The Ealing Gazette’s front page today talks about “the Government” rejecting a debate on a petition on Ealing Hospital. In fact the petition was rejected by a committee of the House of Commons chaired by a Labour MP, Helen Jones. I suspect that one of the reasons that the committee rejected the idea of a debate is that the petition looks like it has been gamed. In other words Labour, Momentum or NHS activists, probably a mixture of all, across the country have been signing even though they live miles from Ealing Hospital.
The Gazette refers to over 100,000 signatures. The final total when the petition was closed was 100,229. You can see the underlying data in the petition by following this link.
First off 38 of the signatures came from outside the country. It is nice that people from as far afield as Argentina and Egypt are interested in Ealing Hospital but really?
Signatures from people living in 638 constituencies were received; that is almost every Parliamentary constituency.
The numbers for the three Ealing constituencies were:
Between the three Labour MPs in Ealing they managed to rustle up less than 1,000 signatures on this apparently vital issue. For all Stephen Pound’s blustering that there is “something rotten in the state of the NHS in Ealing” he could only get 321 people in his constituency to agree with him. Rupa Huq achieved a laughable 58.
There are 21 constituencies that produced more than 1,000 signatures. None are in London let alone Ealing. Between them these 21 constituencies they contributed one third of the signatures.
It looks to me like a group of activists are making a lot of noise and the Gazette has fallen for it. The campaign has obviously been shared on social media with a wide range of people who have nothing to do with Ealing.
Petition: SAVE OUR NHS STOP PRIVATISATION
SAVE EALING HOSPITAL Publicly Funded & Provided https://t.co/F1AVq4y4di
— WOWcampaign (@WOWpetition) November 20, 2015
— Alan Davis (@Socialism4Jobs) March 22, 2016
Please sign this Petition: SAVE OUR NHS STOP PRIVATISATION
SAVE EALING HOSPITAL Publicly Funded & Provided https://t.co/WLKRF2lI5c
— ✨#HelloMyNameIsJoan✨ (@thebestjoan) January 9, 2016
Are the Ealing MPs colluding in this deception or are they equally unaware of how unrepresentative this petition was?