Category Archives: Bias

Outrage after Tory agent on BBC board sabotaged job appointment for political reasons

[Image: Sketchaganda].

It was never going to work.

Boris Johnson’s Conservative government put its man Robbie Gibb on the board of the BBC as a non-executive director and he has tried to block the appointment of a news boss on political grounds.

The irony is that non-executive directors are responsible for “upholding and protecting” the BBC’s independence – not to make demands on the behalf of their political leaders.

Gibb used to be Theresa May’s communications director when she was prime minister. Before that, he was a BBC journalist and he started his career as a Tory aide – so it seems likely that his politics has coloured much of his work.

The BBC has often been criticised as the propaganda wing of the Tory Party and this intervention will only strengthen that impression among members of the public. It proves that attempts to rig decisions of organisations like the BBC by stuffing their ruling bodies with Tories can only backfire.

What did he do?

He sent a message to the Corporation’s director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, warning her not to appoint Jess Brammar to a new post of BBC executive news editor, saying it would shatter the relationship between the BBC and the Tory government.

It is clearly a political intervention. Brammar’s career is now being trashed by other Tory propaganda mouthpieces:

What could this “borderline fake news lefty clickbait website” be? It seems an odd way to describe HuffPost UK, and This Writer looks forward to seeing that organisation’s reaction to the smear.

Previously, Brammar had been deputy editor of Newsnight.

According to the Financial TimesGibb’s message to Unsworth said she “cannot make this appointment” and the government’s “fragile trust in the BBC will be shattered” if she went ahead. One of his cronies has apparently denied the claim.

The recruitment process has now stalled. Gibb’s message was allegedly sent on June 22 and the post has yet to be filled.

Apparently the Corporation is going through Brammar’s past statements, in public and on the social media. To see if it can find some dirt on her that would invalidate her application?

It’s alleged that Gibb would want her defence of HuffPost journalist Nadine White to count against her – but if so, natural justice would demand that he be disappointed.

White was attacked by Tory minister Kemi Badenoch, who claimed she was “creepy and bizarre” in asking questions about a Covid-19 vaccines video that Badenoch branded unnecessary.

In response, Brammar filed a former complaint to the Cabinet Office, stating that “this characterisation of a journalist asking questions as somehow undermining a public health message or fostering misinformation should alarm anyone working in journalism or anyone who believes its job is to hold power to account.”

Realistically, the vetting process is unlikely to provide any reason to reject Brammar because Gibb’s intervention has forced the BBC’s hand.

Turning her away would indicate that the Corporation is vulnerable to political pressure – the kiss of death for an organisation that has long had to defend itself against such accusations.

And there is another possible reason for Gibb to have intervened now.

Awkward

The BBC is currently negotiating a five-year financial settlement with Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

Still-newly-appointed director general Tim Davie – himself a dyed-in-the-wool Tory – has spent a lot of time, and used up a considerable amount of his own credibility, steadying relations with the government in the midst of aggressive (some would say unreasonable) criticism.

Doesn’t it seem likely that Gibb’s claim about Brammar may be just the excuse Johnson needs to cut BBC funding further than previous Tory governments already have?

Whatever happens, the public response has been a PR disaster for the Tories:

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WHY YOU NEED ME: Johnson’s government is out of control and the mass media are his cheerleaders

It’s not just Vox Political that you need – any social media commentary site that actually criticises the government rather than acting as its stenographer will do.

Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has put the situation in a nutshell with his own latest blogpost on Mainly Macro.

He states that Boris Johnson’s dictatorship is beyond Parliamentary control, and he has the mainstream media in his pocket.

He uses the decision to cut aid funding to foreign countries from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent as an example:

A large number of Conservative MPs were unhappy with this, and wanted to use parliament to reverse this cut. The parliament’s speaker ruled their attempt invalid, but requested the government to allow a vote on the issue. The government refused.

The executive increasingly views parliament with contempt.

We knew this government thought little of parliamentary sovereignty when it closed it down, illegally, before the last election. The courts forced it to retract that measure, so now the government is intending to pass laws that would prevent the courts doing so again.

Of course, Parliament could pass a motion of “no confidence” in this dictatorship – but Prof Wren-Lewis rightly points out that “that is never going to happen while Johnson looks like winning the next election. As a result, parliament has no effective control over what this government does.”

Yes, it’s corrupt. But it’s the system we have.

Prof Wren-Lewis goes on to mention a series of scandals involving Johnson’s ministers: Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson, Priti Patel, and Robert Jenrick.

Did he sack any of those ministers for corruption and dishonesty? Of course not – and Prof Wren-Lewis puts his finger on the reason: “They are his people, and nothing bad is going to come from keeping the ministers he chose in the job… The key is that this government is totally unaccountable, and does just what it likes.”

And the reason it can do what it likes – more than any other – is the fact that Johnson controls the UK’s mass media. And that means he can control what you think about him:

For a large part of the press, Johnson is their Prime Minister. They became propaganda outlets to persuade people to vote for Brexit, and they have remained propaganda outlets supporting the government ever since.

The extent to which the right wing press has become the propaganda arm of the right in the Tory party has steadily increased over the last few decades.

Prof Wren-Lewis rightly narrows his focus down to the BBC. The corporation has a huge, 70 per cent, share of the current affairs information that gets into your home and into your head:

The big change, begun by Thatcher and Cameron and completed by Johnson, is to tame the BBC. This is hardly surprising, when party donors are appointed to key positions and the government keeps attacking the BBC’s outputs, income and even its existence.

The BBC does not push propaganda, but they do not take it on either, giving the press a largely open field for their propaganda to work.

They avoid the truth if it embarrasses the government, and when its reporters do tell things straight, they are put down by the BBC’s leadership.

Because of the way the BBC fails in its reporting, even things that do have a large impact on voters, like tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, will never be described in those terms.

That lack of media accountability allows Johnson to ignore his scientists, and put personal ‘freedom’ above saving lives and the economy. This is what happens when the government becomes unaccountable. It is allowed to make mistakes costing lives, and pays no price for these mistakes.

What does this mean for you – the news viewer/reader and voter?

See for yourself:

The only accountability that has any influence on this government is the electorate. But because of its natural advantage in the media, and unfortunately an opposition that seems pretty ineffective beyond PMQs, that influence on the government is partial and weak.

Issues most voters will not notice, because their only sight of them is a news item towards the end of a bulletin (like the government breaking the law on contracts), can be safely ignored by the government.

That means your attention is diverted away from criticism of the Johnson government’s many failings.

You are told that everything is running swimmingly by the government’s front man, whose upbeat turn of phrase and mop of deliberately-messy blond hair hides his “duper’s delight” smile that says he is lying to you.

You believe him when he tells you the vaccination programme is keeping you safe, even though cases of Delta Variant Covid-19 infections are skyrocketing.

You don’t believe he has screwed up the economy with his duff Brexit trade deals, or that he has jeopardised the peace in Northern Ireland, or any number of other idiocies for which he is responsible – because you simply don’t know about them.

That’s where I come in.

Vox Political has provided consistent criticism of the UK’s politicians for very nearly 10 years.

That means when Daniel Kawczynski apologised for bullying, I was able to put it in context and point out it is not a minor incident.

It means when Priti Patel supports football fans who boo protests against racism, I can point out all the incidents in her career that show she is a racist too.

It means I can highlight Tory corruption whenever it surfaces.

And that means the UK’s electorate should be reading Vox Political – right?

But only a tiny fraction of the politically-oriented public does – because the mass media ignore the work done here (for obvious reasons – they support the Tories and don’t want to publicise anybody who doesn’t) and the social media platforms push sites like this one down your newsfeeds so you don’t realise we’re here.

The ultimate aim is to starve us out of business so there’s nobody left to object when they spoonfeed you their Tory-approved falsehoods, anaesthetising you into supporting Johnson’s crowd while they strip you of all the hard-won freedoms your ancestors gained over the last hundred years and more.

As I say, Vox Political isn’t the only critical social media site available. But times have been hard over the year (and more) of Covid-19. Readerships have fallen and some of us are in danger.

So, please do yourself – and everybody you know – a favour.

Give us a boost, every chance you get.

Promote us to your friends and family members when we highlight the facts that contrast so strongly with the fairy stories you see on the BBC News.

The only way to change people’s minds is one at a time – but that can’t happen if everybody is ignoring the facts and turning down the chance to explain them.

Source: mainly macro: A government out of control

Don’t believe the Daily Brexit’s hard-right reporting – support the boycott of JLM anti-Semitism training

The Daily Brexit (otherwise known as the Express) has used concerns over planned training on how to spot anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to trot out the tripe that was used to attack Jeremy Corbyn – again.

“HARD Left supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have started a social media campaign to stop Labour members from carrying out antisemitism training,” the article begins – but nowhere does it provide examples to show that any of these people are Communists.

The reporting continues in a way that – although it avoids direct lies – may be considered dishonest.

“The course… has been recommended to members after the party became mired in an antisemitism scandal under Mr Corbyn’s leadership,” it states – failing to note that the majority of accusations were false. The entire campaign was an attempt to undermine Corbyn with lies.

“Among its objections to the training is that it is being run by an organisation which was vehemently critical for the former Labour leader.” Really?

Or would it be more accurate to say the objection to JLM is the fear that it will record members’ contributions, selectively edit them and then send them to media organisations like the Brexit as further proof of anti-Semitism?

“Several … cited the case of former Labour member Jackie Walker, who was expelled following comments she made during an antisemitism training session, in which she criticised Holocaust Memorial Day for only commemorating Jewish victims.” Ms Walker was the victim of this recording-selective-editing-and-release-to-the-media tactic, yet the Brexit skates over that fact without mentioning it.

“They are also furious that JLM successfully persuaded the party to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism which recognises that attacks on Israel are often antisemitic.”

More accurately: the IHRA working definition confuses anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the actions of the Israeli state, making it possible to accuse people of anti-Semitism when they are actually – and accurately – criticising Israeli persecution of Palestinians.

There’s no mention in the article of the fact that the man who wrote the IHRA definition has himself admitted it is not fit for purpose, for this very reason.

It seems likely that whoever wrote the story – David Maddox, political editor (I don’t know him either) – was simply quoting from a press release he had been sent, and hadn’t actually done a scrap of work to check the facts.

Who would send such a press release? My bet is on the person quoted in the article – Euan Philipps of that famous hate group, Labour Against Anti-Semitism.

LAAS has submitted hundreds – maybe thousands – of spurious anti-Semitism accusations against party members, most of which failed to trigger an investigation. Because they were false?

It typically scrapes information from Labour members’ activities on the internet and then presents it as evidence of anti-Semitism – often with little or no justification. The Brexit‘s claim to have seen 300 WhatsApp messages supports LAAS involvement.

None of the comments quoted in the article demonstrate any evidence of anti-Semitism – although some will claim that the way Zionism is mentioned qualifies.

Zionism, in its simplest form, is the desire for Jewish people to be able to live within the historic borders of Israel.

But the ideology has been perverted to justify the forcible removal – including killing – of Palestinians who have lived on that land for many hundreds of years by the contradictorily-named Israeli Defence Force.

Criticism of such racist hate crimes is habitually dismissed as anti-Semitism, remember. You see how this accusation game works?

This Writer has already called for these “training” sessions to be ignored.

The Jewish Labour Movement is not an acceptable provider. Evidence supporting claims of its affiliation with a racist party in Israel, that it was revived specifically to undermine Corbyn, and that it supports the aggressive Zionism I have described above is demonstrable.

What a shame the zealots who launched – and perpetuate – this campaign against decent Labour Party members are supported in their aims by so-called news reporters who appear to be little more than typists.

Source: Hard Left bid to stop Labour antisemitism training in attack on Starmer’s authority | Politics | News | Express.co.uk

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Denial of ‘surge’ vaccination suggests Tory Covid-19 response is now politically biased

Mealy-mouthed: Jenrick said he was following scientific advice by denying “surge” vaccinations to Greater Manchester. But isn’t it more accurate to say he is starving a Labour-voting area of the help it needs?

Would they have said “no” if Greater Manchester had a Conservative mayor?

That is the question that should be on everybody’s lips after Tory minister (and he’s as corrupt as they come) Robert Jenrick rejected GM mayor Andy Burnham’s call for “surge” vaccinations in his metropolitan area, where there has been a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.

Jenrick said: “We are going to stick with the advice we have received from the JCVI, our advisers, which say that it is better to continue to work down the age categories on a national basis, rather than adopt a regional or geographical approach.

“Their advice has served us well so far as a country, they have got the big calls right since the start of the vaccine rollout.”

Oh really?

In that case, why are Covid-19 cases on the increase in the UK yet again, boosted by the rise of a variant that probably would not have had nearly as large an effect if vaccination doses had been delivered on the timescale advised by the manufacturers?

For example, The Writer had the first Astrazeneca jab on April 4 and – according to the government – should receive the second dose between eight and 12 weeks later. I’m now in the middle of the 10th week since that injection and haven’t heard a whisper about a second inoculation.

Burnham’s call has won approval from the public:

And Jenrick’s dismissal of Burnham is being treated as political favouritism:

Others have suggested that the Tories simply don’t care about the North (ex-Red Wall Tory voters please take note).

In a rational society, when there is a pandemic infection with a vaccine available, inoculations would be concentrated in areas with increased cases of the disease.

But we don’t live in a rational society. We live in one that is run by Tories.

They do not understand or care about Covid-19 and its effects on the stock (which is what they call you).

They are simply going through the motions in order to appear to be acting competently.

And if they can use a fatal disease to reduce support for their main political rivals, then they are low enough to do that.

Source: Ministers reject Burnham demand for surge vaccination in Greater Manchester – LabourList

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Johnson is steering us towards another – more dangerous – Covid wave. And he is deliberately distracting us from it

The only sensible course of action: but it seems thousands more UK citizens may have to catch Covid-19 – and may potentially die – before the tribal Tory electorate accept this truth.

It seems we have a prime minister who is not only ignoring all the evidence that another wave of Covid-19 is coming – he is steering us into it while trying to distract us from it.

How is he being allowed to do this irresponsible – homicidal – possibly genocidal thing without a whisper against it from the mass media that govern the opinions of most of us?

Well, that’s easy. He had a “secret” wedding last weekend and got them all to make a big fuss about that instead.

In fairness, Keir Starmer tried to tell us all that the delta variant of Covid-19 could cause a new wave of infections and deaths, worse than in the winter. Did you even know that?

The latest Mainly Macro blog from Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has set out some of the most damning details in what I think is an effective way. Consider [boldings mine]:

“We are at the beginning of a new COVID wave. Yet rather than stop further relaxation of the lockdown (not doing stage 3), this government carried on regardless. It reduced lock down restrictions because the PM and the rest of the cabinet were prepared to see another wave of cases, hospitalisations and a fair number of deaths in the UK.

“When cases in another country start growing rapidly, you quarantine in hotels people coming from that country. If they have existing variants of concern, you do the same. You do not wait because the PM has a state visit planned hoping things will get better.

“Once a variant of concern enters the country, you direct all resources to isolating that variant and preventing spread. You do not persist with a failed test and trace system because it is politically embarrassing to overhaul it. You make payments to those asked to isolate automatically.

“The new variant is spreading rapidly in schools in areas where it is concentrated, so what did the government do? It told people in secondary schools they didn’t need to continue wearing masks.

“We know the Indian variant spreads a lot more rapidly than anything we already have, and it has become the dominant form of COVID in the UK in mid-May. It is now the dominant form in most regions. We also have evidence that one dose of vaccine offers less protection against this variant than against other forms of COVID, but two doses does offer a similar amount of protection. Around half of the UK adult population has had two doses of vaccine, meaning the other half have one or none at all. That, according to SAGE projections available before the government went to stage 3, could cause a wave of hospitalisation similar to what happened in the New Year.

“The number of deaths should be less than past waves, but we are still talking about many people dying who didn’t need to die. But hospitals are only just beginning to reduce the backlog from other diseases like cancer created by previous COVID waves, and another wave of hospitalisations will reverse that process, leading to yet more deaths from non-COVID causes.

“The Prime Minister cannot know that things will not be so bad in this new wave. He is following dates rather than the data, and yet again not following scientific advice, because he is more interested in giving people the freedom to spread the virus to others. 

“A new wave is also highly likely to stop the UK economic recovery in its tracks.

“A wave in cases with most people vaccinated is about the most irresponsible thing you could possibly do. It invites new variants to be created that are far better at bypassing the vaccines we have. The more cases you allow when most of the population is vaccinated the greater the chance that a variant will emerge that vaccines are far less effective against.

Much of the gains of the vaccination programme could be lost, and we will have to start all over again.

“Cummings’ message was that this Prime Minister is exactly the wrong person to be leading us in this pandemic, and most of the media chose to ignore his warnings.

“Will the broadcast media start holding this government and its Prime Minister responsible for past and possible future deaths? Will voters finally realise that they are being lied to by this government all the time, and their lives and livelihoods are at risk as long as Johnson continues as Prime Minister?”

Sadly, I think we all know the answer to both of those questions.

Source: mainly macro: Worried about another COVID wave? Here are some pictures of Johnson getting married again

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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Anti-left wing propaganda paper forced to pay damages and apologise to Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

If anybody reading this doesn’t understand the significance: Marc Wadsworth is a left-wing campaigner who Labour MP Ruth Smeeth had ejected from the party after she made a false accusation of anti-Semitism against him.

I explained what happened in a 2016 article on This Site:

Smeeth had [Wadsworth] kicked out of the Labour Party after an incident at the launch of Shami Chakrabarti’s report into alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour party on June 30.

Telegraph reporter had handed her a leaflet Marc Wadsworth had been distributing, allegedly (I haven’t seen it) accusing Labour MPs who had rebelled against Mr Corbyn of treachery, and asked her (we’re told) for a comment.

Mr Wadsworth’s comment was: “I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order.”

He is a person of colour himself and says he had no idea Ms Smeeth is Jewish. But she had him booted from the party for anti-Semitism.

Here‘s some video evidence.

A report on that incident by the Jewish Chronicle prompted Wadsworth to take a complaint to newspaper regulator IPSO, who upheld it.

The paper had claimed that Wadsworth’s “verbal abuse” of  a Jewish MP, during the launch event of a report into “Jew-hatred in labour” had caused outrage among moderate party members and the Jewish community.

Under investigation by IPSO, the paper changed its reference to abuse, so that the article now states that he “challenged” Smeeth.

But that hasn’t stopped the Jewish Chronicle from publishing false information about this man. According to its own standards, he would be well within his rights to bring an action against it for racism.

This time, the paper’s correction reads as follows:

We reported that Marc Wadsworth had spoken at the launch event for the ‘Labour in Exile Network’ (LIEN), a group that aimed to discover the addresses of Jewish Labour activists to “take care” of them, and that he was thereby complicit in a conspiracy to intimidate, threaten or harass Jewish activists into silence. We also suggested that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that such activities were criminal. Our story was wrong. Mr Wadsworth did not speak or even attend the online event. Mr Wadsworth is not a member of LIEN and we accept that he has not been involved in any of the group’s activities. We apologise to Mr Wadsworth for our error and have agreed to pay damages to him.

How does a reporter make a mistake like that? To say, not only that somebody was at an event when he wasn’t, but that he had taken an active role?

If it’s a case of “all black people look the same” then it is time for a serious investigation – not only into this propaganda sheet’s political bias, but into racism as well.

Source: Jewish Chronicle again forced to pay damages and apologise – this time to Marc Wadsworth – SKWAWKBOX

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Israel’s CULL in Palestine: a campaign of lies?

The Israel-Palestine conflict is not about Jewish survival: many Jews actively protest against the persecution of Palestinians by the extremist government of a nation state that claims to represent all Jews, whether they support it or not.

This observation from the social media about the Israel-Palestine conflict rings true:

As I write, Israel is most likely raining dozens – or hundreds – of bombs onto carefully-targeted (we’ll come back to this) sites in Palestinian territory, while Palestinians can only respond (you can hardly call it retaliation) by firing a few fireworks back.

Don’t get me wrong – fireworks can be deadly. But the resulting casualties have been equivalent to one of the more damaging Bonfire Nights of the 1960s or 70s, when people were less observant of the Fireworks Code. Palestinian deaths and injuries number in their thousands.

The scale of the imbalance makes the US media claim ridiculous: It is not a war; it is a cull.

The following tweet provides a few figures supporting this assertion. The number of deaths is not enough to support claims of genocide. But those numbers do speak for themselves:

The exact numbers in the current situation are debatable – as always in an ongoing situation:

A war on children?

Let’s consider who the Israeli Defence Force has been targeting:

The evidence seems clear: Israeli forces have clearly and positively targeted Palestinian families – civilians – for murder. Consider the response if the shoe was on the other foot and an overwhelmingly strong Palestine was treating Israeli Jews in the same way:

But there’s more: Israeli forces aren’t just targeting civilians and children.

You’ll have read in the tweets above that a clinic run by Medicins Sans Frontieres, an independent, humanitarian medical organisation, has also been struck. It’s not the only medical facility to have been hit; its staff are not the only medical staff to be harmed:

Does that seem an extreme judgement? “They want to kill most of them and let Covid do the rest”?

But then, why target a Covid-19 testing lab at all, if not for that purpose?

The Israeli government has been swift to counter the evidence with its usual claim – that Palestinian terrorists are hiding behind children.

This has been debunked as a racist lie:

One of the sites where the Israeli government claimed Hamas had been hiding was an office building housing news broadcasters Al-Jazeera and AP News – the Associated Press. The latter is one of the most well-established and -respected news agencies in the world, and its comment on the bombing is damning:

The last line refers, in This Writer’s opinion, to the intention of this particular airstrike: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what tranpired today.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Israeli government would want, as it targets civilians including children for murder?

Al-Jazeera has also commented – that Israel had still provided no evidence of any Hamas presence in the building, two days after the strike:

As a journalist of more than a quarter of a century’s experience, I find it interesting that Benjamin Netanyahu’s people feel the need to attack news reporters; to hide what they’re doing.

News media around the world have already given Israel the easiest ride possible during what can only be seen as an infamous, scandalous slaughter:

See what I mean?

There is now evidence showing that attempts to promote balanced reporting of the situation are being suppressed by supporters of the Israeli government.

For example, Canadian journalists are currently being pursued for signing an open letter calling for balanced reporting of the situation.

The letter criticises the “lack of nuanced” coverage.  “Some groups believe the attacks amount to an ‘ethnic cleansing.’ It should be covered as such,” it says.

“It’s time for Canadian newsrooms to carry out the necessary due diligence and report on this region with nuance and context.”

Pro-Israel organisations have been quick to attack the letter – and any journalist signing it, leading to the ridiculous situation of reporters being forced to defend something that it is our duty to provide: fair, balanced reporting:

See, being told your lack of objectivity means you can’t cover a story, when the grounds for saying you lack objectivity include your demand for objectivity, is perverse.

Below, we see the US pro-Jewish newspaper Algemeiner demanding that Canadian journalists who signed the letter should not be allowed to report on the “Arab-Israeli” conflict (the wording in quotation marks indicates this organisation’s own bias) because they have anti-Israeli bias. Isn’t it more accurate to say that Algemeiner fears balanced reporting that might present Israel in a less-than-glowing light of positivity?

This is the same organisation that gave UK daytime TV parlour game-player and repeat libel litigant Rachel Riley a “Warrior for Truth” award, the value of which I think we may all now question.

The Israeli government itself appears to run an organisations dedicated to disinformation – and to discrediting those who try to publish fair and accurate reports on the Israel-Palestine question:

I remember discovering adverts by this organisation on Google Adsense. If I recall corrrectly, readers of This Site had discovered that Act.Il had bought space here so that this organisation could make false claims about it.

I blocked it from advertising here. There’s no point in doing anything else like taking court action – it’s an organisation based in a foreign country, with a lot of that country’s money behind it (as I understand it), and I don’t have the means to deliver upon it the justice it deserves.

I can certainly sympathise with the sentiment in this tweet, though:

And it seems reporters aren’t the only ones being attacked:

And still, in the UK, many of our MPs are refusing to condemn Israel. Read the letter Labour’s Lisa Nandy sent to Dominic Raab and you’ll see it is disproportionate – it blames Palestinians equally with Israelis for a situation that has been forced on them.

Robert Jenrick has been roundly criticised for a mealy-mouthed propaganda routine in which he said anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology which the Israeli government uses to force Palestinians off the geographical area it defines as Israel (as opposed to the land given for the purposes of providing Jewish people with a nation of their own in the 1940s).

There are many anti-Zionist Jews. None of them are self-hating; none are anti-Semites. So Jenrick deserved the following critiques:

There are a few honourable MPs, though…

And of course they can’t do anything about grassroots protest:

It is hugely encouraging that so many people are arguing against the Israeli government’s web of lies.

But still the killings continue. Still civilians are targeted in their homes – including children – by an Israeli government and military that does not care what we think and will counter our facts with falsehoods that it can rely on the international media to parrot.

So who do you believe?

Do you believe a group of well-spoken suit-wearing dissemblers?

Or do you believe the person who wrote the following?

The answer should be so obvious it isn’t even a choice.

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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Will Rachel Riley use her drubbing in the Appeal Court to play the victim (AGAIN)?

The arena: Riley v Sivier is now to head back to the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a trial. It seems Riley, who initiated the case, is now trying to get people to see her as a victim of it.

What a reaction to This Writer’s Court of Appeal victory over Rachel Riley!

After a tribunal of judges reinstated my “public interest” defence, it meant the case could go to trial – and the public got behind that idea in a big way.

From Friday afternoon onwards, my Twitter feed has been full of messages of support – thousands of them – offering me support and voicing the authors’ opinions about Ms Riley and her lawsuit. Here are a few examples:

As you can see, a significant proportion of the responses are, at the very least, highly critical of Rachel Riley.

Back when the appeal hearing took place, she also received a high volume of criticism and, only the day after, her husband Pasha Kovalev was in the Mirror saying that it could harm the health of their second child:

Countdown star Rachel, 35, has suffered vile anti-Semitic abuse and told the Mirror this week how trolls have “become part of my daily life”.

Yesterday her name was a trending topic on Twitter, swamped with negative messages.

She has previously told how she became “very stressed and upset” over such abuse while pregnant with first child Maven, now 16 months, adding: “My baby stopped wriggling for a couple of days.”

At the time she blocked trolls, deciding engaging online was “not worth the hormones”.

But now, as the couple expect their second baby in autumn, Pasha is calling out the “acidity” of social media platforms as he fears the same happening again.

There certainly are trolls out there. I have suffered the attentions of some of them, among the mountain of praise I’ve had over the last couple of days. I’m sure Riley has received a number of messages that go beyond reasonable criticism and I certainly do not condone such behaviour. I never have.

But for the sake of clarity, and with no prejudice against Mr Kovalev (whose work on Strictly Come Dancing was much enjoyed by me, and who I understand also does a lot for charity): if Rachel Riley is experiencing the health issues described by the Mirror, as a result of tweets expressing critical opinions in the light of my case, my view is that that has been her choice.

As far as I’m aware, nobody forced her to behave in objectionable ways on Twitter, to such a degree that people have responded harshly in return.

Nobody forced her to sue me.

And nobody is forcing her to persist with her case against me.

As it seems clear that she is pushing ahead with it, then she has made a decision that will attract criticism, and she is perfectly aware of that.

So, in my opinion, if her child’s health is in any way endangered because of her emotional reaction to critical tweets about her court case against me, then that is her responsibility and nobody else’s.

Now, it seems, we are being asked to sympathise with her over the costs she has incurred. I read in some of our favourite right-wing papers this weekend that Riley’s legal bill could exceed £1 million:

Leading defamation lawyer Mark Stephens said Ms Riley is likely to have spent up to £70,000 in her fight so far.

Mr Stephens… added that the star could ultimately spend more than £1million on the case and said a full-scale libel trial ‘as an absolute floor is £500,000’.

He added: ‘If she wins she will get some costs back but she has lost this round so she will have to pay Mike Sivier’s costs and his barrister for the appeal which will be [£15,000] – £20,000.’

I think he’s more or less right about the “absolute floor” cost of the trial. My own costs are creeping up to the £200,000 mark and I know that her lawyers are charging much more than mine (although they appear to be supported by insurance, while I must rely on crowdfunding).

If her legal team is more expensive, then it seems unlikely that she has spent only £70,000 so far. Her legals tried to bill me £27,000 for the strike-out application alone (we objected to this, and my win on Friday is likely to have changed the argument on costs considerably).

But it seems odd to seek public sympathy over the amount she is having to spend. She is a millionaire, by all accounts. I am a carer, writing Vox Political in order to make enough money to scrape a living. Without the support I have received from thousands of people via the CrowdJustice fund, I would not have been able to fight her lawsuit.

And I do still believe that her intention all along was never to go as far as a trial. I think she expected to be able to bankrupt me, solely with the threat of an enormously expensive trial.

So articles like that in the Mail, that seem to be asking for public sympathy over the costs a millionaire is facing in suing a relatively penniless carer… well, they lack credibility, I think.

am still relatively penniless, by the way. I’m not likely to receive any costs payout for winning the appeal because Riley still won much of the strike-out application, and my income declined sharply during the Covid-19 crisis and is only beginning to pick up again now.

You are therefore – as ever – invited to continue donating to my appeal, if and when you can afford it:

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.

I don’t have armies of reporters in the right-wing media, lining up to provide supportive puff pieces for me.

But the reaction I’ve had this weekend shows I do have the support of thousands upon thousands of people.

As the poem states: we are many; they are few.

And while they may be able to shout louder, and get more attention, they don’t have good arguments. We do.

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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Online Harms Bill could be Johnson government’s only USEFUL new law

Social media trolls could be neutered by incoming Online Harms legislation by the Tory government. It could be the most useful thing Boris Johnson ever does.

I’m not just publishing the above headline because, if the Online Harms Bill had been an active law in 2019, Rachel Riley’s followers – and allegedly Riley herself – would have been prevented from abusing a teenage girl with mental health issues who supported Jeremy Corbyn.

There are some very good ideas in here, including a demand that political content must be policed impartially, which is startling.

Consider:

All social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online will have a duty of care towards their users so that what is unacceptable offline will also be unacceptable online.

They will need to consider the risks their sites may pose to the youngest and most vulnerable people and act to protect children from inappropriate content and harmful activity.

They will need to take robust action to tackle illegal abuse, including swift and effective action against hate crimes, harassment and threats directed at individuals and keep their promises to users about their standards.

The largest and most popular social media sites will need to act on content that is lawful but still harmful such as abuse that falls below the threshold of a criminal offence, encouragement of self-harm and mis/disinformation.

The final legislation… will contain provisions that require companies to report child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content identified on their services.

That takes care of the kind of abuse received by the teenage girl in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me (from Riley’s supporters), and also of the gaslighting (allegedly) carried out against her by Riley herself.

All in-scope companies will need to consider and put in place safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties.

People using their services will need to have access to effective routes of appeal for content removed without good reason and companies must reinstate that content if it has been removed unfairly. Users will also be able to appeal to Ofcom.

Category 1 services [the largest and most popular social media sites] will need to conduct and publish up-to-date assessments of their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate they have taken steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

These measures remove the risk that online companies adopt restrictive measures or over-remove content in their efforts to meet their new online safety duties. An example of this could be AI moderation technologies falsely flagging innocuous content as harmful, such as satire.

Content on news publishers’ websites is not in scope. This includes both their own articles and user comments on these articles.

Articles by recognised news publishers shared on in-scope services will be exempted and Category 1 companies will now have a statutory duty to safeguard UK users’ access to journalistic content shared on their platforms.

This means they will have to consider the importance of journalism when undertaking content moderation, have a fast-track appeals process for journalists’ removed content, and will be held to account by Ofcom for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content. Citizen journalists’ content will have the same protections as professional journalists’ content.

This is handy for people like This Writer, who have had our accounts on Twitter (for example) suspended because of vexatious complaints by (in my case) people who described themselves as supporters of Riley.

Ministers have added new and specific duties to the Bill for Category 1 services to protect content defined as ‘democratically important’. This will include content promoting or opposing government policy or a political party ahead of a vote in Parliament, election or referendum, or campaigning on a live political issue.

Companies will also be forbidden from discriminating against particular political viewpoints and will need to apply protections equally to a range of political opinions, no matter their affiliation. Policies to protect such content will need to be set out in clear and accessible terms and conditions and firms will need to stick to them or face enforcement action from Ofcom.

When moderating content, companies will need to take into account the political context around why the content is being shared and give it a high level of protection if it is democratically important.

For example, a major social media company may choose to prohibit all deadly or graphic violence. A campaign group could release violent footage to raise awareness about violence against a specific group. Given its importance to democratic debate, the company might choose to keep that content up, subject to warnings, but it would need to be upfront about the policy and ensure it is applied consistently.

This is the part that amazes me, coming as it does from a right-wing – fascist – government.

As with everything in politics, the proof of its usefulness is in practice, so I can’t give it my unqualified support.

On paper, it means the court case currently taking up a certain unwanted amount of my time won’t happen again, because the abuse caused to the teenager at its centre would break the law.

Whether the activities provoking that abuse would also be against the new law is an element that may have to be tested, though.

I think we can all look forward to some interesting debates on this in the Commons, where I hope MPs will examine how the new legislation would relate to some of the more infamous online incidents in recent history…

Including those involving me.

Source: Landmark laws to protect children and stop abuse online published – GOV.UK

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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Red faces over ‘RedThroat’ as reporters line up to say Greensill leaks were NOT from Labour mole

David Cameron: there are genuine concerns about his conduct on behalf of Greensill – so why is a columnist for a Tory rag trying to make trouble for the whistleblowers?

The trouble with Dan Hodges’ assertion that a Labour Party mole leaked embarrassing information about the Greensill scandal is that a falsehood can go around the world before the facts have got their boots on.

In this case, the refutations have come fast – and there have been a lot of them – but the implication that this huge scandal has been fabricated by Labour will undoubtedly be taken up by the Tory-supporting trolls for use in the future.

Here’s Hodges:

In the article, he writes:

‘It’s pretty clear we’ve got a Labour mole inside Government,’ a Minister tells me. ‘There were suspicions before the Greensill affair, but this has basically confirmed it. It’s the only explanation for where all this stuff is coming from.’

Alternatively…

Tim Fenton, over on Zelo Street, has described the Tory frenzy to find Labour moles as “Amateur hour at the paranoia bar” and his article is well worth reading.

Even Gabriel Pogrund over at The Sunday Times, who seems to hate Labour so much that he published lies about This Writer (for which the paper later had to publish a humiliatingly-lengthy retraction), had to agree that Hodges is wrong here:

I wonder whether this is a thinly-veiled attempt to unmask the alleged moles, so the Tories can root them out of Whitehall.

If so, it is to be resisted.

Tory corruption is rampant and they are hardly likely to broadcast their misdeeds willingly.

We need whistleblowers in Whitehall to tell us what these people are really doing with our money.

We should not sit back and allow them to be punished for their honesty.

Of course, Hodges won’t take any punishment for publishing a falsehood.

Undoubtedly his article has boosted sales/reads of his rag, the Mail on Sunday.

As an ex-newspaper hack, This Writer can assure you that such a boost was all that its bosses wanted.

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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