons above and tell your friends.

It doesn’t take a car fanatic to know that Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC for “allegedly hitting a producer.” If this is news to you, you’ll be able to get up to speed faster than a Bugatti Veyron – just ask Google, or Twitter, or Facebook, or your grandma.

In less than 48 hours, the petition Bring Back Clarkson, set up by political blogger Guido Fawkes, has had over 750,000 signatures. And we’ve no doubt that this target will be met shortly either.

And no matter how good Top Gear is, and no matter how much you enjoyed watching cheeky chappy Olly Murs record a 1m 44.6s lap time to become the fastest celeb ever, there’s a key factor people don’t seem to be considering…

Clarkson is alleged to have assaulted a producer.

The implication is that more than three quarters of a million people think being assaulted in the workplace shouldn’t result in a suspension.

Maybe three quarters of a million people are lucky enough to have never experienced violence in the workplace. Not everyone is as lucky. In the UK alone:

Sadly, there’s no shortage of issues that need signatures on a petition – not only on but on other websites like 38 Degrees and HM Government e-petitions.

So, here are 13 petitions that haven’t received as many signatures as the one urging the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson but are still 13 things that are definitely more important.

  1. Pardoning more than 49,000 men convicted of “gross indecency” for being in consenting relationships with other men.
    This intolerant law brought unwarranted shame, horrific physical and mental damage and lost years of wrongful imprisonment to men convicted. It may have directly led to the suicide of Alan Turing and many others.
    Signatures at time of publication: 598,055
    Sign this petition
  2. Stopping the 11% pay rise for MPs
    Wages are predicted to rise around 2.9% in 2015, the first time that figure has been higher than the rate of inflation since the financial crisis in 2008. However, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has recommended a 11% pay rise for MPs on top of the basic salary of £67,060 and expenses. Meanwhile, another £12 billion will be cut from public services and social security in 2015.
    Signatures at time of publication: 353,278
    Sign this petition
  3. Protecting vulnerable children
    Four-year-old Daniel Pelka was starved and beaten over a period of months, before his death at the hands of his mother and stepfather. The changes in Daniel’s physical appearance and behaviour was evident to staff at his school but was not reported. This petition calls for a law to make it a legal obligation for people working in regulated activities to come to the aid of children in distress by reporting abuse, and to be held accountable for failing to do so.
    Signatures at time of publication: 190,562
    Sign this petition
  4. Creating a register of stalkers
    Kirsty Treloar and Jane Clough were both murdered by their stalkers – men who serially abused them. Stalking and harassment prosecutions between April 2013 and March 2014 rose to 10,535, up 20% on the previous year. But there’s currently no framework to track or monitor serial domestic violence perpetrators and stalkers and no central register.Signatures at time of publication: 122,540
    Sign this petition
  5. Stopping female genital mutilation in the UK
    In the UK, it’s estimated that over 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) every year and that 66,000 women are living with the consequences. The practice is illegal in the UK, but  multi-agency guidelines are not statutory, implementation at Local Authority and NHS level is disjointed, funding is minimal, and there is no central monitoring or enforcing of the law. This petition called on the Home Office to take responsibility for drawing up and enforcing the implementation of a National Strategy and Action Plan to eliminate FGM in the UK.
    Signatures at closure: 110,494
    Petition no longer available
  6. Training all nursery nurses in paediatric First Aid
    Nine-month old Millie Thompson choked to death while eating her lunch at a nursery in 2012. At the inquest, the coroner called for paediatric first aid training for all nursery staff so that similar incidents could be avoided in future.
    Signatures at closure: 103,061
    Petition no longer available
  7. Protecting Afghan interpreters that served alongside British forces
    Interpreters employed by the British armed forces in Afghanistan, have been denied assistance through benefits and resettlement packages when their lives became endangered through assisting the British in the Iraq war. Iraqi interpreters were not denied the same rights. This petition looks to fix that imbalance.
    Signatures at time of publication: 94,601
    Sign this petition
  8. Reducing the age for smear testing from 25 to 18.
    Teenage model Sophie Jones dies from cervical cancer in 2014 at the age of 19. She was denied a smear test despite pleas from her family as under-25s are not allowed access to potentially life-saving smear tests.
    Signatures at time of publication: 68,648
    Sign this petition
  9. Banning the sale of furs on eBay
    Ivory products are not allowed to be sold on eBay because of the cruelty the trade causes to animals. Even though skins and furs of endangered species are banned, there is no universal ban on selling animal furs on eBay. Demand for products in large global marketplaces can lead to incredible levels of suffering of animals bred specifically for their fur, as pointed out in this petition.
    Signatures at time of publication: 54,998
    Sign this petition
  10. Reversing funding cuts to mental health services
    Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. If you experience a mental health problem, you should get excellent treatment and support – just as you’d expect for a physical illness. The Government promised to value mental health and physical health equally but mental health services continue to be cut. Children’s mental health services in England alone have seen cuts equivalent to £50m since 2010.
    Signatures at time of publication: 49,998
    Sign this petition
  11. Adopt the EU directive on Human Trafficking
    Human trafficking is a violent human rights abuse that involves moving or recruiting a person by force or coercion for the purposes of exploitation. Many suffer repeated physical abuse, fear, torture and/or threats to their family. This petition was to pressure the UK to co-operate with other countries across Europe to protect victims of human trafficking, by working together to target the criminal gangs and traffickers that are exploiting people.
    Signatures at closure: 45,873
    View petition
  12. Saving Legal Aid
    The government is looking to cut the annual legal aid budget of £2.1 billion by £350 million. The changes mean some types of cases are no longer eligible for public funding, including divorce, child contact, welfare benefits, employment, clinical negligence, and housing law (except in very limited circumstances). It’s estimated that people appearing in court unrepresented as a result of the changes would cost the taxpayer an extra £3.4 million a year, because they “tend to lack the knowledge and skills required to conduct their case efficiently”.
    Signatures at time of publication: 27,611
    Sign this petition
  13. Reducing stillbirth rates by implementing earlier and more regular doppler scans in pregnancy
    Every day in the UK, 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth. More than 3,000 babies are stillborn every year, one of the worst rates in the developed world. Half of stillbirths could be prevented if the NHS implemented additional scans. Doppler scans look for blood flow failure in the mother’s placenta – which starve babies of food and oxygen – but most hospitals only use these only on the 15%-20% of women who are deemed high risk. This petition calls for funding for more potentially life-saving scans.
    Signatures at time of publication: 26,852
    Sign this petition

If you believe that there are more important things in life than whether or not Jeremy Clarkson appears on the BBC, please consider signing some of these other petitions instead – let’s see if we can can get our priorities right.

Reminder: Please help raise awareness of these important petitions by clicking the “Share” or “Tweet” buttons below and tell your friends about them.