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Stop Blair! The first 15002 signatures

by Migeru Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 11:46:03 AM EST

The Stop Blair petition passed 15000 signatures around 15:45 CET today...


So I got ahold of the database and did some simple summaries of the data. First, by "Region":

  UK Belgium France Austria Portugal Germany
5989	1924   1586    1337	 529	 490
The list of "countries" includes the constituent nations of the UK, so to the UK numbers one would have to add a further 333 signatures:
England  Scotland  Wales  Northern Ireland
    114       164     50		 5
And the "nationality" field is free-form text so there's a need to account for misspellings, use of lower and upper case, and so on. Should be fun.
Looking at the region data I uncovered a fake signature
      Title	 Name	    Region Nationality	   Date
10879	Mr. Jean Paul Vatican City     vatican 09/02/08
Or maybe this is a miracle that should be added to John Paul II's canonization file?

Then, we can look at the signatures by date:

04/02 05/02 06/02 07/02 08/02 09/02 10/02 11/02 12/02 13/02
    1	662  1895  3387  2795  2186  1466  1411   869	330+
Note that the petition server is on a US clock, which affects the date assignment, and that the last day hasn't finished yet. Still, it looks like the petition is winding down.

It is interesting to look at the development by day and region:

Region	     04/02 05/02 06/02 07/02 08/02 09/02 10/02 11/02 12/02 13/02
========================================================================
UK		 0   373   832	1415  1281   445   575	 615   329   124
Scotland	 0     2    11	  20	20     6    34	  49	18     4
England 	 0     7    18	  30	19    11    11	  11	 4     3
Wales		 0     0     5	  12	11     7     5	   5	 4     1
Northern Ireland 0     0     2	   0	 1     1     1	   0	 0     0
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Belgium 	 0    19   416	 653   295   121   142	 119   119    40
France		 1    54   100	 490   457   154   127	 111	72    20
Austria 	 0     4     6	   9	10  1023   226	  35	16     8
Portugal	 0     5   102	 169	97    50    35	  34	21    16 
Germany 	 0    38    49	 102	87    76    49	  42	25    22
Netherlands	 0    12    59	  86	93    21    26	  51	74    18
Spain		 0    20    65	  51	64    23    16	  31	67    18
Italy		 0     5    24	  62	49    33    23	  29	24    11
USA		 0    33    46	  29	35    21    36	  23	12     4
Now taking a look at the domain part of the e-mail addresses, we get
 com   uk   fr	 be  net   at	de   nl   pt   it  org	 gr   eu
6821 2272 1127	958  913  895  427  185  170  169  121	120  115
Of the 5 .int addresses, one is from the Council of Europe and two are legacy European Parliament addresses (europarl.eu.int), including one MEP (from the "Title" field), and of the 115 .eu addresses 86 are europa.eu (one other is a typo: ec.euroopa.eu) which break down as follows:
ec europarl consilium eesc curia
72	  8	    4	 1     1
In addition, we know of at least one other Commission staff and one other MEP who have signed with other addresses.

Not bad, is it?

Display:
We're up to 15073 as I type this.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 11:49:12 AM EST
For those who (like me) find it hard to get a sense of data sets that are presented in tables. As always, GNUPLOT images may not take kindly to being rescaled, so it is suggested that the reader follow the link to the original image.

1:2 is UK, 1:3 is Belgium, 1:4 is France, etc. in the same order as in Mig's post. The tables are broken down into groups of 3-4 countries for readability:

Note that Austria is included in both the first and second graphs - Austria has a single day with very high contributions, which fits best on the first graph. On the second graph, this outlier has been removed (more accurately, it's plotted, but is beyond the displayed y-axis range).

Some observations:

  • Overall, it seems that Migeru's assessment (that we're losing momentum at present) is correct.

  • Signing peaked around day four

  • Signatures from Austria peaked on day 6

  • Signatures from Spain and the Netherlands peaked on days three through five and fell off, but have been climbing over the past couple of days.

  • Signatures from the UK peaked first on day 4, fell off, and then had a smaller peak around day 8 (this looks like it explains the shoulder in the overall signatures around day 8, although I haven't done any detailed accounting for it).

Hope this helps.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 01:49:36 PM EST
Well, we could look at the dates when the petition was mentioned by warious media according to the media coverage thread.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 03:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed that would be the obvious thing to do. But I haven't been following the media coverage thread closely enough to offer any informed comments. If I had to guess purely based on the numbers, I'd say that we had media coverage internationally around day 3 or 4, in the UK around day 7, in Spain and the Netherlands around day six, and in Austria around day 5 or 6.

I know that we've had a lot more coverage - the interesting thing about this is that we might be able to see which (types of) media have the biggest penetration to our target audience. But that's a somewhat major project, and I just wanted to get something readable posted to supplement of all those hard-to-read tables.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 03:57:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other point is that many people in France are afraid of petitions, especially on the web... They believe they'll get spam and such ! You'll see that most of the "anonymous" are french... Vichy was there and left bad memories!

What might be easier to boost the petition is to get those mails to several political offices (the small district ones) to put them on their sites ! That with other bloggers and the Facebook thing (I don't know how it works but is sure does seem to work :-) )

My two cents of Euro !

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 04:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it hasn't been my experience that French people are wary of signing petitions... and I receive emails asking me to sign.

I signed one yesterday after getting a mail, in fact:

this one, for the defence of the secular State against Sarkozy's Pope-licking and intent to change the 1905 settlement.

An example of a successful petition was the one against Sarko's former plans to track criminal tendencies in three-year-olds at pre-school. I don't know the final tally, but it went to 150,000 quite quickly and obviously had an influence.

It would be interesting to analyse the Anons in our petition to see if there is a national pattern.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 04:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm surrounded with computer illiterate people ? I mean that they do use computers and all, but don't go on the web unless they have to get a train ticket...
I don't really know why, it's not about age... Maybe they're shy :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 05:03:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re momentum, I think it's time to get cracking with the viral agenda. Let's get different language versions of the email messages, one short and the other a little more explicative, that can be simply copy/pasted or serve as a basis for each of us to craft our own messages.

We've always said this was an important part of the process, so now let's do it! :-)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 02:39:04 PM EST
Yes, but I think we should also target some media in big countries where the media coverage hasn't been very important, like France and Germany.

By the way, the viral way takes a little time to gather momentum: some friends to whom I had sent a message last week have signed today...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 05:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain is hopeless partly because we have a general election coming up on March 9.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 05:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not giving in to that idea because it could be a good pass-time in the run-up and a relief of tension while we suffer through the speeches and insanities.  So I´m approaching it as ´do something for Europe while you wait to vote for Spain´.

(If the PP wanted to lose, they couldn´t do it better, I tell ya....)

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 01:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've talked to some people I know in the media here in Greece... they're looking at the possibilities of creating a separately publicized group of "known" academics and political personalities, who would publish some sort of declaration of support of the petition, possibly (a long shot) including a press conference (or at least some sort of press release).

I can't promise anything at this point, but I'm looking at it and I'll let you know.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 06:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great! That would help a lot. We should think about the possibility of doing the same in other countries...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 07:19:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon, One idea in that direction is if someone could link up Jerome Guillet or you to to television, say on TF1 for an interview? Perhaps be invited on prime time news to speak about it?
by The3rdColumn on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 02:27:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To reach the media, you have to contact the right journalist. I'm currently trying to find the names and details in order to contact them.

Another way is to mobilise celebrities (politicians or others) willing to support the petition and promote it. Then the media will mention it...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 03:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would go with afew.. tiem to go viral or this will die....

I have no idea about how to go viral...as usual...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 03:13:39 PM EST
We could use someone in Spain (or Catalunya hint hint) to translate the examples we now have and start spreading them by e-mail to friends and colleagues...

Start here!

I'm sure you've lots of friends...

by Nomad on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 03:37:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I already did my viral mailing in Spanish and English on the 9th of February.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 05:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if this will give a little extra bump?
The Guardian:
· The people must speak and we will hear them, said Downing Street as it cleared space on its website for e-petitions. But will their voices ring out loud and clear? That all depends on what they want to say. The writer Richard Heller suggested: "We the undersigned petition the prime minister to do everything in his power to prevent Tony Blair becoming president of the European Union. If Tony Blair is the right person to run the European Union, why did the prime minister eject him from power in this country?" Alas, Downing Street rejected the petition as inappropriate. The people should have a care about the petitions they submit. Things could turn nasty.

· Of course, some people have already bypassed Downing Street's cyber soapbox and have created their own - stopblair.eu. It suggests that Blair's role in the war in Iraq, and Britain's failure to fully embrace the European ideal, make him the most unsuitable candidate. "This appointment, were it to take place, would be in total contradiction with the values professed by the European project," they say, and almost 14,000 have signed up. Great to be wanted.

by ask on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 08:04:54 AM EST
great work guys!

http://adamboulton.typepad.com/

the front page article is about t.b.

maybe someone more articulate than i would like to present our petition there?


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 08:27:24 AM EST
I am no lawyer but the case of Bundeswehr Major Florian Pfaff seems to indicate at least to a layman that a case could be made in Germany for taking Blair to court on the grounds of possible breach of the Basic Law.

Major Pfaff opposed orders related to the Iraq invasion on the grounds that participation in them would have been knowingly to participate in a crime against international law.

In 2003 he was found guilty of insubordination and reduced to the rank of captain.  

However, on appeal, the case went to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig and Major Pfaff was acquitted of insubordination  on the grounds, I think,
that there was no mandate from the UN Security Council for the invasion of Iraq and also the invasion did not fulfil the right of collective self defence as set out in Article 51 of the UN cHarter. So the invasion was illegal.

I think that this decision was taken basically in the context of  Major Pfaff's right to invoke freedom of conscience and with the guiding principle that aiding and abetting an offence against international law is an offence against international law.

It looks to me , a layman, that the court did not pronounce on whether the war and therefore any relevant conduct of the German Federal Government could or could not be justified in terms of applicable international law.

Later the court said that a state that resorts to military force without justification and thus violates the UN General Assembly's prohibition on the use of force commits an act of aggression.

However there is apparently no accepted international definition of the crime of aggression.

The position seems not to be totally clear. Nevertheless, again to a layman, it looks as though there enough doubt about how a case would go in a German court to raise questions on the suitability of Blair to represent, speak for and otherwise act on behalf of Germany's EU presence which presumably he could in some way be doing if he became EU President.

Therefore enough doubt too to make him unsuitable to work on the international stage for the rest of the EU nations.

As noted I am no lawyer much less a politician and I expect that when the experts look at all this, if they do, there will emerge a form of words, an opinion , which will make all doubts vanish etc etc.If they want them to vanish.

But I would hope the German Government would take a very hard look at things.

I would be interested in the views of german petitioners on this aspect of the case.

Hugo Carton

Hugo

by Hugo Carton on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 01:20:17 PM EST
A very good point.  Welcome to ET, Hugo!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Feb 14th, 2008 at 01:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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