Daily Archives: April 22, 2020

Who is the worst threat to Labour over the leaked report on right-wing factionalism?

For the many: it seems Labour’s apparent failure to live up to its slogan could do more damage to the party than a few defamation/data protection claims.

How surprising to see The Guardian reporting on a financial threat to Labour after a report was leaked alleging misconduct by party officers that meant the party lost the 2017 general election!

Instead of stating that rank-and-file party members were getting together to demand their subscriptions – that they could argue were taken under false pretences as party officers were working against winning the election…

I found that the people accused of the misconduct are planning to sue the party for defamation and data protection offences.

On one hand I am encouraged by this. I have taken Labour to court over data protection offences after (false) information about me was leaked to the national press by a party officer.

The fact that others are considering the same suggests that I was well within my rights to accuse the party (because, as data controller, it has ultimate responsibility for leaks).

On the other, it is doubtful that any defamation claims should be allowed to go anywhere – at least, not yet.

The information about party members in the report is taken from emails and WhatsApp messages that were placed in the hands of party investigators legitimately and it would be premature for anybody to launch lawsuits on the basis of it, until evidence is brought forward that disproves it.

Also, consider the words of the lawyer concerned, Mark Lewis. He said: “For four years, people in Labour have said there is no antisemitism in the party, it’s just a smear. Now they say that of course there was antisemitism, ‘but it just wasn’t us’. They have not noticed the absurdity of their change of position.”

Nobody in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership said there was no anti-Semitism in the party. I haven’t said that. None of the other higher-profile members who were accused has made that suggestion (to my knowledge).

So who, exactly made that claim? I notice that Mr Lewis did not elaborate on its origin and that is another reason to doubt the usefulness of these threatened lawsuits.

Are they just an attempt to bully the current Labour leadership? Why would anybody expect that to work?

On the other hand, going back to the wider party membership, it seems far more likely that action brought by rank-and-file members would succeed in restoring their subscription money to them.

If enough people do this, then it could put Labour in serious financial difficulty.

And it is entirely possible that the party would deserve to be put in that predicament – if the allegations in the report turn out to be accurate.

Source: Labour party faces financial peril over leaked report | Politics | The Guardian

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The Labour leak made a big fuss of the 2017 election – why aren’t we talking about last year’s?

Keir Starmer: is he happy to be stained by the corruption alleged against Labour officers over the last few years?

We’ve all heard the claims from the leaked Labour report into factionalism in the party that interfered with anti-Semitism investigations – it also stopped the party winning the 2017 election.

Nothing was done about the right-wing faction that was said to be sabotaging Labour’s election hopes.

While some of the faces changed, we may take it as read that the same attitudes prevailed in Labour HQ – even after last year’s Panorama documentary, Is Labour Antisemitic?, revealed the rot at the heart of the party (although the perpetrators were claiming to be the good guys).

So this should come as no surprise:

Labour officials ran a secret operation to deceive Jeremy Corbyn at last year’s general election, micro-targeting Facebook adverts at the leader and his closest aides to convince them the party was running the campaign they demanded.

Campaign chiefs at Labour HQ hoodwinked their own leader because they disapproved of some of Corbyn’s left-wing messages.

They convinced him they were following his campaign plans by spending just £5,000 on adverts solely designed to be seen by Corbyn, his aides and their favourite journalists, while pouring far more money into adverts with a different message for ordinary voters.

What was the message – “don’t vote Labour”?

The more were learn about the rot that has been growing in the heart of Labour since before the days of Tony Blair (This Writer personally believes it started to set in during the leadership of Neil Kinnock), the worse it seems.

Jeremy Corbyn was certainly at fault for failing to take action, although he may have felt constrained by the spin that may have been put on it – by, for example, the organisations who lobbied so strongly about alleged anti-Semitism.

Keir Starmer is under no such constraints, although he will be if he fails to take swift and decisive action (something he has hitherto been reluctant to attempt).

It seems to This Writer that the Americans have the right idea after all.

When they change government from Democrat to Republican, or vice versa, the incoming administration changes everybody – all of the civil servants – to ensure that the workers enacting their policies are fully supportive of them.

I had always considered it somewhat extreme.

But recent revelations suggest that this is exactly what should happen in the Labour Party – certainly if a left-wing leader ever gains ascendance there again.

And Starmer will have to do the same, sooner or later.

Whether deservedly or not, the party’s reputation is now one of corruption.

If the new leader doesn’t make a show of purging it, then he will be stained by it.

Source: Labour HQ used Facebook ads to deceive Jeremy Corbyn during election campaign | News | The Times

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Hancock: care workers can’t have ‘Real Living Wage’ – but let’s remember he offered them a nice badge

Up your…: last week, Matt Hancock offered carers… a badge. This is what they said he could do with it.

Right after offering carers a badge instead of genuine government investment, Matt Hancock has denied them the real living wage.

Let’s clarify, quickly: the real living wage is a wage that covers real living expenses, and is currently set at £10.75 in London and £9.30 in the rest of the UK for anybody aged 18 and older.

Hancock came out with the mealy-mouthed excuse that carers are already paid the National Living Wage, which is only £8.21 – and applicable only to people aged over 25. It doesn’t cover the cost of living, meaning its description as a “living wage” is false.

And let’s remember that MP’s have been given an extra £10,000 – above their already-enormous salaries – to help them work at home, which is something carers do all the time.

What a charmer.

Hancock was responding to SNP health spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford who pointed out that carers in Scotland are already paid the real living wage and asked when the Tory government would do the same for those in England.

She also asked him to reverse a 20 per cent cut in public health funding imposed by the Tories in 2015 – but that didn’t even get a response.

It seems the only hand Hancock has for carers is when he’s clapping for them on his doorstep – if he ever bothers.

Source: Matt Hancock refuses to commit to paying care workers the ‘Real Living Wage’ – Welfare Weekly

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People with mental illnesses and disabilities may be falling foul of video court hearings

Court: moving hearings to audio/video because of the coronavirus has made them useless for some people, due to their disabilities. (How many of your are going to criticise me over the fact that UK courts don’t use the gavel?)

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has called for the government to collect information on the effect of video court hearings on people with mental illnesses and other conditions.

It is feared that people with conditions including learning disability, autism spectrum disorders and mental health conditions – who are significantly over-represented in the criminal justic system – are at a disadvantage when cases are conducted without them being present in court.

The Ministry of Justice has switched magistrates’ hearings to video sessions in response to the coronavirus lockdown, with 85 per cent of cases heard in England and Wales this month carried out using audio and video technology.

Defendants have complained that they did not have enough time to discuss their cases with lawyers, and that they could not hear or understand what was going on during their hearing.

The EHRC has said that everyone should be equal before the law, and this means nobody defending themselves before a court should be at a disadvantage because they are disabled.

Will the government pay attention? It seems unlikely.

Tories have victimised people with disabilities since the moment they got back into office in 2010 – imposing harsh restrictions on who could receive state benefits, and demonising people claiming those benefits as shirkers and scroungers.

They have already made it hard for people to take a benefit case through to a legal tribunal; but the majority of cases that then succeed suggest that it is only logical that they would want to make it harder for a disabled person to achieve a victory, in any court situation.

Perhaps my opinion is over-judgemental.

So we shall have to judge the government by what it does.

If we never hear about this issue again, we’ll have our answer – and it won’t be good.

Source: Court hearings via video ‘risk unfairness for disabled people’ | UK news | The Guardian

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Branson wants a bailout for Virgin Atlantic. Does he pay his taxes? If not – let it collapse

Richard Branson.

It’s very simple: if Richard Branson, his top executives, and his company have all paid the full whack of taxes applicable to them – since the company was formed – then a government bailout may be considered.

Otherwise, let it all collapse. And Virgin Atlantic used to be my airline of preference.

The bribes Branson is offering are fantastic: he’ll put his private Caribbean island up as collateral, which implies he wants us all to think of the bailout as a loan.

Great! If he defaults on payments, can we – the great British public – take free holidays there after the lockdown is over, using Virgin planes to reach it?

That would be pleasant but I have a doubt that the Tory government would allow it. We’re plebs and livestock, after all.

And he said he was investing £215 million of his own money. Also great! But he’s asking for more than twice as much. And how much money is he keeping?

The simple fact is: Denmark and Poland have the right idea.

If corporations and shareholders pay their full taxes, then it is fair for a government to consider using its scheme to bail them out.

If not, then it doesn’t matter how hard they plead, the answer must still be no.

If you’re not paying in, you can’t expect to draw out.

Source: Richard Branson warns Virgin Atlantic will collapse without Government support as he defends himself over bailout backlash | London Evening Standard

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The haters have their knives out again. Are you happy to be led by them? [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Attacked: Zarah Sultana.

This is a plea for reason.

A commemorative event yesterday prompted some people to post the following on Twitter:

Sadly, it also provoked a few into posting things like this:

The hate was aimed at a Labour MP named Zarah Sultana, and was in response to her tweet (above).

It seems she had tweeted support for a video that demanded the release of Palestinians being held by Israeli authorities, who were described as “political prisoners” in the clip. Some of these people are alleged to be terrorists who have murdered Israeli children.

Not one of her critics bothered to ask whether she had been aware of this when she tweeted her support.

And some very well-equipped critics also pointed to allegedly anti-Semitic tweets posted by Ms Sultana in the past:

But This Writer understands that she had already apologised for the interpretation placed on those tweets, and explained what she had meant.

Who is the hater in this situation?

It is entirely possible that Ms Sultana has been responsible for anti-Semitism in the past; it is possible this happened by mistake, and it has been said that she explained herself – clearly to the satisfaction of the Labour leadership or she would never have been a Parliamentary candidate.

She may have posted her support for the release of the Palestinians with anti-Semitic intent, but there’s no overt evidence for that. It has all been implied.

And it has led to an outpouring of hatred such as This Writer hasn’t seen in a fair few months. Brace yourself because some of this is extreme:

https://twitter.com/GaryDra37102910/status/1252633793883750401

https://twitter.com/yop90001/status/1252680286405562369

Some commentators have suggested that this is the opening volley of a new campaign to paint Labour as anti-Semitic; an attempt to push new leader Keir Starmer into becoming a servant of those who claim to speak for all UK Jews – but are believed to have more in common with the foreign policy interests of the Israeli government. Other Labour Party members are reporting increased trolling by those claiming to fight anti-Semitism.

Does it matter?

I see no evidence of malicious intent in this MP.

But I see extreme malice on the part of her aggressors, who are attacking her on extremely flimsy grounds.

So I must ask:

Who do you think is motivated by hate? And are you willling to be led by people like that?

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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