Tag Archives: George Galloway

George Galloway has spilled a nasty can of worms over football regulations

“Yid Army”: Jewish Spurs fans wave a modified flag of Israel at a match – but isn’t this against the rules?

The controversy over whether George Galloway was anti-Semitic for claiming Israeli flag-waving Spurs supporters are backing a “racist state” may rumble on for some time – but why were these fans even allowed to bring such flags to matches when it is against FA rules?

These rules ban political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative slogans or messages at matches. Originally applied to players and team officials, they have been widened in practice to include supporters.

The most notorious example of this appears to be UEFA’s decision to fine Celtic £8,615 for waving the flag of Palestine at a 2016 match against Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva in 2016:

UEFA had said its rules forbid the use of “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”. It was said to have described the Palestinian flag as an “illicit banner”. Is it?

It’s a reference to Law 4 of the game. The UK’s Football Association has the same rule, referring to players and team officials. But UEFA’s widening of its application creates a tension that needs to be addressed.

In 2018, FA chief Martin Glenn was rebuked for saying the Star of David was among the symbols he believes breach the soccer laws banning religious and political imagery. The Jewish Leadership Council said his words were “offensive and inappropriate”, as the symbol is on the Israeli flag which appears on national team kits and is displayed in stadiums.

Such symbols are allowed on national kits, though.

The issue is one of hypocrisy, as “Han Dodges” pointed out in the tweet above.

Why should Israeli flags be permitted in football stadiums but not those of Palestine? That seems to show very clear political bias by national and international football associations.

It seems if the rules had been correctly and impartially applied, Mr Galloway would not have fallen foul of his now-former employers at TalkRadio, because there would have been no Israeli flags at Spurs matches.

It seems the FA has a serious question to answer.

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TalkRadio was right to sack Galloway; his words were anti-Semitic

George Galloway: He spoke unwisely.

As a person who has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism, it would be easy for me to side with George Galloway after he was sacked by TalkRadio for anti-Semitism.

The natural assumption is that other accusations must also be false and unfair. “Oh, another one,”I might say. “About as much truth in it as there was in mine. None!”

That is the danger when people make false claims for the sake of political gain – that genuine cases will be overlooked.

And this is a genuine case.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition and examples of anti-Semitism has been much-maligned over the apparent ease with which apologists for the Israeli government can use it to defend the acts of that administration.

But the sixth of its examples is clear: “Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include… accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

It would be perfectly reasonable to accuse Tottenham Hotspur of such behaviour if there was evidence of it, but “a strong association with the Jewish community” is not enough.

There were Jews in London long before the current state of Israel was formed and there is no reason to believe that those who support Tottenham Hotspur have changed their loyalties from the UK to that nation.

So the claim that Mr Galloway’s words were anti-Semitic seems accurate to me, although I make no judgement on TalkRadio’s treatment of him in response. That is a matter of the station’s rules.

If I am missing a vital piece of information, please let me know.

George Galloway has been sacked from his TalkRadio show with immediate effect, after the former MP said Liverpool’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final meant there would be “no Israel flags on the cup”.

The north London club, which has a strong association with the Jewish community, had called for him to be sacked, saying: “It’s astounding in this day and age to read such blatant antisemitism published on a social platform by someone who is still afforded air time on a radio station on which he has previously broken broadcast impartiality rules.”

Source: TalkRadio sacks George Galloway over ‘antisemitic views’ | Politics | The Guardian

ADDITIONAL: Soon after I published this article I was made aware that many Jewish Spurs supporters take, and wave, the national flag of Israel to matches, in an expression of their shared Jewish identity. This casts a new complexion on the matter. But here’s the question: If Spurs had won the cup, would these fans have claimed it for Israel, as Mr Galloway implied – or for their home team?

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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Rachel Riley’s wrongheaded accusations of anti-Semitism should disqualify her from mainstream politics

Happier days: We all enjoyed this kind of political comment from Rachel Riley (referring to a certain claim about former Tory prime minister David Cameron).

Countdown brainbox Rachel Riley isn’t so clever when it comes to the facts about anti-Semitism, it seems.

She seems to have fallen under the influence of some highly unpleasant characters who have been mixing false and real accusations of anti-Semitism in order to achieve deeply dubious political ends. Mostly, it seems, they want to legitimise the racist, apartheid behaviour of Israel’s Likud government and undermine anybody who speaks out against it.

If you have been following the ongoing saga of the false anti-Semitism accusations against me, you’ll only have to visit Ms Riley’s Twitter feed to know who I mean.

If you haven’t: I was accused of anti-Semitism over articles I wrote about comments by Labour MP Naz Shah and then-prominent Labour member Ken Livingstone, referring to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which happened in 2014. Her comments about it were raised two years later by a rabid right-wing blog, in an attempt to discredit the Labour Party, and Mr Livingstone was accused after he commented on her.

The accusations against me led to news stories in five national papers. None of the claims about me in those papers were accurate and all five have been ordered to publish corrections (the last should be appearing in the next edition of The Sunday Times).

False accusations of this kind not only have the potential to be extremely damaging to a person’s reputation and career, they are also offensive on a personal level. People who would never consider criticising others on the basis of their religion or ethnicity – some of whom are themselves members of often-persecuted minorities – have found themselves witch-hunted, often with the only evidence against them being that “someone was upset by something they said”.

(That was the evidence against me, by the way. Nothing I wrote in my investigation of Ms Shah and Mr Livingstone breached the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. The only evidence against me was an unsupported claim that I had upset an unnamed person.)

And a false accusation against a named person encourages the easily-led to victimise that person.

This is what happened to a teenage girl, with anxiety issues, who spoke out against the fake accusations late last year. Somehow Ms Riley saw the comments and denounced their author, who was promptly dogpiled by Ms Riley’s followers (and, no doubt, the followers of her friends – the politically-motivated demonisers I’ve mentioned above).

Dogpiling on the social media happens when a person writes something that another person (usually one with influence, like Ms Riley) decides is offensive and responds accordingly – triggering a serious of responses from their followers beyond any reasonable time limit. They do this because they see the offender as an easy target and consider attacking them to be a way to gain popularity points.

So yesterday, when it was suggested that Ms Riley was going to appear on the BBC’s Newsnight, discussing her approach to the anti-Semitism debate, you can imagine the effect on the teenager she had bullied:

Fortunately the programme’s producer was able to reassure the youngster that Ms Riley was not going to appear.

Instead, she has been on Channel 4 News, and had a spot on ITV’s Lorraine today (January 10).

The interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy exposed some of the faults in Ms Riley’s reasoning, as she invoked stereotypes that, if she saw someone else using them, she would condemn as anti-Semitic and denounce the person saying them as an anti-Semite.

Yes, using the term, “Bloody Jews again” does mean you’re an anti-Semite, if there’s such an intention behind it. Ms Riley’s problem – as you can see by the look on her face – is that she’s clear she didn’t mean it that way, but cannot distinguish whether other people are or are not.

And conflating all Jews with the nation of Israel, as Ms Riley does here, is also anti-Semitic. They are not the same and nobody should ever refer to them as such.

Many people have picked up on this – “I don’t look like a typical Jew”. Stereotyping Jews as having a particular appearance is classic anti-Semitism.

The simple fact is that Israel does exist and has a right to do so because it was brought into being by a decision of the United Nations. The problem is that the current government of Israel is racist and supports apartheid policies, but this should not be used to suggest that the nation itself should be dissolved. Of course Ms Riley should not be mixing reference to Israel with complaints about anti-Semitism in the UK – it is itself anti-Semitic to claim that Jews in this country have a disproportionate loyalty to that country.

Some of the people Ms Riley has denounced are themselves Jewish – the “wrong kind of Jew”, one must assume, referring back to a previous debate in which people claiming to represent Jews in the UK attacked other Jewish organisations that held different political beliefs.

One such claim was that the revered Jewish academic Noam Chomsky – I often use his comment about the tactics of privatisation – is an anti-Semite.

Part of this seems to be about the fact that Chomsky wrote the introduction to a piece by the late Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. It seems she claimed Chomsky was “promoting anti-Semitism”.

The blog Zelo Street puts Chomsky’s behaviour in its proper context: “Chomsky said of his introduction – the text is available online with very little searching required – “I made it explicit that I would not discuss Faurisson’s work, having only limited familiarity with it (and, frankly, little interest in it). Rather, I restricted myself to the civil-liberties issues and the implications of the fact that it was even necessary to recall Voltaire’s famous words in a letter to M. le Riche: ‘I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.’

He went on “Faurisson’s conclusions are diametrically opposed to views I hold and have frequently expressed in print … But it is elementary that freedom of expression … is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous … condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy”.

I raise this because it seems Ms Riley has been garnering support from showbusiness colleagues who have not realised what she has been saying – Stephen Fry being a prominent example. He said he was standing by her, as I understand it, in the belief that she was being bullied by others (as we have seen, the opposite is the case).

Let’s look at what happened when he was challenged by George Galloway, who has himself been accused of anti-Semitism by Ms Riley:

So Mr Fry, in reaffirming his support for Ms Riley, echoed Chomsky’s statement that “freedom of expression … is not to be restricted to views of which one approves”. Perhaps Ms Riley would be wise to take that on board.

Considering her failures with the teenager she bullied and with Chomsky, in the light of my experience of false accusation, and recognising the fact that she herself used anti-Semitic language in a television interview, perhaps Ms Riley should also remember the following:

The accusation of Jews as anti-Semites has hit a raw nerve. Harry Tuttle tweeted a lengthy thread demonstrating how they have been falsely accused. It makes for some horrifying reading:

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082923983228620800

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082925099815194624

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082925803262881793

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082926730476699648

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082928141121794048

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082929009321750528

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082930045360971776

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082931611614830592

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082932488790528000

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082933943752634368

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082935908549230592

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082947378154532864

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082979583870332930

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082985024587218945

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1082999371820662785

https://twitter.com/arryTuttle/status/1083056638305755138

Considering all of the above – and the many other incidents I understand Ms Riley has initiated – I doubt I was the only person to be concerned when a rumour emerged that she was in discussion with Jacob Rees-Mogg, of all people, about a career in politics for the Conservative Party.

The possibility of Ms Riley using her popularity as a showbusiness personality to boost the Tories would be extremely unpalatable. Fortunately, it seems to be untrue:

I mention it because she needs to be held to this – at least until she gains a little more perspective.

It would be nice to believe Ms Riley’s assertion in the Channel 4 interview that she is a “nice person”. Until she started speaking out about anti-Semitism, I had always enjoyed her contributions to some of our favourite TV shows.

My impression is that her comments are influenced by the malign elements I mentioned at the top of this article.

My hope is that she will realise what they are – before she inadvertently does something that causes irreversible harm to her career. They won’t care.

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George Galloway and Prof. Michael Rosen Attack Margaret Hodge’s Anti-Semitism Smear against Corbyn | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

Vile: Margaret Hodge.

Reblogged because you should read it – and then see the rest of the article on The Beast’s own website, which also has the link to the full interview.

A few days ago, Dame Margaret Hodge stood up in Parliament to denounce Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-Semite, who didn’t ‘want people like me in the party’ because the Labour leader had failed to bow to the pressure of the Israel lobby and adopt the full definition of anti-Semitism now being foisted on everyone by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. This attempts to outlaw as anti-Semitic criticism of Israel.

The media have just lapped up Hodge’s denunciation, and reacted with horror at the possibility that she might be disciplined for attacking her party leader in Parliament. A highly biased report in the I did its best to leave its readers with no doubt whatsoever that Corbyn was anti-Semitic, like the rest of the British press. In support of this the papers mentioned that Hodge was not only Jewish, but like very many Jews had lost family in the Holocaust. Further on in the I their columnist, Simon Kelner, wrote a piece arguing that Labour should adopt the I.H.R.A.’s definition of anti-Semitism, because it was formulated by Jews, who were the people best placed to realise what anti-Semitism is. This is all despite the fact that very many Jews reject the I.H.R.A’s definition of anti-Semitism. According to what I’ve heard, 36 Jewish organisations from around the world concerned with protesting and combating Israel’s brutalisation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians gave messages of congratulation to Corbyn because he hadn’t caved into pressure and adopted the definition in toto. But you won’t hear that from the biased British press. Nor will you see it on TV. On the Andrew Marr Show, the eponymous presenter seemed to get very irritated and insistent with a spokeswoman from the Labour Party, Rebecca Long-Bailey, because Labour hadn’t adopted that definition of Anti-Semitism like everyone else. And then in parliament yesterday we had the revolting spectacle of right-wing Labour MPs standing up one after the other to denounce Corbyn as an anti-Semite.

[George Galloway’s radio talk show, The Mother Of All Talk Shows, recently featured a conversation between Galloway himself and Professor Michael Rosen, a children’s poet.] Rosen and Galloway have also known Jeremy Corbyn for a very long time, and Rosen himself is a Labour supporter, though not a member of the party. He’s also Jewish, and has a very different perspective on the accusations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn, which you certainly won’t read in the press. He and Galloway both state very clearly that knowing Corbyn for as long as they have, they know that he is certainly not anti-Semitic.

They go on to discuss Hodge’s splenetic attack in parliament. Rosen says that it sounds very much like it was staged to cause maximum exposure. He states that if Hodge really felt that Corbyn was an anti-Semite, she would instead have raised the issue through the organs within the Labour party itself set up to deal with such grievances. She hasn’t. Nor has she made this complaint before.

In short, Hodge is a vile individual, who is libelling Corbyn as anti-Semite simply to prevent a genuine Socialist getting into No. 10. And she is supported by the Blairites in the Labour party, the Tories and the mainstream media. And it’s about time this stopped, and was exposed for what it is.

Source: George Galloway and Prof. Michael Rosen Attack Margaret Hodge’s Anti-Semitism Smear against Corbyn | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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Never mind the lifted Labour suspensions – what about everyone who was EXPELLED?

Former Labour Party member Krystyna Koseda out campaigning for Labour with Sadiq Khan (that's her, just to the left of him). She was expelled from Labour in September, on the grounds that she had campaigned for George Galloway.

Former Labour Party member Krystyna Koseda out campaigning for Labour with Sadiq Khan (that’s her, just to the left of him). She was expelled from Labour in September, on the grounds that she had campaigned for George Galloway.

I received a message today from a former Labour Party member who was booted out in the NEC’s summer purge after around six years as an active member. Her question: Where’s the justice for Labour members who have been expelled?

Krystina Koseda was active in Hornchurch and Upminster Labour Party, and spent spring campaigning with Sadiq Khan for him to become Mayor of London (and, as we all know, he succeeded).

But in September, as she prepared to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election, she received notification that her membership had been terminated – because she is a personal friend of George Galloway.

161105-kk-with-george-galloway

She wrote: “I am friends with George Galloway; my CLP were aware of this and there was no problem.

“I posted a photo of George on my personal Facebook account. It was George’s mayoral candidate photo but I cropped out the wording and placed it as my cover picture so it just showed his face as I liked the photo.

“My personal Facebook account is non political and all my friends and family are aware George is my friend. I thought nothing of it.

“I received a letter on September 10 to say I was expelled as, in March, I had placed this photo on my Facebook account. This was deemed as campaigning for a rival candidate to Sadiq.”

She told me: “I campaigned all spring for Sadiq as my CLP can vouch – and have in their letters to the NEC. I was even out with Sadiq and am pictured on his Twitter account. I was out campaigning for him with Jeremy when he came to Dagenham in March.”

She was indeed:

161105kk-with-jeremy-corbyn

“I worked so hard for the party this year. I have written and appealed as have my CLP but I have not even received any form of acknowledgement which I feel is very unfair.

“I feel I have been victimised due to my contact with George Galloway which is pretty bad considering he was Labour for 36 years and is an active campaigner for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

“I believe Labour hacked into my Facebook account as my privacy settings were on. I have asked where they got their evidence from as they also had my personal photos including those of my deceased parents, but they have failed to respond in any way.

“I feel they have broken data protection rights and I would like someone to highlight my case and the many others that were expelled.”

Ms Koseda’s expulsion letter is copied below.

161105-kk-expulsion-letter1

It states: “It has been brought to our attention with supporting evidence that you have publicly advocated support for George Galloway as a candidate for Respect on social media on 6 March 2016.

“You are therefore ineligible to remain a member of the Labour Party.”

This is why organisations like the Labour Party are supposed to allow accused members a chance to defend themselves against any claims made against them.

How many more innocent members have been thrown out by the former NEC’s (several members were replaced after elections over the summer) kangaroo court?

At a time when a great deal of attention is being focused on members who were suspended but have now been allowed back into the party, these people should not be forgotten.

Ms Koseda stated: “I passed the rigorous selection programme to become a councillor for the London Borough of Havering. I was shortlisted to the final three and was the only woman to get this far. Why did I pass all the selection criteria with them knowing about my friendship with George but then was expelled?”

She’s right; it doesn’t make sense. But then, very little about the Labour ‘purge’ ever did.

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The public wants politicians to clean up their act; will we fail?

The petition is up and taking signatures. Please sign and share.

The petition is up and taking signatures. Please sign and share.

Two things happened yesterday evening to convince me that the fight to root corruption out of the House of Commons is not only necessary but urgent.

First, the inaugural ‘mass tweet’ by supporters of my #CleanHouseOfCommons petition – I know it’s a mouthful but clarity was required – took place between 9 and 10pm and was a modest success. We got 45 extra signatures and put it back into the top 10 trending petitions on the government’s website. Another 30, or thereabouts, have signed since then (at the time of writing).

That might not seem many to the casual reader, but it’s a good start. This is a petition that has no mass-media support, nor is it boosted by an endorsement from anyone who could be described as a celebrity. It is gathering signatures by word of mouth (or rather, in this internet age, via Facebook shares, Twitter re-tweets, other social media and possibly email as well).

This is why I keep having to emphasise the importance of spreading the word. It isn’t enough to sign a petition like this and expect everyone else to publicise it. If you believe in the cause it puts forward, please, tell the people you know. Say, “I’ve just signed a petition to stop MPs lining their pockets with private, corrupt side deals while they’re supposed to be serving the public – and I think you might want to do the same”. It takes a few seconds and the effect could be enormous.

Secondly, there was an exchange of views on the BBC’s Question Time, which started less than an hour after the mass tweet ended.

Questioner Elliott Hill asked: “With public scepticism towards MPs, similarities between the major parties and a decrease in party membership, is party politics dying?”

This was an opportunity to explore the reasons people are turning away from politicians – and corruption, the fact that politicians are using their positions to make decisions that people don’t want (but that are profitable for them personally), had to be high on the list.

George Galloway made the point about corruption by drawing attention to Parliamentary expenses: “We have a Parliament full of expenses frauds. We have a Parliament that’s almost always on holiday. Since I was elected 11 months ago, Parliament has been on holiday almost 50 per cent of the time – and the rest of the time, they’re filling in their expenses forms.”

Fraser Nelson (and I’m not a fan) made a good point about party funding: “Politicians go on about constitutional reform, but only the type that favours their own party. If you think the situation is bad now, then wait until they get state funding for political parties… It should never happen because they should be forced – all of them… to go and find ideas that people think are worth supporting. Either do that or go bust.”

In other words, once their funding is coming direct from the taxpayer, individual opinions won’t matter at all. They won’t listen to you if they don’t need to – and then they really will be rigging the system to make as much out of it for themselves as they possibly can.

These were views that the audience wholeheartedly supported. Look at this response from one audience member: “If you say you’re all fighting for the people, when do you listen to the people that you are there for? You’ve got to listen to the people – what they want.”

Or this one: “Isn’t it our democratic system that is broken? I go to a polling booth and have to vote for the best of a bad bunch… It’s not who I want to vote for, but who’s going to stop a different party getting in.”

Or this one: “Politicians are playing their own game – ‘If it’s in their favour, we’ll vote against it’. That’s playing against what the public need.”

Another audience member said: “Before an election, all parties promise this, that and the other, so they vote them in, and then after, they renege on what they promised.”

A perfect example of of this – politicians pandering to the public in order to gain popularity – then followed when the panel was asked where Richard III should be bured – Leicester (where the recording was taking place), York or London.

Every representative of the three major parties – Mary Creagh, Maria Miller and Susan Kramer – said Leicester, and received huge applause from the audience in return.

It was a prime example of the current political system in action (or inaction): Say what people want to hear – then do whatever suits you personally. In this case, the decision won’t even be up to them, so it was a conscience-free response.

The message was clear: Your MPs are not in Parliament to represent your interests. Your MPs are there to represent themselves and, where it suits them, their party.

The only way to make them do their job – as it has always been described to you – is to make it impossible for them to line their own pockets.

That’s the debate I’m trying to open up with the e-petition. It’s at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44971 – if you agree with the Question Time audience, then please do something about it. You can’t make a difference by doing nothing.

And would you want to be responsible for allowing the corruption to continue?