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Labour leadership: Here are 10 Pledges that the candidates – and ALL of us – can support

Labour’s remaining leadership candidates need to stop listening to outside organisations representing a minority viewpoint that does not have the party’s interests at heart – and start listening to people like Kay Green.

Everybody who is angry at the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates who have signed up to the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ 10 pledges, like turkeys voting for Christmas, should read a new article by blogger Kay Green.

It has been suggested that perhaps Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry (leader candidates) along with Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray (deputy candidates) signed up to these pledges without reading them, simply to get the BoD off their collective backs.

If so, they would at least have some excuse for failing to realise the huge amount of harm they would be doing to the Labour Party if they follow through on the demands.

They would trigger an all-out witch-hunt, with members expected to be expelled upon being accused, no matter how dodgy the accusation or suspicious the accuser.

Many believe the majority of party members would not accept this ill-treatment by the leadership and would walk out, declaring an intention not to support the party until this nonsense is purged. That is my belief.

This would critically weaken the Labour Party, making it unable to win any general elections, possibly for decades to come. It would also end the careers of all those who signed up to the pledges as politicians who should expect to be taken seriously.

So we’ve established that the 10 pledges are an attempt at sabotage by an organisation – the BoD – that is dominated by Conservatives who intend nothing but harm to the Labour Party.

Now here’s Kay Green with an alternative.

She has taken the BoD’s headline pledges and crafted 10 of her own, using the same wording where available but attaching different – and much improved meanings.

So, for example, where the BoD suggests pledge 1: Resolve outstanding cases should mean “All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale,” Ms Green suggests:

Many members are hampered in their political activities by the lingering uncertainty of what they suspect are vexatious, politically motivated complaints. We are a well-funded organisation. If you haven’t got the staff, please employ some to get these cases looked at speedily and, where not justified, thrown out.

Isn’t that a million times better than the nonsense from Marie Van Der Zyl and her vicious Tory cronies?

Under pledge 2: Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent, the BoD stated “An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism” and this may be viewed as one of the more reasonable demands. But Ms Green’s version is better:

Stop taking instructions from organisations that have, one way or another, managed to present as the uncontested voice of people who don’t necessarily agree with them, and please endeavour to stop MPs being fooled by such organisations.

We can all get behind that! And yes, it is a criticism of the Board of Deputies itself, which claims to speak for all British Jews despite specifically excluding some individuals and organisations in a manner which is itself anti-Semitic.

If you don’t believe me on that, examine the Board’s pledge 8: Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups, which states: “Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through finge organisations and individuals.” These groups would all be chosen by the Board and would exclude organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour or Jewdas.

Ms Green’s version of that pledge is exemplary. Re-worded as “Engage with the membership, and with the people of this country, as efficiently and as directly as you can”, it states:

When you engage with “the community” please take some time to work out exactly who you are engaging with, and what actual proportion of the actual people in this country you are dealing with. If it turns out to be a strangely small number of voices speaking for a larger group, do some research and try again.

This is another criticism of the Board of Deputies, of course.

Other pledges by Ms Green demand that Labour give a better account of itself and its processes to members. I particularly applaud pledge 4: Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders, which states:

Resist giving shadow cabinet posts or other power positions to MPs or execs who have repeatedly briefed against the party and/or the manifesto in ways that clearly go against the members’ wishes, or who have seriously misrepresented or slandered the membership.

The fear at the moment is that such people will in fact end up in positions of considerable power.

But probably the best of the lot is Ms Green’s version of pledge 5: Provide no platform for bigotry. Her version exposes the Board of Deputies for what it is – bigotry writ large.

The BoD version of this pledge demands that “Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership” – in other words, anybody with opinions the Board does not personally support should be removed from the party. Yes, there is reference to “anti-Semitic incidents”, but who decides that they are genuine examples of anti-Semitism? The Board of Deputies, which has a political agenda? That is bigotry.

Indeed, among its pledges, the Board actually names individuals it demands should never be allowed back into the Labour Party.

Ms Green has recognised this, and her version really puts a seal on what the BoD has been trying to do:

Bigotry means disrespect for, or abuse aimed at, others whose ideas disagree with yours.

Do not let anyone with a powerful voice in the party demand the silencing or no-platforming of members, former members, or citizens generally, unless those individuals are clearly breaking the law by, for example, inciting violence.

On the other hand, on no account name or label individuals you happen to disagree with in a way that encourages the public to see them as ‘fair game’ for abuse or disrespect, especially don’t do this just because you don’t want views that challenge your own heard.

There are more, and they are also good. I recommend you visit Ms Green’s site (address below) and see for yourself.

I would extend this recommendation particularly strongly to the individuals named at the top of this article.

Source: 10 Pledges to end the leadership crisis for Labour – Kay Green

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People are brilliant. When a woman who spent years helping vulnerable people needed help – they did this

Charlotte Hughes, author of the Poor Side of Life blog, has spent years offering help, advice and food parcels to people at the mercy of the Department for Work and Pensions in Ashton under Lyne. But today she was in danger of eviction because of a clerical error – and needed help herself.

The reaction has been astonishing and should reaffirm your belief in human nature.

I’ll let her explain the situation:

What could she do? She set up a JustGiving site to try to raise some cash to offset the deficit and stop the eviction:

I was going to beg you to visit that site and contribute.

“If you visit Charlotte’s blog – again, it’s The Poor Side of Life – you’ll be able to read about the huge amount of good work she has done,” I wrote.

“She deserves much better than to be abused by her local council in the way she has described.

“So please visit the JustGiving page and help her, if you can.”

Then I visited the JustGiving page and realised that contributors had already tripled her £1,000 target.

How brilliant is that?

If you can afford to contribute a little, please do – it will give Ms Hughes some breathing room.

And for those who already have: I salute 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.

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Hypocrite Bradley’s ‘apology’ video for ‘vasectomy’ blog makes matters WORSE

Ben Bradley: Two weeks ago it was “Vasectomies for wasters”, last week it was “Splat the chavs”. This week it’s “I have matured”. What pearl of wisdom will we have from him next week? [Image: Getty.]

Ben Bradley has turned out to be just like every other Tory recently tasked with improving the Conservative Party’s profile with the young – he just can’t get anything right.

Yesterday (January 23) he posted an apology for blog posts written in 2011, calling for unemployed “wasters” to have “vasectomies” and saying he could not wait for water cannons to arrive in London so police could play “splat the chav”.

It’s a cringeworthy performance, made worse by his claim that matters have improved across the nation since he scribbled those appalling blog posts, with the arrival of the benefit cap and the limiting of child benefit to just two children.

So enforced poverty on families who rely on benefits is a good thing, is it?

The so-called ‘rape clause’ – that says mothers can only receive benefit for a third child if it is the result of sexual assault – is a good thing, is it?

I know many mothers who would disagree. But then, Mr Bradley isn’t a mother. He just thinks he can tell them what’s good for them.

Here’s his video; see for yourself:

The Daily Mirror has been having fun with Mr Bradley too, pointing out that he reckons he should be excused because his time in politics has allowed him to mature – just three months after he said Jared O’Mara should be “condemned” for offensive homophobic and misogynistic posts he put online.

Mr Bradley begged for his own mistakes to be forgotten – having already, it seems, forgotten that he said Labour’s failure to condemn Mr O’Mara was a “copout” and “weak”.

But that’s Tories for you. They are the Party of Double-Standards, after all.

A Tory MP has begged for his online mistakes to be forgotten just three months after saying another MP should be “condemned” for comments he made on the internet.

Tory youth spokesman Ben Bradley called for the unemployed to have vasectomies in blogs that were unearthed last week.

In another post he said it would be “incredibly sensible” to relocate people on benefits hundreds of miles from home.

Theresa May has been under pressure to sack Bradley, now 28, over the posts which were made when he was 22.

Bradley today issued a video, admitting he had “cocked up”, but pleading to be “judged based on what I’m doing now as a member of parliament, not stupid things I said as a young man.”

But just three months ago, he launched an online attack on another MP over posts he made online as a young man, criticising Labour for insufficiently condemning him and accusing them of a “cop out”.

Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara, who defeated Nick Clegg in June’s General Election, was suspended by Labour in October, after a string of misogynistic and homophobic online comments posted when he was in his early twenties were revealed.

Many of O’Mara’s posts were published when he was younger than Bradley was at the time of his blogs.

Bradley also mocked O’Mara’s claim to have been “on a journey” since making his offensive posts.

But when he was forced to apologise over his own posts, he claimed he had “time in politics has allowed me to mature”

Bradley tweeted: “Labour totally fail to condemn Jared O’Mara again on Daily Politics. He’s been on a journey you know! #Copout #Weak”

Source: ‘Vasectomies for jobseekers’ Tory begs for mistakes to be forgotten months after attacking Labour MP for online comments – Mirror Online


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The voice of Tory youth: ‘Unemployed wasters’ should have ‘vasectomies’

[Image: Evolve Politics.]

Lovely!

This is the man selected by Theresa May to be the ‘voice of young people’.

He has already been exposed as having voted against scrapping university tuition fees; against restoring Education Maintenance Allowance, against maintenance grants and nurses’ bursaries; against ending the public sector pay cap, and against increasing the minimum wage.

Now it seems he has something to hid in his early life – he has deleted the offending blog post mentioned in the Evolve Politics article quoted below.

There’s a lesson here for everyone in the digital age: Be careful what you commit to the Internet.

And now, This Writer is off to check through all 10,000+ Vox Political articles, just in case.

Tory MP Ben Bradley has come in for severe criticism today after a blog post from 2012 emerged where he argued that it wouldn’t be long before Britain was ‘drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters’ if people on benefits had too many children.

Mr Bradley, who was recently, disastrously, appointed as the Conservatives ‘Vice Chair of Youth’, also implied in the now-deleted blog post that such ‘unemployed wasters’ should just have vasectomies.

The 28 year old Conservative MP used the blog post to argue in favour of the benefit cap introduced during the Conservative/LibDem coalition.

The historic blog post was uncovered by journalists from Buzzfeed, but when their reporters approached Mr Bradley for comment, he simply deleted the blog post.

Source: Tory MP Ben Bradley deletes shocking blog arguing a ‘vast sea of unemployed wasters’ should have vasectomies | Evolve Politics


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Blogger takes down the Heil over Lineker smear

161105-gary-lineker

Kudos to Tim Fenton of Zelo Street for this exposure of the Heil’s attitude to celebrities it can’t tame.

I think he’s right to say these rags do their best to hound out of the limelight anybody who is outspokenly opposed to their blinkered right-wing ideology and Gary Lineker, after showing the whole country the attitude we need to have towards refugees, was ripe for a ragging.

Except, of course, that all those involved – except Mr Lineker – have made fools of themselves. Here’s Mr Fenton to explain:

After the Murdoch goons at the Sun were unable to get Lineker sacked for showing compassion towards refugees, that paper and the Mail have been itching for vengeance, and today the Mail’s Sebastian Shakespeare has brought forth a steaming and pungent stack of whoppers to provide it: “How a loved up Gary Lineker and his ex Danielle shocked fellow passengers with their amorous display on-board a British Airways flight”.

There is more: “Lineker, polishing his halo after speaking out to support child refugees in Calais, displayed less than angelic behaviour on a British Airways plane to Italy in the early days of his romance with former wife Danielle Bux … According to fellow passenger Teresa Mahon, who shared the Club Class cabin with the loved-up couple, the former England striker and the Welsh lingerie model were on overly affectionate form during the London to Naples flight”.

This “story” is easy to disprove. We can do this by checking with British Airways what kind of planes they use on their London to Naples service.

Yes, this is alleged to have happened nine years ago, but the type of aircraft being used would have had a similar internal layout. And that layout, Sebastian Shakespeare, does not have a “Club Class cabin”. OH DEAR.

Source: Zelo Street: New Lineker Smear Unravels

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Shocking Cabinet gender pay gap revealed – Guido Fawkes

[Image: Guido Fawkes blog.]

[Image: Guido Fawkes blog.]

Ultra-right-wing blog Guido Fawkes took a rare step towards criticising the government, with an article attacking the gender pay gap among Cabinet ministers.

“Following the government announcement today that they will force companies to disclose their gender pay gap,” writes Guido, “it seems only right to look at how David Cameron performs on the same metric.

“After carrying out an extensive gender pay audit, Guido can reveal that female members of the Cabinet are paid a shocking 8.4% less than their male counterparts. Men in the Cabinet are paid on average* £126,478 , while women on average* are paid just £116,693…”

Really? That seems a little low. While applauding Guido’s honesty in pointing out this sickening Tory misogynist discrimination, one wonders whether he has included all income claimed by these ministers.

*Calculation based on the mean average wage by gender for all who attend cabinet.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Vox Political applauds Sturgeon’s stance on ‘cybernats’

Nicola Sturgeon: Why is she pictured with David Cameron so often?

Nicola Sturgeon: Why is she pictured with David Cameron so often?

I was going to write a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.

It would have been in response to the sustained abuse this blog has received from supporters of the Scottish National Party who have now been labelled ‘cybernats’ – the abusive trolls who lurk around Facebook, Twitter and the Blogosphere, waiting for someone to write anything remotely critical of their party and then launching vicious verbal attacks on them – occasionally supported with threats of physical violence.

Here’s a mild example of one such outburst, with the profanities ‘starred’ out. Here’s a fun game to play at home – see if you can replace the stars with letters creating words that aren’t profanities! It might be harder than you think:

“Aye but you are a c***, and yes I do support SNP but that’s not why I said yur a c*** c***, I called you a c*** because you are sticking your English-Welsh whatever the f** yi are nose into Scotland’s business and trying to cause trouble by talking utter f***** s****, not only are you a c*** yur a f**** i****. I am sure you are a government backed troll trying to get reactions and start arguments in a sad attempt to discredit the SNP. The internet was full of gov backed c*** trolls like you in the lead up to the referendum. Now f** off f** face no one is listening tae yur p*** C***.”

It was meant to be threatening but was unintentionally hilarious due to the silly pidgin Scots these people try to adopt in their writing and the suggestion that This Writer – of all people – is working for the Conservative Government!

I got as far as writing the letter and printing it out, with this and other examples to support my call for her to take action, but it stayed on my printer tray for nearly a month because other matters took precedence: The government appealed against the ruling on my ‘DWP deaths’ FoI request; Mrs Mike’s mother came to visit; I co-organised a community/music festival… you know how one thing drives out another sometimes.

Then I read this in the Torygraph: “Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to tackle the so-called ‘cybernats’ over online abuse, saying SNP members who ‘cross the line’ will face disciplinary action.

“The Scottish First Minister made clear it is ‘not acceptable’ for people to use social media to ‘threaten violence, or hurl vile abuse, or seek to silence the voice of others through intimidation’.”

The article quotes her as follows: “I am making clear today that the SNP will take steps to warn those whose behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.

“We will tell them to raise their standards of debate, to stick to issues not personalities, and to ensure robust and passionate debate takes precedence over abuse and intemperate language.

“I am also making clear that where appropriate we will take disciplinary action. In the SNP we have a code of conduct and online guidance for our members.

“Where that code is broken, members should have no doubt that we will use our disciplinary processes.”

This is praiseworthy. For once, Vox Political fully supports Ms Sturgeon’s policy.

She could go further, though.

The example of abuse quoted above is from a person whose relationship to the SNP – beyond “yes I do support” – is not known. She has not promised action to curb non-members of her party.

Is it all right, then, for people who support the SNP but are not members to continue abusing the rest of us?

Perhaps I will send that letter after all.

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Tory smear tactics are too obvious by far

Whose idea was it to buy thousands of Twitter followers for Owen Jones, in imitation of the tactic for which David Cameron was recently shown up?

Under the headline David Cameron has tens of thousands of Twitter followers who DON’T EXIST, yesterday’s (February 12) Daily Mirror told us: “David Cameron, who famously claimed “too many tweets make a t***”, faces Twitter shame as tens of thousands of his followers don’t exist.

“The Tory leader has 915,000 followers on the social network, which he joined five years ago.

“But media experts say 15% were ghost accounts – meaning about 137,000 of his Twitter friends are imaginary, while another 393,000 of his followers are deemed “inactive”.

“Celebs have previously been exposed for buying followers to boost their numbers, with online eBay scams arranging for 100,000 fake followers to flock to an account for just £25.”

Now let’s look at what happened to Owen Jones today.

Vox Political is not close to Mr Jones. The Chavs and The Establishment author has not acknowledged this blog’s existence and he never responds to our tweets. He does, however, strike this writer as an honourable person, so when he tweeted

150213jonesfollowers1

there was every reason to believe him.

Then, today (Feb 13), this happens:

150213jonesfollowers2

You see, this turned up on the pro-Tory Guido Fawkes blog today:

150213jonesfollowers3

What’s going on?

It seems clear that some Tory got wind that their leader’s fake followers were going to be outed in the media, so they started buying followers for a prominent Leftie instead, so they could point at him and say: “Look! Look! Those Labour boys are just as bad!”

How sad for them that Owen twigged what was going on, but in any case, two wrongs don’t make a right and some might say a British Prime Minister buying followers to make himself look popular is a lot “wronger” than anything a Leftie journo might do.

In any case, we know that Owen didn’t buy his fake followers.

Perhaps Guido would care to own up and tell us what the game is? How about it, Mr (real name) Staines?

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A few words about respect

141224respect

Blogger kittysjones put out a very interesting article yesterday (Tuesday) entitled Greens: the myth of the “new left” debunked in which the position claimed by the Green Party – that of being the ‘true party of the Left’ – is disputed. The article states:

“The Green Party do not have an underpinning ideology that can be described as left-wing at all. Some of the links with far-right and fascist ideology are very worrying.The fact that the Greens have themselves chosen to regard the Labour Party as their enemy means that they don’t see a potential ally, yet they manage very well in coalition councils, working amicably side-by-side and cooperatively with Tory and Liberal Democrats.

“Don’t let them fail the people of Britain by voting Green next year and allowing the Tories to remain in government another five years. People are suffering and dying as a consequence of Tory austerity; we need to ensure that ends. Vote Labour. That is the genuinely socialist thing to do.”

What is even more interesting than the article (which provides evidence to support its claims) is the reaction to it by some supporters of the party it criticises.

Here’s one: “You really must be running scared to write what you know to be utter rubbish. Thank you for invoking Godwin’s law because it just makes Liebour look all the more desperate and ridiculous.” The author of this comment was unwilling to put their own name to it, being described merely as ‘A Green Nazi’ – interestingly, because Godwin’s Law is, of course, the application of an inappropriate comparison with the Nazis.

The article does indeed compare Green ideology with that of the Nazis, but it does so on the basis of clearly-referenced evidence; therefore it would be wrong to suggest that the comparison is inappropriate. On the other hand, the commenter’s inability or unwillingness to provide any evidential argument against the assertions, relying on disparagement (“utter rubbish”) and insults (“Liebour”) suggest that in fact they are “running scared”, “desperate” and “ridiculous”.

The author’s response was one to which Yr Obdt Srvt has had to resort many times: “If it’s ‘utter rubbish’ then why don’t you explain how, in what way you disagree, rather than being a fascist and proving my point, by simply stooping to insulting the author?” This reply generally provokes one of only two possible responses: Silence, or invective.

Another comment (this one by ‘Nuggy’ – again, not likely to be their real name) attempted to twist the article into a gross generalisation: “Equating all greens with Malthus is like equating all socialists with Pol Pot or Kim Il Sung.”

It was easily put down by a reference to accuracy: “I equated the cited green policies with the ideas of Malthus.” [italics mine]

There was an (unintentially?) hilarious suggestion that the article was libellous; it isn’t, as anyone with knowledge of the laws of defamation will confirm.

And then there were the insults, first mentioned in a reply to Tim Barnden (at last, someone with a real name!) who asked: “Why are you moderating out most replies Ms Jones? Are you in fact not up for a debate?”

This was a continuing theme on the comment column, and the replies indicate the kind of pressure that was being brought to bear by people claiming to represent the Green Party: “I’m up for debate, just not up for allowing personal abuse and bullying on my site… I have had hundreds of comments from largely abusive green supporters… I am getting some pretty terrible personal abuse from Green supporters. But not much criticism of the content and details in the article, unfortunately.”

The Green Party isn’t the only political organisation whose supporters behave in this way.

Vox Political has received exactly the same responses (in different contexts, obviously) from supporters of the Conservative Party (although admittedly this has tailed off considerably since VP was launched in 2011), Scottish nationalism (including the SNP), and most particularly UKIP.

Many, many examples are available if anyone wants to question the truth of this claim.

It’s simply not good enough.

Perhaps those of you who consider this behaviour to be acceptable (it isn’t) may be persuaded against it if sites like VP and kittysjones parcelled up all your abuse and sent it to the head offices of these political parties as examples of how their supporters represent them?

You see, there are rules to this kind of debate and it seems too many people are breaking them. That’s just damned disrespectful and there’s no reason anyone should put up with it.

So, if you are one of those who types out streams of profanity and hits the ‘send’ button before engaging your brain, it’s time to change your ways.

This site values informed debate. We appreciate it; sometimes it can even be persuasive (in VP‘s case this has occurred several times).

But from now on, anything else will receive an appropriate response.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Right-wing blogger attacks political neutrality of Citizens Advice

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That’s right – the Citizens Advice Bureau has come under attack from the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog, which is trying to create a story about a haven of “Labour apparatchiks”, operating a politicised agenda behind a mask of neutrality. The email extract above is being presented as justification.

What utter codswallop!

The claim is that the charity, which helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice, pushes a left-wing or Labour-supporting agenda because it is “stuffed full” of Labour members like “former Miliband aide and Labour candidate Polly Billington”.

In fact, a quick glance through the very email being waved around as evidence is enough to prove the opposite. It leaves no doubt that Ms Billington is leaving her role in Citizens Advice precisely because she knows that taking up her political activities would create a conflict of interest if she were to remain. It’s there in black and white.

The email states: “Polly and I have been thinking carefully about how to make sure this is a smooth transition, so that the campaigns and communications teams are fully supported… and both THE REALITY and perception of our political neutrality are maintained” [boldings and CAPS mine].

That’s right – the intention is to maintain THE REALITY of the charity’s political neutrality.

How did Guido report it? She “has been moved from the front line … so that the ‘perception of our political neutrality’ is ‘maintained’. This is an extremely clumsy misinterpretation because, as noted above, the email refers very clearly to THE REALITY of the charity’s political neutrality.

Indeed, the CAB Code of Conduct prohibits any politicisation of the kind suggested by Guido: “Trustees and committee members must comply with… the avoidance of activities which might compromise Citizens Advice’s political neutrality.”

So where Guido‘s article continues: “Meanwhile, the charity has just hired the Resolution Foundation’s James Plunkett as its new head of campaigns. That would be the same James Plunkett who used to work for Gordon Brown and who has written a string of articles for the Guardian laying into the Tories and “the cuts”. Wonder how they will maintain his ‘perception of political neutrality’,” again it is spouting nonsense. He will be tied into political neutrality by the same code of conduct that ties everybody else in positions of authority, including members of CAB trustee boards across the United Kingdom who may be supporters of the Conservative, Labour, Green or any other party in their personal life, including this writer.

Since the article is clearly trying to suggest the CAB’s political neutrality is only a front, it seems clear that CAB has every right to sue Guido into oblivion – or at least seek compensation for the intended damage to the charity’s reputation.

This seems like another attempt to claim left-wing political bias that isn’t there, in order to install exactly the same kind of sympathy towards the right-wing parties instead – for an example of this strategy, look at the BBC.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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