Category Archives: Social Media

Patel lies about David Amess as she demands removal of social media anonymity

Hate: it was naked on Priti Patel’s face during her Tory conference speech, yet she talks about closing anonymous social media accounts to end it. She speaks with a forked tongue.

The hypocrisy is bald and blatant:

In fact, we know who wants to remove social media anonymity – it’s Priti Patel. But government sources of stories to news media would keep their anonymity, meaning huge opportunities to mislead the public will still be available to them. Remember the false claim that three Labour MPs were going to defect to the Conservatives during conference season?

Patel made her claim during an interview on Sky News, in response to the stabbing of David Amess.

She said there had been a “coarsening” of the public debate (without acknowledging the role that recent Tory governments have played in it) and added:

We can’t carry on like this. I spend too much time with communities who have been under attack, basically who have had all sorts of postings online and it is a struggle to get those posts taken down.

We want to make some big changes on that.

And she said:

This is about wider public discourse and I would also go as far to say social media, anonymity on social media, where we’re members of parliament are subjects of some of the most cruel comments attacks.

And they are relentless, many of them are relentless.

My colleagues go through just some of the most appalling attacks I’ve seen online and I have as well.

Off the top of my head, This Writer doesn’t recall Patel ever showing any concern about the enormous volume of hate sent to Diane Abbott on a regular basis. But then, Ms Abbott is a black female Labour MP and not a white male Tory knight – so it seems other rules apply.

And there’s an elephant in this room. Why is Patel suggesting a crackdown on anonymous social media accounts when the suspect in the Amess murder, Ali Harbi Ali, has not used one?

According to a YouGov poll, a majority of people think there should be curbs on anonymity…

… and This Writer is not a fan of unmonitored anonymity, having been a victim of online hate myself.

But I would not seek to ban online anonymity. I would suggest that those who wanted to be anonymous registered for it, and if social media platforms received verifiable complaints about their activities – in other words, if they were caught abusing others, that privilege may be removed.

The reason for this should be clear to everybody but if it isn’t, read the following:

And of course removing online anonymity will only increase the imbalance between the privileged and the rest of us:

Again: I have certainly been a victim of online abuse organised by people on Twitter with blue ticks next to their name. I am not aware of any instance when that organisation has acted on complaints against these “celebrities”.

So it seems that, rather than acting to end online abuse, Ms Patel is trying to increase the ability of the rich and privileged to cause such abuse, while ending any chance for ordinary people to defend themselves.

And let’s not forget that this is coming from the minister who wants to “turn back the boats” of refugees coming to the UK, exposing children to the possibility of drowning at sea, while granting her employees who cause such deaths immunity from prosecution:

Hate – whether online or in real life – has always been a tool of the Tories and Patel’s words stand on their heads. She may say she wants to shut it down but in fact it seems clear that she wants to increase 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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What’s happening? New online news show highlights grassroots activism to improve lives

This is interesting – and may work if it gets a chance:

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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Chris Packham’s house firebombed – because he campaigns for conservation?

Inferno: the exploding Land Rover damaged the gates beyond repair.

At a time of worldwide animal extinctions and potentially irreparable damage to the ecosystem, what kind of psychopath firebombs the house of a conservationist who campaigns to save our wildlife?

Shockingly, masked intruders parked a Land Rover outside a Hampshire house belonging to TV naturalist Chris Packham last weekend and set fire to it. This was the day before he was due to deliver a 100,000-signature petition to Buckingham Palace, calling for the Royal Family to conserve nature on Crown estates and to reintroduce species like beavers and wild boar.

Mr Packham himself has attributed the attack to online trolls:

He said: “These people are angry at some of the things that I campaign against.” He campaigns against the wilful destruction of our natural environment! How can anybody be angry about that?

Sadly, This Writer can understand and sympathise with much of his experience with online trolls.

It is very easy to whip up extreme hatred on (for example) Twitter. I’m currently fighting a court case against another TV personality, who claims that her own behaviour on that platform didn’t encourage her Twitter followers to bully and intimidate a teenage girl with mental health problems. My question is simple: if she didn’t focus her followers on that girl, who does she say did?

Mr Packham says the social media companies have done nothing to enable justice or prevent hatred from being whipped up, and I am (again) inclined to agree.

But the Tory government is (allegedly) putting legislation through Parliament to change that. The Online Harms Bill will propose penalties for such behaviour.

I am eagerly awaiting it. Depending on what measures are finally imposed, it may be the best thing this Tory government does.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel trial: there’s only one way to beat these online bullies

A nasty incident occurred while I was discussing the Labour Party conference on Twitter earlier this week.

An online supporter of Rachel Riley butted into the thread to threaten me, although it might not seem obvious from his words:

He was implying that, when I am defeated in court by Rachel Riley, the cost will be so much that I will have to sell my house to pay it off – or give it to Riley.

People like him have been saying it since early 2019 when I was first threatened with litigation.

One one level it is a completely false threat because I rent, but that doesn’t stop them.

My response, as you can see, was to throw it back in his face; I’m more likely to win than she is, and her costs would be equally high.

On another level, of course, it is psychological intimidation. I could lose the case, and if I do, I will not have the wherewithal to pay a huge combined costs and damages bill.

And I still have to get the case into court. At the moment, even that is looking decidedly dicey as donations have plummetted.

It is the easiest way for Riley to win, of course – for me to be unable to defend myself because I cannot afford to pay my legal team.

I need around £60,000 more than I have, if I’m to be in a comfortable position – and although I’m not expecting the trial to happen until next spring, that time will creep up on us surprisingly fast.

And in September the crowdfund increased by £2,000. A good figure! But not enough if that trend continues.

If I can’t fund my defence at trial, everything we have achieved so far will be for nothing.

I know you don’t want that.

And I certainly don’t think you want that odious Twitter troll to have the last laugh!

So, please, if 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 know it’s a lot to ask, especially as this case is now well into its third year. But this is a fight for justice, against those who think they can buy it because they have more money.

I can’t change the system so I’m hoping that we can change their minds.

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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Labour left-wingers send message to Keir Starmer ahead of rule-change vote

The message couldn’t be clearer, as this image – made after Starmer’s Labour decided to expel Ken Loach – epitomises.

Left-wing members of the Labour Party have sent an unequivocal message to Keir Starmer ahead of the vote on his proposed rule changes that would strip party members of electoral rights – in video form:

The singing may leave a little to be desired but the point is well-made, isn’t it? At one point, a voice makes it very clear exactly where Starmer can stick his rule changes.

The clip also makes it clear that “None of the people in these photos are linked in any way with the making of [this video] or any of the other photos that appear or the music. Their photos being in this slideshow DO NOT represent any sort of support for any particular organisations or people”.

I think we may conclude that this is to prevent the attack dogs in Starmer’s Governance and Legal Unit from using the video as an excuse to expel any more left-wing members.

The expulsion are continuing mid-conference, with police called in to deny entrance to party members who have been expelled overnight – as the dishonest Starmer scrabbles to gerrymander votes in his favour.

By the time he makes his speech, he’ll be doing it to an empty hall.

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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Riley libel: will this case questionnaire open up a ‘procedural quagmire’?

Rachel Riley’s case against me is moving closer to court with a demand for me to fill out a ‘directions questionnaire’.

The court will expect both sides to spend time and money budgeting and planning the case, even though both sides are likely to have much – if not all – of those aspects already worked out.

It is possible that Ms Riley’s side may be sucked into this ‘procedural quagmire’ (not my words), either unwillingly or in yet another attempt to drain my funds – the cash that you are providing for me to defend myself.

Admittedly, if she tries to string out this stage to waste my money, she is likely to waste much more of her own – but she has much more of her own money to waste and, with the evidence at trial likely to make her look very bad indeed, this may still seem a worthwhile option to her.

I have instructed my solicitor to write to her legal team, suggesting an approach that cuts out as much of the cost (and time involved) as possible. But I need to be sure that I can afford it if they disagree.

So – as you’ve probably guessed – please contribute in the way you find most appropriate:

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 appreciate that this may not be the most exciting update I’ve every published, but the danger is as present, and as urgent, as ever.

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 abuse of women in politics is getting worse, says Williams. But relief is on the way

Kirsty Williams, shortly after she had been made the Welsh cabinet secretary for Education.

A long, long time ago, when This Writer was still working at the Brecon and Radnor Express (I think), Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams was likened to toilet paper.

Her response was to say that if any comparison could be made, she would be Double Velvet. Many people thought it amusing at the time.

Now it seems that was just a mild example of the kind of abuse she received in a political career that has lasted around 20 years, and that she says has become worse because of the social media.

I’ve had my own differences with Ms Williams (I won’t deny it); politically I am traditional Labour and there is a lot of space between my views and hers. But we co-operated on the campaign for the general election voting system to be changed to proportional representation before the referendum – and wouldn’t the UK be a much better place if we had succeeded?

And she was an excellent constituency AM.

So I am saddened to learn that she – along with her husband and children – has been forced to deal with this.

I am far more willing to believe her than some of the representatives of my own party, who – in my opinion – went out of their way to stir up reactions and then squealed when people responded aggressively to their own unacceptable behaviour.

One of the examples in the BBC article is when then-Welsh Assembly Member Neil Hamilton referred to her and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood as “political concubines”. He got away with it after claiming he had not intended to upset anybody.

But that is deliberately provocative language! How did he think people were going to react?

And when people see those who are elected to high office acting in such a way, they think it is permissible to do the same.

We have a shocking example of this squatting in 10 Downing Street pretending to be prime minister at the moment, having referred to gay people as “tank-topped bum boys”, Muslim women as “letterboxes”, black people as having “watermelon smiles”… the list of his offences is endless.

But it is possible that some relief is on the horizon, with the forthcoming Online Harms Bill that will bring in prison sentences for the behaviour Ms Williams identifies.

She says she would not discourage her three daughters from entering politics but would be worried for them, having to cope with the kind of abuse she has received.

I hope the new law – if it doesn’t have its teeth pulled by some of the offenders in Westminster – will make the environment safer, for all the rest of us and for them.

Even if I don’t approve of the political party they may choose to represent.

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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Jeremy Clarkson’s annual A-level tweet undermined – by good results and satirical banter


August 10 was A-level results day for thousands of UK students – and TV’s Jeremy Clarkson wheeled out his usual tweet telling us all that he got a ‘C’ and two ‘U’ and did very well for himself.

He was pre-empted by this…

… but went ahead and did it anyway:

But the Clarkson’s Farm star’s annual effort fell on stony ground this year – partly because A-level results were particularly good this year:

Top grades for A-level results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have reached a record high – with 44.8% getting A* or A grades.

This second year of replacement results after exams were cancelled, has seen even higher results than last year when 38.5% achieved top grades.

There is a major caveat to this, which is that, like last year, the grades are based on teachers’ judgements rather than on the results of exams. As a consequence, the percentage of students receiving A* or A grades has been enormously higher than previous years and this will create its own challenges for students wishing to continue in education, and for those applying for jobs.

The other reason Clarkson’s tweet had a poor reception is that his comment simply isn’t relevant for most people, because unlike most people he was extremely well-placed from the start and didn’t need good results to get a lucrative – and exclusive – career:

“Posh kids can only fail upwards”… like Boris Johnson?

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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RNLI donations INCREASE in the face of negative comments by racists

Everything before the ‘but’ is meaningless: Nigel Farage has been foiled in his attack on the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, as has some far-right kid on Twitter.

Congratulations to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has enjoyed a massive increase in donations after racists in the media criticised it for rescuing refugees.

Don’t believe the BBC’s coverage, that claimed the £200,000 it received in donations in 24 hours (it usually gets £7K in that period) was because it posted “rescue footage” on social media.

This was a reaction against loudmouths like Nigel Farage (are you happy now your Brexit has emptied our supermarket shelves, Nigel?) who said on far-right propaganda purveyor GB News that the lifeboats were now a “migrant taxi service”.

And it was a reaction against swivel-eyed boy-fascist Darren Grimes, who was schooled by Julia Hartley-Brewer, of all people, over his daft claims about the legendary life-saving organisation:

“I find lifeboat charity RNLI’s rescue missions in the Channel to be deeply irresponsible,” tweeted the callow youth.

“If you’re sure that getting into an unseaworthy vessel will see you carried across the Channel by trained professionals, why wouldn’t you?”

Even Hartley-Doodah thought this was too much – and corrected him like the errant child he is: “No, Darren, the RNLI are there to save lives – of anyone and everyone in need. It doesn’t matter who they are or why they are there.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and call these negative comments by Farage and Grimes out as racism.

They would rather see people – of colour – escaping violence and persecution in their home countries drown than give them a moment’s safe haven in a safe country. That screams “racism” to me and it is an attitude of which anybody should be ashamed.

I mean all the rest of us as well – we shame ourselves that these attitudes are even tolerated in the UK, let alone putting them on our media in an attempt to whip up support.

Thank goodness it backfired. It turned out to be one of the rare occasions when right-wing aggression leads to a positive outcome.

The Farages and Grimeses of this country have been foiled and the RNLI is much better-off as a result of their ignorant interference.

What a great result!

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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No, health secretary: YOU may ‘cower’ from Covid but the rest of us take reasonable care

Convalescent unHealth Secretary Sajid ‘Covid’ Javid may be regretting his decision to announce his recovery. Clearly his mind has yet to reach full strength.

Why else would he insult those of us who have taken reasonable care – throughout the Covid crisis – to protect ourselves and others?

That’s what he has done with this tweet:

(Yes, Mr Javid. I know you deleted it. Anybody on Twitter can delete their tweets. But anybody can take screenshots too.)

“Please – if you haven’t yet – get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.”

To whom does this refer?

If he means himself, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – all of whom ran like rabbits into self-isolation at the mere suggestion that they might have the virus, then he’s probably right.

He reckons he is fully recovered from the virus after just a week, due to “amazing vaccines”.

Catching and recovering from Covid makes for nice headlines – especially for a government that is desperate to shore up its crumbling claim that vaccinations are protecting us from the virus in the face of increasing infections and deaths due to the rise of vaccine-dodging variants.

But it also means unscrupulous (Tory) ministers may use such incidents to ‘nudge’ the population into misplaced optimism – especially when England has just removed all of its state-imposed social distancing and mask-wearing rules.

And now one of them has come back and insulted the people of the UK because the alternative interpretation of his words is that we “cower” from the virus.

Of course he has caused widespread offence.

Does he think the – at least – 160,000 who died, because his thoughtless government did not understand the seriousness of the pandemic and tried to ignore it, did so because they chose to “cower”?

Does he think the millions who are ignoring his government’s ‘Freedom Day’ flapgabble, continuing to mask up in public and keeping social distancing, are also cowering?

If so, let him make a statement to that effect, loud and clear, so we know that he is definitely trying to browbeat us into abandoning the reasonable procedures that have kept us safe.

When the infection and death rates skyrocket, probably from the beginning of August, we’ll be able to pin the blame directly on him.

As it is, it seems likely that plenty of people will blame him in any event – and not just the politicians who attacked him in the BBC article but ordinary people too:

Yes, Sajid Javid should apologise.

But instead it seems he has deleted his tweet and may try to pretend that it never happened.

That is not good enough and neither is he.

ADDITIONAL: No sooner said than done:

Fair play for the apology but I don’t believe a word of the explanation. He was trying to push his government’s political slogan – that we must “learn to live with” Covid-19 – and did it in a clumsy and insensitive way.

We are living with Covid-19. Even the suggestion that we “cower” from it is toxic.

Source: Sajid Javid criticised for ‘cower’ Covid remark – BBC News

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