Nine unusual public petitions involving Scotland

From Scottish independence to wonky veg and banning a Rugby referee, an online petition can push the burning issues of the day.

From Scottish independence to wonky veg and banning a Rugby referee, an online petition can push the burning issues of the day.

1. Allow the north of England to secede from the UK and join Scotland. Signatories: 47,860

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Was formed during the build up of the independence referendum but faded away following the no vote. The petition, set up by a Stu Dent supposedly of Sheffield, revived following the Conservative win at last year’s General Election.

The petition stated that deliberations at Westminster were becoming “increasingly irrelevant” and that the norther cities felt a “far greater affinity” with Glasgow and Edinburgh as opposed to the ideologies of the “London-centric south”.

The petition, coupled with the hashtag #TakeUsWithYouScotland, also called for a map of New Scotland to be drawn along a line that runs between the River Dee, from Chester in the West, and the Mouth of the Humber.

2. Ban Rugby referee Craig Joubert from Scotland for life after his decisions put Scotland out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Signatories: 2,508

Within hours of the final whistle blown on the quarter-final between Scotland and Australia, furious rugby fans in their hundreds were signing a petition for referee Craig Joubert to be banned from Scotland.

The South African awarded Australia a last-gasp penalty that allowed Bernard Foley to kick his side to a narrow 35-34 win.

This was despite calls from Scotland to send the decision to the television match official for review.

Social media went into meltdown following the result - with Joubert roundly criticised for his decision.

3, Force Asda to apologise to Scotland. Signatories 10,865

Another petition launched during the heat of the Independence debate which was still attracting signatures up until around a month ago. SNP supporter Chris Halliday launched the petition calling for Asda CEO Andy Clarke to publicly apologise to the electorate of Scotland for releasing a statement “likely to affect the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence.”

Clarke said the prospect of working within a smaller business environment could impact on costs and result in a more “complex” business model with his statement seen as one of the most dramatic interventions ahead of the September 2014 vote.

Halliday said: “Andy Clarke will be presented with the choice, admit that you had no justification in what you said on behalf of Asda or watch the power of social media take you down.”

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4. Remove Union flag from Scottish driving licences. Signatories:1,242

This petition was launched after new driving licences issued from July 2015 features a Union Flag as well as flag for the European Union.

Colin McInnes rallied objectors amid the backlash, which also led to a Dumfries and Galloway badge company making tiny Saltire stickers to cover the flag for those offended. The demand had been “overwhelming”, the Bonnie Badge Company said.

Mr McInnes said: “It is not acceptable to put this flag on peoples licences without asking them what flag they would like to have. If .you consider yourself as Scottish then you have a right to not have the British flag on your licence. There is different driving laws in England from Scotland so we should have the choice don’t take our human right away we have the right to a choice we pay to get our licence its ours give us our country flag back.”

5. Give England a referendum on whether we want to keep Scotland in the UK. Signatories: 10

This petition was launched shortly after the SNP at Westminster last month blocked a relaxation to Sunday trading hours in England.

It was set up by a Martin Stanley Leach and yesterday the number of people who back it rose by two to eight.

The petition states: “Scotland enjoys free university education, free prescriptions, better pensions than us etc all of which we pay for. If we vote to leave the EU they say they will hold another referendum in Scotland to leave the UK.”


6. Decriminalise cannabis in Scotland. Signatories: 155

This petition has been set up on the UK Parliament website with 100,000 signatures required for it to be debated in the Commons. It was set up by a Claire Page in November 2015. More people have signed it in Airdrie and Shotts constituency than anywhere else in the UK.

The petition states: “By decriminalization in Scotland we can help to make it a better society. Being caught with a small amount or growing plants for personal uses, would only result in a fine. Compared to a prison sentence and a criminal record for a very minor offence. This ultimately dose not help when seeking a job.

“Keeping one offender in prison exceeds 40,000 per year. It’s bleeding money and causing our prisons to become over crowded. If this law passes the police can focus on the real criminals. This will save money and put it to good use in Scotland which is suffering from 1 in 5 children living in poverty today.”

7. Remove the Duke of Sutherland Statue on Ben Bhraggie, Golspie. Signatories: 4,885

Several attempts have been made to bring down the statue of George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland, who infamously cleared families from his Highlands estate to make way for sheep.

An attempt was made to dynamite the statue near Golspie in 1994 and in 2011 police have appealed for information after stone on its plinth was damaged.

John Angus Morrison of the Isle of Lewis is trying a more democratic approach to have the statue, built on the summit following his death in 1833, but launching a petition to the Scottish Parliament.

His petition states: “The Duke of Sutherland evicted thousands of people from their ancestral lands and had this monstrosity erected in honour of himself.

“It is a disgusting embarrassment which glorifies some of the worst atrocities committed within Scotland . I want to petition the Scottish Parliament to open a discussion about it’s removal and , if there is public consent, to erect a statue of a more worthy person. My own preference would be something honouring Edward Dwelly who worked tirelessly to create a beautiful dictionary of the Gaelic language. It is surely time to address this carbuncle on the face of the Scottish Highlands.”

8: Introduce Asda’s wonky veg box to stores in Scotland and the North of England. Signatories: 2,676

The power of the public petition flexed itself with this protest and ASDA announced in February that it was to expand its wonky veg box - a better value offering of imperfect but fresh produce - to more stores across the UK.

Steven Bridgett, of Northumberland, launched the campaign after the chain announced it was only to trial the £3.50 box in the south of England.

Mr Bridgett’s petition, addressed to chief executive Andy Clarke, stated: I am by now more than used to seeing the North of England and Scotland being treated as the poor relations to the rest of the United Kingdom in the allocation of funding by central government (where there is more spent per head of the population in the South than in the North) what I am not used to is that type of policy being administered by private companies like Asda, especially in such a blatant way.

“I can assure you that there are no similarities between the North of England and the cold wastelands of the ‘North’ in Game of Thrones – Asda has nothing to fear by daring to tread on new ground and treat us the same as King’s Landing (The South).

“I had naturally presumed that a pound that I spend in your store was worth the same to Asda as a pound spent by someone in the South of England.”

9. Refuse to accept English banknotes in Scotland. Signatories: 446

Set up by Ross Wyllie of Glasgow last year, this petition called for the SNP to consider a ban on English banknotes as legal tender north of the border,

The petition claimed that Scottish bank notes are not accepted in England and that currency had to be changed before crossing the border.

The petition stated: To remedy this I suggest that English Bank notes are deemed equally unacceptable north of the border and a percentage is charged by the institution changing the currency. This is a measure to create a greater equality in the UK and gets the ball rolling in the direction of establishing our own Independent currency.”

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