Tag Archives: censure

BBC reverses decision to censure Munchetty – but what about its institutional racism?

Naga Munchetty: victim of institutional racism at the BBC?

The BBC has made the right choice for the wrong reason.

Director General Tony Hall has announced the retraction of a decision to censure Naga Munchetty over comments she made about racism by Donald Trump – after the corporation’s complaints unit was revealed to have acted in a racist way itself.

The retraction happened only after leaked information showed the executive complaints unit had ignored the part of the complaint that referred to Dan Walker, as well as Ms Munchetty.

She is one of the BBC’s most prominent minority ethnic journalists, while he may be described as “White British”.

This raises a question about racism in the BBC. Why was the part of the complaint against Mr Walker ignored while that against Ms Munchetty was upheld?

And why did the BBC try to cover it up? This part of the matter was only revealed after the text of the complaint was leaked to other news media.

It seems clear that the BBC has a problem with institutional racism. This Writer hopes that Ofcom, which is currently investigating BBC impartiality – or the lack of it, has taken note.

The BBC has reversed its decision to sanction BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty for breaking impartiality guidelines with her comments about Donald Trump, following a staff uprising against the ruling and enormous political pressure.

The U-turn over censuring her came after the Guardian obtained leaked internal correspondence casting doubts on public claims about the complaints process made by a senior BBC executive, as he attempted to explain why Munchetty’s co-host Dan Walker had escaped punishment, despite taking part in the same discussion.

The BBC’s editorial standards director, David Jordan, said Walker could not have been investigated because the single viewer complaint which led to the ruling did not mention the male presenter. “The simple fact is we haven’t had a complaint about Dan Walker’s role,” he said in one interview. “The complaint was about Naga Munchetty.”

However, copies of the viewer’s complaint leaked to the Guardian show that the original correspondence was explicitly about both Munchetty and Walker, leading to internal anger from BBC employees who demanded that women and minority ethnic journalists should be treated fairly by the corporation.

On Monday night, BBC employees said the issue had reignited wider concerns about on-screen diversity at the corporation and how the BBC treated prominent senior white, male journalists differently to staff from a minority ethnic background.

The decision also raises major questions about the BBC’s ability to enforce its impartiality guidelines in the future, given the director general has now shown himself willing to intervene and overturn ruling by the semi-independent complaints unit in face of public pressure.

Oh, and is Ofcom still examining the complaint with reference to its own rules and regulations?

Source: Naga Munchetty: BBC reverses decision to censure presenter | Media | The Guardian

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After the fake Labour anti-Semitism row, Theresa May whips her MPs to support GENUINE anti-Semites

Chums: Theresa May and Viktor Orban are both racists.

The hypocrisy of this is astounding.

Theresa May’s MEPs voted to protect Viktor Orban’s anti-Semitic far-right Hungarian government from sanctions in the European Parliament yesterday in an astonishing display of hypocrisy only hours after the UK’s prime minister made a vicious – and false – verbal attack on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for alleged anti-Semitism.

And have we heard any protests from the people and organisations who have been screaming at Mr Corbyn and Labour for the last two years?

No. Not one word.

That’s nothing from the Campaign Against Antisemitism, that claims to attack anyone who voices support for anti-Semitic views but has focused all its attention on Labour.

Nothing from former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

Where are these hypocrites?

Mr Orban’s government has been accused of violating press freedoms, undermining judicial independence and waging a state-backed antisemitic campaign against Jewish businessman George Soros. It is also subject to allegations of corruption relating to the alleged misspending EU funds by Mr Orban’s friends and family, while the prime minister himself has described refugees as “Muslim invaders” and been accused of being deeply Islamophobic.

Politicians from across the EU voted by a two-thirds majority 448-197 to trigger ‘Article 7′ sanctions against Hungary for violations of the rule of law.

Theresa May, who was happy to quote Chuka Umunna’s lies about racism and anti-Semitism at Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (September 13), had nothing to say about her own MEPs’ decision to support racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Fortunately, others were more forthcoming – and they are representatives of, and supporters of, the party that has borne the brunt of so many false accusations:

https://twitter.com/JamesSorah/status/1039546970002661376

I hope everyone can understand what this means – not only about Hungary but about who, in the United Kingdom, are the real racists.

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If Labour MPs want to avoid censure, they need to show some respect

Rosie Duffield: She’s facing a motion of censure.

Cast your eyes over the following:

Owen Jones is right, of course.

If it isn’t Joan Ryan calling her own constituency party members “Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard left”, it’s Chuka Umunna calling Labour members and supporters “dogs” (whether he meant his word descriptively or metaphorically is immaterial as it is just as insulting either way) and saying the party is “institutionally racist”, or the “former MP” quoted in this Independent article (and above) suggesting that party members are suffering from mental ill-health.

Party members are furious that they are being treated in such a dismissive way by a small group of MPs who have arrived in Parliament in the belief that they give the orders and the rank-and-file do as they are told – an attitude that is too close to the “plebs” mentality – of a certain brand of Tory – for comfort.

These are the same MPs who have been carrying out almost ceaseless attacks on party leader Jeremy Corbyn since he was elected into the role in 2015 (with a short break after Labour’s huge gains in the 2017 general election), so it should come as no surprise that he is standing by his supporters.

He reminded a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party: “I know what it feels like to be the target of a no confidence vote” [it happened in 2016 – and many of those who heard his speech supported it] but it would be wrong for me to intervene in the democratic rights of any part of the Labour party.”

And he is right. The leader has no power to prevent a “no confidence” vote called by members of individual constituency Labour parties.

And there’s another one happening on Wednesday – against Rosie Duffield, who probably owes her victory in Canterbury, against the Tory who had held that city for the previous 30 years, to the Corbyn surge of 2017.

In return, it seems she has undermined her leader, attending a Parliament Square demonstration that accused her own party of “systemic” anti-Semitism, warning that Labour MPs could “go on strike” if Labour did not adopt the flawed IHRA definition of anti-Semitism with all its examples (as eventually happened last week, despite Labour’s code of conduct being far more fit-for-purpose), and supporting the Jewish Labour Movement that has framed at least one high-profile Labour member with anti-Semitism accusations.

Mr Corbyn told the PLP he could not intervene if constituency members wanted to air their differences. He said: “We will always have some differences of opinion and we must protect the right of criticism and debate.”

But he added: “Our first and overwhelming priority is to deliver for the people we represent and remove this Conservative government from office. We must focus on that priority and turn our fire outwards.”

He also made it clear that he wanted all local meetings to be held in an atmosphere of “respect” – perhaps a reference to Joan Ryan’s comment about “Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard left”.

One wonders whether the MPs who have been so disruptive, so far, will honour that appeal after Wednesday’s motion of censure.

Their record up to now suggests that they will not.

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A disabled man responds to Damian Green over the UN report on disability rights violations

Damian Green: He won't have read the comments in this article; worse, he clearly doesn't care [Image: Daily Mirror].

Damian Green: He won’t have read the comments in this article; worse, he clearly doesn’t care [Image: Daily Mirror].


The author of this article drew my attention to it, and now I’m asking you to read it too.

This is just a fraction of the whole, and I recommend you visit the Muscular Dystrophy UK site for the full piece.

The government claims as a disabled person, you have rights to protect you from discrimination. It cites the Equality Act 2010 (please refer to here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance) & the UNCRPD (please refer to here http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml) will help to enforce, protect & promote your rights.

So, it is surprising to find last week that the UK, as a result of being the first member to be investigated by a United Nations committee for not fulfilling the terms of the UNCRPD, have been found guilty of grave & systematic violations of the rights of disabled people as a direct result of austerity policies introduced into welfare & social care by the UK government aimed at reducing public spending since 2010, an inquiry has concluded.

The highly critical report (please refer to here http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRPD%2fC%2f15%2fR.2%2fRev.1&Lang=en), published in Geneva on Monday 7th November 2016, says a range of measures including controversial cuts to disability benefits, social care budgets & the introduction of the bedroom tax, have disproportionately & adversely affected the rights of disabled people to live independently, to work & achieve an adequate standard of living.

It makes 11 recommendations, including calling on the UK government to carry out a study of the cumulative impact of all spending cuts on disabled people & to ensure the human rights of disabled people are upheld.

In response, the government stated it “did not plan to follow up on any of the recommendations”.

Isn’t this to our nation’s shame?

Why hasn’t there been public outcry? Why has it not been plastered across our television screens constantly? Why haven’t hordes of disgruntled & angry citizens waving placards not taken to the streets en masse in protest at the treatment of one of the proudest but, flawed sections of society?

Because it’s been another stroke of luck for the government that in the same week this damning report was published, the Americans voted for a misogynist, racist to be their president & Mondelez International changed the size of bloody Toblerone!

I am shocked & saddened at the apathetic reaction to this report by the public. This is your money, not the government’s, despite what they might think. It’s your money that you work damn hard for that is purposely being withheld or wasted by the very government department, the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP), charged with protecting the less fortunate.

Then there is the derision emanating from the new Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, the Rt Hon Damian Green MP.

[His] reaction is reminiscent of a scolded child. It is vulgar & quite frankly, damn right offensive. [His] protests are based on a misplaced, perceived sense of injustice for which [he has]no justifiable right to be offended.

I find Mr Green’s response is in keeping with the condescending & disrespectful attitude to the disabled which lies beneath the policies borne of his department.

Mr Green, if you think people losing their cars, their jobs, their homes, unprecedented reliance on foodbanks, destitution & even people taking or losing their lives are indicative of successfully supporting disabled people & an efficient way of distributing £50 billion then we have very contrasting definition of success.

And exactly how much of this alleged £50 billion outlay does the DWP waste on maintaining an IT infrastructure that’s not fit for purpose? And I would be very interested to know exactly how much of this alleged £50 billion the DWP spend, is spent by them defending & enforcing their draconian measures (such as the bedroom tax) in court via First Tier Tribunals, Upper Tribunals & beyond.

Mr Green is trying to defend the indefensible in government policy & the DWP. The motivation for the change in welfare is to drive down costs.

The reality is; the skivers & malingerers you’ve portrayed us as, the disabled, has turned out to be the genuinely sick & ill & now we’re suffering as a direct result.

Money. It’s all about money for the Tories … & always has been. Austerity is about money & clearly [the Conservative] government value money more than life.

You are guilty of systematic violations of our human rights sir. Fact.

Surely this is the nation’s shame?

Source: The Nation’s Shame – Muscular Dystrophy UK

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UN disability report: It IS time to focus – but not on details we’ve already covered

Nobody's idea of a Mastermind: Damian Green looks very similar to a contestant on the revered quiz show - but he seems clueless about his specialist subject.

Nobody’s idea of a Mastermind: Damian Green looks very similar to a contestant on the revered quiz show – but he seems clueless about his specialist subject.

Blogger Neil Crowther has responded to yesterday’s report on the letter to Ban-Ki Moon, calling for the United Nations to condemn the Conservative Government for dismissing its findings on the violations of human rights here.

The Tories have been found guilty of systematic violations of the rights of people with disabilities, according to the UN.

Mr Crowther suggests that complaining to the UN is “wasted energy”. Unfortunately he goes on to suggest two courses of action that are themselves a waste:

  • The whole point of the inquiry was to shine a light on UK government support for people with disabilities – that work has been done; and
  • It is pointless to discuss the amount of money spent on UK government policies when it has already been established that the policies themselves are at fault.

The article does make some very good points about the timing of the UN report’s publication – forced to take place during the week of the US Presidential election thanks to the complicity of the right-wing Mail on Sunday, so it would be buried beneath coverage of Trump.

But the fact is that this effort has quite clearly succeeded, therefore a new angle is needed, in order to revive interest.

A letter to Ban-Ki Moon is a new angle; revisiting arguments that have already been made is not.

Some have concluded that the government has complacently dismissed an  inquiry report by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into the devastating impact of austerity measures since 2010. I believe they are wrong and the government is on the run.

Why try so hard to bury bad news if you are so confident that the news is inaccurate, or its implications so light?

Perhaps it’s because this is the beginning not the end of a process, one that will refuse to go away for some time and which will become tougher as time goes by.

As President Obama would say, now is the time to focus.   Complaining to the government, or to the Secretary General of the United Nations, about the tone of the government’s response is wasted energy.  Did anyone really expect them to say ‘its a fair cop’ and to embrace the criticism?  Instead our focus has to be on unpicking the government’s arguments:

  • Yes, money isn’t everything and there’s more to life than social security, so let’s shine the light on how well government is supporting people to escape poverty, to exercise choice and control and to participate fully in practice – what is happening to people’s everyday opportunities?  Just how far will the proposals in the Green Paper, or action to implement the Care Act go to address these issues?
  • But with respect to the money, let’s not let the government get away with its glib claim to be spending more today than in 2009-10. Let’s ask how much it would have been spending were it not for cuts, count the human cost of those cuts, and also scrutinise just how well the considerable amount of public money is being spent in support of human rights.

In forcing publication of the UN Committee’s findings and its own response and publishing the Green Paper the government has provided a major opportunity to put it to the test.

Source: Following the UN Disability Committee report – it’s time to focus | Making rights make sense

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UN urged to act after Conservative government dismisses report on disability

161113-ban-ki-moon

Campaigners including This Writer have sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, calling for action over the UK government’s disgraceful treatment of people with illnesses and disabilities.

Thanks to the efforts of our Tory-supporting media, most people in the UK don’t even know the United Nations has found the government guilty of systematically violating the rights of people with disabilities.

As one of the signatories of this letter, I’m surprised the Herald has published this story – it wasn’t due for release until the middle of the week.

So you should perhaps consider this a taste of things to come, and I would certainly appreciate it if everybody reading this could share it with as many friends and associates as possible.

Clearly we cannot rely on the mainstream press to report on this matter, even though it is one of the worst disgraces the United Kingdom’s government has ever committed – a national disgrace.

Spread the word and shame the Tories.

Campaigners are urging the United Nations to condemn the UK Government’s “unacceptable” dismissal of criticism over the impact of its welfare policies on disabled people.

Its report, published last week, found austerity policies had led to “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities, with changes to benefits disproportionately affecting this group.

But in response, UK Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said it demonstrated an “outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive.”

Now campaigners are writing to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asking him to “censure” the UK Government for its “unacceptable behaviour” in trying to discredit the report.

The letter, which will be submitted early this week, has been backed by more than 50 signatories including Paul Laverty, scriptwriter of “I, Daniel Blake”, several SNP MPs and disability and poverty campaigners.

John McArdle, co-founder of the Scottish disability rights group Black Triangle, said the report stood to be “totally disregarded” by the UK Government.

He said: “The Government have rejected all of their recommendations out of hand.

“But it is now on the international record that the UK is the first country in the world to be found to have met the standard for committing grave or systemic violations of the fundamental rights of disabled people.”

Source: UN urged to act over UK Government’s ‘unacceptable’ dismissal of report on disability (From HeraldScotland)

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Budget fever grows but is Gideon up to the task?

Cart crash: In line with the theme explored in this article, not only is it likely that George Osborne won't even have the right vehicle to carry his budget - he'll probably crash it, too.

Cart crash: In line with the theme explored in this article, not only is it likely that George Osborne won’t even have the right vehicle to carry his budget – he’ll probably crash it, too.

Part-time Chancellor Gideon George Osborne will be having another go at delivering a budget next week; while we can all hope he does better than the last four wrecks, experience – and a voodoo poll on the ConservativeHome website – suggests the opposite.

The poll asks readers to prioritise possible policies on a scale of one to 10, where one is “low” and 10 is “high”. The policies themselves?

“Cut spending further, so that the deficit can be reduced faster”. Clearly this is nonsense. Osborne’s massive spending cuts have, so far, delivered tiny reduction in the national deficit of only £7 billion – from £118 billion to £111 billion. In four years. Clearly, he needs to change his ways.

Other possibilities include cutting the higher rates of tax (or raising the threshold for them) – helping the very rich; extending National Insurance cuts for employers taking on young workers – helping employers; cutting business rates – helping businesspeople; and privatising more state assets, such as roads – helping rich investors and penalising the poor.

Other ideas intended to harm the poor include regionalising public sector pay, extending the freeze on public sector pay rises or cutting public sector pay, lowering the benefit cap to less than the current £26,000 per family and lowering a cap on broader social security spending that is yet to be introduced (it is scheduled for 2015).

All of the measures mentioned in the above two paragraphs will harm the British economy, rather than helping it. If Osborne includes any of them, he will deserve censure (if not prosecution, although it might be hard to find an offence on which to charge him after five years of Tory/Tory Democrat tinkering with the legal system).

By now, dear readers, some of you will be sitting with your blood boiling at this insolent blogger who’s telling you your prized policy ideas won’t work. You’re probably itching to demand what I would do to address the challenge.

I would have examined the economy from a different angle. Let’s look at it metaphorically.

Imagine the British economy is a haulage lorry or, better yet, a horse and cart. Tories are pushing us back towards pre-industrialism so we might as well get used to the idea. Either way, the job in hand is to take provisions to different parts of the locality that will allow the people there to prosper – and return with a share of that prosperity, to be distributed equally for the benefit of everyone.

Firstly, you need fuel. This is where we can prove that Osborne’s austerity is completely useless. How far can a lorry travel with an empty fuel tank? How far will a horse pull a cart if you don’t feed it? Not very far at all.

Then you need to make sure you’re providing the right kind of fuel. A diesel lorry won’t go far on petrol or vegetable oil before it starts to complain; give a horse the wrong kind of food and it will develop who-knows-what kind of digestion-related illness and keel over. This is what happens to an economy that is over-reliant on – for example – a single economy sector such as finance, or an economic ‘bubble’ like the housing growth triggered by Help to Buy (although this scheme could work well with the correct controls, in the same way you can probably keep a horse working with the correct medicine).

The result in both cases – no fuel or wrong fuel – is the same: Your supplies don’t get out to your people and they suffer as a result. The last four years of Tory/Tory Democrat rule has proved this.

In non-metaphorical terms: There must be investment, and it must be the right kind.

Then, of course, there is the question of what you have in the back of your lorry (or on the cart). You must be providing your people with what they need, otherwise there’s no point in making the journey and the fuel/food in which you have invested – in fact, the whole journey – will have been wasted (like Osborne’s last four budget attempts). Your choice of supplies will depend on what your people are doing – what crops they are growing or products they are making – and on whether these can be traded with your neighbours. If they have been misled into producing wares that can’t be traded, what good is that?

Get it right and you’ll be able to make a return trip laden with goods and supplies that will – with a bit of wise distribution and trade – help build up your society, meaning that the load might not be so great on the next trip. This means less fuel/horse feed will be needed and there won’t be as large a load in goods to be redistributed on the return journey (although an expanding economy means there might be farther to travel, so this must be recognised in the amount of fuel to be used).

That’s about as simple a metaphor as I can devise at the moment.

If I had to predict what will happen on Wednesday, though, I would probably expect Osborne to be demanding that we leave the lorry in the garage (or the horse in the yard), and struggle out on foot with all our burdens on our own back.

Not so much “all in it together” as “everyone for themselves” – and that’s how we’ll all be ruined.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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