IT has been heralded as the interactive way to get involved in politics – post a petition on the Downing Street website and hope the Prime Minister is online.
Millions of people have signed up to various demands, most famously backing a petition against road pricing earlier this year that gave the Government a serious political headache.
And that issue is still going strong with a current petition backed by 15,000 names urging Gordon Brown to scrap all existing and planned tolls along with congestion charging.
More than 6,000 people have supported a call for the A1 to be dualled between Berwick and Morpeth to improve safety and boost the economy, pushing the widely-supported request into the top 35 petitions on the Downing Street website.
The petition was launched by Berwick commuter turned campaigner Kenny Patterson.
But a closer delve into the current 8,605 open ‘ePetitions’ reveals a mind-boggling array of demands, with some more serious and others more unusual, since the online service was launched in November last year.
A few of the requests might even have some voters tearing their hair out depending on their point of view, although it remains to be seen to what extent ministers will actually take into account some of the concerns raised.
Two petitions, signed by a total of 389 people, have been sent in calling for former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer to be given a knighthood.
The latest says the footballer is “a real sports idol and a real example to all those footballers on how to be a real sportsman and is also the all time leading premiership scorer, also he is a real legend and icon in Newcastle and around the footballing world, give him one he deserves it more than any other footballer.”
But it seems there is competition for the gongs from Sunderland manager Roy Keane, with a petition calling for the Prime Minister to recommend an honorary award to the Irishman for services to Association Football in Nottingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Sunderland.
Some 32 signatures have been added so far, although Mr Keane’s supporters still have plenty of time to put their names on the petition – possibly depending on results – because it does not close until next June.
And 16,666 people have called on newly installed premier Gordon Brown to make way for television presenter Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister. “Jezza is legend and deserves a chance to run the country,” says the petition.
But that has sparked a rival call for Mr Clarkson to “never, ever” be made Prime Minister, with a dozen signatures so far and the petition closing next May.
Banger racing could become an Olympic sport if the 314 people who have so far backed the request on the Prime Minister’s website get their way.
They say the sport is popular in many countries, encouraging the younger generation to “vent their frustrations” on a legalised track rather than terrorising the public highways and byways.
And a petition calling for a Royal Navy vessel to be named HMS Iron Lady” in honour of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher over the defence of the Falkland Islands has secured 1,094 signatures.
Some 63 names have been added to a call for a zero rate tax on beer sales if you enter a public bar, while one petitioner wants to increase prices to stop binge drinking.
Another petition calling for smoking to be made illegal has been signed by 35 people, although three appear not to support such a ban – including a comment saying: “Lets make people illegal while you are at it.”
But unfortunately, a petition urging the Prime Minister to enter television’s X-factor talent show has been rejected.