Appeal against Riley libel verdict is under way – but she has demanded £100,000 in legal costs

The Royal Courts of Justice: that could be a misnomer, as there was little justice to be seen in a High Court judge’s decision against Vox Political’s Mike.

Now Rachel Riley wants me to pay £100,000 to cover her legal costs – on top of the £50,000 in damages a High Court judge has already awarded her.

I haven’t got anything like that kind of money. I am an online journalist with no huge corporate machine behind me – and a carer for my disabled partner, not a millionaire TV celebrity.

And I would not willingly cough it up, even if I did have it. The judgment against me is a mess. The judge has cherry-picked pieces of evidence that she thought would support her decision instead of having regard to all the circumstances of the case – as the law required her to do.

None of her findings explain why it would not be reasonable for me to have believed that publishing my article was in the public interest. She just made bald statements that my conclusions were unreasonable and expected me to swallow them.

I decline.

I have spent the last week and a half analysing this dog’s dinner of a judgment and passing on my thoughts to my legal team. My Counsel is likely to start writing an appeal later this week, to be submitted to the Court of Appeal before the December 7 deadline.

It can’t happen at all without funding – and the more we get now, the more likely we’ll be to get it done.

Please help us make this last bid for sanity from the justice system by doing one or more of the following:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Use other social media in the same way.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

Riley is also facing the prospect of a libel action over her ill-advised tweet suggesting that I had been dishonest in my fundraising because I had not mentioned her confidential offer of a settlement.

I’m working on putting together the cash for that by other means. It does arise from this case but I think the money raised here should be focused on the appeal.

I’ll keep you updated on both matters – and I hope the news will be good.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Another formal complaint about Dominic Raab is added to official investigation

Dominic Raab: This site once said there was nothing at all behind that vacant smile. Was this inaccurate? Was it hiding a bully?

A third formal complaint about bullying by Dominic Raab has been added to the official investigation, by request of prime minister Rishi Sunak.

It relates to Raab’s behaviour as Brexit secretary in 2018.

Raab denies the allegations and has said he’s looking forward to dealing with the complaints “transparently rather than dealing with anonymous comments in the media”.

But the BBC report of the latest development says the Ministry of Justice, which Raab is now heading, has been “inundated” with complaints of alleged bullying.

These are not being investigated, it seems, because they aren’t “formal” complaints.

Some – like Labour’s Angela Rayner – say restricting the investigation in this way is a “stitch up” that “will fool no one”.

There is an answer to that, which is for everybody who has made informal complaints to formalise them. If they’re worried about further bullying as a result of doing so, perhaps they could group together to form a ‘class action’-style complaint.

Obviously nothing has been proved yet.

But if the allegations are true, then isn’t it in the interests of justice to do everything possible to make sure they are proved?

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Why is the Transport Secretary trying to force ‘reforms’ on unions that want better pay?

Mick Lynch: he’s frustrated because the rail companies and Network Rail say they don’t have the power to negotiate meaningfully with him over pay and safety conditions for RMT Union members.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper reckons rail unions need to accept “reforms” that would free up money for pay rises.

Why?

On the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, he said: “It is the reforms that free up the savings that then unlock the ability for the companies to make an offer to the trade unions on pay.”

But that is to assume no more money could be brought in – and that is a political choice by the Tory government.

He also said: “I do not have a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money to throw at this problem.”

And he doesn’t, because taxpayers’ money doesn’t pay for any public services at all. Public money – created by the government – does. It’s time our politicians stopped trying to hoodwink us with this lazy lie.

The government can very easily create as much money as is needed to provide a “proper seven-day rail network” – also Harper’s words, and why doesn’t the UK have that network any more since privatisation anyway?

Taxation relieves inflationary pressures that may be created by investing money into public services – and may be used by progressive governments to re-balance the gap between the richest and the poorest citizens in the country, by taking money from those who can most easily bear it. Of course the UK’s Tory government is as far from progressive as one can get.

And Harper said any money saved through reforms would have to be split “fairly between the taxpayer and the people who work in the industry”. Why give savings back to taxpayers when so much needs to be done to improve the rail service? Is he looking for another tax cut for the rich?

The whole spiel strikes This Writer as self-serving claptrap.

If Harper really wanted to do some good, wouldn’t it be better for him to offer to give the private rail operators and Network Rail the mandate for meaningful negotiations with the RMT union that its general secretary, Mick Lynch, has been told they don’t have?

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Disabled care home residents are being evicted because charities can’t afford to subsidise them

Money: the cost-of-living crisis means more cash is needed to cover the care of severely disabled people – but councils don’t have enough.

Here’s a little-known consequence of the cost-of-living crisis: disabled people are being evicted from charity-run care homes because local councils are refusing to pay increased costs.

These are people with severe disabilities whose care can cost anything between £85,000 and £150,000 per year.

The charity Leonard Cheshire said it had served 11 eviction notices on contracts with councils that had been under re-negotiation without agreement since February. Two were rescinded after councils agreed to pay uprated fees.

The fee increases reflect the rising costs of wages, energy and food due to the cost-of-living crisis that has been largely caused by the UK’s Conservative government, due to Brexit and energy privatisation that has led to failures to upgrade to cheap, locally-generated energy.

Leonard Cheshire has spent millions of pounds from its own reserves over the last few years, subsidising care services that councils have failed to fund adequately – but now says it can no longer afford to continue doing so.

Mencap has not evicted anybody because it generally doesn’t own the properties they occupy – but is subsidising one in five of the state-funded care packages it provides to 4,000 people – so that’s 800 of them. The cost to the charity is millions of pounds.

Evicted residents are unlikely to become homeless because their council or NHS funder has a duty to provide alternative care.

But the concern is that moving will disrupt the care that people get, and cheaper alternative arrangements will be of poorer quality or based far away from their family support network.

Ironically, the evictions are prompted by concerns that the level of council funding no longer guarantees basic safety and quality standards.

Inevitably, the government has claimed it provides plenty of money to support adult social care services – with the £7.5 billion available over two years constituting the biggest funding increase in UK history.

Conspicuously missing is any comment on whether this is enough money to cover the increased costs of care.

So you may safely conclude that it isn’t.

Source: Disabled care home residents evicted in charity’s dispute with councils | Social care | The Guardian

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Half of renters fear they won’t be able to pay rent next year due to increases in the cost-of-living crisis

According to another article, “Just 250 people control wealth of £710.723bn, but 16.65 million people live in poverty”.

That could be the reason for the following:

Half of tenants are worried that they won’t be able to afford their rent next year, as 58 per cent have seen it rise this year amid the cost of living crisis.

Research from specialist lender Market Financial Solutions found that 49 per cent of renters were worried they would not be able to pay their rent in 2023.

At the same time, 48 per cent of landlords said they had increased rents on their properties due to rising interest rates and higher mortgage repayments.

In fairness, 56 per cent of landlords said they would allow their tenants some degree of flexibility when it came to making payments. Shame on the other 44 per cent!

The reason for the increases is higher interest rates from the Bank of England, meaning mortgage repayments have increased as well.

Economists have, of course, criticised the Bank for hiking the rates, because the ostensible reason – cutting inflation – is nonsense.

So why do it?

Why push up the level of anxiety in the UK when it is already critically high?

Is it some sort of co-ordinated effort to bankrupt the people of the nation and overload our already-under-resourced mental health services?

Source: Half of tenants are worried they won’t be able to pay rent next year, as 58% have seen rents increase amid the cost-of-living crisis

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Why are these Tory MPs queuing up to stand down?

On her way out: Dehenna Davison.

The answer to the question in the headline is obvious: they don’t think they’ll be able to win an election when their party is struggling to regain its popularity.

Dehenna Davison has become the latest Conservative MP to announce she won’t be defending her seat at the next general election, bringing the running total to eight.

The others are Chloe Smith, William Wragg, Gary Streeter, Nigel Adams, Charles Walker, Crispin Blunt and Adam Afriye.

Several of the quitters are young(ish) – Davison is 29, Wragg 34 and Smith 40 – prompting speculation that the Tories are losing their younger talent.

Davison is quoted as saying she is leaving because she hasn’t “had anything like a normal life for a 20-something”. But nobody really believes that excuse – do they?

Some may have a shadow hanging over them; William Wragg, vice-chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, was among the most influential MPs to voice their lack of confidence in the leadership of Liz Truss.

Gary Streeter was among the first to demand Boris Johnson’s removal from the role of prime minister.

Charles Walker has said the Conservatives cannot possibly win the next election.

And others may be aware that they have harmed their own public profile; Chloe Smith was the Minister for Disabled People who, confronted with the story of a disabled man who said he expects to be dead by this time next year because he will not be able to afford the increased cost of energy, told him to get a job.

This is good news for the UK. Eight fewer Tory incumbents re-contesting Parliamentary seats mean eight improved chances for other parties to take those seats instead.

Source: Two more Tory MPs announce they are stepping down at next election

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Did underwear peer really make £65m from Covid contract corruption?

Accused: Lady Mone.

How low can our politicians go?

Just at the moment, there’s a very low bar to limbo under – but it seems former Ultimo underwear boss turned Tory peer Michelle Mone may have managed it.

The allegation in The Guardian is that, while the rest of us laboured under lockdown, desperate to keep ourselves and our relatives alive, Lady Mone was making £65 million from a Personal Protective Equipment manufacturer in thanks for her recommending its products in the “VIP lane” for firms fast-tracked by politicians or officials.

Not only has the “VIP lane” since been branded illegal, but it has been claimed that much of the gear from PPE Medpro didn’t meet the standard.

It was suggested that…

Michelle Mone, a Tory peer, her husband, Douglas Barrowman, and her children secretly received £65m originating from the profits of PPE Medpro, a company that was awarded large government contracts during the pandemic after she recommended it to ministers.

The government lubricated such questionable deal-making by setting up a “VIP lane” into which suppliers recommended by politicians or officials were fast-tracked.

PPE Medpro’s business was referred to the VIP lane after Lady Mone contacted the ministers Michael Gove and Lord Agnew to offer help in May 2020. A few weeks later, the government contracted to pay the firm £203m for protective equipment for the NHS.

A court later said that the VIP lane was unlawful. Perhaps worse, it was ineffective. The government is now in dispute over millions of surgical gowns supplied by PPE Medpro that it says were not up to scratch. PPE Medpro insists its products passed inspections.

Lady Mone… denies becoming fantastically rich by profiting from a company she lobbied to be awarded state contracts.

But she is also

being investigated by the Lords commissioner for standards after being accused of failing to declare an interest in PPE Medpro.

The Guardian, outraged, claims that peerages should not be a means to personal or ideological ends.

But isn’t that the best that can be said of almost any UK politician these days?

They all seem to be on the take and for many, it seems, that is the only point of being in Westminster at all.

It isn’t many years since it was possible to discuss genuine political theory when examining politicians’ behaviour – but now all we see is avarice.

Too many have been caught lobbying for the firms that gave them their second or third job, or using their position to rig the rules in their own fields of business, or seen to have set themselves up for high-paid jobs after leaving Parliament. Haven’t they?

Sadly, we don’t have a way of looking into candidates’ minds before they get elected into their Commons seats, to detect the corruption before it can do its worst.

So, what is the solution to the rot that’s making Parliament reek?

Source: The Guardian view on crony capitalism: a moral corruption stalks parliament

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Nurses to strike on December 15 and 20 after the government TURNED DOWN talks

A nurse: I’ve said this before and it still rings true – doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 for the last six months – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

Nurses across the UK will strike on December 15 and 20, after the government refused to take part in negotiations over pay and conditions.

Patricia Marquis of the Royal College of Nursing England, said Health Secretary Steve Barclay was “not willing” to talk about what needs to be discussed – pay and safe staffing.

Here’s the gist from Good Morning Britain:

This may strike you all as a naive take on the situation, but here it is:

We know that governments spend whatever they want to meet their goals every year – they create the money to do it.

We also know that taxation takes money out of the system in order to counter inflation. This can be done to correct inequalities in society, if the government of the day is minded to do so.

UK society is currently unequal on a shocking scale; millions of people are in poverty, relying on food banks (including nurses), while a relative few millionaires and billionaires are profiting hugely from the overbalanced system that Tories like Steve Barclay have created for them.

The solution is clear: tax the super-rich, then the country will be able to afford to pay nurses their due.

The added bonus of this, of course, is that the money will go to people on the bottom tier of society and will go through many pairs of hands before it is taxed back out, creating a huge boost to the economy. Money that goes to billionaires gets banked in the Cayman Islands (for example) and is no use to the economy at all.

Barclay is misleading us when he says that the country “can’t afford” to pay nurses properly. He simply doesn’t want to.

Worse still, he and his cronies – both within the government and outside – will whine that the strikes will disrupt a health service that is already at breaking point. But it was the choice of his government to push the NHS into that situation, with under-funding, privatisation and poor staffing.

Here’s the proof – a Sky News report emphasising that “patients will suffer” (watch until the focus shifts to wider strike action, around the five-minute point on the clip, which is quite long):

Possibly one good argument to use against Barclay is simply to ask how far his own pay has risen since 2010 – and how many lives he has saved during that time.

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Braverman’s migration failures: highest-ever number enter UK despite her closure of legal routes

Speechless: challenged to explain how a teenage refugee from an African country might legally gain asylum in the UK, Suella Braverman had nothing to say.

More than half a million people entered the UK from abroad in the year to the end of June – and Home Secretary Suella Braverman had a meltdown in a Parliamentary Committee when she was forced to try to explain the legal routes for refugees to do so.

So the highest annual migration into the UK since World War II has happened at a time when it should be impossible.

Here’s a news report:

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has said that his main priority is to help Home Secretary Suella Braverman stem the flow of migrants into the UK (despite the fact that they are both, themselves, from families that migrated into the UK).

But they also want to present the UK as a welcoming place.

The latter objective was blown to dust – by one of Sunak and Braverman’s own Conservative Party, Tim Loughton, in the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee, when he asked her a simple question.

The best commentary on it that I have found comes from Novara Media:

This is a government that is trying to do two mutually-exclusive things – and failing at both.

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How long can Dominic Raab continue to deny bullying as fresh complaints land?

Dominic Raab: he asked for an official investigation into bullying complaints against him – and now increasing numbers of civil servants are making fresh allegations.

He might be innocent, of course.

But that would require us to believe that senior civil servants were running a campaign against Dominic Raab – and that would be a very odd thing for such responsible people to do.

Then again, if they think it’s the best thing to do for the country…

The debate could run on and on.

Here’s the latest development, courtesy of the BBC:

Deputy PM Dominic Raab is facing fresh bullying complaints from senior civil servants across multiple government departments, BBC Newsnight has learned.

A number of Mr Raab’s former private secretaries – senior officials who work most closely with ministers on a daily basis – are preparing to submit formal complaints, sources told the BBC.

There is now a coordinated effort by former private secretaries of Mr Raab to ensure their allegations are heard as part of the investigation.

Mr Raab requested an investigation into his own conduct towards staff in the wake of two earlier complaints.

He denies any allegations of bullying.

The allegations against Raab first emerged earlier this month:

The Guardian has reported that staff in the Justice Department were offered “respite or a route out” amid concerns that some were traumatised by his behaviour during his previous stint:

The Guardian has spoken to multiple sources in the MoJ who claimed that Raab, who first held the post between September 2021 and September 2022, when he was sacked by Liz Truss, had created a “culture of fear” in the department.

They alleged that his behaviour when dealing with civil servants, including some in senior roles, was “demeaning rather than demanding”, that he was “very rude and aggressive” and that he “wasn’t just unprofessional, he was a bully”.

It is also understood that Antonia Romeo, the MoJ permanent secretary, had to speak to Raab when he returned to the department to warn him that he must treat staff professionally and with respect amid unhappiness about his return. One source, who was not in the room at the time, claimed she had “read him the riot act”.

The government has appointed Adam Tolley KC to investigate two formal complaints made about Raab’s conduct.

But final judgement on whether Raab has breached the Ministerial Code will lie with prime minister Rishi Sunak – as it did with Boris Johnson when Priti Patel was accused.

Johnson ignored the evidence and allowed Patel to continue as Home Secretary. Will Sunak show the same corruption?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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