Tag Archives: Ash

Tory Hunt’s argument to block refugees is WRONG. Will the Tories really use it to change the law?

Border Force: if it has to enforce a new law blocking legitimate ways for refugees to come into the UK, won’t it be creating a market for people-traffickers?

Take a look at the following clip, from the July 6 edition of BBC2’s Politics Live.

The antagonists are left-wing social media presenter Ash Sarkar and Tory MP Tom Hunt, and they’re discussing plans by the Johnson Tory government to block ways in which refugees can come to the UK.

She puts forward common sense points about the reasons people would want to come to the UK after leaving a home country where they may be in danger – and points out that cutting off legitimate ways of entry will send more folk to the people-traffickers.

He repeats the oft-debunked – untrue – claim that refugees must settle in the first safe country they enter – and blusters. A lot.

As I stated on Twitter: “You can sympathise with every adult woman trying to reason with a little boy having a tantrum, can’t you?”

The concern is that it is Hunt who is in a position to make a new UK law on refugees.

On this evidence, it will be prejudiced – if not downright racist.

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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Libel victory shows it IS possible for a social media journalist to beat a celebrity

Well-deserved victory: Ash Sarkar (left) has won libel damages from Julie Burchill.

No, I haven’t (yet) won my case against Rachel Riley, sadly. But Ash Sarkar’s victory against Julie Burchill shows that it is possible for writers and broadcasters on the social media, like her and myself, to beat much better-funded celebrities if the evidence supports us.

Of course, Ms Sarkar was the claimant in her own case, while I am the defendant. I do wonder how much difference that may have made to a judge’s assumptions.

And her case hasn’t lasted very long – only a little more than three months, which suggests that the facts were more clear-cut, certainly, than those of my own case have been made out to be.

Here’s Ms Burchill’s statement:

On 13th December 2020 I made statements concerning Ash Sarkar in response to her comment on an article by my friend Rod Liddle. I alleged that Ms Sarkar worshipped the Prophet Muhammad, that she worshipped a paedophile (referring to the Prophet Muhammad), that she was an Islamist, and that she was a hypocrite (the allegations).

Although it was not my intention, I accept that my statements were defamatory of Ms Sarkar and caused her very substantial distress. I wish to make clear on the record that I do not believe, have never believed and never intended to make any allegation that Ms Sarkar is a promoter, supporter and/or sympathiser of Islamists or fundamentalist terrorism or to suggest that Ms Sarkar condones paedophilia in any way. I also now understand that it is blasphemy for a Muslim to worship Prophet Muhammad and I had no basis for stating that Ms Sarkar does so. I accept that there is no truth in any of these allegations, and I recognise that such comment play into Islamophobic tropes and did so in this case.

I also accept that I was wrong to continue to tweet to and about her after that date. I should not have sent these tweets, some of which included racist and misogynist comments regarding Ms Sarkar’s appearance and her sex life. I was also wrong to have “liked” other posts on Facebook and Twitter about her which were offensive, including one which called for her to kill herself, and another which speculated whether she had been a victim of FGM. I regret that I did not pay much attention to them at the time. On reflection, I accept that these “liked” posts included callous and degrading comments about Ms Sarkar and I should not have liked them. I can confirm that I have deleted all my posts and tweets and likes about Ms Sarkar.

I have also now seen messages that were sent to Ms Sarkar following my posts about her which are abhorrent, and I wish to make clear that I do not condone any such messages. I did not know when I published my posts that Ms Sarkar had previously received death threats and other violent threats and abuse, some of which emanated from a far-right conspiracy theory circulated about Ms Sarkar during summer 2020, of which I had not been aware.

I deeply regret having reacted in the way I did. I accept that I should have behaved better. On reflection, I accept that I misjudged the situation, and made statements that simply are not true, which I now want to put right. I also wish to make clear that I accept that Ms Sarkar did not call for my publisher to break ties with me and bears no responsibility for this.

I unreservedly and unconditionally apologise for the hurtful and unacceptable statements I made to and about Ms Sarkar, particularly those concerning her religion and Prophet Muhammad. I have undertaken not to repeat the allegations or any similar allegations about her, undertaken not to engage in any course of conduct amounting to harassment of Ms Sarkar, and undertaken not to contact her directly other than for legal reasons.

I have also agreed to pay substantial damages to Ms Sarkar for the distress I caused and her legal costs.

Ms Sarkar’s victory has received support on Twitter:

She commented on it herself, as follows:

She also published an article in The Guardian, part of which states:

Some of the worst abuse I’ve received is either from journalists or the direct consequence of their actions in spreading misinformation about me.

The parallels with my own case, in which Rachel Riley has portrayed herself as the victim of an unreasonable libel perpetrated by me, should be clear to anybody familiar with it.

In fact, the teenage girl Riley exposed to abuse could very easily have written similar words to Ms Sarkar: “Some of the worst abuse I’ve received is either from celebrities or the direct consequence of their actions in spreading misinformation about me.”

Riley responded to a girl’s criticism of her for mischaracterising Owen Jones (and Jeremy Corbyn) as anti-Semitic by presenting the girl as a supporter of anti-Semitism (by being a supporter of Corbyn and his Labour Party).

While she did not directly call on her followers to dogpile the girl (nor did I suggest that she did in the article for which she is suing me), several dogpiles resulted from the series of Twitter threads she wrote about that girl, and this abuse was a direct result of Riley’s decision to publish them.

This can be proved with the answer to a simple question: would this girl have received this abuse if Riley had not published tweets about her? The answer can only be a resounding no.

I published my article, back in 2019, on the basis that it is in the public interest for people to understand the patterns of abuse on the social media; how they happen and who should take responsibility.

Julie Burchill has taken responsibility for the vile abuse that she caused, either directly or indirectly.

Rachel Riley seeks to take huge amounts of money from me by denying having done so, even though many of her actions were exactly the same.

I am not rich. It has always seemed to me that the intention has been to financially ruin me by forcing me to participate in a costly court exercise that I could not afford.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to fend her off for nearly two years with support from thousands of members of the public who have seen the evidence (it is still on Twitter) and drawn their own conclusions.

I am currently being forced to appeal against a High Court decision to strike out my defences against her accusation, because the decision to strike out my defence of publication in the public interest was clearly unsafe – as you can see from the information I have provided, above.

This means I am being forced to spend more money that would be better spent on a trial. Riley doesn’t care. It means I have less money for that purpose and makes her more likely to win by default.

If, having read the details of the abuse Ash Sarkar suffered and the comparison with my own case, you are willing to help me, you are heartily invited to join the thousands who have already supported my case by contributing to my CrowdJustice fund. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

As I understand it, the Court of Appeal is planning to hear mine on an expedited basis – that is, at a time that suits the court rather than one that is convenient to either or both of the parties involved. This could take place at any time between April 15 and the end of May.

That means there is very little time to raise the thousands more that are needed.

Source: A lesson to right wing journalists as Julie Burchill forced to pay damages to Ash Sarkar – Dorset Eye

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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Treasury responds to Vox’s austerity challenge

osborne britaindeserves

Last month, Vox Political wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Mr Osborne, politely asking him whether he had any other documentary justifications for his disastrous programme of austerity after the previous principal pillar of his faith – a paper by Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff – had been disproved by a student at a rival university.

Today we received a response! A lengthy, well-considered one at that.

What a shame that we found a way to trash it before we reached the end of page one.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s all read the letter together, shall we? It begins:

“Thank you for your letter dated 22 April about the recent publication by Herndon, Ash and Pollin, a critique to the paper ‘Growth in the time of Debt’ by Reinhart and Rogoff.

“You asked for the Treasury’s views on the recent criticism of the paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff which concluded that public debt above 90% of GDP could prove a significant drag on economic growth.

“As you will be aware, the Coalition Government inherited the largest deficit in post-war history due to unsustainable increases in Government spending by the previous Government and the effects of the financial crisis [We don’t know that at all. The largest deficit in post-war history is something to which this writer cannot respond – I only know that the national debt at the end of WWII was 250 per cent of GDP, or very nearly four times as much as it is now. Spending by the Labour administration was less than that of the Conservatives until the financial crisis took place, so the writer is effectively admitting that Conservative spending between 1979 and 1997 was even more unsustainable. As for the financial crisis, the Tories would have done the same as Labour at the time, as is borne out by the history books]. In order to address these problems the Coalition Government set a clear and credible consolidation plan to reduce the risks of a costly loss of market confidence in the UK, to restore confidence and underpin sustainable growth.

“As noted by the OECD in their Economy Survey of the United Kingdom February 2013, ‘global developments have shown that the consequences of loosing [sic] market confidence can be [a] sudden and severe and sharp rise in the interest rates [that] would [be] particularly damaging to an economy with the United Kingdom’s level of indebtedness.’ A 1 percentage point increase in government bond yields would add around £8.1 billion to annual debt interest payments by 2017-18.

“Fiscal consolidation also reduces the risk of adverse feedback between weak public finances and a strained financial sector. This feedback can be very damaging, as evidenced by recent events in the euro area. Globally, the UK has one of the largest financial systems relative to the size of its economy, meaning that any loss of investor confidence in the UK’s fiscal position would not only affect the UK, but also the global economy. As the IMF has stated in their United Kingdom – 2011 Article IV Consultation Concluding Statement of the Mission, ‘the UK financial system thus serves as a global public good’. It is the IMF’s view that the UK’s economic and financial sector policies have a systemic impact on the global economy.

“The Government’s approach is supported by a large body of academic and professional literature which finds that there are strong theoretical and empirical grounds for a relationship between high levels of debt and slow growth, including:

“1. Work by staff of the Bank for International Settlements:

“* ‘The Real Effects of Debt’ by Cecchetti et al, 2011 (published as a Bank of International Settlements working paper in September 2011), found that government debt above 85% had a negative impact on growth.

“2. Research by staff of the International Monetary Fund:

“* ‘Public Debt and Growth’, an IMF 2010 working paper prepared by Kumar and Woo, found that an increase in debt ratio of 10& resulted in an annual decrease of 0.2% in per capita GDP growth, with a stronger effect at higher levels of debt. The paper found some evidence of nonlinearity with higher levels of initial debt having a proportionately larger negative effect on subsequent growth. Analysis of the components of growth suggested that the adverse effect largely reflects a slowdown in labour productivity growth mainly due to reduced investment and slower growth of capigal stock.

“* ‘How costly are debt crises’, an IMF 2011 working paper prepared by Furceri and Zdzienicka, finds that debt crises produce significant and long-lasting output losses. This study also provides support to the idea of a threshold for the debt-to-GDP ratio above which output growth starts to decline.

“* The IMF 2013 WEO box 1.2 ‘Public Debt Overhang and Private Sector Performance’, cites studies that have found a threshold beyond which public debt harms growth. It also lists several reasons why a debt overhang can affect economic activity.

“3. Work by staff of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development:

“* ‘Public Debt, Economic Growth and Nonlinear effects, Myth or Reality?’ Egert, OECD 2012, finds ‘some evidence in favour of a negative nonlinear relationship between debt and growth using a variety of econometric models.

“4. Work by staff of the European Commission:

“* Report on Public Finances in EMU 2012 supports the statement that public debt can trigger economic growth: ‘higher debt levels and interest rates might weigh on economic growth, especially when debt exceeds a certain threshold level as a number of papers suggest.’

“There are also theoretical reasons, highlighted in Boskin, 2012 and OECD, 2012 for believing that higher levels of public debt will damage medium-term growth prospect:

“* First, tax hikes needed to service a higher public debt may crowd out private investment by reducing disposable income and saving.

“* Second, if the higher debt servicing costs associated with increased debt levels are financed by increasing tax revenue, they also imply a deadweight loss on the economy as a result of distortionary effect of raising tax revenues.

“* Third, there is broad agreement that large deficit and debt levels are associated with a higher level of long-term Government bond yields which may crowd out productive public investment and reduce private investment through an increase in the cost of capital. Reduced investment in research and development will have long-lasting negative impacts on growth.

“The approach is also supported by international organisations. The OECD, for example, noted in its November 2012 Economic Outlook that ‘With the budget deficit (excluding temporary factors) at over 8% of GDP and gross government debt at over 80% of GDP, fiscal consolidation is necessary to restore the sustainability of public finances and will strengthen medium-term growth prospects. The fiscal stance remains appropriate, and is supported by the strong institutional framework.’

“Olli Rehn, Vice President of the European Commission, on the speech of the Spring Forecast in May 2013 noted: ‘It is important that the UK follows through with consistent consolidation of public finances with a view to achieve (sic) a more sustainable fiscal position.’

“At the end of this letter you can find the papers referred to above online.”

I shan’t embarrass the letter’s author by naming that person.

The online papers are:

Cecchetti, Bank of International Settlements, 2011. ‘The Real Effects of Debt’ http://www.bis.org/publ/work352.htm

Kumar and Woo. ‘Public Debt and Growth’, IMF 2010 http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2010/wp10174.pdf

Furceri and Zdzienicka. ‘How Costly are debt crises’, IMF 2011 http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2011/wp11280.pdf

IMF April 2013 World Economic Outlook (WEO) http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/

Egert, OECD 2012. ‘Public Debt, Economic Growth and Nonlinear effects, Myth or Reality?’ http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/public-debt-economic-growth-and-nonlinear-effects_5k918xk8d4zn-en

Boskin, M. Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 2012. A Note On the Effects of the Higher National Debt On Economic Growth http://siepr.stanford.edu/publicationsprofile/2491

OECD Economic Outlook, November 2012. http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/economics/oecd-economic-outlook-volume-2012-issue-2_eco_outlook-v2012-2-en

European Council, 2012 UK Country Specific Recommendation (CSR). http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/economic_governance/sgp/pdf/20_scps/2012/04_council/uk_2012-07-10_council_recommendation_en.pdf

… all of which can be picked apart with one observation and a couple of attached questions:

Mr Osborne demanded in 2010, that cuts to welfare benefits alone should total £18bn per year by 2014-15 (meaning a total of £90bn over the five years of Coalition government). Other government departments have had to take huge hits as well.

So why is the total drop in the deficit this year just £300 million? And why is the national debt now more than 88 per cent of total GDP – well inside the danger zone that Mr Osborne has been trying to avoid?

Could it be that, once put into practice, the theories outlined above aren’t actually worth a farthing?

Expect much more on this subject as we really get our teeth into the material the Treasury has kindly provided.