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Mike’s appeal against Riley libel action is in danger due to court SCHEDULING

I have to raise around £20,000 within a month or my lawyers will not be able to prepare my appeal properly before it goes before the court on April 27.

That was the stark fact my solicitor put before me in a lengthy email yesterday evening.

The sudden push for funding has happened because the Court of Appeal has scheduled my case on an “expedited” basis, meaning the hearing will take place at its convenience rather than that of either party.

It has allowed only two hours for the appeal to be heard – one hour for me, one for Riley – but the arguments she has submitted amount to a completely new case against me.

My solicitor tells me he initially thought that two hours was “tight but workable” – until he saw Riley’s skeleton argument.

She is really running a whole new strike out application deploying legal arguments that she did not deploy before.

She is entitled to raise new arguments that support the High Court’s decision to strike out my defence, it seems – but normally this would involve putting the case she had already made in a new way rather than presenting the course with a completely new case.

And because it is a new argument, her legal team at Patron Law would be expected to challenge the Court of Appeal’s time estimate. But they have not.

As matters stand, this means my own team now – suddenly – need to an enormous amount of work in a very short time. Indeed, the court ordered yesterday (March 18) that my legal team had to submit its legal paperwork and any revision of our own skeleton argument by March 16 – two days previously. As this is impossible it means my team has had to scramble to try to obtain a revised timetable.

On top of all this (or rather, underlying it – because this was what we expected to have to do), because my case relies on a defence that is not extensively defined, the Court of Appeal may wish to refine or restate the law on the “public interest” defence and my legal team needs to be prepared to guide it.

Given the lack of time provided by the court, it is possible that I will be faced with one of several unwelcome decisions. It could decide that Riley is running a new case and if so, it could grant my appeal but send the matter back to the High Court and I would have to try to raise even more funds to fight the new allegations. It could dismiss my appeal, simply to draw a line under the matter (although this would be an unusual and, in my opinion, unjust outcome). It could say it wants more time and adjourn for a further hearing, possibly far in the future, meaning I would have to try to raise more funds because my legal team would have to carry out their preparation work again. Or it might make do with the current time estimate and either tell the lawyers to pick their best points or cut them off after an hour each, no matter what they were saying.

Given the above, my point of view is that I’m being asked to beg you – my funders – for £20,000 in very short order, to fund a hearing that is unlikely to have adequate time for all the issues to be aired and may either be cut short (which seems to me to be against the interests of justice) or either adjourned or postponed to what may be a much later date, incurring equal or greater costs.

Given those options, I have told my solicitor that I think it would be reasonable to remind the court that my resources are extremely limited in comparison to those of a Claimant who has effectively put an entirely new case before us all but has failed to request extra time for it to be discussed, and that I believe it would be in the interests of justice to vacate the hearing to a date when all the issues can be given the proper weight.

Whatever happens, you can see that the underlying tactic by Riley’s legal team is still to drain my funds, so I won’t have enough to defend myself.

If the appeal happens with a short, two-hour hearing, then I will have been forced to try to raise a large amount of money in a tiny period of time, which is unfair on my funders (meaning you).

If I manage that, but the case is sent back to the High Court because it involves new arguments, or is adjourned to a later date to allow more time, then I will have to ask you for even more money – which is again unfair on you.

It seems clear to me that Mark Lewis and his team at Patron Law know perfectly well what they are doing. They could have requested an adjournment to allow the longer hearing that they know their new case deserves, but they deliberately chose not to. I think that was to put pressure on you – my funders – to put you off helping me.

So I find myself in the awful position of having to ask you to support me with anything you can, as soon as you can – and to urge anybody you know, who might still by sympathetic to justice, to do the same – knowing that I am asking a lot and you may run out of patience.

And I have to do this, knowing that I may have to ask you for even more, possibly very soon after the April 27 hearing.

By now you are probably tired of reading the instruction, but I have to repeat them. 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.

It is a diabolical situation and I am sure that Patron Law – and Rachel Riley – intended it.

Riley has tried to use her huge wealth to buy justice in this case, ever since she started her case against me nearly two years ago.

With your help, I have come a long way. My public interest defence has a very high chance of success, if I can bring it to a trial.

I think that is why Riley and her people are trying so hard to make this appeal unaffordable for me.

As I say, I have asked my own lawyers to request a postponement that will allow all the necessary work to happen, provide enough court time for all the arguments to be properly aired, and allow me to raise the funds necessary for all of it.

But I must proceed on the basis that this will not happen and a very short, two-hour appeal will happen on April 27.

Please help me ensure that, if that is what must happen, I can not only bring my case to the court, but also bring my best case.

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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Senior Tories including ‘Brexit Steve’ Baker demand continuation of Covid death spiral

The image above may not be the most sophisticated graphic This Site has ever published, but it is accurate all the same.

The Tory rabble who have been pushing for more deaths in a bid to keep the economy going and their paymasters in big business happy have been pressuring Boris Johnson for another early end to the restrictions he has (laughably) encouraged us all to call a lockdown.

The infection and death rates are back at pre-‘lockdown’ levels, they say, so he she start easing us all back into work at the beginning of March.

Shockingly, arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, clearly believing he hasn’t done enough to wreck the nation, has been traipsing around the broadcast media today, claiming that we need to give Covid-19 a chance at a third wave, for the sake of the poorest in society.

“Think of the poor!” How disgusting.

As the infographic above points out, he couldn’t care less when he voted against letting the poor keep the Universal Credit uplift they need to get by.

In this light, he seems clearly revealed as the kind of opportunist who says whatever he thinks will get him what he wants.

And he isn’t the only one:

Lockdown-sceptic Tories have piled pressure on Boris Johnson, calling on him to commit to a timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions with a complete end to controls by the end of April.

In a letter to the prime minister, the leaders of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said the “tremendous pace” of the vaccination rollout meant restrictions should begin easing from early March.

They said ministers must produce a cost-benefit analysis to justify any controls that remain in place after that date, with a “roadmap” stating when they would be removed.

The letter was organised by the CRG chair and deputy chair, Mark Harper and Steve Baker, and was said to have the backing of 63 Conservative MPs in all. However, scientists advising the government are warning that lifting restrictions too quickly risks another wave of the disease as big as the current one.

Of course, 63 Tory MPs in rebellion isn’t enough to bother Johnson – the Tory majority in Parliament is 80 – but it might be enough to rattle his cage, reminding him that he needs to keep his members happy.

He has already said he hopes to map out a “cautious” route out of lockdown on February 22 – next Monday.

The CRG people, led by Baker and Mark Harper, reckon they can dictate its pace – demanding that schools reopen by March 8 and hospitality businesses by Easter.

So we’ll be well on the way to another surge by Whitsun, then.

Source: Tory MPs tell Johnson to commit to lifting Covid restrictions by end of April | World news | The Guardian

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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DWP abandons legal battle over ‘perverse’ Universal Credit fault

This is a surprise – the Department for Work and Pensions has actually seen the light and done the right thing!

The decision paves the way for 85,000 benefit claimants to demand reimbursement as the fault in Universal Credit means they may have been left £500 per year worse off.

If you’re one of those affected, get your demand in now.

The Department for Work and Pensions has abandoned its lengthy legal battle to avoid fixing a “perverse” design feature in universal credit that has left thousands of working claimants hundreds of pounds a year out of pocket.

The minister for welfare delivery, Will Quince, told MPs he accepted that the DWP must correct the feature, which has resulted in serious budgeting problems for some claimants who are paid at the end of the month.

The issue currently affects claimants whose wages are paid two days earlier than usual when the month ends on a weekend or bank holiday. The system assumes they have been paid twice in a single universal credit assessment period, and none in the next, meaning their benefit payments fluctuate wildly.

Source: DWP abandons legal battle against universal credit claimants | Society | The Guardian

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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How many people does the government owe because of Universal Credit payday prejudice?

Let’s answer the question in the headline straight away: it seems 85,000 people may be able to claim compensation because the government deliberately failed to stop people getting less Universal Credit if their payday comes early because of a weekend or bank holiday.

Judges at the Court of Appeal have ruled that it was “irrational” for the Department for Work and Pensions – and the Secretary of State in particular – to ignore the fact that computer systems would assume that claimant had received double the money expected and cancel their payments.

The Conservative government has spent two years fighting this court case – indicating that, despite being well aware of the issue, Tories were determined to continue depriving some of the poorest workers in the UK of vital benefits.

Are they sadists? Or perverts?

Certainly perverts, it seems. In her judgment, Lady Justice Rose described the situation as “perverse”.

But decide for yourself.

The three judges at the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the Work and Pensions Secretary acted irrationally and unlawfully by making Universal Credit regulations which fail to take into account that the date monthly salaries are paid can vary because of weekends and bank holidays.

The Government had taken the case to the Court of Appeal after single mother Danielle Johnson, along with three other mothers supported by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), won a High Court legal challenge.

They said the Government’s interpretation of regulation 54 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 meant some months she would receive much less in universal credit than in others.

Ms Johnson is paid on the last working day of each month and her benefit assessment period runs from the last day of the month to the penultimate day of the following month. When a weekend is at the end of a month, this means her wages go into her bank account earlier than in other months.

The Universal Credit computer system interpreted this as Ms Johnson having earned twice as much in one month and none in others, so her payment would be calculated accordingly.

It resulted in extreme fluctuations in her income and – in several months – she lost the work allowance part of the UC payment, meaning she was around £500 per year worse off.

If 85,000 people lost the same amount, that means the government was stopping them from receiving £42.5 million a year – not a lot in terms of a national government’s budget.

So why did the Tories create a system that forced this hardship on vulnerable women (among others)?

Why spend more money defending this irrational persecution of vulnerable women?

We can only conclude that this is yet more evidence that the Tories simply enjoy making poor people suffer.

And it worked: Ms Johnson suffered severe cash flow problems and between them, the four mothers fell into rent arrears, defaulted on council tax, incurred bank overdraft charges, borrowed money and even become reliant on food banks to make ends meet.

Lady Justice Rose commented that Ms Johnson “expresses her doubts whether she will ever be able to get back on top of her finances and worries that cash flow problems will mean she is unable to pay her rent, jeopardising her tenancy”.

We should also discuss the Tory government’s defence, which seems to be that changing the system would cost too much. It’s always about money with this mob, isn’t it?

So the court was told that any change to the computer system would cost at least £7.35 million – a fraction of what the government has saved each year by withholding money from 85,000 claimants.

And the Tories said there would need to be a wholesale move away from automation back to manual calculation in order to accommodate the changes demanded by the judges.

This would be an admission that the whole Universal Credit project – that was intended to be “digital by default” – is a failure.

And it’s doubtful that there’s any truth in the claim. Computer programs can be quite adaptable – or at least, they can in the hands of people who don’t have an agenda that involves the persecution of the vulnerable.

Of course the question arising from this is: what happens next?

Will the government automatically calculate the back payments owed to many tens of thousands of UC claimants and pay them?

I think we all know the answer to that!

Will the Tories change the law to ensure that this situation is not allowed to arise in the future?

Or will they try to find another way to contest the ruling? Delay any payments resulting from it? Otherwise try to ignore the decision of the court?

What do you think?

Source: Four Single Mums Win Court Of Appeal Universal Credit Case | Leigh Day

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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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be released early – and it’s nothing to do with Boris Johnson

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

At least, that’s the impression This Writer is getting from the announcement today (December 21).

It seems Mrs Zaghari Ratcliffe, will be deemed eligible for early release by the Iranian judiciary, as she has served one-third of her prison sentence.

She was detained by the authorities in Iran last year, on charges of trying to incite a “soft” revolt against the Iranian regime by training journalists, when she was trying to return home after a holiday there.

The announcement is a clear snub to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who recently visited Iran to try to get politicians there to release Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The judiciary in Iran, like that in the UK, is separate from politicians there – there is a separation of powers which means that politicians will have had nothing to do with the decision.

So what good was Boris Johnson?

All he has done, it seems to This Writer, is make a catastrophic mistake that made Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s situation much worse – by inaccurately claiming he understand that she had been training journalists – and fail to improve matters despite a highly-publicised visit to Iran for that purpose.

Perhaps further information will emerge to suggest that Mr Johnson did have an influence, but in the meantime:

He was incompetent and then he was ineffectual. Boris Johnson should quit.


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Vox Political readers overwhelmingly reject plan to send NHS patients to private hospitals

zyourhealthruined

The results are in – and they could not be more decisive.

Yesterday (November 26), This Writer reported on a plan to send NHS patients in England to private hospitals for operations. I pointed out that the NHS currently spends £600 million a year correcting botched private operations and questioned the wisdom of paying private capital, possibly to drain even more money from the public service through incompetence.

Then I asked two questions: Is it safe to hand NHS operations over to private health companies? and Is it safe to discharge patients from hospital early, in order to free up beds?

After nearly 26 hours, the results are beyond question.

No less than 97.14 per cent of respondents – 714 of you – rejected the plan for private health to carry out operations. Only 12 people – 1.56 per cent of respondents – thought it would be safe.

And 95.35 per cent of respondents – 615 of you – said patients should not be discharged early. Just seven people – 1.08 per cent of respondents – thought sending patients home early would be safe.

I should add that, while the results are not scientific in that the respondents are not known to be a representative sample of UK citizens, efforts were made to publicise the poll to people with a wide range of political views.

Considering the emphatic nature of the response, This Writer will communicate it to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. It will be interesting to see how he justifies a policy that has hardly any support at all among the public.

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POLL: Is it safe to hand NHS operations over to private healthcare?

NHS bosses have told hospitals to pass some scheduled surgery to the private sector, it has been reported [Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

NHS bosses have told hospitals to pass some scheduled surgery to the private sector, it has been reported [Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].

I think this is the stupidest idea yet, in a long list of boneheaded ideas that Tories have had about the National Health Service in England. I suspect Jeremy Hunt is behind it.

(It has to be a Tory idea, doesn’t it? No NHS professional in their right mind would make such a suggestion? Or do you know otherwise? If so, please name names in the comment column.)

It is only a matter of days since This Writer pointed out that the National Health Service takes 6,000 patients per year from private hospitals, in order to put right botched operations.

The cost of this corrective surgery is £100,000 each time, meaning the public purse is paying £600 million every year to put right botched private operations.

And we’re told the NHS will pay private providers – handsomely – for what may be a wholly sub-standard service.

Only yesterday, a good friend of mine told me about a relative of his who had a hysterectomy at a private hospital – because the waiting list for it on the NHS was too long.

She started complaining of pain immediately after the operation and was eventually admitted to an NHS hospital for an emergency corrective operation – in which doctors found a rolled-up cloth had been left in her abdomen.

If that is the kind of treatment a paying patient can expect from private healthcare, what can NHS patients expect?

Not only that, but we’re being told that thousands of patients will be discharged to relieve the demand for hospital beds; this clearly indicates that they will be sent home too soon.

If I were one of the patients affected, or a member of their family, I would want to see the evidence supporting any such discharge. What support will be in place for them after they are removed from the hospital setting and how quickly can they expect help if complications arise?

There seems to be no information about that.

So it is time for another couple of POLLS!

Here’s the first:

And here’s the second:

I’ll publish the initial results in 24 hours’ time – around 2pm on November 27.

Hospitals have been told to discharge thousands of patients and pass some scheduled surgery to private organisations to reduce pressure ahead of a potential winter crisis, it was reported.Leaked memos also revealed that managers have been banned from declaring black alerts, the highest level, when hospital services are unable to cope with demand, the Daily Telegraph said.

The newspaper claimed instructions were sent by NHS England and the regulator NHS Improvement last month to reduce the levels of bed occupancy in hospitals, which are the most crowded they have ever been ahead of winter.

In the three months to the end of September, 89.1% of acute and general beds were full, compared with 87% last year, prompting the order for hospital trusts to take the drastic measures.

The goal is to reduce occupancy levels down to the recommended safe limit of 85% from December 19 to January 16, the Telegraph said.

Source: Send patients to private sector to avert winter crisis, hospitals told | Society | The Guardian

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Penny Mordaunt is putting all our lives at risk by forcing firefighters to strike

Picket line: FBU members on strike in June this year.

Picket line: FBU members on strike in June this year.

You know the government is on a sticky wicket when its only response to strike action over pensions is that its position is “fair”.

The Fire Brigades Union will be on strike for three hours every day up to and including August 16 after the new fire minister, Penny Mordaunt, cancelled a meeting.

The Conservative-led Coalition government is hitting firefighters with a double-barrelled attack:

  • Firstly, it is raising the level of contributions firefighters must make to their pensions, meaning they will have less pay in their pockets;
  • And it is also raising the age of retirement from 55 to 60, meaning fewer firefighters are likely ever to receive a pension as many members may fail the fitness test required to remain on active duty, and would have to leave the service – without qualifying for a pension – as a result.

If firefighters opted to retire early, the resulting reduction in their pension payments would be “unacceptably high” to the union.

“Government proposals as they stand include a number of unacceptable elements including firefighters being forced to work until 60 – an age at which the enormous physical demands of the job are beyond most of us. Both sides have identified that there are possible solutions to these issues but the Government is unwilling to amends its proposals,” said FBU Assistant General Secretary Andy Dark yesterday (Friday).

He made sure to lay the blame exactly where it belonged: “Firefighters hate striking. We believe that Winston Churchill was right to say ’Jaw-jaw is always better than war-war.’ That is why we are astounded by the cancellation of the last-minute talks by Ms Mordaunt on Thursday.

“It is a bitter disappointment that she cancelled them and made this series of strikes inevitable.”

The government’s only response has been a claim that its irresponsible demands are “fair”.

No doubt there will be many government stooges who are keen to say firefighters are placing people in danger by taking this action. They are silly, silly people.

It is the government that is endangering us all, by putting firefighters in an impossible position.

These Tories are telling firefighters to contribute more to a fund from which they may never benefit.

They are saying that, if they want their pension but their fitness is failing, they’ll have to fake it for the extra years – putting untold numbers of future fire victims and people in need of rescue in extra danger. This would also bring the service into disrepute.

And they are telling people who want to be firefighters not to bother – that they will be putting their lives at risk for an ever-diminishing reward.

By doing so, the Tories and their little yellow friends the Tory Democrats are putting all of our lives at risk.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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