Author Archives: Mike Sivier

About Mike Sivier

When Mike Sivier started Vox Political, he had no idea that he was creating a monster. Disillusioned with the mainstream media after nearly 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, Mike had given it all up in 2007 to become a carer for his disabled girlfriend (affectionately named Mrs Mike, she features in many of his posts). He took on some freelance work, but this took a back seat from late 2011 onwards, when Mike started Vox Political. Born from his interest in politics - with an emphasis on people rather than the movement of money – the blog grew from humble beginnings to become one of the most well-read in the United Kingdom. Amazingly, Mike still has some free time. He uses it to perform in a band called the Dodgie Jammers, and to write comic strips including Hard-Boiled Hitler, for the small-press comic he created in 1999, entitled 'Violent!'. On Twitter, he is MidWalesMike On Facebook he has a page: ‘Mike Sivier’.

Nazanin’s husband goes on hunger strike for second time, due to Tory inaction

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this image is now many years old. Is she still able to smile?

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike for a second time in two years.

He’s hoping to push the Tory government out of its current “couldn’t care less” attitude and into renewed efforts to bring her home.

Here’s the story:

Richard Ratcliffe will sleep in a tent outside the Foreign Office in London after his wife lost her latest appeal in Iran last week.

He said the UK government’s strategy was “broken”, adding: “It does feel like a policy of waiting and we can’t wait forever.

“I had a conversation with the British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, to ask her what she was going to do and she still said, well we are going to talk to the Iranians and there will be consequences if Nazanin goes back. That’s too late.

“Hunger strike is an extreme act and it’s always a bit precarious at the beginning,” he told Sky News.

He continued: “I have to say, I thought that would be a unique experience and that when the prime minister came into office he would resolve our case and keep his word.”

Mr Ratcliffe’s Labour MP, Tulip Siddiq, tweeted in his support – with similarly harsh criticism of the Conservative government:

This Site has been covering Nazanin’s story since Boris Johnson’s initial – disastrous – intervention and it is well worth covering the saga of Tory government ineptitude that has progressed since then:

The case was brought to the UK’s Foreign Secretary – at the time, Boris Johnson – in November 2017. And the first thing he did was make the situation worse.

He said Nazanin had been arrested because she had been “teaching journalism”. In fact, that was the reason for her arrest – a reason that she denies (the Iranian authorities related it to activism against the state).

He later tried to claim that his words had not been clear and he had meant even if she had been teaching journalism, that would not have justified her arrest. But this was not true – one of many lies he has spoken on his way to the top.

The Iranian authorities said they would use Johnson’s words against Nazanin, but he refused to apologise for worsening the situation.

Next it was rumoured that Johnson was going to pay Iran £450 million owed to that country but unpaid due to international sanctions, in return for Nazanin’s freedom…

Then it was said that he had put the brakes on that scheme for fear of upsetting US President Trump.

Nazanin went on hunger strike. While she starved, Johnson (now prime minister) was working on his suntan, on the billionaires’ playground island of Mustique.

She appeared in court on March 14 this year, on a new charge of propaganda against the regime – apparently based on allegations that she took part in a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London 12 years ago and gave an interview to the BBC Persian service.

She was later sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.

Mr Ratcliffe now believes that Nazanin is a pawn in negotiations over the £400 million+ owed by the UK to Iran. The current issue seems to be about interest payable on the debt. Johnson doesn’t want to pay the figure demanded by Iran, one expects.

This Writer’s opinion is that Johnson doesn’t care what happens to Nazanin – he’d rather keep the cash. That’s a very odd way to behave, when one considers all the money he has splashed around to Tory donors and friends during the Covid-19 crisis.

But then, this is a man who (allegedly) said of Covid, “Let the bodies pile up in their thousands” – and they have. And now he is inflicting cholera on us all by allowing foreign-owned privatised water firms to dump raw sewage in our rivers.

With a prime minister responsible for that scale of barbarity, how could anybody expect him to lift a finger for one dual-nationality woman?

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Husband on hunger strike outside Foreign Office for second time in two years | UK News | Sky News

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MPs complain of ‘hate’ after complaints over vote to fill rivers with raw sewage

What do you get if you allow raw sewage to be pumped into rivers, and those rivers then flood?

Cholera.

This Writer is therefore looking forward to the BBC’s Coast special on the cholera outbreak of 2022, after Tory MPs voted en masse to allow cost-cutting water companies to keep pumping sewage into our coastal rivers.

Constituents are – justifiably – complaining. And what do you think the Tories are doing?

They are hiding behind the murder of David Amess to claim that these concerned citizens are “spreading hatred” against them.

Here’s David TC Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, accusing a constituent of just that.  I provide the constituent’s complaint so you can see that there is no reason whatever for him to have claimed what he did:

Here’s a comment on it so you can see it’s not just me kicking up a fuss:

Yes, the conned can be that stupid – especially when they don’t even know what has happened:

Fortunately, the social media are seething…

…and Mr Davies’s lie about “spreading hatred” isn’t stopping people from outing their own MPs. Here’s just a smattering:

And you are encouraged to do the same:

Here’s a handy link to the full list of MPs who supported the raw sewage motion, to help you get started:

Oh – and if you’re thinking we’re all making a big deal out of nothing, think again. Here’s our river quality correspondent:

Sadly, due to the lack of reporting (hello, BBC?) most people probably still don’t know that their rivers and beaches are poisoned, and that their homes will be – after the annual floods hit next year.

Some people are advocating stronger measures than harsh words…

It’s not advisable, really. You don’t win an argument against spreading disease by spreading disease.

In the meantime…

If you’re near the coast, you’ll be getting it anyway.

Come to think of it, the Thames flows into the sea. It’ll probably start stinking soon.

I wonder if the Tories in the Palace of Westminster will even understand that the nasty smell that’s making their taxpayer-funded dinners taste so bad is a result of their own decision?

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If a party won’t do what you want, why would you vote for it?

He couldn’t care less about you: Starmer welcomed heckles at his Labour conference speech because he wanted to humiliate left-wingers by claiming they don’t matter to him. He thinks they have no choice but to vote for his RIGHT-wing policies. But that would be an act of self-harm. We need to teach him that he is badly mistaken.

Labour has just suffered a heavy by-election defeat.

In the Newark and Sherwood by-election, Labour dropped from first to third:

Here’s a charitable commentary on that:

There is a simple explanation for this precipitous fall: people don’t like Keir Starmer and – more importantly – they don’t like his policies.

We know from opinion polls that a majority of the UK public want our public utilities and railways re-nationalised and private businesses removed from the National Health Service, along with a swathe of other socialist policies.

More than 70 per cent of the population support these changes – but both the Tory government and Starmer’s Labour “opposition” are telling you that you can’t have them.

They demand that, in elections, you support the policies that they want to force on you, whether you want them or not.

Why should you?

The answer is easy: the party leaders assume that you are naturally tribal. If you were brought up among Labour supporters, you’ll vote Labour no matter what daft right-wing policies Starmer foists on you. Similarly, if you were brought up among Conservatives, the assumption is that you’ll vote Tory.

They want you to vote against your interests, by lying to you that you don’t have any other choice.

Of course you have another choice: You don’t have to vote for either of them.

In fact, voting for Labour under Starmer would be a vote against the very policies that (according to the polls) you want!

I read an article in the Morning Star that explains the situation:

If Starmer does well at the next election, it will now explicitly be on the basis of his gratuitous and open repudiation of socialist values and principles.

Look at the Green New Deal, housing, Palestine or workers’ rights: no sooner had members passed policy at this conference than a shadow front bench minister was brought forward to renounce the policy and insist that it was not going to make the next manifesto.

The contempt for members, their values and the commitment to socialism under former leader Jeremy Corbyn was made clear in repeated public statements from the front bench, as well as at length in Starmer’s speech.

It further explains:

Is repudiating our entire tradition, our entire worldview and weakening our cause for decades, the price we are willing to pay for a slim (practically non-existent) chance of ending that, in favour of Starmer’s brand of washed-out liberal elitism?

The extinction of socialism from mainstream British politics would have far greater long-term effects on the lives and living conditions of working-class people than another Tory term. It would be a defeat for decency in politics, a defeat for morality, truth and reason.

And it says:

Success for Labour in the present conditions would be detrimental to the development of a truly progressive political agenda, and the advancement of our cause.

Whether you remain a member of Labour or not, unless you have particular mitigating local circumstances (such as a properly socialist local candidate running for Labour) then Labour is currently asking you to vote for the destruction of everything you believe in.

The people making this demand are well aware of how humiliating this is — and how depressing. They are also aware that a socialist movement cannot ever thrive if it is not proud of itself, dynamic and confident. This is yet another intended humiliation to put our ideas and principles back in the box.

Don’t do what you are being asked to do. Don’t vote to trash your principles or our hopes for a better world.

The people of Newark and Sherwood didn’t vote to trash their principles – and most of them are unlikely to have read the Morning Star piece.

This Writer feels sure that Thursday’s result is not unique; Labour is losing ground across the UK because Starmer’s policies are rubbish.

There is a dilemma for party members, who are not allowed to campaign against the party or show support for any other political organisation.

But that doesn’t mean you have to campaign for Starmer’s Labour. And it doesn’t mean you have to vote for policies that would harm you, either.

Starmer and his right-wing headbangers are trying to gaslight you into thinking there is no alternative to them.

They are wrong.

But it’s up to all of us to explain that to them.

Source: Should socialists vote Labour under Starmer? | Morning Star

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Covid catastrophe looms as Tories refuse to support mask-wearing and infections rocket

Did he say it? That hardly matters now – Boris Johnson’s own behaviour, and that of his ministers, shows he agrees with the sentiment.

It’s true: the daily Covid-19 infection rate in the UK hit 52,009 on Thursday (October 21) – the highest since July 16.

The Tory government’s answer seems to be to bring forward its promised round of booster vaccinations. Big deal. They don’t stop people contracting the virus.

What’s the best way to cut infections? Easy: require people to wear face masks and enforce social distancing rules.

And the Tories are never going to do that again, from their behaviour in Parliament.

Remember them in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, when all but a couple of them were maskless?

Sajid Javid was challenged over that during his press conference later that day, and said people in enclosed spaces should wear a mask and think about those around them.

He was almost immediately contradicted by Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg who said Tory MPs don’t need to wear a mask because they all know each other.

Biblically? Ew!

Meanwhile, Health Minister Gillian Keegan went on the morning media round with the unbelievable claim that the number of Covid-19-related deaths – that reached their highest level since March earlier this week and have not dipped below 1,000 a week in months – were “very low”.

She came badly unstuck discussing Rees-Mogg’s bizarre claim about the Tory fraternity in the House of Commons:

Huh? She was making no sense at all.

But then, why should we expect better? She’s a Tory.

Sadly, she was a Tory faced with logic on this particular morning:

Sue, below, has a witty answer to that one:

No – for around 200 people a day it’s a choice between life and death. But the Tories won’t discuss that.

I never understood that either. And I bet thousands of school pupils are having trouble with it too.

I understand the experts are on my side:

And it seems politicians in other countries are listening to the experts:

And what do the Tories do when presented with evidence that mask-wearing – and implementing the so-called ‘Plan B’ of new social distancing restrictions – is the only sane way forward?

They say anybody suggesting such a thing is “virtue signalling”.

That’s right – and it’s something to remember next time you see hundreds of maskless Tories squashed up close to each other on the Green Benches, listening to Jacob Rees-Mogg pontificating.

These people have utter disregard for the wellbeing of those around them. And if they’ll endanger their Tory colleagues, there’s no reason to believe they’ll do anything at all to help you.

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Twitter’s algorithms promote right-wingers over the left – especially in the UK

If you’re a Twitter user who has ever wondered why the fascists seem to get more space on that platform, now you know the answer: Twitter’s computerised rules demand it.

Here‘s the story:

Twitter has admitted it amplifies more tweets from rightwing politicians and news outlets than content from leftwing sources.

The social media platform examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. It also studied whether political content from news organisations was amplified on Twitter.

The research found that in six out of seven countries, apart from Germany, tweets from rightwing politicians received more amplification from the algorithm than those from the left; right-leaning news organisations were more amplified than those on the left; and generally politicians’ tweets were more amplified by an algorithmic timeline than by the chronological timeline.

Under the research, a value of 0% meant tweets reached the same number of users on the algorithm-tailored timeline as on its chronological counterpart, whereas a value of 100% meant tweets achieved double the reach.

On this basis, the UK suffered the second-strongest discrepancy between right and left (behind Canada) – although some might think that Labour (112%) is currently even more right-wing than the Conservatives (176%) meaning the results are skewed by the lack of information about left-wing organisations here.

The findings indicate problems for Twitter because they suggest that right-wing tweets get preferential treatment as a function of the way the algorithm is constructed.

The good news is that Twitter has indicated it may need to change its algorithm to give left-wing tweets a wider – and more equal – audience.

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Care workers are treated like dirt by the Tories. No wonder they’re quitting

We thought this window-writing was by a child in care. It seems it might have been by a carer instead.

Here‘s another crisis the Conservative government has created for itself:

Desperately needed social care staff are quitting their jobs to work in the tourism and hospitality sector because they are ‘burnt out’, the sector has warned.

Exhausted staff are leaving the key worker roles to fill shortages in other sectors, as pubs and restaurants struggle to find enough staff.

Urgent action is needed to stop a “tsunami of unmet need” rippling across essential services this winter, the care regulator has warned.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says health and care staff are “exhausted and depleted” and working under intense levels of pressure.

The vacancy rate in care homes has steadily grown to reach 10.2% as of September – meaning in a year’s time one in 10 care home staff will not be in that job, the CQC said.

And what’s the Conservative government’s response? Make those who are left work harder.

It’s shocking – and ridiculous at the same time. Watch Peter Stefanovic’s video to grasp the full meaning of what Tory minister Gillian Keegan was backed into saying:

For fairness, here’s more of that interview, without interruptions:

I wouldn’t be surprised if every care worker who saw those clips – or the full interview when it was screened – quit their job at once.

It is clear that they aren’t valued and will simply be worked until they drop – and then blamed for the holes in the care system they leave behind.

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On eve of COP26 conference, Tories endorse dumping sewage in rivers

Here’s an angry public figure: Feargal Sharkey was the singer of The Undertones and The Assembly before having a career as a solo performer – and he is now an environmental campaigner against the pollution of British rivers. He knows his stuff.

Here’s what made the dumping possible:

The Tory government had previously given polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea, after it turned out that Brexit had closed the UK’s borders to chemicals that are used to treat effluent.

The Environment Agency said companies struggling to get hold of the chemicals would be allowed to “discharge effluent without meeting the conditions” of their permits, which normally require water to be treated by a multi-step process.

Companies should “resume use of chemicals to treat effluent as soon as is practicable”, the agency said.

But now it seems the government has reneged on this demand. According to Evolve Politics,

Lords Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.

Treating raw sewage costs money – and many have speculated that privatised water companies are simply dumping it into our waterways in order to make bigger profits.

Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustace recommended to his fellow MPs that they should reject it.

And, owing largely to the government’s 80 seat majority, the amendment was indeed defeated – by a margin of 268 MPs to 204.

You can see how your MP voted on the amendment here.

There has been a lot of speculation about the Tories’ reasons for blocking the amendment. For example:

Others have suggested the possibility that MPs have shares in the polluting companies and hope to make a fortune on the cash saved by not cleaning the water before dumping it.

Whatever the reason, the optics (as they are known) are terrible, right before the big COP26 climate change summit.

Boris Johnson is on record as having said he wants the UK to be the “cleanest, greenest” country; instead, he’s sending his lieutenant, Alok Sharma, to host the climate conference in one of the world’s major water polluters.

If either of them try to claim the moral high ground on the environment, the hypocrisy will sink them – hopefully, beneath a wave of their own effluent.

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No ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS? Then why are GPs threatening to strike?

Sajid Javid: behind the smug smile there appears to be no intelligence at all.

The following tweets appeared next to each other on my timeline:

It’s just more evidence that Sajid Javid was lying when he said pressure on the NHS due to Covid-19 was “not unsustainable” – as if we needed it, after Stephen Powis contradicted him during his own press conference on Wednesday:

GPs are under severe pressure due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis – worsened by the government’s refusal to take action to reduce infections, in the face of increases past 50,000 a day and the worst death rate since March.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid wants to compel them to hold face-to-face appointments with anybody who wants one – and is threatening to publicly humiliate surgeries that don’t meet targets he imposes.

As a result,

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment.

The British Medical Association’s GPs committee voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary, Sajid Javid.

The doctors’ union has decided to hold a ballot on possible industrial action, which could result in family doctors at the 6,600 practices in England reducing the work they undertake.

So Javid’s interference is likely to make it less possible to see a GP personally. What a stupid way to run a health service.

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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Tories oppose ban on ‘fire and rehire’ – supporting oppression of employees by foreign bosses?

Apologies for using the ‘foreigners own UK businesses’ line but it is important to make the point that Brexit hasn’t stopped people from foreign countries interfering in employment practices here.

On the contrary – foreign ownership of UK businesses and assets is higher than ever. Weetabix was taken over by a US corporation four years ago – after the decision to quit the European that was motivated partly by a (racist) desire to stop foreigners from taking our jobs.

How is it better for foreigners to dictate increasingly worse pay and working conditions for people in this country?

And why is the UK’s Tory government – that pushed through Brexit as a way to counter foreign interference – supporting the exploitation of our workers via fire-and-rehire?

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Look:

Exploitative bosses? Our Angry Yorkshireman must mean the Americans who are now in charge of Weetabix:

So, what’s the message?

Johnny Foreigner coming to the UK to do work that British people won’t touch is bad…

But Johnny Foreigner owning UK businesses and attacking employees’ pay and conditions is good? For whom? It certainly isn’t helping you.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
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but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Resisting lawfare: my speech to the Festival of Resistance

You may be aware that This Writer spent last weekend (October 16-17) at the Festival of Resistance in Nottingham, where I had been asked to speak on a subject I know a little about: ‘Resisting Lawfare’.

Lawfare, as defined on the festival programme, is the misuse of our legal systems and principles, to damage reputations and delegitimise influential figures – for political purposes.

In the UK, for example, it is being used to attack left-wing and centre-left voices like This Writer’s, especially those that question the claims of anti-Semitism that have arisen against major political figures over the last five or six years.

Those who are targeted have to waste years, and spend fortunes, defending themselves.

The workshop, which I helped run on both days of the festival to great acclaim, aimed to explain the background to this David and Goliath struggle, and how to mount a counter-attack.

I left the background to my co-presenter, Ammar Kazmi, and will not presume to paraphrase him here. My mission was to explain how ordinary people like myself can fight lawfare and – hopefully – win.

I never gave my speech as I had written it. Time restrictions and a desire to adapt to the questions of attendees changed the structure of what I said (although not the meaning).

This is therefore the first time it has seen daylight as I initially intended it. I feel I should apologise to those of you who could not attend the workshops, as what follows is a pale imitation of what happened there.

Things to do when faced with lawfare:

First of all: NOTHING.

The most important thing to do when a solicitor’s letter lands on the mat is to NOT REACT IMMEDIATELY. The hasty stroke often goes awry. Before responding in any way, it is best to consider the situation in the round.

Does the other side have a case or are these people trying to bully you because they think they can, or in order to score a point in a political argument, or for some other reason?

(We’ll assume they DON’T have a case, for the purposes of this talk. We underdogs are always going to be on the side of right. Right?)

This is the more important question: Are you able to fight them in the courts, if it comes to that?

To answer this question affirmatively, you need to have access to three qualities. It isn’t necessary for you to possess any of them yourself, and I’ll explain the reasons for that in a moment.

I have defined these qualities as three S’s: Strength, Skill and Stamina.

(I did consider calling them Strength, Endurance and Expertise but the acronym for that would have been SEX. That would have led to some awkward lines, like: “Ask yourself: do you have SEX?”)

STRENGTH is obvious: do you have the will to go into a legal battle with your opponent – the strength OF CHARACTER to see it through?

It turns out that many people think they don’t. I have seen people with huge public profiles, who you might think were pillars of – yes – strength, wilt like flowers in the autumn when faced with a sternly-worded (and therefore probably misleading) letter from a lawyer.

I think these people underestimate themselves. Did they think they were right to do whatever the other side is complaining about? Do they still think so? Then they probably were!

Part of the problem here might be that they have been ‘softened up’ on the social media: I attracted attention because I wrote an article about… a certain television personality. The immediate response to it was that I was dogpiled by people who were either her Twitter followers or who claimed to support her and what she was doing.

Dogpiling – according to the Urban Dictionary – happens when a person says something that others consider to be wrong or offensive, and a large number of people comment in response to tell the person how wrong and/or horrible they are, and continue to disparage the original commenter beyond any reasonable time limit.

The aim is to join in with an angry group to yell at an easy target, or to get popularity points for being seen to agree with the group. They see that everyone else is doing something, and they copy it. The original commenter typically does not respond at all, because they are completely overwhelmed or scared off. Once a dogpile has been established, an apology from the original commenter is less likely to be effective.

Dogpiling doesn’t really work on me because I don’t often accept the assertion that I’m wrong. I also tend to take the time to answer every single dogpiling message – and the dogpilers tend to disappear when they’re faced with reason.

But this leads me to another consequence of dogpiling – the possibility of saying things that may be used against you – for example, in court. Is it intentional? To lure you into providing evidence that can be used in litigation? Whether it is or not, the result can be the same. And any material the other side picks up this way can be used to intimidate a potential defendant.

But! Any fears generated this way are likely to arise from a feeling of ignorance about the process that the other side is threatening to thrust them into – and that leads me to the next quality you need.

You need SKILL. In other words, you need to get lawyered-up. When I was threatened with litigation, I had never spoken to a solicitor in my life. I had no ideas about who to employ or how to find them.

Fortunately, I live in a time when we are blessed with the Internet. I looked one up! Libel litigation is a highly specialised field, so if you open up your favourite search engine and try to find libel lawyers in your area, you might have to widen the radius of that area quite a way before you find one.

You need to be able to reassure yourself that they can do the job, so check their online resumes for evidence of previous successes that may be similar to your case, or of the skills (there’s that word again) that you need.

If lawfare is becoming a major issue, then it might be worth someone compiling a database of solicitors with the necessary abilities…

I found a solicitor based in the Midlands – a fair few miles from my home in Mid Wales, but of course distance is meaningless when you have email and video meetings.

Finally, you’ll need STAMINA – a lot of it. I don’t just mean the ability within yourself to endure a long slog, either (which is a different quality from strength, I promise you!) – this also refers to the financial wherewithal to see you through.

I am as poor as a church mouse!

I gave up my career as a local daily newspaper reporter to become a carer for my disabled girlfriend – you may know her as Mrs Mike – because it offered me more financial security at the time (and that’s a bitter indictment against employment practices in modern Britain, isn’t it?).

I started Vox Political on the urging of a friend who thought I would be a good blogger. It seems his instincts were right because it has achieved quite a lot. I made it a commercial enterprise in 2014 and since then it has brought in a fair bit of pocket money. But I only made enough to sign off Carers Allowance in one year – and that was the year before Covid-19 hit, and brought all our incomes crashing down.

I knew I couldn’t win a lawsuit on my own meagre funds, so – after an initial discussion with my new solicitor, to make sure that I did indeed have a defensible case – I set about arranging some CROWDFUNDING.

I know that Chris Williamson has launched the Left Legal Fighting Fund, which doesn’t get nearly enough publicity, but this was not available to me in early 2019 because it hadn’t happened yet.

So I went to CrowdJustice. It’s not a perfect situation because the site takes a percentage of everything I raise, but it is staffed by lawyers who are entirely capable of defending you – and their site – against threats from opposing litigants.

I had tried fundraising with another site previously, but this was stopped when a (let’s call them a) malefactor threatened the site operators. The same thing has been attempted with CrowdJustice, but the nasties were sent away under no uncertain terms!

But starting a crowdfunding operation is not the same as having cash rolling in, so the next part is vital: PUBLICITY.

If nobody knows what’s happening to you, they aren’t going to help. That much is obvious, right?

What may not be obvious to victims of malicious litigation such as lawfare is that there are good people out in the world who are entirely able and willing to support a good cause – if they only know about it!

I was fortunate with my crowdfund, in that I had Vox Political – and all the social media networks through which I publicise that site’s posts – available to me to seek support for my crowdfund. I have thought very carefully about whether I would have fared as well without that infrastructure.

My conclusion was that it is entirely possible to raise a significant amount of cash, using the power of the Internet and other forms of networking. Almost all of us have a Facebook account, or Twitter, or one of the other forms of social media. We can – and do – use those to talk about our lives’ events, every day. This is no different from that.

You can publicise your struggle with the local (or even national) press, just by emailing them. Reporters are always keen on a good human interest story, and if it’s about a “David and Goliath” struggle it could be pure gold to them.

It is not a short-term prospect.

As I say, I started my CrowdJustice campaign around two and a half years ago. In order to keep it in the public eye, I’ve had to publish more than 100 updates during that time.

It is vital to keep the public informed.

It can also be extremely tiring.

There will be developments in the case, and you will need to inform your funders of those as a matter of duty – good or bad; they are paying for your defence so you must tell them what is happening.

There will also be times when nothing happens for weeks on end. You will still need to publish regular updates or your funders will think your case has petered out and drift away. It can be challenging to come up with something to write at such times.

But it is possible. All you have to do is be aware of what’s going on around you. For example, other events in the news might be relevant to your case – or you could comment on them as a way of drawing attention to your crowdfund.

There’s another aspect of having a crowdfund, and of publicising your case on the social media, that may be overlooked: The support you’ll get from the public.

This cannot be overstated or underestimated.

I was in a pretty low place when I launched my CrowdJustice fund. I knew I was a fairly low-profile political commentator and feared that nobody would bother too much if I sank into a mire of legal debts, even if I did not deserve to be saddled with them.

And I hit my initial funding target within a single day. How wrong can a person be?

The comments I received were a joy to read – and still are. These were people who had become aware of the lawfare being waged against people like myself and were absolutely opposed to it, so they saw their contribution to be doing what they could to fight injustice.

They have buoyed me up during the hard times, and given me the resolve to keep going, even when all seemed lost.

And there have been a few such moments – because the other side, in cases like mine, is likely to use all the legal trickery available to its lawyers’ imaginations and experience.

My own belief is that my case has been artificially lengthened to an exorbitant degree with repeated, costly, applications to the court by the other side. The aim – it seems to me – has been to drain off any funds I have gained and put me in a position where I cannot afford to pay my own legal team. I am still in danger of that today.

There have been arguments over the meaning of the words my opponent was complaining about.

There was a “shifting sands” application in which it was claimed that I had changed the meaning of my article because the author of two pieces it referenced had taken them down. I’m still not sure why I was to blame. I simply asked him to put them back up and that was the end of that.

There was an application to strike out my defences, that nearly finished me off. It seems to me that neither set of lawyers, nor the High Court itself, had a clear idea of the rules for such an application. In the end, it seemed that the judge wanted to see every scrap of evidence and hold a mini-trial – in contradiction of logic – and then struck out my defences – all of them – because I had not put it all before her.

Fortunately my funders leapt to my aid and I was able to raise enough to take the case to the Court of Appeal and have the decision reversed – for one of my defences.

There may be other such battles still to be fought.

The reason for these sideshows seems clear to me: the last thing my opponent wants is for the case to go to trial. I am in a bizarre situation where, after having a lawsuit thrust upon me, I am dragging my opponent into court.

My impression is that the other side is terrified of having the details of the case discussed in great detail – in full view of the public – because it is likely to make them look, well, very bad indeed.

I think they expected me to be like some of the others I mentioned earlier – to wither like a flower in the autumn – allowing them to take my money, publicise their victory in the most prejudicial terms, and put me out of business. That has not happened – and some might say that that is a very good reason for me – or anybody – to fight.

In summary:

1. Don’t react without thinking. Think carefully about what has happened. What are they really claiming? How can you defend against it?

2. Ask yourself whether you have the strength and stamina to fight the claim.

3. Seek legal advice.

4. Crowdfund.

5. Be prepared to have to deal with multiple ‘sideshow’ court applications by the other side.

6. Report everything to your crowdfunders because it will bring in more donations.

7. KEEP GOING.

My case is still under way. If you don’t know about it, you can find many details here. The CrowdJustice site provides a chronicle of the way the case has developed, and shows how it has changed in response to decisions from the High Court and the Court of Appeal in London.

If, after reading all this, you are encouraged to contribute – in the spirit of fighting against the manipulation of our legal system for political purposes, please follow the following instructions:

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.

Lawfare is a clear and present threat to free speech in the UK and elsewhere – principally because it relies on the ability of the privileged and powerful to secure legal decisions in their favour because they have money; the details of their cases are often unsupportable.

I hope to be able to demonstrate this when my case comes to trial, hopefully next year.

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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Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook