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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Sorry to hear that Mike. Unfortunately, the local elections were bad news all round. Do people actually enjoy being shafted by the Tories? Makes you wonder.
The LEs were not “bad news all round”, despite this atrocious slur on Mike and the obvious effect on his polling. In my ward we got 300% uplift in Labour voters, and looking back at the last elections, for the same opposition candidate, a lot of these were “new” votes, a result of hard door step canvassing. The poll was the highest we think for a LE in our ward – 62% of the electorate. In our constituency we won several seats, although we lost one, sadly , a good person. But it has increased the Labour group on the council In the Welsh urban areas where we were told to expect control to change hands, we kept with increased vote in some cases.
So it’s not universal.
they do, sadly and for the people on the frontline or even in the voluntary sector that are going to have to pick up whatever mess tory does, there going to be a big fail for them when the actual voluntary sector/charity sector just gives up, there is a point where you just say it is your choice and it is coming and the dg/ids etc well they can move there own lawn and water there own plants if they have any, there maybe a triffid about, stick one of them in your garden, easy feed then
Well at least it shows you are doing a good job if you have riled them that much Mike
the people involved that try to smear thy are themselves without heart yet one must be of heart that you are but abide the time mike and see yourself through this crap
Sorry to here this, if there is anything i could say or do to help I would I have seen no anti semite rantings on your part, but it seems to be the in thing at the moment to use this sort of attack to interfere with the democratic process. I personally do not think that this sort of behaviour is acceptable and even if you had made any anti semitic comment, I haven’t seen you make one, why should it be a problem, why is it that this and only this area seems to be of concern, why not anti white anti C of E anti working middle clark heterosexual married person with with children they don’t seem to elect such bile form the PC brigade.
Who needs Russia to nobble elections! We now have “charities” subverting democracy! You have right on your side mike, have your day in court! Looks like we are heading the same way as America’s “democracy!”
This looks like a typical dirty stitch-up Mike and I hope you can get good compensation for the inaccuracies and for possible intent to defraud you of your right to campaign. As you rightly comment It is a good thing we all have Twitter.
Duly signed! It looks like you have a chance to take down a corrupt “charity” and a corrupt MP who’s overreached himself: give ’em hell!
Solidarity. I wish you could feel it. Don’t give up. You will be vindicated.x
Wow, this just shows how low they want to go, in all the times i have posted and commented on Vox, i always found you to be straight to the point, echoing some of the thoughts that other writer’s do, something that low life tory boy cannot handle, they have to get the bullies to do the work for them.
whatever you do go for it, to many gutter press tory gets away with everything
as I said before what’s the story lying tory that sticks as far as i am concerned
I am deeply sorry to hear this.
I hope that you will not be discouraged and that when your suspension is revoked you will try again when you can.
Best wishes. John
I am sorry to hear this mike, thank you for everything you do. Respect to you.
This is beyond parody Mike. I am glad you have reported the matter to the police. If you need any help with anything just let me know x x
Still waiting for the cops to get in touch.
Well if there is anything I can donly in the meantime, you know where I am. Stay strong!
you’re the only journalist I know mike that’s up to speed with most topics
I’m well known to a couple of female bbc main line journalists but there overall knowable of what goes on in life behind the screens is very poor always leaving me with the job to fill in what they should already know but don’t
Words fail me mike
I’m a bit behind with most topics now – because of all the hate that has been directed at me.
I’m sure that was the intention, too – at least partly.
But I’m a very quick student and I’m catching up again now.
So sorry to hear you didnt make it Mike but it would seem dirty tricks and smear campaigns are what the ‘Right wing’ utilise in order to get the results they want…they will stoop and not stop at anything…to get that!
Been on the Beasts blog talking about this Mike. Fight them and fight them hard.
We’re 100% behind you
Thank you very much.
So sad Mike. I hope the Labour party supports you in clearing your good name.post shared
I have followed your blog for sometime alongside both your Twitter and Facebook pages, I have never seen or inferred ANY form of racism/antisemitism from you Mike, believe me if I had I would’ve Unfollowed and blocked you in a heartbeat. This tactic of labelling people as racist/antisemite is a lazy but seemingly effective way of removing political opponents even if demonstrably untrue the time and effort required to prove these accusations false is usually enough to ensure that person is no longer an immediate political threat and further along, some people may still have doubts “no smoke without fire” after all mud sticks. Personally I find the whole practice truly vile and considering the history of antisemitism to use it purely for selfish ends beneath contempt. I wish you all the best and want you to know you have my 100% support. M
Thank you very much.
You were undoubtedly targeted because of your high social media profile, and not because of your local political ambitions! Being a councillor would have been a distraction from your main role of keeping people informed and your best response will be to have a strong focus on Vox Political. Don’t get too optimistic about the legal challenge, because they will just quote national media views as justification for their beliefs and although we all know the media is biased and dishonest, you are unlikely to persuade a judge that they are.
Don’t worry about my legal challenge – I’ll be fine on that.
I have turned back to the blog now, and intend to put out just as much material as I can.
Mike, I feel for you, but know you are “strong and able”; (sorry, just had to use this amazingly trashy soundbite – it’s all the rage), and you will find a way to show this so called apolitical uncharitable bunch up for the mischief makers they are x
Petition signed. Sorry about your experiences.
I have read your blogs for some time Mike and like the others who have commented I have never read any anti – semetic comments either. I expect it is one of Lynton Crosbies ideas to weaponise the issue and use it against anyone with a high social media presence like yourself who continually scrutinise the accuracy of “official” information put out by the Govt and it’s right wing Tory accolates and use your blog to put out an alternative more truthful interpretation.
Please keep doing the same thing. We need you.
There is not much more to say Mike, but this is the what real people have to put up with. The corrupt are being protected by the corrupt.
I was sorry to read the news in your post, Mike, as I would have liked to see you win a seat in Powys, but I was glad to see that you’d reported all of this to the police, too – and let’s hope the police pull their fingers out and do something about it!
This so-called charity needs to be stopped before it causes irrepairable harm to yourself and other Labour candidates and supporters!
This kind of dirty game is something I’ve got used to seeing the tories play, but it’s even worse when a ‘charity’ gets involved and deliberately causes harm – they should have their charitable status revoked for this! 🙁