Proud of it: the banner seems to set out the Britain First agenda clearly – racism.
Did Theresa May intend our police to be toothless, back when she cut law enforcement numbers by more than 20,000 in 2016 or thereabouts?
Coppers in the UK now seem far more interested in prosecuting parking and speeding offences than in investigating crimes of violence perpetrated against human beings.
How else could one explain the inability of police services across the UK to stop people who are exempt from wearing face masks in shops from being assaulted by their fellow shoppers, who have no right to do so?
And how else could one explain the ability of Britain First “activists” (read: racists) to raid a hotel housing asylum seekers with impunity?
Cheshire Police were called but by the time anybody turned up, the perpetrators of the harassment had long since departed.
The incursion into the privacy and dignity of the people at the hotel has been roundly condemned by right-thinking people – for example:
Who the hell do they think they are???
What gives them the right to terrorize these people? Haven’t they suffered enough? Despicable excuses for human beings. https://t.co/sjBNEVN0ws
How about the police arresting the perpetrators under the very wide-ranging terrorism provisions we have on our statute books? Or are fair-haired white women out of bounds? Furious that this is going on with apparent impunity. https://t.co/Tfaxl3lm0Q
But it seems clear that people like the Britain First thugs will feel empowered by the fact that they got away with it – and are likely to get away with it if they do it again.
Apparently the Johnson government has offered protection to hotels housing asylum seekers, but can we really believe that?
It is the jingoistic rhetoric of these Tories – and the Tory governments that came before them – that has made these racists feel entitled to stick their faces where they don’t belong.
And look at the recent behaviour of the Home Office, regarding asylum seekers and the people who stand up for them.
It seems likely that Britain First’s “activists” have been doing exactly what the Johnson government wants.
* I’ve put “activists” in quotation marks because it is interesting to note the way the word is being used. The Home Office attacked “activist lawyers” in a hastily-deleted video tweet last week, and now we see the word again here. What are we to conclude from this use of language?
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I’m not going to comment on the behaviour of the person named as “Tim” in the exchange above, but part of Rachel Riley’s case against me is that it wasn’t “targeted harassment” when Tracy-Ann Oberman sent 18 tweets to a terrified schoolgirl … within a single hour.
And those were just some of the dozens of tweets she sent to the same girl over a 24-hour period.
I’m looking forward to seeing them explain their way out of that one.
But it won’t happen unless I have the funds to defend myself against the wild claims of Ms Oberman and her friend Ms Riley.
The crowdfunding campaign needs your help so 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 appeal.
On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.
Let’s expose the hypocrisy.
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.
Cosy at the top: Concerns raised by MPs at Monday’s Parliamentary Labour Party meeting have no substance and should not bother either Jennie Formby or Jeremy Corbyn – but the fact that they are being allowed to discuss these matters openly, in violation of party rules, lays open the double-standard that may make the party unelectable.
On the face of it, it looked bad.
“Labour MPs tore into Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy at a party meeting on Monday night,” according to The Guardian.
The same report went on to say: “The parliamentary Labour party (PLP) meeting came amid anger about how Corbyn’s office had handled harassment complaints against two senior Labour figures, as well as an investigation into Labour antisemitism by the equalities watchdog.”
But it turns out this is nothing more than hyperbole from the paper that misrepresented Labour’s new commitment that every UK citizen should have a chance to succeed as “Corbyn to drop social mobility”.
In fact, it was reasonable for MPs to want to re-examine Labour’s Brexit policy after large falls in voter share at the European Parliament election and the Peterborough by-election.
Reading between the lines, the regrettable aspect of the report is that it shows no willingness on the party of Jeremy Corbyn’s critics to accept that they are at least partly responsible for the confusion over Labour’s position.
MPs – and indeed shadow cabinet members – who know a divided party cannot win elections went into the most recent campaigns spouting any old nonsense that came into their heads, rather than the official party line.
Where were their apologies?
This ties in with Mr Corbyn’s plea for MPs not to publicly attack party staff or shadow cabinet members, which was knocked by Lloyd Russell-Moyle at the meeting, to his shame.
Let us be clear: MPs pleading for the right to attack other Labour members is a demand for rights that rank-and-file party members don’t have.
The reason This Writer was expelled from Labour wasn’t the false charges of anti-Semitism that were made about me – it was the fact that I had discussed in public the failures of the party machine to correctly address the issue – even though these were matters of public knowledge and it was my job as a journalist to report on them.
(From this it should be clear that the party’s National Constitutional Committee was demanding that Labour-supporting journalists must show a bias towards the party that conflicts with their duty to report facts. This would, of course, prevent any honourable journalist from being a party member or supporting it. Perhaps NCC boss Maggie Cosins didn’t think of that.)
It was clear that, as a rank-and-file Labour member, I was expelled for discussing internal party issues in public – but that is exactly the privilege Mr Russell-Moyle was demanding at Monday’s meeting.
That is not acceptable. There must be a single rule for all party members, no matter how high in the party hierarchy they have risen.
Steering this back to Brexit, it is clear that – had MPs honoured the obligation to support party policy, rather than criticise it or contradict it – Labour could have won a far larger voter share.
And Labour’s policy really isn’t that hard to understand.
As long as we have a Conservative government that is determined to honour what is now widely accepted as a fatally-flawed plebiscite (consider the recent Swiss decision to invalidate a referendum result after it was decided voters had received false information), Brexit is going to happen.
Labour’s policy is to limit the amount of harm this will cause to the general public.
This policy is to be carried out initially by the measures available to the party in Parliament, as laid out by Mr Corbyn many times in the past.
It would also be carried out in policies which address the effect that Brexit would have on the lives of UK citizens – tackling the so-called “burning injustices” that Theresa May said she would solve, back in 2016, about which she then did exactly nothing.
It’s actually a winning combination, if only the party blabbermouths would shut up and think for a moment.
Of course, the real solution to Tory Brexit is a general election and a Labour government, but that is a dream as long as the same party blabbermouths continue to preach division. And they will.
As for the issues around harassment and anti-Semitism: If complaints have been made, then these matters are under investigation and it is not only inappropriate but itself a disciplinary matter if MPs discuss them in public.
So the words allegedly said by Jess Phillips to Jeremy Corbyn – “If you abuse women in the Labour party and they’re a friend of yours, they get away with it” – should result in her suspension from the party while her own transgression is investigated, as it seems she is attempting trial-by-media.
But of course, the Labour leadership won’t take any such action, because there really is a two-tier system in place and Ms Phillips is on the level that need fear no disciplinary action, no matter what she does.
This is the matter for concern – not the whinges of a few out-of-order MPs.
Mr Corbyn has been told about it. Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has been told. So have leading members of the NCC.
The general public see that.
And perhaps that hypocritical double-standard is what will keep Labour out of office, more than anything else.
This is the kind of person we have running the UK – a wretch who was happy to pass laws exposing her fellow women to sexual harassment – as a condition of their employment.
The same law made it possible for employers to prevent women from complaining, as they could impose non-disclosure clauses into employees’ contracts.
Put this together with Mrs May’s record on allegations of sexual misconduct against Tory MPs (her whips’ office appears to have used them to keep potential rebels in line) and her attitude to investigations into historical child sex allegations (she had them suppressed) and we form a picture of a woman of extremely questionable morals.
Yet no doubt this priest’s daughter attends church every Sunday and prays for those less fortunate than herself. Perhaps she thinks God should help them – because she certainly won’t.
Theresa May was responsible for scrapping a law that would have given greater protection to the hostesses who were sexually harassed at the Presidents Club fundraiser.
As home secretary and minister for women and equalities under the coalition government, Mrs May led a consultation that led to an amendment to the 2010 Equality Act, one of the final pieces of legislation under Labour.
In the original version, employers were held responsible if a third party harassed someone in their employment, and if they “failed to take such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the third party from doing so”.
The relevant clause, in section 40 of the act, was repealed in 2013 as part of the government’s “bonfire of red tape”.
It was described as a “potential regulatory burden on business to no apparent good purpose”.
The consultation document was signed by Mrs May and Lynne Featherstone, who is now a Lib Dem peer.
The Law Society, which was among those which responded to the consultation, advised against scrapping the clause, saying it would be a retrograde step.
Toby Young’s appointment to the board of the Office for Students has been criticised by … well, by everybody who knows about it, really – apart from highly blinkered Tories [Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA].
If you haven’t seen my video blog on the crises afflicting the UK – thanks to our Conservative government – you should probably have a gander before you come back to this.
All done? Good.
So: How did Toby Young become a major issue for the Conservative government?
The Tories today appointed writer Toby Young, who complained about the ‘ghastly inclusivity’ of wheelchair ramps in schools, to the board of their new higher education watchdog.
The Office for Students (OfS) legally come into force today with a remit to hold regulate university vice chancellors’ pay and enforce ‘free speech’ on campus.
The appointment of Young, an outspoken right-wing writer, to the board of the regulator has sparked criticism.
In a column for the Spectator in 2012, Young wrote: “Inclusive. It’s one of those ghastly, politically correct words that has survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be “inclusive” these days.
“That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library (though no Mark Twain) and a Special Educational Needs Department that can cope with everything from Dyslexia to Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.”
He went on to call on then-Education Secretary Michael Gove to bring back O-levels and repeal the Equality Act, because “any exam that isn’t “accessible” to a functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of six will be judged to be “elitist” and therefore forbidden by [Harriet] Harman’s Law.”
University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: “If this organisation was to have any credibility it needed a robust board looking out for students’ interests.
“Instead we have this announcement sneaked out at New Year with Tory cheerleader Toby Young dressed up as the voice of teachers and no proper representation from staff or students.”
Fresh questions have been raised over the suitability of Toby Young to sit on the board of the new universities regulator after it emerged that the government exaggerated his qualifications.
Young acknowledged on Tuesday that the Department for Education’s (DfE) claim that he had held teaching posts at two of the world’s most illustrious institutions, Harvard and Cambridge, were not accurate.
“I taught undergrads at Harvard and Cambridge and was paid to do so but these weren’t academic ‘posts’ and I’ve never made that claim,” he told the Guardian.
Defending Young’s appointment to the newly set-up Office for Students (OfS) on Monday, the department told the Guardian that his “diverse experience includes posts” at the institutions.
That’s called lying. Government departments aren’t supposed to do that.
But what about the new regulator’s personality? Surely he must have admirable features, to have been appointed to the new organisation for students?
We’ll come to some of those objectionable tweets in a moment. Before we do, I wanted to remind you all of an important point: The Conservative government has recently endured humiliation because of the sexually inappropriate behaviour of some of its members – and not all of the people who have been named have yet accounted for the activities of which they have been accused. I’ll hand over to Rachael Swindon now:
Just recently the government insisted they want to tackle the sexist and misogynistic atmosphere in British politics, which makes the appointment of Toby Young even more bizarre.
It was all looking rough for Mr Young – but then Boris Johnson, of all people, threw the weight of his questionable judgement behind the man who calls himself Toadmeister on Twitter. The man whose genius encouraged the Iranian legal system to add five years to the wrongful prison sentence of a British citizen, and who failed to secure her release after visiting the country, likewise failed to impress the home audience:
Boris Johnson says Toby Young’s caustic wit qualifies him to supervise universities. I’d rather have Frankie Boyle’s.
Toby Young's "caustic wit" includes leering at politicians' and celebrities' breasts, talking about "hardcore dykes", calling a celebrity "as queer as a coot", and joking about gay celebrities wanting to "bum" straight men. Our Foreign Secretary thinks it's hilarious, though. https://t.co/Mw7I5eZvSM
But does any of this have a bearing on Mr Young’s appointment to the Office for Students? Let’s see:
As an ex Deputy Head I can vouch for this. A little context for the Toby Young appointment : Under current guidelines his views, writings and posts would preclude him from even being a Teaching Assistant.
Clive Lewis had denied the claim, which was made after Labour party conference. [Image: Martin Pope for the Guardian].
It’s no surprise the sexual harassment allegation against Clive Lewis has been dropped. It served its purpose – it distracted us all from what the Tory government was doing back in October.
That was the time the Tories ignored a Parliamentary vote demanding the pausing of the Universal Credit rollout until its many problems are fixed; when Theresa May confirmed she would not spend a single penny to make tower blocks safer after the Grenfell Tower inferno; and when the Tories had been caught charging people without any money at all 55p a minute to phone the Universal Credit helpline – among many other scandals.
So the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog dug up a ‘dead cat’ allegation about Mr Lewis saying “On your knees, bitch!” to a man at a Labour conference fringe event, and this was followed by an allegation of sexual assault. The allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had just broken, so the claim was certain to garner a great deal of attention.
(A ‘dead cat’ is, as everyone should know, a tactic to distract attention from an important issue – equivalent to throwing a dead cat onto a table and shouting, “Look at this dead cat!”; everyone looks, and forgets about whatever they were discussing before).
Now we see there was no substance in the sexual assault allegation. We already knew there was nothing more than manufactured outrage about the incident at the Labour event.
They served their purpose. For the Tories, the problem is that worse crises were to follow – and have yet to come.
Clive Lewis, the Labour MP and former shadow business secretary, has been cleared of allegations of sexual harassment after a party investigation.
Lewis, the MP for Norwich South, was accused of grabbing a female Labour member’s bottom at a fringe event at the party’s conference in September. The woman told the Independent last month: “We had a hug and while we were having a hug he gave my bum a big squeeze.”
Lewis had previously apologised after it emerged he told a man to “get on your knees, bitch”, understood to be at the same event, part of Momentum’s The World Transformed festival.
An internal investigation has dismissed the claim of sexual harassment against him… Labour MPs Kelvin Hopkins and Ivan Lewis remain under investigation.
First Minister – and de facto deputy prime minister – Damian Green has been accused of making inappropriate advances [Image: Carl Court/Getty].
On the day a member of Damian Green’s office staff reportedly approached the Cabinet Office inquiry into his behaviour to support his accuser Kate Maltby, it must be worth asking why that inquiry has taken almost a month and a half to report its findings on an open-and-shut case.
Sue Gray, head of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet Office, launched her inquiry on November 1. This Writer understands it is asking whether Mr Green broke the Ministerial Code in his behaviour towards Ms Maltby, who has alleged that incidents took place in early 2015 and May 2016, and in having pornography on a computer in his office, found by police conducting an inquiry into a separate matter in 2008, weeks before the kind of material present was due to be classified as illegal.
The trouble, as This Writer sees it, is that Mr Green was not a minister at the time of any of the incidents, therefore I don’t see how the Ministerial Code applies.
However, if he was making persistent unwanted overtures of a sexual nature to Ms Maltby, then he cannot be said to be innocent of any offence.
And, as it now seems clear that a large amount of extreme pornographic material was indeed found on a computer in a Parliamentary office for which Mr Green was responsible, it seems clear that he should have faced the penalty that any other office worker would have undergone in the same situation: The sack.
I am concerned that the Conservative government, by considering whether the Ministerial Code was breached, is investigating the wrong issue – in order to find that he did not breach the Code and close the matter there.
Questioning about the alleged sexual harassment and the computer porn could then be met with an assertion that these matters were investigated, and Mr Green would effectively get away without having to account for the improprieties alleged against him – or atone for them, if the allegations are accurate.
So it is time for clarity from the person at the top of this inquiry.
Is Sue Gray investigating whether Mr Green harassed a journalist and had porn on his computer?
Or is she engaged in a wild goose chase about a breach of the Ministerial Code when Mr Green wasn’t a minister?
Let us have some answers now – before the inquiry report blows smoke in all our faces.
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The Tory MP sex scandal seems to have gone quiet – apart from Damian Green, of course – but it’s important to remember that sexual harassment isn’t confined to Westminster.
I would certainly hope that nobody actually thought that in any case but this story from the Telegraph appeared in This Site’s Facebook messages and seems worth a mention.
Female staff were groped and forced to give sexual favours for promotions at a scandal hit ambulance trust, a damning report has revealed.
Women at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb) told investigators that ‘sexual predators’ within the organisation ‘groomed’ young workers while managers propositioned staff for sex.
The independent study, which is the largest ever undertaken into workplace ill-treatment, was commissioned following complaints in a staff survey last year, and overseen by Professor Duncan Lewis, of Plymouth University, a leading researcher into bullying and discrimination.
In a highly critical report published today, researchers said they were ‘shocked’ by levels of bullying and sexual harassment within the trust, which is also failing to meet targets for emergency calls. The authors found that ‘employees were living in daily fear.’
Investigators were told that ‘covert and overt’ sexualised behaviour was embedded in parts of the management structure.
Damian Green denies allegations that he harassed a young Tory activist [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images].
Theresa May has put a man under investigation for sexual impropriety forward to act as her deputy in Prime Minister’s Question, while she visits Jordan.
Damian Green will deputise for Mrs May in his role as First Secretary of State, even though he has been investigated after serious allegations were made about him – and the investigation has been completed.
But the result of that investigation has not been announced – and it is possible that it never will be.
It is a deeply suspicious state of affairs and one that cannot have escaped the notice of Emily Thornberry, who will be deputising for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The obvious questions are: Isn’t it more appropriate for a senior politician to be suspended while he is under investigation, rather than standing in for the prime minister? What did the investigation find? And why have its findings been withheld?
But will she ask?
Damian Green will deputise for Theresa May at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday despite being under investigation over allegations of sexual impropriety.
The first secretary of state, regarded as May’s de facto deputy, will stand in for the prime minister, who is visiting Jordan. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, will take him on.
Green has been chosen to fill in despite his political future hanging in the balance for several weeks while he is investigated by Sue Gray, the head of propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office.
The senior civil servant has been deliberating over claims that Green harassed a young Conservative activist and downloaded pornography to a work computer. He denies both allegations.
The Cabinet Office declined to say whether the investigation had concluded or whether it would be made public when finished.
Damian Green, the first secretary of state, has described the claims as ‘untrue and deeply hurtful’ [Image: Andrew Matthews/PA].
Picture the scene: Damian Green is speaking in Parliament, making a speech elsewhere, or doing a public appearance.
It doesn’t matter which, because anybody there will have just one thing to say – that they think Mr Green is a sex pervert of some kind.
When he denies it, they’ll say: “If that’s true, why wasn’t the report of the inquiry published?”
There is no good answer to this. Whatever he says, the answer is: “If you were innocent, the report would have been published in full. It wasn’t. You’re a pervert.”
The only way Mr Green can still claim innocence is if the inquiry report is published in full, and finds him completely innocent. Even then, people may be unsatisfied unless a police investigation takes place – and the Conservative Party won’t allow that to happen.
So Damian Green is finished.
Downing Street has said it may not publish any report into allegations against the first secretary of state, Damian Green, who is currently under investigation by the Cabinet Office.
The inquiry by its head of propriety and ethics, Sue Gray, was launched in early November after journalists and the Conservative activist Kate Maltby wrote a piece claiming Green had touched her knee in 2015 and, one year later, sent her a suggestive message.
After Maltby’s piece was published in the Times, it later emerged that pornography – allegedly of an “extreme” nature – had been found on Green’s parliamentary computer after a police raid in 2008.
The result of the inquiry was expected to be announced in the coming days, but Downing Street said the full report would not necessarily be put in the public domain.
Asked if … the government was not committing to publishing the full inquiry, [a 10 Downing Street] spokesman said: “That’s what I’m saying.”
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