Sequence of events:
On Wednesday morning (May 3), two newspapers – the Brecon and Radnor Express and the Western Mail – published stories smearing This Writer’s good name, after they were sent an article containing lies, doctored quotes and misinterpretations of my work by an apparent charity called the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). Both newspapers were made aware of my rebuttal, but this did not stop the Western Mail quoting seven paragraphs of the CAA’s nonsense, with only two paragraphs of my response (which the reporter messed up). A current piece on Wales Online (the Western Mail‘s online branch) follows the same pattern.
On Wednesday afternoon, I was contacted by Western Mail reporter Martin Shipton, asking how I felt about the Labour Party suspending my membership. It was the first I had heard of it. A little investigation showed that – no, it wasn’t a result of the newspaper articles, but rather the CAA had tired of hawking its tawdry article around the Labour Party in Wales (whose members know me and weren’t having any of their nonsense) and had sent it to the party’s London headquarters instead. Someone there, it seems, had decided to suspend me without first checking to see if there was a prima facie case to answer (there isn’t). It’s an administrative suspension, while investigations take place, but it means I cannot take part in the general election campaign as a Labour Party member.
I guess it’s a good thing that I have This Site, then!
On Thursday (May 4) the people of Powys went to the polls. Online, the Facebook campaign page for Labour candidates in my part of Powys was inundated with hate comments aimed at me, and clearly intended to put any local readers off supporting me. It quickly became apparent that none of the people attacking me were local to the area, and all of them knew each other. It was alleged that at least one was a paid employee of the CAA, who had been sent to smear me.
It is hard to tell whether the same people were doing the same on Twitter as I have muted so many of them. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake.
And on Friday (May 5) we got the results. In the ward I was contesting, Llanbadarn Fawr, I received 52 votes. To me, it seems certain that this low level of support – after weeks of flat-out campaigning – must be at least partly due to the defamation of my character, in the newspapers and online.
Fortunately, there is a way of gaining legal redress for this – and not only in the civil course.
Section 106, paragraph 1, of the Representation of the People Act 1983, states that: “A person who, or any director of any body or association corporate which— (a)before or during an election, (b)for the purpose of affecting the return of any candidate at the election, makes or publishes any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate’s personal character or conduct shall be guilty of an illegal practice, unless he can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did believe, that statement to be true.
Considering the evidence in the CAA’s article has been faked – as I clearly demonstrated in my own piece – there can be no defence that the organisation believed its statements to be true.
I have therefore reported the organisation and individuals related to it – along with others – to the police, and am awaiting a response. Apparently Dyfed-Powys Police’s point-of-contact officer has been asleep since last Wednesday.
One of the individuals I have reported is Chris Davies, who has been Brecon and Radnorshire’s Conservative MP since May 2015. He was quoted in the Brecon and Radnor Express as saying, “His [my] defence of members of the Labour Party who have been suspended for racist and anti-Semitic offences is despicable. I call upon the Brecon and Radnorshire Labour Party to take a tough stance and expel Mr Sivier from the party. Anti-Semitism seems to be rife within the Labour Party and a message should be sent out that it will not be tolerated.”
I have not defended any members of the Labour Party who have been suspended for racist and anti-Semitic offences. I wonder what Mr Davies means by that. I am not a racist. I am not an anti-Semite. I do not know where Mr Davies finds his justification for suggesting that.
I look forward – with eager anticipation – to hearing him attempt to show he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did believe, his statement to be true. But then, that’s because I know he can’t.
So, as a result of this, we have proof that the man who has been Brecon and Radnorshire’s MP for the last two years is a criminal.
Of course, it is obvious that Mr Davies has a political motive for lying about me – he is a Tory and I am a (suspended) member of the Labour Party.
What about the Campaign Against Antisemitism?
Well, it may interest you to know there is a petition on the change.org website, calling for this organisation to have its charitable status revoked, on the grounds that it provides no public benefit, which is the test of any charity, nor are its activities remotely charitable. It is a nakedly right-wing political organisation pursuing an agenda to tarnish those it considers its enemies with the label “anti-Semitic”.
Of course, the CAA has tried to intimidate change.org into taking the petition down.
Note that both the petition and the article pointing out the CAA’s response to it are by Tony Greenstein. The CAA spends a lot of time and effort trying to discredit this man – he is name-checked in its article defaming me. It seems likely his attempts to expose the organisation’s genuine purpose may have something to do with that.
More evidence about this organisation is publicly available, and I would strongly advise you to do your own research.
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