Monthly Archives: June 2022

Only one thing can now halt the Rachel Riley libel trial: TAX


I’ve just had a nasty shock.

My solicitor has been in touch to remind me that, when he told me in April the amount I would need to raise in order to take the Rachel Riley libel case to trial, he said I needed £60,000 plus VAT.

We have raised 60K but the VAT is still outstanding. At a rate of 20 per cent, it’s an extra £12,000 – although the actual amount is closer to £20,000 because of extra work that my solicitor has had to do, prior to and alongside preparing for the trial.

So my trial may be in jeopardy because of tax, of all things.

I could spend the rest of the article railing at the perceived injustice of this… but I have already done that elsewhere (much to Mrs Mike’s annoyance). It’s better just to get on with the task at hand.

I know you all thought the pressure was off but it is back on again, in a big way. We have only 18 days to raise a significant amount of money.

So – and please forgive me for having to do this again – here are the instructions:

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.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button at the bottom of this article, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

If you make a special effort to make as many people aware of this as possible, I have no doubt we can make it. On its first day, the CrowdJustice fund raised £5,000. On a single day since then, we raised as much as £7,000.

To be so near to our goal, and yet so close to being defeated, is agonising. Let’s put an end to this case – in the only way it should end. Let’s make sure justice can happen.

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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Cost of living crisis: 10 years of Tory benefit cuts are driving people deeper into debt

Sanction centre: people paying back debts to the benefit system are being penalised for being poor by the current Tory cost of living crisis because their situation forces them into the hands of high-interest doorstep lenders who will make their situation worse. Isn’t the benefit system supposed to keep people out of debt?

It is amazing that this has to be spelt out for people but, with us all having to deal with the Tory squeeze on our incomes, this may have evaded a few people.

The cost of living crisis has hit the poorest people and families worst, with people on benefits suffering the worst after 10 long years of punitive Tory cut after punitive Tory cut.

The Resolution Foundation has already pointed out that the poorest households are facing a higher rate of inflation than richer people.

This is because the rising cost of home services (like energy bills), transportation and food is having a greater effect on people with less income and fewer savings to pay for them; it’s not rocket science.

So the headline inflation rate for the lowest tenth of families is around 10.3 per cent, while it is 8.7 per cent for the richest tenth. This is the greatest disparity since cost of living data began to be collected at the start of this century.

Now the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced a study showing that a decade of social security cuts, underfunding, and punitive government debt collection terms are pushing low-income families – particularly benefit claimants – into financial crisis.

In many situations, people were forced to choose between feeding their loved ones and making their rent payments on time, as described in the study. 2.3 million homes had already gone without both.

Low-income individuals have resorted to borrowing, adding £12.5 billion in new debt in 2022 out of a total of £22 billion. They owe high-cost lenders, such as doorstep lenders and illegal loan sharks, a total of £3.5 billion, which jeopardises their future financial stability.

Families are already having a difficult time making their payments. Since October of last year, total personal debt arrears have more than quadrupled from £1.8 billion to £3.8 billion, and JRF anticipates that these arrears will continue to grow as interest rates rise.

Unsettlingly, the research discovered that the government is making life extremely difficult for people by exploiting the benefits system to collect some debts, sometimes at exorbitant rates. Families receiving assistance without these “debt deductions” suffer less than those who are obliged to have them.

JRF has suggested a simple way to ease the burden on these claimants: allow them to repay their debt more slowly while the cost of living crisis is ongoing, rather than cutting their income by a quarter every month.

And Universal Credit entitlements should increase to ensure that – at a bare minimum – people are able to afford the essentials when they fall on hard times.

This is, of course, entirely logical. The benefit system is intended to ensure that people don’t fall into debt at all – not simply to make them prey to loan sharks at a slower speed.

But we’re seeing no announcements about this from Rishi Sunak or Therese Coffey.

All we’ve had are big headlines about payouts to everybody, including £400 for every house – meaning people who own multiple dwellings receive that amount many times, in comparison with the poor who only have one.

This Site has stated it before: it’s a big subsidy for the rich. And the fact that the poor are being driven to loan sharks makes it all the more obscene.

Source: Tory cost of living crisis made worse by a decade of welfare cuts

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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Fed up of This Site banging on about climate change? Here’s Stephen Fry

This is partly for all those “I’m all right” Jacks whose only concern about climate change protest is that they don’t end up being delayed on their way to work.

But it’s mostly for those government ministers who put their heads in the sand whenever a fat fossil fuel firm flings money at them to continue letting greenhouse gases stink up – and heat up – our air, without a single thought for the future.

And its for those corporate chiefs who don’t realise that, after we hit the tipping-point, their money won’t save them and it certainly won’t save their children.

So… I don’t know… why not try putting this clip in front of those people?

Go on. It isn’t very long:

Oh yeah – the video was made in support of Extinction Rebellion, those hand-glueing hippies who the Tory government wants to hide away from the rest of us.

Makes you wonder whether your leaders really have your best interests at heart, doesn’t it?

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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Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers | Left Foot Forward

It’s all happening in Wales!

I bet UK Labour members are eating their hearts out that they’re stuck with Keir Starmer, who probably wouldn’t dream of allowing such a policy in a million years.

The Welsh government has announced that young adults leaving care in Wales will be offered £1,600 a month for two years as part of a universal basic income trial.

That means around 500 18-year-olds will be receiving the money as a ‘safety blanket’ as they enter adulthood. The payments will begin from 1 July and the Welsh government hopes that it will help them “on a path to live, healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.”

Read more: Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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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Mark Drakeford attacks UK Government plan to repeal Welsh trade union law

Mark Drakeford: This Site really needs to get another image of him.

So much for devolution, eh?

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has launched a scathing attack on UK Government plans to scrap a law made in Wales on how trade unions operate in Welsh public services.

The law, brought in five years ago, banned employers from bringing in agency staff to replace striking public sector workers.

So the idea is to stop public sector workers striking in order to have enough pay to, you know, survive by making it possible for low-paid agency workers to be brought in instead. Is that right?

The UK Government’s plan would see it repeal the Trade Union Act (Wales) 2017, which applies to devolved Welsh public bodies and to trade unions in public services delivered by devolved Welsh public bodies including the Welsh NHS, local authorities, schools, fire services and Welsh Government sponsored bodies in Wales.

It says it wants trade union legislation to “apply equally across Great Britain”.

But isn’t it the point of devolution that the different countries can do things in different ways?

Mark Drakeford told the BBC Today programme that it is “absolutely disgraceful that the Westminster Government announced its intention to do this without a single word to the Welsh Government or Welsh Parliament which passed this legislation”.

“We discovered it tucked away in an explanatory memorandum, it just speaks volumes of the disrespectful agenda this Government has towards devolution.

“It’s nonsense, isn’t it, the idea you’ll find an agency worker capable of driving a train, an agency worker capable of operating a signal box. These are hugely safety critical roles we’re talking about. This is just a piece of nonsense dreamt up by a Tory Government.”

Source: Mark Drakeford launches furious attack on UK Government plans to repeal a law made in Wales

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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New three-point independence referendum plan for Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon: she’s going all-out for Scottish independence – and who can blame her, when Boris Johnson has made such a mess of the United Kingdom?

It seems the Scottish National Party is planning to race Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein to be the first to gain independence from Boris Johnson’s UK.

The new majority party in NI has a plan to secede from the Union within the next five years, but the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon has proposed October 19, 2023 as the date for a referendum on Scottish independence.

Her party has published a Referendum Bill, to be debated by the Scottish Parliament – but this will not happen until the UK’s Supreme Court has ruled on whether the Scottish government has the power to hold a vote without UK government approval.

She has requested this approval, writing to Boris Johnson to request formal consent for the vote to be held. He has said the UK government will consider it, but its position that “now is not the time” for another referendum has not changed.

Sturgeon’s aim is to avoid legal challenges to her Referendum Bill when it comes to be debated in the Scottish Parliament; Supreme Court backing will make that possible.

So the plan is that – in the belief that Johnson’s government will refuse to back her request – it will still receive validation that it is lawful and constitutional from the Supreme Court and the Referendum Bill will be passed by the Scottish Parliament.

There is a back-up plan, which is for the SNP to fight the next UK-wide general election on a single issue: “should Scotland be an independent country?”

It is only eight years since the last referendum on Scottish independence, so one can understand why the UK government in Westminster is reluctant to tolerate another one.

In 2014, around 45 per cent of voters supported independence, with 55 per cent against. Current polling shows little change, with 48 per cent in favour and 52 per cent against.

This makes a new referendum a big gamble for the SNP. It may annoy voters into believing that the party is too focused on a single aim, to the detriment of a nation – the UK – that is trying to pick itself back up after the double-blow of Brexit and Covid-19.

Alternatively, the same phenomena may be the reasons for people to support the plan – as the current version of Brexit was Johnson’s brainchild and has been a disaster, while his policies on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic have been similarly ham-handed, resulting in many thousands more deaths than should have happened.

In any event, the Supreme Court may simply rule against the referendum, forcing Sturgeon’s party into its fall-back plan – but what if Johnson calls a general election early in order to wrong-foot her?

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, Sinn Fein’s leaders have a plan to get Northern Ireland out of the union at some point over the next five years – if they can get Unionist parties to stop throwing their toys out of the pram over their election loss and allow the Assembly at Stormont to sit again.

They will be watching what happens in Scotland very carefully, no doubt.

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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Starmer turns away from Labour’s ‘foundational document’ in new lurch to the Right

Offensive gesture: ‘where are Labour voters going to go?’ is the question Starmer seems to be asking. He seems to think left-wing voters will have no choice but to support his hard-right sub-Tory version of the party. Is he correct?

Labour’s leader has betrayed the party’s members yet again.

After wooing leadership voters two years ago with a vow that the 2017 manifesto, devised under Jeremy Corbyn, that brought millions of voters back to the party was its “foundational document” and that “we have to hang on to that as we go forward”… he’s ditching it.

It’s the latest volte face against the policies on which he was elected party leader in 2020 – and possibly the last. After turning his back on his “10 pledges”, is any of his original leadership platform left?

What does it mean, in practise? Well, “left-wing campaign group” Momentum had this to say to The Independent:

“Our country faces huge challenges, from the cost-of-living crisis to the existential threat of climate breakdown. The status quo is failing millions of people – and socialist solutions like public ownership and raising the minimum wage enjoy widespread support amongst the British public.

“But the truth is that the Starmer leadership is avoiding facing these challenges in favour of a reheated and deeply unpopular Blairism. Whether it’s abandoning transport workers fighting for their livelihoods, or offering a windfall tax less ambitious than that of the Tories, Starmer’s tepid, unprincipled approach will neither tackle today’s challenges, nor invigorate a winning electoral coalition.”

And Ian Hodson of the Labour-defying Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, tweeted this:

He makes a good point, doesn’t he?

But with Labour taken over by Tory squatters (including Starmer himself), where will the 10 million who voted for Corbyn’s – authentic – version of the party go?

Source: Keir Starmer says he is scrapping Labour’s last manifesto and ‘starting from scratch’ | The Independent

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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Fascism? Anti-Brexit protester silenced (almost) on day anti-protest Act comes into law

How do you like the new British fascism?

On the very day the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act that bans “noisy” protest became law, police swooped on anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray and confiscated his amplifiers.

Mr Bray, of Port Talbot, has been a regular feature in Westminster for many years, protesting against Brexit. He regularly used his equipment to broadcast protest songs about Boris Johnson, notably during Prime Minister’s Questions.

But after the new Act came into force, which extends a “controlled area” around Westminster where activities like sleeping in a tent are restricted, around 15 police officers swooped on Mr Bray and took his equipment:

According to the Mirror,

One clause that commenced this morning is for police to “impose conditions on one-person protests” – a law critics have speculated was drawn up because of Mr Bray.

A senior police officer can impose conditions on a one-person protest if they “reasonably believe” the noise it creates “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation in the vicinity, or have a significant, relevant impact on people in the vicinity.”

This disruption includes if people in the organisation can’t “reasonably carry out any one of their activities for a prolonged period of time.”

This Writer has seen no evidence that this was the case when Mr Bray’s equipment was taken.

I would certainly encourage you to read the Mirror article, especially the comments by representatives of organisations opposing the draconian measures in the Act. They make its consequences very clear.

This is likely to be the mildest example of the new policy’s enforcement.

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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Rail union’s Mick Lynch gives top-notch analysis of Boris Johnson. WATCH

Mick Lynch: he wasn’t holding back when he appeared on the BBC’s Question Time.

Here’s Mick Lynch of the RMT Union, giving a terrific verdict on Boris Johnson during last week’s BBC Question Time.

You only need to watch the first minute and 50 seconds; the rest takes the debate beyond Mr Lynch and you end up listening to a lot of meaningless Tory ranting. Here it is:

We need more people like Mr Lynch in Parliament. We used to have them, too – before the Labour Party was taken over by students in suits.

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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Government is delaying Covid-19 inquiry, say bereaved families threatening court challenge

Satire? This image suggesting the Tories were lying about their Covid-19 strategy may be more accurate now than at the time it was made. Why is an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic being delayed? Is evidence being altered or destroyed before it becomes illegal to do so?

Families who lost loved ones in the Covid-19 crisis are preparing a court challenge against the Tory government, which they fear is delaying an inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson appointed Baroness Hallett to chair the inquiry in December 2021, and has said it would begin in spring this year. But spring is over and no terms of reference have been published nor setting-up-date specified.

Under the 2005 Inquiries Act, an inquiry “must not begin considering evidence before the setting up date” and once an inquiry is under way it is an offence under the Act to destroy or tamper with evidence.

So the longer the setting up date is delayed, the more evidence it is possible for … someone… to alter or destroy.

That’s the concern of the group Covid-19 bereaved families for justice, who are planning a judicial review into the failure.

Elkan Abrahamson, head of major inquiries at Broudie Jackson Canter, who is representing the group, said taking legal action is the “last thing” families want but they may be left with no choice. He said: “In the vast majority of inquiries a setting-up date is given within days or weeks of the chair being appointed, so this delay of over six months is both unprecedented and totally inexplicable.

“The consequences are extremely serious, as it only becomes a criminal offence to destroy or tamper with evidence after the inquiry’s start date. By failing to give one, the Prime Minister is opening the door to key evidence being destroyed.”

Not only that, but a delay like this means it will take longer, and be more difficult, to learn lessons from the pandemic and the government’s failures in handling it.

Perhaps most to the point, though, is this: Boris Johnson has claimed that he needs to stay on as prime minister to “get on” with tackling the issues that matter most to people – but instead he is delaying a vital inquiry.

He can’t say it’s because he had to deal with the challenges to his own leadership because he has already told us he considers them to have been nothing more than a time-wasting sideshow; he should have been handling the issues that matter – not diverting time and energy to his own self-preservation.

All the government has been able to say is that the inquiry’s terms of reference will be published shortly. Nothing has been said about the setting-up date.

So, what’s really going on here? And do we need a judicial review to establish what’s really going on at the heart of our government?

Source: Bereaved ready to take Government to court over Covid inquiry delay

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