Diane Abbott pleaded for peaceful protests after the death of Rashan Charles – she certainly did NOT defend rioting.
When right-wingers- especially right-wingers running newspapers – find a metaphorical dead horse to flog, they really put their back into it, don’t they?
Editors of the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Daily Express took it upon themselves to misrepresent Diane Abbott after she spoke up about rioting that has taken place in London after the death of Rashan Charles, a 20-year-old man who died after being “restrained” by police.
The trouble started shortly after around 150 people gathered in Dalston, near where Mr Charles was tackled by officers on July 22.
Protesters threw bottles at police and barricaded Kingsland Road, a long main road which runs past the police station where the protest started peacefully and also through the area where Mr Charles died. The disorder is said to have lasted around an hour, between 10pm and 11pm on Friday (July 28).
The Metropolitan Police said a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, while a police officer suffered an eye injury but remained fit for duty.
Ms Abbott, in whose Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency the rioting took place, put out a press release saying: “The anger and upset at the death of Rashan Charles is understandable. But Rashan’s family have explicitly spoken out against hostile actions. We must respect their wishes and any protests must be peaceful.”
Of course, Ms Abbott wasn’t saying that rioting was “understandable”. She said “anger and upset” was. She was asking for protesters to respect the wishes of Mr Charles’s family – in fact advocating peaceful protest, not “hostile actions”.
Ms Abbott herself responded to similar lies in the Mail –
Another recent right-wing lie is the Tory claim that parents having a job lifts children out of poverty, when in fact the rise in the number of working families simply means there has been an increase in working-household poverty.
They try to pretend that valid arguments – like those presented in a recent Momentum video about the selective amnesia suffered by certain middle-class Tory voters about the help they had to become comfortably wealthy – are “hateful” attacks on bourgeois “caricatures”, but are able to mount no coherent argument against its claims.
And does anybody remember the squawks of upset after This Site pointed out the political aspects of the disastrous fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower last month? Again, this had no basis in fact – the fire happened because safety regulations had been relaxed to the point where landlords could put flammable cladding on the building without being questioned over it, while neither council chiefs nor MPs reviewed safety rules.
Yes, it seems I was the first to point out specifically that there was a political angle to the disaster, on the morning after it happened. The Tories and their lapdogs in the press only picked up on articles that followed in other sites, again claiming that these criticisms were inappropriate.
And yet now – because of pressure from myself and the others – it’s the only story to be told about Grenfell.
Perhaps the uptight right believes Ms Abbott is fair game because she has carried out a few poor performances, notably in a radio interview about police funding and personnel. It was what’s known as a “gotcha” interview – one in which politicians are criticised for failing to memorise relevant information about a policy, rather than for the policy itself. Many Conservative politicians suffered the same fate in the run-up to the general election, but did not receive nearly as much negative attention.
It was later revealed that the MP has been suffering from a long-term illness – but This Writer does not recall seeing any apologies from the gutter newsrags.
Really, the tone of political debate needs to be improved, and massively.
Emotion-based, evidenceless claims from the right are pointless; we can all look up the facts.
And personal attacks that deliberately misrepresent comments by any politician are also ridiculous, because they can use the social media – as Ms Abbott has – to dismiss these claims, almost before the printing presses have finished churning out hard copies of the lies.
The choice facing the right-wing media is very simple, then:
Shape up – or shut up.
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The Lord Chancellor waited nearly 48 hours before responding to backlash against the High Court Brexit ruling [Image: Getty].
This Blog raised concerns about Lukewarm Liz and the legality of her response in this matter – more than two weeks ago!
Why have the mainstream media been quiet since then? Were they waiting for people to forget about the story?
Were they afraid of the reaction from people who agreed with the Mail‘s ‘Enemies of the people’ headline – who, I understand, we are to describe as “alt-right” rather than as “Nazis”?
Were they afraid to stand up and demand that a minister of the Crown defend the letter of the law – to the limit of her abilities, rather than with a mild sop?
It’s hard to support the government, the law, a vocal but vicious minority, and the people in general, all at the same time. Perhaps these jellyfish should choose a side.
Liz Truss has failed in her statutory duties and may have broken the law by keeping a near-silence in the face of a torrent of abuse targeting three high court judges, a former Lord Chief Justice has warned.
Justice Secretary Liz Truss: Is she all smiles now, I wonder? [Image: Getty.]
It is her constitutional duty.
Under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Justice Secretary, who is also the Lord Chancellor, you see, must uphold the independence of the judiciary, must defend that independence, must not seek to influence judicial decisions, must provide support to allow the judiciary to exercise their functions, and must give the public interest proper regard in matters relating to the administration of justice.
Here is the relevant part of the legislation (Part One, s.3):
In short, when the newspapers scream that judges are “enemies of the people” for upholding the law of the United Kingdom, Liz Truss must – as Justice Secretary – publicly rebuke them.
She would be breaking her Lord Chancellor’s oath if she failed to do so.
Curiously, it is hard to find a reference to any enforcement/penalty clause. Perhaps somebody in the judiciary or the Labour Government of 2001-2005 could help out?
I think her resignation would have been forced out of her if she had not obeyed the letter of the law.
That’s all she did though – the bare minimum. Odd, considering she’s a Remainer.
Is she afraid of the press? Probably? Of the public reaction? Almost certainly. So it was probably too much to ask for passion from her.
At least she can still get het up about cheese:
It might be a disgrace but so was her hesitation over the Brexit ruling.
The Lord Chancellor has backed the independence of the UK’s judiciary but stopped short of condemning attacks on senior judges over the Brexit ruling.
The Bar Council had demanded Liz Truss respond to criticism from some MPs and newspapers over the decision that MPs should vote on triggering Article 50.
The Daily Mail branded judges “Enemies of the people”; the Daily Express said it was “the day democracy died”.
Ms Truss said the “impartiality” of the courts was “respected the world over”.
The Question Time panel included Conservative communities secretary Sajid Javid, Labour’s Lisa Nandy, editor-in-chief of the Economist Zanny Minton Beddoes, talk show host Charlie Wolf, and radio presenter Huey Morgan.
Isn’t it sad that the most wacked-out and loopy responses to the high court’s ruling – that Parliament has the final say on Brexit – have come from some of the most influential people?
Look at Sajid Javid on the BBC’s Question Time. He said the court’s decision was an attempt to “thwart the will of the British people”.
How is that, exactly? Isn’t it easier to “thwart the will of the British people” by making sure the British people don’t know what the government is doing?
Isn’t it harder to “thwart the will of the British people” if the British people know what is going on and are able to express their opinion on it?
No wonder he was mauled by the Watford audience.
But he wasn’t alone in overreacting. Here’s the front page of the Express:
It is as gross a misrepresentation as you’re ever likely to see.
Firstly, the high court judges didn’t block Brexit. They merely asserted the sovereignty of the UK Parliament, as enshrined in the law of the land. If the editors of the Express don’t like it, they can always move somewhere else (which would be ironic in the circumstances).
Secondly, the story’s intro paragraph is so hyperbolic it is hilarious! “Today this country faces a crisis as grave as anything since the dark days when Churchill vowed we would fight them on the beaches.” What?
Is this silly hack-rag actually comparing the high court to Nazis? In this astonishing fantasy world, what does its editor imagine will happen next? Thousands of Remainer stormtroopers parachuting into ‘Leave’ areas, or merely leaflet-bombing them with “propaganda” about the harmful effects of hard Brexit?
The Daily Mail went one step further beyond the pale by attempting to shame one of the judges for being “openly gay”. So what?
The Heil took another step towards open fascism with its claim that the three high court judges who handed down the ruling were “Enemies of the People”.
This Writer agrees with the Angry Yorkshireman who writes Another Angry Voice. He wrote on hisFacebookpage:
“It’s pretty difficult to ignore the fascist undertones here.
“The Daily Mail want Theresa May to be able to bypass all forms of democratic accountability and behave like a dictator by making up her own laws to suit herself and her party donors.
“These three judges have stood up for democracy and parliamentary sovereignty so now they’re under sustained attack as ‘enemies of the people’ by the right-wing press.
“Thus anyone who doesn’t agree that Theresa May should be allowed to behave like a dictator by bypassing democratic accountability and making up the law as she goes along is an ‘enemy of the people’ (as decided by a bunch of right-wing hacks working for a billionaire sociopath who lives in Monaco to avoid paying British taxes!).”
Not today, thank you! At least, not in our democracy-loving, free-thinking, law-abiding United Kingdom.
You want to get rid of “enemies of the people”?
Don’t buy the Mail or Express, ridicule those who do, and vote Sajid Javid and his democracy-destroying friends out of Parliament. Consider it your democratic duty.
Conservative minister Sajid Javid has been savaged by the audience of Thursday night’s BBC Question Time.
The Business Secretary was repeatedly berated by attendees, with his words repeated back at him as tensions rose around the High Court’s ruling on Friday to refer Article 50 to parliament.
“Public money has been wasted fighting this that could have been spent on public services,” one woman at the Watford debate said. “And Sajid Javid, I don’t know why you aren’t more embarrassed to represent your party today, it’s an embarrassment”.
Javid dismissed suggestions the government was in disarray over Brexit – drawing noises of derision from the audience.
Another member of the audience said the government “doesn’t have a clue” what it’s doing over Brexit.
“We all know the reason the government and the cabinet don’t want this going to the Houses of Parliament and that’s because they haven’t got a clue what they’re doing,” the woman said. “The devil’s in the detail and they have not got a clue what they’re doing.”
Javid responded to say he “understands” what the woman said. “It’s not the same thing as saying the government doesn’t have a plan,” he said to growing heckles from the audience. “You wouldn’t expect a running commentary on this.”
Tom Pride has requested that we all share this as widely as possible. He writes:
The Daily Express – like most of the UK press – doesn’t like to be criticised.
And – like most of the UK press – it doesn’t like to give a right of reply to anyone, not even to respected organisations such as the British Red Cross.
That’s why the newspaper is refusing to publish a joint letter from the British Red Cross, Refugee Action and the Refugee Council which is critical of it.
This is the letter the Daily Express doesn’t want you to see. So please share it as widely as possible.
The stream of aggressive stories about asylum seekers appearing in this paper in recent days is of serious concern to all of us who work with and support people fleeing persecution.
Your readers would be forgiven for thinking the UK is being flooded by asylum seekers. This couldn’t be further from the truth, with asylum applications around the 23,000 mark a year the UK is home to less than 1 per cent of the world’s refugees and takes proportionately below the EU average.
To characterise the people housed in Folkestone as having a ‘lovely break’ by the sea that Brits would be envious of is hugely misleading and dangerous.
Asylum seekers are people who have often fled horrifying experiences in their home countries. Some have been raped. Some have been tortured. Many have witnessed the death of a loved one. Be assured, people who have suffered extreme trauma and whose lives are hanging in the balance will not be focusing on the sea view of temporary room.
There are no refugee visas available for people fleeing persecution. The fact that people are forced to travel clandestinely is recognised within the Refugee Convention and British Law. Entering Britain illegally can be a necessity; it is not an indication of the validity of someone’s asylum claim.
Additionally, appealing a refusal does not indicate someone cheating the system. Decisions on asylum claims can be life or death and the appeal overturn rate shows the Government frequently gets it wrong the first time.
Stirring up hostility against asylum seekers is as unwelcome as it is unsavoury in a country with a proud tradition of protecting refugees.
Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council
Mike Adamson, Acting Chief Executive, British Red Cross
A strong hand: Ed Miliband has plenty of ammunition with which to hammer the Conservative-led Coalition this autumn – but using it would mean a break from his recent policy direction. Does he have the stomach for it or will he continue to ignore the majority of Labour supporters and favour an inner circle of advisers who have, so far, served him poorly?
Vox Political reblogged a post on the Skwawkbox blog yesterday, identifying a commonplace tactic used by members and supporters of the Coalition government.
It works like this: You make an assertion in the media that will harm your opponents, even though you have no evidence to back it up. You argue your case vehemently, refusing to accept any alternatives to what you are saying. And when the evidence comes in and it’s against you, you say it is a stitch-up and continue claiming both the moral and factual victory.
This is what the Conservative Party has been doing, loudly and continually. Look at its record on the NHS and on social security reforms and you’ll see that this assertion is supported by fact. Now, more factual evidence has arrived to undermine other Tory claims.
In spite of this, the Labour Party presents the appearance of an organisation torn by inner disagreement, after several high-profile figures broke ranks to criticise the leadership for failing to go on the attack during the summer, when the Conservative-led Coalition was vulnerable on any number of levels.
The BBC ran a story in which Labour’s Tessa Jowell warned that public criticism of Labour leader Ed Miliband by party colleagues creates an “unappealing sense of toxic disunity”.
We’ll come back to the BBC shortly, but for now it is enough to say the story quoted an article by Dame Tessa in the Observer, claiming that “disloyalty” of this kind risked handing the next election to the Tories.
She wrote: “There is… nothing constructive in publicly delivering ‘helpful advice’ that could be much better delivered quietly in private,” but for all we know, Mr Miliband’s critics had already done this, only for him to turn a deaf ear.
She is wrong, of course. Those people spoke up because they believed that their leader has been ignoring the mountain of evidence piling up against the Coalition – evidence that he could use to pummel David Cameron and Nick Clegg into the dust long before the next election; that Mr Miliband is unaccountably trying to avoid criticism from the likes of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, in an attempt to court the right-wing readership of those papers; and that he would get more respect from those people – and win back disenchanted Labour voters – if he acknowledged and supported the evidence against the Coalition’s policies and set out opposing plans that mapped out a different course for the UK, one that might actually have a chance of success.
There are so many ways to strike against the web of so-called ‘myths’ (in fact outright lies) spread by the Conservatives since they came into office with the Liberal Democrats that it is hard to know where to start.
Let’s begin with the report by the international doctors’ organisation Medecins Du Monde (Doctors of the World), stating very clearly that the claim, by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, that health tourism is rife in the UK, is nonsense.
In a policy briefing, the organisation stated: “Seven years of data… shows that service users had, on average, been living in the UK for three years before they tried to access healthcare. Only 1.6 per cent of people using the service had left their country of origin for personal health reasons.”
Concentrating on one particular illness, “Research carried out by Terrence Higgins Trust and George House Trust found that people living with HIV using their services had been resident in England for between 12-18 months before testing positive for HIV. If access to HIV drugs had been their motivation for coming to England, they would have been unlikely to wait so long to become eligible for life-saving treatments.”
Therefore, “Research by Doctors of the World’s European network indicates no correlation between accessibility of healthcare to migrants and migration patterns.”
The government has made health tourism a major part of its anti-immigration campaign, claiming that it costs the taxpayer a fortune, but even this was rubbished by the professionals: “Current estimates vary greatly, although last year the NHS estimates it spent £33 million treating foreign nationals and wrote off £12 million of this sum. This represents about 0.01 per cent of the £107 billion NHS budget. These sums are considerably less than the net contribution made to the UK by migrants of 1.02 per cent of GDP, or £16.3 billion, according to the OECD.”
Just 0.01 per cent of the NHS budget is lost treating foreign nationals who do not pay – even less than the 0.7 per cent of the social security budget that is lost to fraud, according to DWP figures. But the government talks up these comparatively tiny amounts as though they will topple us all into bankruptcy (impossible).
One might almost believe there was an intention to distract us from something else. Remember, the Conservatives are well-practised at ‘bait-and-switch’ fraud, as mentioned in an earlier article. Perhaps they don’t want us examining their lackadaisical attempts at pretending to counter corporate tax avoidance that costs up to £120 billion per year? Or maybe they don’t want us thinking about what could have been done to restore respectability to our bankers after the financial crisis they caused.
The Mirror reported that this is because more than 40,000 more people have claimed HB since this time last year, with the biggest pressure coming from working people who need help with housing costs because their wages no longer cover them, especially since private landlords have increased rents by an inflation-busting three per cent over the last 12 months.
Meanwhile, councils have been forced to rehouse victims of the Bedroom Tax from cheaper social housing into more expensive private rented properties, creating more unwanted extra costs.
It was previously reported that larger social housing is going empty because people do not want to move in and then fall foul of the Bedroom Tax. I can’t currently find the reference for that, but if anyone can help out, please send in a comment with the link.
The government has claimed that the redundancies will save £1.5 billion per year, which will be reinvested in patient care – but this will only bring annual spending back up to just above where it was when Labour left office, as it was revealed at the end of 2012 that annual spending on the NHS has dropped by nearly £1 billion. The government has stated that spending will have increased by £12.7 billion by 2014-15 which, in financial terms, is next year.
The Coalition lied when it said changes to the planning system would protect the Green Belt. This land, “intended to provide countryside access for urban dwellers and ensure conservation of nature, as well as maintaining agriculture and forestry” according to a BBC website article, is being eroded away with the help of new rules introduced by the Coalition, with planning applications on Green Belt land in England almost doubling from 81,000 homes in 2012 to 150,000 this year.
The government said protection was being maintained but the Council for the Protection of Rural England said the Green Belt was under threat. Who do you believe?
The announcement that the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent, rather than 0.6, has been greeted rapturously by the Coalition, whose representatives have claimed that it shows the economy has moved “from rescue to recovery”. This is, of course, utterly ludicrous. There is no way an improvement of this kind – after years of economic flatlining thanks to Coalition policies – can be claimed as either evidence of a sustained recovery or evidence that Coalition policies are responsible for the improvement. The weakness of the upturn suggests the change brought on by conditions that would have arisen, whether the Coalition had tinkered with the economy or not.
Thankfully Michael Meacher has returned, after a brief holiday from blogging, to give us chapter and verse. “Today’s announcement by the ONS that its initial 0.6 per cent growth estimate for the second quarter of this year has now been upgraded to 0.7 per cent is insignificant when put into perspective against the recoveries of the five other UK recessions in the previous 100 years,” he writes.
“This time the economy still remains 3.3 per cent below its pre-crash level in 2008, while at the same stage of cycle (ie five years on from the crash) it was nearly FIVE per cent above the pre-crash level in the early 1980s, SIX per cent above pre-crash in the 1920s, SIX per cent above pre-crash again in the early 1930s, SEVEN per cent above pre-crash in the early 1970s, and nearly 10 PER CENT above pre-crash in the 1990s.” (Caps and italics mine)
“Come on, at this stage 0.7 per cent is to be apologised for – both historically and in comparison with other other economies emerging from recession this time round – Britain still three per cent down, but France one per cent down, Germany two per cent up, the US four per cent up and Canada six per cent up.”
The above stories emerged over the past couple of days. Look back over the rest of August and we have:
The revelation that the upcoming Lobbying Bill will do nothing to prevent professional lobbyists from influencing Parliament unduly, but will attack your right to campaign politically in “an outrageous attack on freedom of speech”.
The revelation that a ‘top ten’ list of benefit fraudsters, reported by right-wing newspapers, does not exist.
Information that the government may be corruptly supporting fracking because several of its members have stakes in fracking firms.
Home Office vans stirring up racism in London.
Conservative plans to abolish the human rights of everybody in the UK, in order to inflict a dangerous and exploitative regime on working people that will amount to slavery.
The revelation that recent attacks on the NHS for causing needless deaths have been blown out of proportion in order to make public opinion more receptive to further privatisation.
The revelation that the DWP is spending £1.3 million on extra staff who have been calculating the government’s flagship benefits cap – perhaps its only popular policy – because the computer system needed to do the job has not yet been built. Ministers had no intention of admitting this and the information only became public after it was discovered by somebody else.
And then there’s the fact that the fundamental claim of the Coalition government – that the financial crisis of five years ago happened because Labour overspent massively and mishandled the economy – was absolute and total groundless fabrication. Labour in fact handled the economy responsibly, even when the financial crisis hit.
That has to total more than 10 ways in which Labour could undermine the Coalition. All Mr Miliband has to do is open his mouth and tell people about them in ways that will be reported by the media.
And on that subject: If and when he does, and it is reported by the BBC, we can all be certain that right-wing commentators will claim that this is because the BBC is full of pinko left-wingers who support Labour. Let’s put that myth to rest as well.
A lecturer at Cardiff University has checked the facts and found that the BBC has a broadly right-wing bias. The study showed that the government of the day generally gets more airtime than anyone else (natural considering it is making policy and actually carrying out the business of government) but in reporting of immigration, the EU and religion, in 2007 Gordon Brown’s appearances on the BBC outnumbered David Cameron’s by less than two to one, while in 2012, Cameron’s outnumbered Ed Miliband’s by around four to one. The same ratios occurred for other prominent members of each party. When reporting of all topics is taken into account, Conservative politicians were featured more than 50 per cent more often than those from Labour in both 2007 AND 2012.
Going into the autumn Parliamentary session, Ed Miliband has a strong hand to play – if he has the stomach for it. And if any of the media try to suppress his arguments, he can just point to the evidence of right-wing bias and tell them they need to clean up their act just as much as the Coalition.
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