The standout line in Rachel Riley’s Big Issue interview wasn’t about anti-Semitism, you may be surprised to learn.
It’s where she states: “If someone was ringing up your house phone and saying these things you would block that number. If someone came up to you in the street, you wouldn’t accept it. So there’s no reason why you should have to on social media either.”
What a coincidence that she should say such a thing at a time when I have been receiving abusive messages on my house phone! I sincerely hope it’s a coincidence, anyway, what with Riley being set to go into a civil trial against me over alleged abuses on the social media by herself and her Twitter friends and followers.
Needless to say, I haven’t blocked the number. I have saved the messages and reported the abuse to the police. We’ll see what comes of it.
The rest of the article is shockingly one-sided.
Riley is said to have become active against the Labour Pary’s handling of anti-Semitism accusations during Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader, but no mention is made of the fact – revealed in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report, published almost exactly a year ago – that Corbyn and his general secretary Jennie Formby hugely improved Labour’s response to such allegations after it had been allowed to grow lax by the party’s Governance and Legal Unit under previous GenSec Iain McNicol.
She states that new leader Keir Starmer has a “tough job” because Mr Corbyn “gave the worst result in 80 years for Labour”. This is debatable as the number of seats won did not reflect the number of votes cast. In fact, Corbyn won more than 10 million votes – more than previous leader Ed Miliband in 2015 (9.34 million) Gordon Brown in 2010 (8.6 million) and Tony Blair in 2005 (9.5 million).
Mr Corbyn is the Labour leader who scored the highest number of votes for Labour in the 21st century (so far) in 2017 (12.87 million).
It would be right to say that Labour won its lowest number of seats since 1935 – but that is more correctly attributed, not to Mr Corbyn, but to Starmer – whose insistence on a bad Brexit policy led to the loss of the so-called “Red Wall” seats in northern England to the Conservatives. It was Starmer who lost the 2019 election for Labour.
“In terms of antisemitism he’s definitely tackling it,” Riley said. Er, no.
He is suspending left-wing, socialist Labour Party members on hearsay accusations – for political reasons that have nothing to do with their attitude towards Jewish people. For proof of that, consider the fact that, according to campaigning Jewish organisations that Riley supports like the CST and the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the worst threats to Jewish people are on the right of the political spectrum – yet not a single complaint about anti-Semitism by right-wing members of the Labour Party (who all happen to be supporters of Keir Starmer) has been investigated. Not one.
Meanwhile, under Starmer, Jewish Labour Party members are now five times more likely to be accused of anti-Semitism than non-Jewish members. How does Riley reconcile that with her pro-Starmer attitude?
The interview goes on to discuss abuse that Riley says she has received after she “became more outspoken on social media”. It does not mention any of the evidence that her behaviour there has caused her followers and supporters to abuse others, that is the basis of the court action between her and This Writer.
And Riley is said to now be an ambassador for the grandly-titled Centre for Countering Digital Hate. Let’s have a look at that connection, shall we?
2/4. CCDH was initially registered at Companies House as Brixton Endeavours Limited. At the time of incorporation, 19 October 2018, the organisation’s only Director was Morgan McSweeney – Keir Starmer’s ex- chief of staff. #StarmerOut https://t.co/CcxvuWoQEt
— Operation Cupcake (@PhillipsBarrie) October 26, 2021
4/4. The new Sir Keir Starmer Labour Party where Jewish Labour members are almost five times more likely to be accused of anti-Semitism than non-Jewish members. #StarmerOut #FordeReport https://t.co/Yl08dEHexU pic.twitter.com/UovYLJHSFI
— Operation Cupcake (@PhillipsBarrie) October 26, 2021
What a tangled web. Perhaps The Big Issue would have been wise to investigate these connections between the organisation for which Riley is now an ambassador and these people and organisations that are all connected very closely to Sir Keir Starmer.
Could it be possible that her statements about him may come from a position of… I don’t know… bias?
This Big Issue piece is a mockery of journalism. One would have expected at least some effort to provide factual accuracy – and where is the right of reply for people she has misrepresented?
The result is clear: People are boycotting The Big Issue.
Time to #BoycottBIgIssue
I’m not going to continue buying a magazine that evidently supports someone who was instrumental in attacks on the only politician who would actually have tackled homelessness. Shame on you John Bird.#ItWasAScam
— Ovaltine Lady: #PeaceandJustice #CorbynIsRight (@theovaltinelady) October 27, 2021
Very disappointed that @BigIssue would publish that Rachel Riley piece.
I'll be boycotting you now until you offer a right of reply. There are many other ways of helping the homeless. I won't support or defend hate, and neither should you. #ItWasAScam
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) October 27, 2021
Won't be buying you again.
We don't have a strong opposition. The Labour leaders just support the Tories.
She's currently embroiled in a court case with @MidWalesMike regarding her own social media behaviour.
And as for AS – MP Neil Coyle wanted JVL proscribed! Nothing done!
— Damien Willey (@KernowDamo) October 27, 2021
It is a potentially problematic decision. The Big Issue is sold by people who are homeless and they receive a proportion of the money that is given to them.
Boycotting the magazine could harm homeless people – a point made very well by Shaun Lawson, whose articles about Riley’s unacceptable behaviour towards a teenage girl with mental health issues led to This Writer’s current court case:
The comments below this thread are appalling. "I'm going to punish the homeless because I disagree with Rachel Riley". You what?
I disagree with her too. I did so very publicly and I stand with @MidWalesMike. Justice will prevail 🙏
But don't make the homeless suffer, FFS. https://t.co/Mntj6em5GI
— Shaun Lawson (@shaunjlawson) October 27, 2021
He’s right to ask that we don’t make the homeless suffer. But here’s a solution, suggested by Jackie Walker – a person who knows very well how it feels to suffer a “false flag” attack on claims of anti-Semitism:
i won’t be buying the Big Issue again
— Jackie Walker – HRH, MP, MBE, ABC (@Jackiew80333500) October 26, 2021
give the money direct to them?
— Jackie Walker – HRH, MP, MBE, ABC (@Jackiew80333500) October 27, 2021
That’s the answer, for the time being.
Instead of buying The Big Issue, just give the money direct to the vendor and make it clear that it is for them, and not for the magazine. None of that money should go to The Big Issue.
And remember to do it when the next edition comes out because it will again feature Riley.
“Heavygusto”, below, makes a good point about it:
Most people are saying they'll continue to support homeless people without giving the money to Big Issue, they decided to play partisan politics so it's on them. Pretty sure Corbyn would have done a lot to help homeless people if he wasn't smeared and lied about constantly.
— Heavygusto (@heavygusto) October 27, 2021
I would also urge everybody to contact Big Issue publisher John Bird and demand a balancing article. I would happily contribute and I’m sure others who have been victims of anti-Semitism-related falsehoods would also be keen to have their voices heard – for a change.
Riley’s lawsuit against me is still going on (and on, after nearly three years!) so if, after reading the above, you are interested in supporting my defence against her, please do one or more of the following:
Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.
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.
Oh – one last point: Starmer’s approval rating is -40.
📊 NEW: Keir Starmer's approval is -40 📊
% who think Starmer is doing well/badly:
✅ Well: 20% (+2)
❌ Badly: 60% (-2)
— Stats for Lefties (@LeftieStats) October 26, 2021
He won’t be winning any elections – especially with the likes of Rachel Riley cheerleading for him.
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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