Tag Archives: fact

Here’s the reason it is impossible to treat the plague in a post-truth country

The United Kingdom is never going to get to grips with Covid-19 if its government ministers continue to lie about it.

Grant Shapps – a man well-known for playing fast-and-loose with the facts – was up to his old tricks at a press briefing last week when, as Transport Secretary, he claimed trains were not overcrowded since the Tories ordered people back to work, despite numerous photos of overcrowded trains.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

That looks pretty crowded – and this was the Victoria Line. The Central Line at the height of rush hour must be a nightmare.

Bear in mind that social distancing rules still apply and we are supposed to stay at least two metres away from other people.

Shapps claimed that tube trains have been at just five per cent occupancy – which leads This Writer to wonder whether he has been averaging out usage over each 24-hour period, rather than examining the situation at times when people are most likely to be infected by close proximity to others.

He has announced that it will be mandatory to wear face masks on public transport from June 15, when the government intends to ease lockdown restrictions further and send more people back to work.

There is no justification for such easing; the nation remains at Covid alert level 4, meaning the virus remains at large and its reproduction rate is increasing.

But this is a government that won’t accept our truth; it is too busy pushing its own on us.

So snake-oil salesman Shapps told us, in very poor English: “In fact, there hasn’t been very much crowding situation going on.

“It’s not the case … that transport’s been overcrowded. We’ve been watching it very carefully.”

He continued to deny the facts, despite being shown photographic evidence of overcrowding on trains, taken on different days since the lockdown was eased:

“We tracked it on a day by day basis.

“I can literally tell you the trains where there was an issue, because the train was broken down, or Canning Town [in east London], where those pictures were shared very widely.

“But actually the broad picture is there have been one or two people sitting in carriages a lot of the time.”

What can you do, in the face of such blatant denial of the facts from a government minister who is hell-bent on exposing you to a killer disease?

What will you do?

Source: Grant Shapps claims trains aren’t overcrowded despite photos of overcrowded trains – Mirror Online

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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Newspapers distort libel case to make it seem that Rachel Riley is winning. She isn’t

How sad to see that the London Evening Standard (oh, and Mail Online, although this is less surprising) is incapable of reporting a simple judgment in an ongoing libel case properly!

The High Court, in the case of Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman v Jane Heybroek, has reached a judgment with regard to the meaning of the words that are at issue, and whether they are statements of fact or expressions of opinion.

And the Standard‘s interpretation of this judgment is arse-backwards.

“Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of libel battle” trumpets the headline – wrongly. The judgment was neutral. Nobody has won or lost anything.

But if any advantage were gained, This Writer would say it had to have gone to Ms Heybroek.

Here are her own comments:

Note her words [italics mine]: “This was a hearing we asked for in order to narrow down the claimants’ claims and, in my opinion, we have successfully done so.”

“Significantly, the Judge has found that the first meaning… and the italicised words in the second meaning… were statements of opinion. This is a potentially crucial development because statements of opinion are afforded a defence where the basis of the opinion is indicated, and an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of facts existing at the time.”

Reference to the judgment on the court website Bailii shows that Ms Heybroek’s representative, Mr Helme, won more points than the claimants’. Consider the Judge’s agreement with him at paragraphs 61, 63, 72, 75, 77, 79, 81 and 83; and the Judge’s disagreement with the claimants’ representative, Mr Stables, at paragraphs 58, 59, and 65.

In brief, Ms Heybroek won her arguments that the words at issue were expressions of opinion rather than statements of fact. Whether they were defamatory was never likely to be in doubt – but of course that doesn’t mean that they were libellous. If they were statements of honest opinion, and the facts on which they were based were accurate to the best of her knowledge at the time, then they were not.

And it is to be noted that these are all secondary considerations; Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s complaint is not about an article by a third party (the matter on which this judgment is made) but about whether Ms Heybroek libelled them by retweeting a link to it. Ms Heybroek states: “Note that this ruling on meanings is without prejudice to my contention that I am not liable for publication of the article by virtue of my re-tweeting a tweet containing a hyperlink to it. That issue remains to be determined, either at trial or before.”

So it seems clear that Ms Heybroek won far more than Ms Riley or Ms Oberman. But that information seems to have zoomed right over the head of whoever reported the case to the Standard and the Mail.

Far be it from me to attribute malign intentions, but this failure of accurate reporting can have a serious harmful effect on justice.

Libel cases are hugely expensive and people like Ms Heybroek and myself – This Writer is fighting an ongoing case brought by Ms Riley, remember – cannot afford to defend against the accusations without help.

We ask sympathetic members of the public to support us with donations – but they may be discouraged from doing so, if they read or hear a report claiming that Ms Riley (and Ms Oberman, in Ms Heybroek’s case) is somehow winning.

Conversely, if they discover that such claims are false, I would hope members of the public would find their determination to support the defendants redoubled.

The expense of the hearing has put Ms Heybroek out-of-pocket. She is crowdfunding to pay for her case and if you can afford to help, her CrowdJustice site may be found here.

As for my own case – the request is the same as usual. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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 appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be nice to see Ms Riley and/or Ms Oberman distancing themselves from the inaccurate media reports.

But, considering my own belief that they would be as happy to win their cases by starving us of funds as they would in a courtroom, I fear I may have to wait a long time for that.

Source: Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of High Court libel battle | London Evening Standard

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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Judgement reserved on another Riley libel case: how will the media mess this one up?

The Countdown has begun: but will certain commentators be able to wait until judgement is handed down in a Riley libel case before reporting it (inaccurately)?

The High Court held a hearing on another libel case involving Rachel Riley yesterday (April 28).

This time the object of her ire was Jane Heybroek, who is facing proceedings because she tweeted a link to an article about Ms Riley,

As with Laura Murray’s recent hearing, the issue under discussion was the meaning of Ms Heybroek’s words, and whether they constituted assertions of fact or expressions of opinion.

After it took place, Ms Heybroek tweeted that Mr Justice Jay had reserved judgement after the hearing, which took place remotely.

Judgement will be delivered in two or three weeks, and Ms Heybroek made it clear that nothing may be said about that judgement until after it is handed down (that is, after it has been made public).

Depending on what the judge decides, this may come as a burden to the people who – for example – prematurely shared details of the Laura Murray judgement with the Daily Mail and the Guido Fawkes blog.

But then, those people may have their own problems anyway – as the court should be pursuing them with a view to prosecuting them for contempt.

We shall all have to see what happens in two or three weeks’ time.

The ‘meanings’ hearing on my case took place last December, of course, and the news media garbled the result to make it seem Ms Riley came out with the upper hand (she didn’t).

In fact, she had to re-write her accusation against me. I then submitted a defence to the court and Ms Riley’s lawyers are now trying to argue about it.

I take this as yet another attempt to waste the money my supporters have contributed to my CrowdJustice site. I have said many times that libel cases are highly expensive and whenever Ms Riley’s lawyers raise an issue, my own legal team have to counter it – at a cost of thousands of pounds.

I believe she never expected to have to go to court. She thought I would not be able to raise any funds to fight her accusations and that – instead of facing justice – she would be able to buy the result she wanted.

The distortions in the newspapers seem to be an attack on a second front – a propaganda war to undermine faith in people like myself, Ms Heybroek and Ms Murray.

We aren’t media darlings. We don’t have many friends in the right-wing press. We have to rely on you, and on your generosity. That’s why I always have to make this appeal:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It seems some people want you to think they’re giving you the facts because the shout about them the loudest.

But you can always get accurate information here.

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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Riley libel: her team just made a terrible mistake

Rachel Riley is a serial litigant; besides suing me, she is also pursuing Laura Murray, who bit back at one of the Countdown co-presenter’s tweets in March last year.

Referring to the incident in which Jeremy Corbyn had been punched by an egg-wielding man in a London mosque, Ms Riley had dug up an old tweet by Owen Jones which said “If you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi. Seems fair to me.” To this, she added the comment: “Good advice.”

Ms Murray, who was working in Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party office at the time, tweeted her opinion that Ms Riley was saying Corbyn was a Nazi who deserved to be attacked violently. She added that, in her opinion, Ms Riley was a dangerous and stupid person who risked inciting unlawful violence – and nobody should engage with her in any way.

Mr Justice Nicklin, in a judgement based on paper evidence due to the coronavirus pandemic, ruled that Ms Murray had made a statement of fact when she said Riley had stated that Corbyn deserved to be attacked violently.

That’s the extent of the difference.

His statement that the words have a tendency to be defamatory isn’t a ruling that Ms Murray is guilty of libel; the defendant may say that her statement was factually accurate and back it up with evidence, and she may also provide information to support the opinions that she expressed.

Riley hasn’t won the case; this was a ruling on the meaning of Ms Murray’s words and whether they were statements of fact or expressions of opinion. There will be a trial at some point in the future.

But Ms Riley and her friends seem to have started celebrating victory prematurely.

And someone went one step further – by publicising the case prematurely.

The image above shows that the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog ran an initial piece on the ruling on April 23, albeit with no further information than a claim that Riley had won. The Mail went further, publishing at 6.21am the following:

 

But the ruling was not published by the High Court until 10am on April 24 – more than a day later.

So it seems somebody has committed contempt of court.

This was a reserved judgement. That meant that the hearing was some time ago and the judge prepared a written judgement to be handed down on April 24. Prior to handing down, the judge would have sent a draft to the parties. The rules on drafts say:

2.4 A copy of the draft judgment may be supplied, in confidence, to the parties provided that—

 (a) neither the draft judgment nor its substance is disclosed to any other person or used in the public domain; and

 (b) no action is taken (other than internally) in response to the draft judgment, before the judgment is handed down.

 2.8  Any breach of the obligations or restrictions under paragraph 2.4 or failure to take all reasonable steps under paragraph 2.6 may be treated as contempt of court.

I imagine Mr Justice Nicklin would be very keen to find out who’s been playing fast-and-loose with court rules and his judgement. And I can’t blame him.

I can’t comment on who leaked the story to the press too soon – but I will keep an eye on it.

As for people who prematurely claim a legal victory that they haven’t won … if you’re as nauseated by this as I am, then please remember that Ms Riley is attacking me in the same way she is attacking Ms Murray – and I don’t have the cash to fight her.

If I can win my case in court, then it should discourage Ms Riley and her friends – harshly – from this vile behaviour. But I can only do it with your help.

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be bad enough if Ms Riley had won. The fact that she hasn’t, and is claiming she is, is toxic. In my opinion.

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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Fact checkers have supported Vox Political’s claims about £70/week pension cut

Less cash for senior citizens: this story was about the removal of an allowance for dependent adults from nearly 11,000 people’s pensions. There is no guarantee that they will receive top-ups of the same value from other benefits, despite assurances from the Conservative government.

Independent fact checkers have confirmed much of what This Site has said about the end of ADI – the adult dependency increase – on thousands of UK pensions.

But this has done nothing to allay This Writer’s fears about the use of so-called independent “fact check” services.

I stated that the Tories will be cutting £70 a week from around 11,000 people’s pensions – and this is confirmed by Full Fact.

I also expressed doubts about the government’s claim that people who are set to lose around £3,500 a year as a result of the cut will be able to get a top-up from other benefits – and this is supported by a comment in the Full Fact article.

There are reasons to believe that at least some pensioners who were in receipt of ADI payments may struggle to claim the money in other ways once the payments end.

From 15 May 2019, couples who aren’t both over the State Pension age cannot make a new claim for pension credit, unless one is receiving housing benefit for pensioners.

Changes to Universal Credit mean a couple where one person is below the State Pension age are considered working-age and will share a standard monthly allowance of £498.89. It can only be claimed if the younger partner is eligible.

Steve Webb, who was minister for pensions in the Coalition government from 2010 to 2015  and is a former Liberal Democrat MP, told Full Fact he was “deeply sceptical” that the loss of ADI payments would be offset with other benefits.

He said recent changes to pension credit mean any mixed-age couples who were not already receiving the payment “have little chance of claiming it when their income drops £70 a week”, while the Universal Credit rate is “so low” that that they may not “get much even if they qualified”.

I’m not convinced about the criticisms of other reports in the Full Fact site, though.

The fact was that “It is not right to suggest all pensioners will be £70 per week worse off, given how few receive this benefit.”

But the infographic on the Wear Red – Stand up and Be counted Facebook page (for example) correctly stated that “The £70 per week allowance for adult dependents is being scrapped from April”.

It could have been better-phrased, to make it clear that not all pensioners receive that allowance – but then, why should any reader assume that they all do?

Some of us have concerns about the use of so-called “fact check” facilities, because it is possible that they could be used to reinforce particular political viewpoints.

Claims that articles are presenting fake news, that are not correctly explained (such as the Full Fact piece), do not instil any confidence at all.

Source: Some pensioners will lose £70 a week, but Boris Johnson didn’t introduce the change – Full Fact

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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Anti-Labour Jewish groups launch fact-free attack on Jeremy Corbyn

Ephraim Mirvis: On the eve of the Labour Party’s “race and faith” manifesto launch, he made a fact-free rant claiming that the party has not done enough about anti-Semitism. It is nonsense.

How mendacious of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to attack the handling of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, just before Jeremy Corbyn launches a new “race and faith” manifesto!

Isn’t it telling that the attack is heavy on emotion but contains no factual evidence?

And doesn’t the contribution of the usual suspects, leaping on the bandwagon, prove that this is a tissue of lies and nonsense, intended to whip up fear among the Jewish community and distrust in the wider electorate?

Mr Mirvis wrote his comments in The Times – a publication This Writer won’t support in any way after its Sunday edition libelled me as a Holocaust denier in 2018. It took me nearly a year to secure a very full apology with the help of newspaper regulator IPSO.

The BBC’s report of his words suggests that they contain absolutely no factual evidence against Mr Corbyn – just a lot of emotive verbiage.

He said anti-Semitism was “a new poison – sanctioned from the very top” of the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn is the man at the very top of the Labour Party, and his record of support for Jewish people is outstanding. Read it for yourself:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1199084351771811841

Mr Mirvis said Labour’s response to anti-Semitism accusations had been “utterly inadequate” and said it “can no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism”.

He wrote: “The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud – of dignity and respect for all people.

“It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired.”

This Writer is here to tell you that those people should be ashamed – of the way innocent Labour members were persecuted by the party’s so-called ‘disputes’ team, simply for supporting Mr Corbyn.

When that organisation hounded me out of the party, it seemed clear that guilt was assumed from the moment of accusation – no evidence was needed.

That’s why, when my case came before Labour’s quasi-judicial NCC, it had to rely on charges that took my words out-of-context, and in some cases out-of-sequence, in order to present a false impression of guilt.

That is the fact of the Labour anti-Semitism witch-hunt – all, in my opinion, carried out to appease people who won’t be satisfied until Mr Corbyn himself is removed from the party leadership.

Many of them support the Conservative Party, it seems. They fear a Labour government.

The mainstream media is having a huge amount of fun recycling all the lies about Labour anti-Semitism that have been voiced since Mr Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015.

The social media have responded with factual information – but, do you know what? It seems that material isn’t getting through to the TV, radio and print news sources!

And in a time of supposed legally-imposed impartiality, too. Shocking.

Let’s redress the balance with some facts:

Tweets 24 to 42 of Red Robin’s thread, below, detail actions taken by Labour to handle accusations of anti-Semitism. While I don’t agree that the actions taken by individuals in the party as part of this were fair – innocent people have been expelled from the party – can anyone say that the party hasn’t done enough, and expect to be believed?

Yes, vote with your conscience.

But first make sure your conscience isn’t being manipulated by liars.

Source: General election 2019: Chief rabbi attacks Labour anti-Semitism record – BBC News

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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Date set for preliminary hearing in Riley libel case

I know judges don’t actually use gavels in UK courts. This is just a representative image.

A preliminary trial in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me is to take place on December 11.

This is the hearing to decide the meaning of the words in my article that Ms Riley claims are libellous, and whether those words were statements of fact or of honest opinion.

It is the hearing that would have taken place on October 11, if Ms Riley’s legal team had not insisted on what was, in my opinion, an ultimately-meaningless and time-wasting ‘directions’ hearing (the Judge decided in favour of the case progressing as I had previously requested).

And it is vitally important. The result of this hearing will determine how the case is heard at the full trial that may follow.

It is, therefore, crucial that I and my legal team have the funds to carry out our defence, so I am appealing to you yet again:

Follow the following instructions, if you would still like to help me win:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

We are coming to the end, now.

I have said from the start that this is about money – that it seems clear Ms Riley wanted to buy justice by taking me to court in the belief that I would not have the funds to defend myself.

It is only because of you, and people like you, that I have managed to get this far.

And my future success – or failure – is still in your hands.

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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It’s open season on Jeremy Hunt! Let’s ALL tell him the facts of his failures

Jeremy Hunt.

There’s a new contact sport out in the Twittersphere: Hunt-baiting.

The rules are simple: Contact Jeremy Hunt on Twitter and pick a fight with him about any aspect of his treatment of the National Health Service.

Let him try to argue his case.

Then hit him with the facts and see if he runs to the BBC and lies about you. You can treat it as a relay if you like, with one person setting him up and another – or several others – hitting him with the facts

The game was (inadvertently) invented by actor and footballer Ralf Little, who challenged Mr Hunt in a lengthy Twitter thread. Mr Hunt then surprised everybody by appearing in a BBC Newsbeat interview, claiming that Mr Little had not produced any evidence to support his criticisms.

The information Mr Little quoted was older than Mr Hunt’s recent claims; if he really wasn’t knowingly lying, then Mr Hunt was admitting that he doesn’t actually know what is going on in the area of government for which he carries ultimate responsibility – that he is, in fact, incompetent.

And some people have been calling him out over it – people like Johanna Walden, who tweeted: “Everything about that Newsbeat interview with Hunt was disgraceful.”

Mr Hunt responded, and the game was on:

It was Rachel Clarke who provided the evidence:

Whether Jeremy Hunt has been back to Newsbeat yet is not clear. Perhaps you’d like to have a go?


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A fact-check for silly Cameron apologists

Media manipulation: The Sun, and the Scottish Sun, supported both the Conservatives and the SNP on the same day. Did it affect the results in Scotland and the rest of the UK?

Media manipulation: The Sun, and the Scottish Sun, supported both the Conservatives and the SNP on the same day. Did it affect the results in Scotland and the rest of the UK?

Here’s a piece in the New Statesman that is worth debunking straight away. Entitled 10 delusions about the Labour defeat to watch out for, it makes assertions that suggest to This Writer that it is author Ian Leslie who’s been having dodgy visions.

Let’s focus on three:

“1. THE MEDIA DID IT

“No left-wing account of this defeat will be complete without a reference to the Tory press (bonus drink for “Murdoch-controlled”) and its supposed inexorable hold over the political psyche of the nation. Funny: the day before the election everyone decided The Sun was a joke and nobody reads newspapers anyway.

“3. CLEVER TORIES

“It will be said that the Tories, in their ruthlessly efficient way, pinned the blame for austerity on Labour and Labour allowed it to stick. Clever Tories. Few will mention that the Tories were, for the most part, a hubristic and directionless shambles, divided amongst themselves, the authors of several howlingly stupid own goals that would certainly have sunk them had they not got so lucky with their opponent.

“5. THE SNP STOLE OUR VICTORY

“It is true that nobody, but nobody, foresaw the SNP tidal wave. But it’s not true that Labour would have won or even done OK without it. Labour saw a net gain of one seat from the Tories in England. One. Seat. One seat, in an election where everything favoured them. One seat, after five years of a shabby and meretricious government making unpopular decisions and a third party that virtually donated its voters to them. An epic failure.”

Firstly, nobody is blaming the media entirely for voters’ insistence on self-destructively supporting the Tories. The media helped hammer the Tory messages home, by amplifying Cameron’s statements and ignoring or vilifying Miliband’s. After a while – and in accordance with Goebbels’ (Cameron is a big fan of Goebbels) claims about The Big Lie – people start believing the claims they see most often.

This is why Conservative claims must be challenged at every opportunity from now on. Whenever a Tory puts forward a policy in the papers, on the Internet and social media or wherever, let’s try to put the questions in front of them that deflate their claims. It has been said that a lie can go around the world before the truth gets out of bed; let’s kill The Big Lie before it can get its shoes on.

Secondly, nobody This Writer knows is saying anything at all about “ruthlessly efficient” Tories. This lot are about as stupid as they come. It’s just a shame – and this was a constant problem for bloggers like Yr Obdt Srvt – that nobody in the Labour leadership saw fit to counter the silly Tory claims with a few ounces of fact. Therefore we must conclude that, not only are the Tories monumental imbeciles; most of Labour were, as well.

This is why the Conservative Party as a whole should be undermined at every opportunity. Whenever they make bold claims about their record – especially against that of the last Labour government – let’s put up a few embarrassing facts to pull the wool out from under them.

Finally, nobody but the SNP and its supporters is making any claim that the SNP’s “tidal wave” – alone – stopped Labour. As This Writer has already mentioned (and the election result was only known yesterday), the Conservative Party used the threat of an SNP surge to put fear into Middle England that “loonie-left” Labour would ally with these crazed Caledonians, to the detriment of the nation. Amazingly, people were gullible enough to believe it.

But you don’t have to take This Writer’s word for it. Here’s Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, from his latest Mainly Macro article [italics mine]:

“Why do I say Cameron is lucky? First, largely by chance (but also because other countries had been undertaking fiscal austerity), UK growth in 2014 was the highest among major economies. This statistic was played for all it was worth. Second, although (in reality) modest growth was not enough to raise real incomes, just in the nick of time oil prices fell, so real wages have now begun to rise. Third, playing the game of shutting down part of the economy so that you can boast when it starts up again is a dangerous game, and you need a bit of fortune to get it right. (Of course if there really was no plan, and the recovery was delayed through incompetence, then he is luckier still.)

“The Scottish independence referendum in September last year was close. 45% of Scots voted in September to leave the UK. One of the major push factors was the Conservative-led government. If Scotland had voted for independence in 2014, it would have been a disaster for Cameron: after all, the full title of his party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. That was his first piece of Scottish fortune. The second was that the referendum dealt a huge blow to Labour in Scotland. Labour are far from blameless here, and their support had been gradually declining, but there can be no doubt that the aftermath of the referendum lost them many Scottish seats, and therefore reduced their seat total in the UK.

“Yet that led to a third piece of luck. The SNP tidal wave in Scotland gave him one additional card he could play to his advantage: English nationalism. The wall of sound coming from the right wing press about how the SNP would hold Miliband to ransom was enough to get potential UKIP supporters to vote Conservative in sufficient numbers for him to win the election.”

While I’m not convinced about the UKIP claim (UKIP’s vote share enjoyed the largest increase of any of the parties in Thursday’s election) the rest rings true.

You have already heard an awful lot of hogwash about the reasons for the Conservative Party’s slim win. Don’t believe everything you hear.

It’s long past time that facts and evidence were reintroduced to politics.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tories put Labour’s cart before their horse in budget row

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell us where he'll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn't want you to know and can't be bothered to tell you.

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell you where he’ll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn’t want you to know and can’t be bothered to tell you.

This writer is a big fan of The Critique Archives. Martin Odoni has no problem saying what he means and backing it up with facts – and the latest piece, In a democratic process you are supposed to tell us what your own damned budgets are before you insult someone else’s, is a prime example.

“Well, that was a blundering start to the Election campaign, even by the standards of the modern Conservative Party,” he writes.

“According to [Iain] Duncan Smith, the Conservatives have not yet made decisions on exactly how they are going to make the pledged cuts of twelve billion pounds to public spending, even though they announced them well over a year ago. They just have a nice, juicy-sounding target-figure to aim at, without even calculating whether it is a suitable target, and they are going to work out a budget to reach it ‘after-the-fact’? However, they have managed to calculate a budget for the Labour Party’s plans – and in such impressive detail that they can even tell us how much extra tax the average household will pay?

“After four hundred and fifty days of not figuring out their own budget, that may go down as a disproportionately-rigorous examination of Labour’s plans.”

Having gone on to show that the Institute for Fiscal Studies had comprehensively debunked the Tory claims, the article gets downright festive in its description of how “Britain’s Most Perennially-Caught-Out Serial Liar” – that’s Grant Shapps – responded. You’ll have to go and visit the article to read it.

The point is that the Tories were more concerned with lying about Labour’s plans than they were with telling the public about their own.

In an election period, those details become very important, don’t you think? And the Tories can’t be bothered… after around 15 months.

There are more festive descriptions of the possible outcome of any further Tory spending cuts, then we get to the meat and the (blue) blood: “It says a great deal about the arrogance and inflated self-importance of Cameron and his closest circle of colleagues that they see no need to explain to the country what they hope to do next. Make no mistake, these are people who see themselves as ‘above’ most of the rest of Britain, and as such, feel no compunction over lying to them, and sneer at the very thought of being ‘accountable’ to them. No, it is their innate ‘right’ to lead.

“It is the nature of democracy, if it is ever to work, that the public are trusted with the truth, so that they can make informed decisions on whom to trust in turn with their vote. The Conservatives will not co-operate with that ideal though. Their priority is power alone, and they rightly fear that an informed public, aware of precisely what a Tory Government would do to them, would never trust them with that power.”

That’s worth bearing in mind when you’re watching the televised leader debate on ITV tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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