Monthly Archives: May 2022

Rachel Riley is trending again – help make her put her money where her mouth is

The High Court in London: if I can crowdfund the resources, Rachel Riley will have to justify her behaviour to a judge – if she can.

Rachel Riley is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.

She has taken it upon herself to comment on an aging issue – criticism of the author JK Rowling by transgender activists, thereby resurrecting it for no very good reason.

According to The Independent, “She told The Times: “I think a lot of the attacks on JK Rowling are really because she spoke out for Jews and against Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism.”

I think this is a fishing expedition – that Riley was hoping to incense a few people into saying something she could use to sue them. This is a person who, if I recall correctly, once asked her followers to send links to such comments, with a view to suing the writers. I have previously pointed out that this could seen as vexatious litigation.

See, if people attack her for saying she’s accusing Mr Corbyn of anti-Semitism, or saying Rowling has accused him of anti-Semitism, she can point to her words and say she didn’t link the two; she said Rowling had spoken about both issues separately.

And then she may choose to threaten lawsuits against those people.

But Riley has still left herself open to legitimate criticism.

You see, she has stated that it is her opinion that people criticising Rowling’s stand on the transgender issue were actually attacking her because she had spoken about anti-Semitism.

On what factual information is this claim based? Who has publicly admitted that this is their reason for criticising Rowling?

If Riley can’t provide such information – in words that can’t be interpreted as something else like sarcasm (to reference a recent court ruling) – then anybody from the transgender lobby who has publicly criticised Rowling has good cause to take legal action against Riley instead.

Alternatively, to see Riley forced to justify other claims she has made in public, how about supporting my defence against her claims that I libelled her?

My comments were based on Riley’s own words and behaviour on Twitter, and to win her case she’ll need to prove that it was unreasonable for me to draw the conclusions I did.

I’m sure that this is impossible – for reasons I’ll reveal in the court hearing during the week beginning July 18 this year.

But I need to be able to defend myself at that hearing – and that means I need to be able to pay for it.

I have stated, many times, my belief that much of Riley’s behaviour during her litigation against me has been geared towards depleting my crowdfunded finances, in order to ensure that she won’t have to justify herself.

Now, I am close to reaching my target. To get me across the line – and put Riley in a very difficult position, please do 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.

The latest development strongly suggests that Riley isn’t going to stop attacking people unreasonably until she is made to.

Help me make sure she does.

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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Thatcher statue is erected in Grantham – and immediately vandalised

Stretching her neck: some commenters have suggested the only appropriate element of the statue’s placement was the fact that a rope was fastened around its throat, making it appear that the controversial former prime minister was being hanged.

Council workers have placed a controversial statue of Margaret Thatcher on its specially-high plinth, behind a (temporary) wall, in an unannounced move – and still failed to prevent the public having its say.

As the BBC states,

The £300,000 statue was offered to South Kesteven District Council after plans to erect it in Parliament Square in London were rejected.

It has been placed on a 10ft (3m) high plinth under CCTV surveillance to minimise the risk of vandalism.

However, within two hours of it being put in place someone had thrown eggs at it.

That’s true:

Some might say it would be appropriate for bright businesspeople – in the spirit of enterprise that Thatcher supported – to launch guided tours of Thatcher’s history in Grantham, culminating in a visit to the statue… with eggs provided and included in the cost.

Council leader Kelham Cooke said that, as Grantham was Thatcher’s home town, it was appropriate that the debate on her legacy should take place there.

It seems clear her critics have passed the first comment.

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Rwanda policy has made illegal migration problem WORSE

Priti Patel: she and her boss Boris Johnson are the only people who deserve to be carted off to live in an African dictatorship. They’re too stupid and pig-headed to be allowed to stay in the UK’s government.

Priti Patel’s plan to send people accused of being illegal migrants to Rwanda has not stopped boats crossing the channel but has sent some asylum-seekers into hiding – creating a cost, and time, burden for the authorities, while others have resorted to self-harm – creating work for the NHS.

Meanwhile, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that the government is preparing to deport the first 50 migrants to Rwanda – and to spend who-knows-how-much-money defending the decision in the courts.

So, all things considered, these two idiot Tories have achieved nothing more than a waste of public money, and public organisations’ time.

What a pair of [insert expletive of your choice here].

Apparently, more than 7,000 people have crossed the channel in small boats in the first four months of the year – more than three times as many as last year and more than seven times as many as in 2020.

The latest available government figures show 792 migrants arrived in small boats in the week from 2 to 8 May.

The Tories are saying their deportation policy will take a considerable time to push through, as legal challenges will “take time”.

But Patel said she would not be deterred…

The government says the new scheme will be a major blow to people smugglers and will stop people dying on dangerous routes to the UK.

… certainly not by the facts, it seems.

Meanwhile, Johnson has been taking an opportunity to denigrate the lawyers who will stand up for the migrants’ rights.

In an interview with the Mail, he said:

“There’s going to be a lot of legal opposition from the types of firms that for a long time have been taking taxpayers’ money to mount these sort of cases, and to thwart the will of the people, the will of Parliament. We’re ready for that.

“We will dig in for the fight and we will make it work,” he added. “We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it, with the leftie lawyers.”

How strange. It isn’t the “leftie lawyers” who are wasting a fortune on a pointless policy of persecution.

It’s this profligate prime minister and his psychotic home secretary.

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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Is Labour really complacent about losing ethnic minority support – or institutionally racist?

Starmer takes the knee for Black Lives Matter: to him it meant nothing more than a photo opportunity. Black lives don’t matter to him – as we discovered when he attacked the organisation shortly after.

Labour has lost a lot of ground in “ethnic minority strongholds” that has been ignored by many media commentators, according to the author of this piece’s source article (see the link below).

But is it because the party has become complacent, as the author argues? Or is it because Labour is now racist and does not care about these voters?

One obvious argument for the latter is that Labour has just spent seven years suffering an onslaught of mostly-unfounded and untrue accusations of anti-Semitism. It would be irrational for the party to be complacent about racism after that; therefore the evidence suggests this was a conscious choice.

Damningly for Labour,

Tower Hamlets, which sees British Muslims suffer some of the most deprived conditions in the UK, was notably won by Lutfur Rahman, a former Labour councillor who was banned from holding office for five years after being found guilty of a litany of fraud and corruption charges.

Why would the people of this borough turn to somebody who had been found guilty of fraud and corruption, rather than Labour?

Also lost to the party was Croydon council and the mayoralty of Harrow.

50.7 per cent of Croydon’s population are described as “Bame” and 61.9 per cent of Harrow’s population are non-white British.

The article states that many religious and ethnic minorities, including the author, no longer have faith in Labour because anti-racism and anti-imperialism aren’t given priority in the Labour Party.

Evidence supporting this includes Keir Starmer’s tacit assertion that racism within institutions wasn’t worth tackling when he described calls from Black Lives Matter to defund the police as “nonsense”, adding that it was a shame the movement was “getting tangled up with these organisational issues”. It was particularly insensitive in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

For many, it felt as if he was saying that if voters were worried about police brutality, voting for him would not help.

Worse is the spectre of Islamophobia within Labour – which eclipses anti-Semitism to a huge degree. Starmer refused to stand up for Muslim MPs facing Islamophobia in Parliament. A report by Labour Muslims in 2020 stated that 44 per cent of “Muslim members and supporters do not believe the Labour Party takes the issue of Islamophobia seriously”. A January 2022 poll from Muslim Census also suggested that Labour risks losing half of its Muslim vote at the next general election.

Of course, Starmer’s claim to have tackled anti-Semitism has created a huge blind spot in his thinking (at the very least). So he asserts that Israel is not an apartheid state, in defiance of the majority vote within Labour to sanction that country over its apartheid policy against Palestinians.

Sixty-one per cent of Labour voters support Boycott, Divestment Sanction (BDS) while Starmer vehemently opposes it.

They can’t all be anti-Semites; the level of anti-Semitism within Labour was less than the national average when Jeremy Corbyn was leader and it is unlikely to have risen exponentially since Starmer took over. Starmer’s own stance, of course, implies that he is racist against Palestinians.

Labour MPs have also been criticised for failing to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (think of John Mann, now a Tory lord) – although this falls short of the active persecution of Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts law.

The evidence is clear: ethnic minorities see Labour providing no answer to the discrimination, state violence and indifference to both that plague them in a nation that the Tories improbably claim is not institutionally racist.

But if Starmer continues to ignore the concerns of minority communities, they will continue to abandon his party – and that will make him seem even more of a racist than he does now.

Source: Labour’s complacency about losing ethnic minority support will cost the party at the next general election

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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Ignorant Johnson fails to apologise after Nazanin tells him she lived in ‘shadow of his words’

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: when she explained to Boris Johnson how his ill-chosen and false comments in 2017 affected her experience of jail in Iran, he affected shock – and refused to apologise.

Boris Johnson’s ignorance and hubris really do know no bounds.

Faced with first-hand information about the effect his personal stupidity had on a woman who had been falsely jailed in Iran, he affected shock – not that he had caused such harm, it seems, but that he was being criticised.

And he failed to apologise.

Johnson had been accused of lengthening her ordeal when, as foreign secretary in 2017, he wrongly claimed she had been training journalists at the time of her arrest in 2016.

Four days after Johnson’s damaging remarks as foreign secretary, she was summoned before an unscheduled court hearing, where his comments were cited as proof that she was engaged in “propaganda against the regime”.

The incident took place at a meeting between Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, together with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella, and Boris Johnson in Downing Street on Friday (May 13):

Mr Ratcliffe said his wife challenged the Prime Minister on “why did it take so long” to secure her release.

She also told him the “massive impact” his comments had on her, even saying the Iranian authorities brought Mr Johnson’s words up during interrogation shortly before her release.

Asked if the Prime Minister apologised, Mr Ratcliffe responded: “Not specifically.”

Nazanin’s MP, Tulip Siddiq, was also at the meeting:

“I was really proud of Nazanin. She was sitting next to the Prime Minister, and she told him very clearly and categorically that his words had had a big impact on her and that she had lived in the shadow of his words for the best part of four-and-a-half years,” Ms Siddiq said.

“I have to say the Prime Minister looked quite shocked, I think, when she said that, but I was really proud she did say that because… there was a time when the words had a big impact.”

Ms Siddiq [said] that her constituent “didn’t mince words” with the Prime Minister, saying his comments had “haunted her for four-and-a-half years”.

The family urged Johnson to give evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the Government’s handling of the case. He said he would look at it, which probably means no.

They also pressed him to help free the other Iranian dual nationals still being held in detention.

Nobody seemed to touch on the alleged reason Nazanin was freed – that the UK had paid more than £400 million owed to Iran for the failed sale of military equipment back in the 1970s.

If that was in fact the case, then Johnson will not be able to repeat it. This Writer fears that his answer to the second request will also, therefore, be no.

So ends another contemptible contribution to the failures of the UK’s worst-ever leadership failure.

Source: PM does not apologise after Nazanin tells him she lived in ‘shadow of his words’ | The Independent

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Mealy-mouthed response from Labour’s Streeting after Israelis shoot Palestinian reporter dead

Wes Streeting: it’s all jolly fun in Israel for him.

Apartheid-denier Wes Streeting has been caught in a cleft stick.

He’s currently in Israel on a paid junket, enjoying the hospitality of the right-wing government there that has been inflicting apartheid on the persecuted people of Palestine for many years.

Of course, there’s not a single word of criticism against this cruelty by Labour Friends of Israel member Streeting.

And then a Palestinian reporter was shot in the head by Israeli troops and died – and Streeting had nothing to say about it.

Condemnation has been widespread (where people have been made aware of what happened and of Streeting’s decision to ignore it). Here‘s Skwawkbox‘s take on it:

As the world reeled at horrific footage after [Shireen] Abu Akleh was shot in the head with what appeared to an exploding ‘butterfly’ bullet of the type used by Israeli soldiers, Streeting and LFI posted a string of images of him smiling with Israeli government officials – each of which prompted disgusted responses by Twitter users challenging the appropriateness of the visit and the apparent lack of interest on the part of either Streeting or LFI in condemning the country’s murder of journalists – over fifty in recent years – or reporting on any challenge to the government officials about the actions of their troops.

Visit that site’s story for tweets that are critical of Streeting’s – and Labour’s – response.

But worse was to follow.

At the journalist’s funeral, Israeli forces took it upon themselves to invade the procession and beat the casket-bearers:

This time, Streeting took it upon himself to tweet the sickeningly on-the-fence comment, “Absolutely awful and distressing.”

He didn’t say what was awful and distressing; his comment was carefully-worded to avoid any criticism of the Israeli authorities. Some may say this is because they are his hosts at the moment. Some may say it is because he tacitly supports the violence here. His equivocation lays him open to that.

And that means that Streeting and the Labour Party may now be slammed for failing to condemn this double atrocity – and they have been, as follows:

Labour leader Keir Starmer has had nothing to say for himself about the shocking events – although in fairness he did sum up the courage to retweet a comment by David Lammy:

But it doesn’t add up to the condemnation of Israeli government and armed brutality that the situation requires. Starmer can’t even muster up the courage to admit that Israel is an apartheid state.

The message for people in the UK should be clear.

If Labour can’t take a stand against persecution and brutality in a foreign country, there’s absolutely no way a Labour government will stand against persecution and brutality here in the UK.

Source: Streeting, LFI slammed for happy tweets from Israel with no mention of murdered journalist – SKWAWKBOX

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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The Tory Bill for workers’ rights – just another Boris Johnson lie?

The Tory two-fingered salute: this time it’s for working people across the UK who thought the lying Boris Johnson was ever going to offer them a fair deal.

Simple answer: it’s what they do.

Unions and industry groups were incensed earlier this week when they discovered that the Tory government has not included an Employment Bill to protect workers’ rights in plans for the new Parliamentary session.

Why were they so upset?

Because the Tories had promised it, that’s why!

Boris Johnson had responded to concerns that workers’ rights could be watered down after the UK left the EU, and worries about treatment of employees in the gig economy with a pledge to enshrine rights in law. That was in 2019.

Since then, nothing.

According to the BBC,

When first announced, the bill had promised:

  • the creation of a single enforcement body, offering greater protections for workers
  • making sure that tips left for workers go to them in full
  • all workers would have the right to ask for a more predictable contract
  • redundancy protections would be extended to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • parents allowed to take extended leave for neonatal care
  • entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers
  • subject to consultation, the bill also proposed making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the lack of the Employment Bill in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech meant “vital rights that ministers had promised – like default flexible working, fair tips and protection from pregnancy discrimination – risk being ditched for good”.

She claimed ministers had “sent a signal that they are happy for rogue employers to ride roughshod over workers’ rights,” adding it would see “bad bosses celebrating”.

She’s not wrong!

But then, working people and their representatives were wrong ever to believe that Boris Johnson and his gang of asset-strippers and exploiters would ever legislate to ensure proper treatment for them.

In short, it seems clear that the promise of an Employment Bill was another Boris Johnson lie. We should have treated it as such from the start.

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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Hapless Conservative chairman donates ‘Partygate souvenir’ to charity

Perhaps it’s right that the Conservative Party should have a hapless fool like Oliver Dowden as its chairman – he reflects the state of the organisation he runs.

Dowden’s latest blunder is his donation of a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson to a Hertfordshire charity, for inclusion in a fundraising auction.

That organisation cannily listed the item as follows [boldings mine]: “A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the examplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader!”

See for yourself:

A spokesperson for Dowden said, “this item was donated in good faith several months ago” and “this is obviously not his view” after the auction leaflet was shared on Twitter.

Of course it doesn’t matter if the bottle was donated several months ago – the Covid-19 lockdown-busting Downing Street parties had been taking place under the prime minister’s nose since April or May 2020.

Whether Dowden knew about it at the time he passed on the bottle is more debatable. But we have video evidence of Allegra Stratton laughing and joking about a party that took place on December 18, 2020 (and for which 50 people have just been fined), that was taken four days later.

If Dowden didn’t know about this, then he’s clearly unfit to do his job, and nor was his immediate forerunner, Amanda Milling, if she did not have that information to pass on to him.

Then there’s the question of Dowden’s reaction to the way the lot was accepted by the charity:

Probably more damning still is this observation:

So we have a Tory chairman who should have known about the Partygate allegations at the time, donating a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson that he should have known – or should have been advised – could cause embarrassment to his party and government, to a charity that greeted the donation with hilarity (indicating that this happened after the scandal became public knowledge); he apparently did nothing to counter that response at the time.

And now he’s complaining about the way it has been marketed in a fundraising auction.

This man is too stupid for words.

If the Tory leadership – Johnson – had any teeth, Dowden would be heading for the backbenches with his tail between his legs, there to stay for the rest of what we should expect to be a mercifully short career.

But it is a sign of the weakness of Johnson’s team that this embarrassment to the name of Conservatism will probably go unpunished in any way.

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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The UK’s food bank shame will not be solved by Tories like Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson (right) with his leader Boris Johnson: no wonder Anderson thinks he can get away with a Big Lie when his boss is the biggest liar of them all.

This MP is a disgrace to his Ashfield constituency.

He stood up in the House of Commons and admitted that his local food bank won’t give out desperately-needed parcels to people unless they sign up to take a course in budgeting and cooking skills – but you’ll notice he never said anything about whether such courses were effective in reducing demand.

Mr Anderson invited MPs to visit a food bank in his Nottinghamshire constituency where he said people “have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course” if they receive parcels.

“We show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget,” he added. “We can make a meal for about 30p a day and this is cooking from scratch.”

“There’s not this massive use for food banks in this country. We’ve got generation after generation who can not cook properly… they can not budget.”

Here’s video of what he said, along with some of the more well-informed comments by opposition MPs:

As usual, though, the best commentary on this came from the food writer and blogger Jack Monroe, who slated Anderson’s comment in an LBC interview:

“It’s not a lack of skills or knowledge that is causing people to struggle in food poverty in this country…it’s the lack of resources, it’s the lack of finances.

“It’s not that people don’t know what to do with a bag of pasta, it’s that they don’t have the 29p to buy it in the first place.

“Helping somebody conditional on them saying ‘you know what, I’m a terrible kind of poor person, this is all my own fault, please teach me how to be better at being poor’, is disgusting, actually.

“In his own constituency one in three live in poverty…I don’t think he’s the one to be touting the solution.”

Jack, who is a genuine national treasure, went further on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website, reminding us all of the main reasons people can’t afford food any more – and the fatal results of these Conservative Party policies:

If the ‘let them eat 30p meals’ brigade were really concerned for the welfare of people suffering, and I mean suffering, under the worst cost of living crisis this country has known for decades, they would take heed from the thousands of stories of people who have died at the hands of the callous DWP machine, and the people who enthusiastically grease its sharp and unforgiving cogs.

Stephanie Bottrill, a mother of three who was so concerned about the impact that the bedroom tax would have on her family, that she walked out in front of an articulated lorry.

Phillipa Day, whose overdose resulted in a coroners report stating that the flaws in her PIP assessment led to her death. A nine day inquest uncovered multiple failings by both the DWP and the private sector contractor Capita in the handling of her case. The coroner issued the DWP a PFD report – Prevention Of Future Deaths – which was supposed to force them to make significant changes to the system in order to prevent this entirely needless tragedy from ever happening again. Did they implement the recommended changes? Of course not. Not then, and not after multiple more coroners reports and PFDs from multiple subsequent deaths in similar circumstances.

Jodey Whiting took her own life after her benefits were stopped. Her family received a letter endorsing the DWPs actions, incorrectly stating that Jodey was fit to work, and mailed it to them as their daughter lay in a mortuary, awaiting her untimely and again, utterly preventable, burial. Following her death, and with his life thrown into utter turmoil at the loss of his mother, her 19 year old son Cory also killed himself.

I have thousands of these stories, each and every one a heartbreakingly familiar narrative: a vulnerable person denied absolutely vital assistance, unable to bear the pain of a day to day life scrabbling at the periphery of insecurity and just-about-survival, choosing a devastatingly permanent ending to a story that they didn’t get the luxury of choosing their own adventure in. God, they didn’t even get the luxury of choosing their own living accommodation, the colour of their front doors, or the meagre combination of basic store cupboard staples that made up their dinners.

What kind of world do we live in, where these horrific and very real examples of destitution and desperation are not a clarion call for an immediate overhaul of a barbaric and repeatedly proven fatal ideology?

And it begs the point, that with several hundred thousand pounds of full time staff at their disposal to do the everyday grunt work, you’d think that MPs would use a fraction of that generous budget to actually do some research in their chosen field.

Yes indeed. Lee Anderson’s most recent expenses claim alone came to £220,000. That will have included the cost of employing his support staff, so the question goes straight to the point.

The painful reality is that when most basic of human needs costs more than the meagre payments that the recipients are forced to subsist on, cheap pasta and canned beans aren’t going to make a jot of difference unless you’re willing to stuff them up your jumper and make a run for it. Those that claim to be the party of clever economics and fiscal responsibility would do well to remember this simple truth: the square root of fuck all is always going to be absolutely fuck all, no matter how creatively you’re told to to dice it.

I make no apology for the strong language; sometimes people need to be told the facts in the hardest possible terms, just so they’ll sink in.

You’ll hear it again in the following video rant from another great social media icon, Cornish Damo:

Sadly, This Writer doubts that any amount of factual argument will persuade people like Anderson to change their tune, because they believe in the tactic the Tories stole (back) from the Nazi propagandist Goebbels: The Big Lie.

Anderson thinks if he keeps repeating, often enough, the lie that poverty is entirely the fault of people who are poor, and not of those who have deprived them of decent, affordable food, housing, energy, water and all the other necessities of life, we will all eventually believe that lie.

It’s up to you to prove him wrong.

ADDITIONAL: This could be very embarrassing for Mr Anderson:

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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Here’s why it isn’t ‘Right to Buy’ the UK’s diminishing stock of social housing

Headcase in a hard hat: you can be sure the houses Johnson was helping – if you can call it that – to build weren’t publicly-owned.

I just heard a cautionary tale about a family who had a disabled child.

This youngster needed a lot of extra attention and help, so the family needed to be close to what might nowadays be called their “support network” – family members and friends able to help out.

Fortunately, they were able to rent a council house exactly where they needed it.

All was well for some time – until Margaret Thatcher introduced her “Right to Buy” scheme that allowed tenants to purchase their council houses, taking out mortgages on them. The houses lost to the private sector in this way were not replaced.

The family in my story took advantage of the offer and bought their home.

And then the child’s father lost his job.

The family became unable to keep up payments on the mortgage and the lender foreclosed. They lost their home – and were rehoused a considerable distance away, meaning they also lost the “support network” on which they had come to rely.

Nobody bought the now-empty former council house – not for a number of years anyway, and certainly not to the knowledge of the person who told me this tale.

So, as a result of Thatcher’s “Right to Buy” scheme, a family lost their home and it went empty – and this was not a unique situation. Homelessness increased exponentially under Thatcher, and this was a major contributor.

I mention all this by way of introduction. Now let me direct you to an article by the I newspaper’s housing correspondent Vicky Spratt (link below), arguing strongly against Boris Johnson’s plan to revive the “Right to Buy”.

It’s a long read, which I strongly advise you to take the time to absorb. One significant point is that failure to provide good-quality social housing leads to the spread of disease, and private landlords will never be able to provide the quantity or quality of homes people need.

But I’ll cut to the chase. Her verdict on social housing is as follows:

Social housing was a national asset, both because it was state-owned and because it benefited society, empowering people with secure, healthy homes.

Social housing allows people not merely to survive but to build their lives.

On “Right to Buy”:

The problem is that it enabled the transfer of social housing – and the rental income it generates – from local authorities to private landlords, who can charge renters as much as they like. Between 1980 and 2015, it resulted in the sale of more than 2.8 million dwellings. In the same period, we did not come close to replacing these with new social housing.

Jim Strang, former president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, wrote in 2019 that this made it “the biggest act of economic and social self-harm ever inflicted on this nation”.

Who has benefitted most from the policy over the decades? Right to Buy homeowners turned private landlords, and investors who bought up former social homes to rent out. Right to Buy became Right to Buy-to-let.

Hundreds of private landlords now own five or more Right to Buy properties; they are hoarding them and it’s good business. This means that Government pays significantly more in Housing Benefit than they would have if they had kept council properties in state ownership – and it is going straight into the pockets of private landlords. It has become a state subsidy to private landlords.

Delivered through Universal Credit, Housing Benefit is calculated through the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). In his 2010 austerity budget, Osborne announced that he would cut LHA from covering the lowest half of rents in any given area to the lowest third. He also made it impossible for single people under 35 to get Housing Benefit for a place of their own, thinking this would encourage people to look for cheaper properties. In 2016, the Government announced a four-year freeze in LHA.

But rents kept rising, causing low-income renters to have to choose between eating and paying their rent. It forced many out of their homes. And none of Mr Osborne’s cuts reduced the amount that private renters had to pay their landlords – they simply took cash out of renters’ pockets. The private rental market was out of control, with both rising house prices and the social housing shortage enabling it.

Ms Spratt’s comments on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic – and Rishi Sunak’s pathetic offer to tenants – are also well worth noting.

And on Johnson’s new plan, she says:

His policy unit, led by Andrew Griffith, is beginning to examine how up to 2.5 million households – or five million people – who rent from housing associations could be allowed to buy their homes at a discount of up to 70 per cent. Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said the “hare-brained idea” is “the opposite of what the country needs”.

But Boris Johnson has always been about doing “the opposite of what the country needs”. Look at Brexit. Look at his overall response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the thousands of people who died needlessly. Look at his lawbreaking and his lies.

He wants to help private landlords buy up more of the social housing stock because it will put millions more people into housing insecurity; because it will force more of you to have to choose between eating and paying the rent; because it will make more of you homeless.

What do you think of that?

Source: Social housing saved my grandparents in 1956, but Right to Buy has betrayed today’s young families

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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