Tag Archives: High

Johnson’s contempt of the courts as Covid contracts are STILL unpublished

UK prime minister Boris Johnson missed his calling in life: he belongs in the circus.

Who can doubt that Boris And His Amazing Talking Backside would be a hit with audiences across the country, if not the globe?

And let’s be honest, it would be a far more appropriate place for him to make the kind of utterances he does.

There can be little doubt that most of Johnson’s conversation comes, not from his mouth, but from the other end.

He tends to give vent to short bursts of hot air with very little real content. And such content as there is, stinks.

A prime example of this verbal flatulence is the moment he claimed that all Covid-related contracts were “on the record for everyone to see” after Matt Hancock had been found to have broken the law by failing to publish them.

And were they?

Challenged about the ruling in the House of Commons on 22 February, Mr Johnson said: “All the details are on the record.”

The prime minister added: “The contracts are there on the record for everybody to see.”

But three days later, in a written legal response to the Good Law Project, seen by the BBC, government lawyers admitted 100 contracts for suppliers and services relating to Covid-19 signed before 7 October had yet to be published.

So they weren’t. And nobody is surprised because we all know that Johnson’s words don’t come from his mouth but from somewhere much lower down.

The other Tory claim about this – that the government has been “working tirelessly” to deliver protection for health and social care staff – was disproved the moment it was uttered.

We all remember that health staff had to fight Covid with no personal protective equipment at all when the first wave of the pandemic broke over the UK.

And social care staff actually carried it between homes, infecting – and killing – 30,000 residents.

When the High Court made its judgement against Matt Hancock last month, he was ordered to publish details of his contracts and pay £85,000 towards the costs of the Good Law Project, whose members brought the case.

The government hasn’t published those contracts. Shouldn’t Hancock now suffer a stronger penalty?

Source: Covid contracts still unpublished despite Boris Johnson’s claim – BBC News

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Matt Hancock is gaslighting not only nurses, but ALL of us, over PPE

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim,experience shows it will probably be wrong.

Our nurses are right and Matt Hancock is a liar. He would resign if he had an ounce of integrity but of course he doesn’t, so he won’t.

He has said he would not resign after a High Court judge ruled he was responsible for unlawful delays in revealing how billions of pounds were spent on gowns, masks and other protective equipment at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge: “My officials, with my full support, spent every waking hour buying PPE so that, even though we came close, we never actually ran out of PPE in this country.

“People can make up their own view about whether I should have told my team to stop buying PPE or whether I was right to buy the PPE and get it to the front line.

“And they did that even though the paperwork got delayed by, on average, just over a fortnight.”

Nurses don’t have to make up their own minds. They have the facts. They have experienced the deaths of their colleagues, who were exposed to Covid-19 needlessly because Hancock did not supply them with PPE.

In fact, as I stated earlier, not only did the Johnson government give away the PPE it had, it later wasted millions – if not billions – giving contracts to useless Tory cronies who either couldn’t supply the goods or provided equipment that could not be used.

That will be the buying that Hancock mentioned to Ms Ridge, then?

I also mentioned the fact that nurses caught the virus because they didn’t have proper PPE:

“According to Metro,

Three nurses who wore bin bags on their shifts due to a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

Just weeks ago, the nurses had shared a photo of themselves with clinical waste bags on their heads and feet as they issued a plea for proper masks, gowns and gloves at Northwick Park Hospital, in Harrow.

“I wrote: ‘One of them had said they were all “terrified” that this might happen, knowing that colleagues had caught the disease from patients, and having treated those colleagues. They had seen what the illness does… We know what the government that failed them is going to give them: Platitudes.’

“How right I was.”

Now, responding to Hancock’s comments, community nurse Angela Roberts recalled the incident when she asked:

Why were nurses forced to use bloody bin bags? Out-of-date masks?

She continued:

Why was PPE downgraded for NHS staff?

‘Why was there no PPE for care homes and community nurses except for plastic pinnies?

And Anthony Johnson, lead organiser for Nurses United, said:

He thinks that he can try to gaslight millions of health and social care workers who had to re-use PPE.

If so, he thinks wrong.

But what difference will it make if there are no consequences for his actions?

Source: Hancock is gaslighting us over PPE, say nurses | Metro

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Hancock won’t resign over unlawful Covid contracts – and why should he when Starmer supports him?

With friends like these: Matt Hancock has refused to resign for breaking the law – and Tory-in-Labour-clothing Keir Starmer has supported him. So much for democracy. So much for justice.

Matt Hancock has refused to resign after the High Court said he had breached a legal obligation to publish details of Covid-19-related contracts with private firms. He said he had been doing what was needed in order to save lives.

That, of course, has yet to be seen – and we shouldn’t have to wait too long.

The court’s decision means details of Hancock’s hidden contracts must be publicised at last. We will be able to judge whether he spent billions of pounds of public money on measures that have actually saved lives…

… Or simply funnelled cash into the pockets of Tory cronies and chums who then failed to do anything useful with it at all.

Sadly, Hancock is under no political pressure whatsoever to resign after Keir Starmer, a so-called “Blue Labour” turncoat who pretends to lead Her Majesty’s Opposition but instead acts more like a cheerleader for the Conservative government, spoke in support of him instead:

What a betrayal – well, you can tell how This Writer feels about it from my own response:

All Labour – as a party – has done is urge Hancock to publish details of contracts that remain secret at the time of writing, which is no more than the High Court ordered.

And Labour said he should stop using emergency procurement powers in order to put a stop to cronyism. He should have stopped months ago; procurement of Covid-related equipment and services was an emergency matter in February 2020 but by now it should be subject to the proper tendering process – the emergency should be over.

Some Labour MPs have demonstrated that they have more backbone than the party’s fake of a leader, though:

It is hard to tell what is most disappointing about the way this story is developing.

If the UK’s government was functioning properly, then Hancock should have been out of a job within minutes of the High Court’s decision becoming public.

But government hasn’t functioned properly in this way since the 1980s, if I recall correctly.

The news media failed to grip the story properly; it is only because the social media publicised it that they felt pressured into mentioning it at all.

And the inaction of the Labour leader has been nothing short of contemptible.

Source: Matt Hancock refuses to resign over failure to publish details of Covid contracts – Mirror Online

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Hancock faces ‘resign’ demands over his unlawful Covid-19 contracts

Bad smell: if Matt Hancock thinks he can smell something rotten, it’s probably Hancock himself.

Was Vox Political the first media outlet to publicise the High Court’s ruling that Matt Hancock acted unlawfully?

How welcome it is to see that some other sites have followed suit, although it seems the mainstream media have been dragging their heels. Why is that, do you think?

Perhaps they realised that a revelation of this kind – that a Cabinet minister dished out contracts worth billions of pounds to private companies run by chums of his political party – many of whom then failed to honour them – had illegally hidden the details in order to dodge scrutiny – would be harmful to the reputation of the Conservative government.

But why should that bother anybody in the news media?

All reporters have an obligation to the facts – not to their friends.

It seems some of our favourite channels/papers have forgotten that.

Well – too bad. This cat is out of the bag and people are furious:

How long will Hancock last?

Or are the Tories really convinced that they are untouchable?

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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High Court urged to overturn Johnson’s decision to overlook Priti Patel’s bullying

Do you ever wonder whether High Court judges get frustrated that any serious work they do is delayed by the misdeeds of government ministers (not to mention the bleatings of sensitive celebs – but that’s another matter)?

Civil service union the FDA is demanding a judicial review of Boris Johnson’s decision not to sack Priti Patel for breaking the Ministerial Code by bullying officers at the Home Office, Department for International Development and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Johnson rejected the findings of a report by Alex Allan that found Patel was guilty of bullying civil servants while a minister in three government departments.

He defiantly backed her to continue as Home Secretary when, according to the rules, she should have been sacked – and said he had “full confidence” in her.

The decision provoke Allan to resign as government adviser on ministerial standards last November, immediately after the prime minister announced his decision.

It also emerged that Johnson had spent considerable effort trying to rally support for Patel among other ministers. This became even more questionable when it was revealed that Patel’s loathsome behaviour appeared to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide.

Now the FDA is taking the matter to the courts – and about time too:

In a written submission, general secretary Dave Penman told the High Court that “civil servants should expect to work with ministers without fear of being bullied or harassed”.

Mr Johnson’s actions had “fundamentally undermined” the disciplinary process, he added, and the prime minister had “misinterpreted” the definition of bullying in the Ministerial Code.

Mr Penman said there was “bewilderment, dismay and anger among our membership” and there had been “serious detrimental effects to workplace relations and confidence in the process for dealing with complaints against ministers”.

He added that, if Mr Johnson’s decision was not “corrected” by the court, “his interpretation of the Ministerial Code will result in that document failing to protect workplace standards across government”.

This is a row that has been simmering for a year – since the resignation of Sir Philip Rutnam as Home Office permanent secretary in February 2020.

He said he had been the target of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” ringled by Patel.

And he is pursuing an employment tribunal claim for constructive dismissal.

This action can only be strengthened if the High Court supports the FDA’s application.

Source: High Court urged to overturn PM’s decision to stand by Priti Patel – BBC News

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Matt Hancock broke the law by keeping Covid-19 contracts with private firms secret, High Court rules

Unlawful: Matt Hancock broke the law by handing out huge amounts of money in contracts to private firms and withheld the details from the public.

The High Court has ruled that Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock “acted unlawfully” by failing to provide details of contracts with private companies to the public within the required deadline.

This meant the public had been left unable to “scrutinise contract award notices and contract provisions, ask questions about them and raise any issues with oversight bodies such as the NAO or via MPs in Parliament”.

In other words, Hancock broke the law in order to avoid being held to account for the contracts he had signed.

We should remember that we now know many of these contracts, signed under emergency regulations that allow the government to dodge normal competitive tendering procedures, went to firms run by cronies of the Tory government who could not honour them – while experts were overlooked.

So billions of pounds have gone to waste – including the £200,000 cost of the judicial review in the High Court that ruled against Hancock.

The Secretary of State had tried to claim that the proceedings, brought by the Good Law Project alongside MPs Debbie Abrahams, Caroline Lucas and Layla Moran, were not an “economic operator” and therefore did not have the necessary “standing”.

But Mr Justice Chamberlain stated that it was unrealistic to claim that economic operators would have challenged Government’s breach of the law in these circumstances.

In his ruling, the judge stated,

The Secretary of State acted unlawfully by failing to comply with the Transparency Policy.

There is now no dispute that, in a substantial number of cases, the Secretary of State breached his legal obligation to publish Contract Award Notices within 30 days of the award of contracts.

The Secretary of State spent vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020. The public were entitled to see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded.

But the loss of the case – and the forfeiture of £200k associated with it – doesn’t mean that Hancock has cleaned up his act.

A press release from the Good Law Project states: “We shouldn’t be forced to rely on litigation to keep those in power honest, but in this case it’s clear that our challenge pushed Government to comply with its legal obligations.

“Judge Chamberlain stated that the admission of breach by Government was “secured as a result of this litigation and at a late stage of it” and “I have no doubt that this claim has speeded up compliance”.

“It begs the question, if we hadn’t brought this legal challenge, what other contract details would have remained hidden from view?

This judgment, which can be found here, is a victory for all of us concerned with proper governance and proof of the power of litigation to hold Government to account.

“But there is still a long way to go before the Government’s house is in order.

“We have now written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care detailing what needs to be done to improve procurement processes and ensure value for British taxpayers.”

These measures include:

  • Publishing the names of all companies that won contracts through the so-called “VIP lane” that prioritised firms run by friends of Tory ministers over the experts – together with the names of those who introduced them and, where successful, the amounts they were paid.
  • A commitment to recover public money from all firms that failed to meet their contractual obligations – with this condition to be determined by an independent process and not by anybody in the Tory government.
  • A commitment to commission a judge-led public inquiry into the procurement of personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • And a commitment to follow the lead of other jurisdictions by publishing PPE contracts, with pricing details visible, to enable proper scrutiny.

This last measure could be extremely embarrassing considering revelations that the government has lost £15 billion worth of PPE.

If the government refuses to agree to these terms, it seems the Good Law Project has further legal challenges lined up which – if opposed by Hancock – mean the Secretary of State is likely only to end up wasting even more public money.

Source: The judgment is in – Good Law Project

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Why did ‘celebrity’ Twitter users force suspension of ordinary woman? Because they could

Some of you have been kind enough to notice that This Writer’s @MidWalesMike account has been in the Twitter sin bin since the beginning of the month because somebody didn’t like one of my articles about the court case against Rachel Riley.

That is dangerous enough – it’s clearly an attempt to create a “chilling” effect on my crowdfunding (that, fortunately, has failed – the fund has nearly raised £125,000 since it started nearly two years ago).

But now I read that another Twitter user, who apparently has no public profile at all (she’s not a celebrity or a journalist/blogger or a member of the commentatorati), has found her account suspended, simply for expressing her dislike of an actress.

The actress in question was Tracy-Ann Oberman, who apparently searches the social media platform for any adverse comment about her. Spotting this one, it seems she claimed that the lady in question had to be an anti-Semite, even though no part of the view she expressed in her tweet conveyed any such sentiment. See for yourself:

“It’s a sin was doing so well then I saw Tracy Ann Oberman left a bad taste in my mouth … trying to quickly forget I’ve seen her.”

“Caroline do you think that YOU may be one of those intolerant bigots that Russell is talking about in #itsasin

“Seems you’ve missed the entire point of the series. You and the rest of this thread. Oh dear. @cst @UKLabour @LabourAgainstAS”

The @ tags at the end of Oberman’s tweet are significant. She was tagging in the Community Security Trust and Labour Against Anti-Semitism – both highly vocal self-proclaimed crusaders against anti-Semitism (although both could equally well be described as witch-hunters against people targeted with false claims) along with the Labour Party, because ‘Caroline’ could be seen holding a Labour membership card in her profile picture.

The implication is clear: Oberman wanted to brand ‘Caroline’ an anti-Semite and she wanted to bring Labour’s attention to it. In order to provoke disciplinary action, perhaps? Because this person had expressed an opinion about her appearance in a TV show. Overkill?

No. Overkill is what followed. Oberman’s tweet led to a dogpile so vile that even some of its participants later withdrew their comments and apologised.

I won’t go into the details but you can read about it on Zelo Street if you like.

Then – apparently after pressure from the usual cohort of “blue tick” celebrities – ‘Caroline’ had her Twitter account suspended.

I repeat that she had not expressed a single opinion that was not well within her right. If she doesn’t like Tracy-Ann Oberman, it is not for Tracy-Ann Oberman to take offence and have her hounded off of Twitter. For all Tracy-Ann Oberman knew, ‘Caroline’ had perfectly good reasons for disliking her.

Those reasons don’t have to be restricted to her acting, either. I refer to her “clitoris” comment in response to David Quantick, and her (clearly racist, in my opinion) “Is Ping Pong the Thai help?” query in response to a tweet from Liz Hurley that her parrot had spoken in human language for the first time.

Nevertheless, Tracy-Ann Oberman reacted the way she did, and now an innocent member of the public has been hounded off of Twitter.

You may be wondering why Tracy-Ann Oberman feels justified in having acted as she did. I’ll tell you the answer:

Because there is a court ruling that says she cannot be held to account for it.

It’s the ruling of Mrs Justice Collins Rice in the case brought by Oberman’s friend Rachel Riley against This Writer.

Riley’s legal team had put forward an argument that she could not possibly be held responsible for the behaviour of her followers, who abused and harassed a teenage girl with mental health problems who had had the temerity to criticise her for accusing Owen Jones (and Jeremy Corbyn) of anti-Semitism.

Riley had tagged celebrities, politicians and so-called activists against anti-Semitism into her tweets responding to the girl, who had received many hundreds of responses critical of her as a result – forcing her to quit Twitter several times for the sake of her mental health.

But the judge agreed that Riley was not responsible. Her ruling means nobody else can be, either.

And this is the result.

It is hugely damaging – not only for the safety of people like ‘Caroline’, but for everybody’s Article 10 right to Freedom of Expression according to the Human Rights Act (she was hounded off the platform for expressing an opinion about an actress, remember).

It also contradicts the intentions of Online Harms legislation that is due to pass through Parliament soon. Part of the proposed law would make participation in online dogpiles a criminal offence with serious penalties attached.

As everybody should be aware by now, I have appealed against Mrs Justice Collins Rice’s ruling.

I hope that judges at the Court of Appeal agree that it has created the opportunity for significant harm – and has already caused such harm in the case of ‘Caroline’.

If so, then we may also hope that the ruling is rescinded and the Obermans of this world lose their legal protection.

My case is still going on, I am still crowdfunding to pay its costs, and you are invited to contribute in the time-honoured ways:

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.

If you haven’t donated before, perhaps this story will encourage you.

After all, they might come for you next.

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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Mike to appeal after High Court judge strikes out defence against Riley libel accusation

Rachel Riley’s libel case against me has taken another twist after a High Court judge decided to strike out all of my defence.

I now have to take the case to the Court of Appeal, which will cost a considerable amount of money.

I also have to pay Riley’s costs relating to the strike-out application. The amount is under discussion and my solicitor has suggested £10,000 as a potential starting-point if I need to make an interim payment.

This is a bitter blow. But it is not a defeat.

My legal team and I have good reason to believe that the decision can be overturned.

But – and I am really sorry to put this on you – we cannot do a single thing without more funds.

It is as I have said all along. Justice is now an incredibly expensive plaything for the rich, and if – like me – you are not a millionaire then you are unlikely to get it.

Rachel Riley knew this when she launched her case against me.

This case has always been about showing that people can win if we all stand together against injustice, and that has never been more true than now.

The average donation to the CrowdJustice fund is just £20. Not a huge amount at all. But thousands of people contributed and it got me a long way.

If you all contributed just £20 more, I could take this back to court and demonstrate why my defences – all of them – should be reinstated.

Will you stand up for justice?

Will you help me?

Or do you want to give up, and let everything we have done so far go to waste?

(I think I know the answer to that last question!)

For those who don’t know how to help, here’s how it works:

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.

This is the most desperate moment in the case so far.

If Riley wins, it means rich celebrities will have judicial support for the kind of activities that so bitterly harmed the teenage girl in this case.

I cannot allow that to happen without taking action. You have given me every reason to believe you feel the same.

It’s time to rally.

It’s time to make it all worthwhile.

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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UK already has the highest Covid-19 death toll in the world – and it has hit a new height

You must be sick of seeing this image but this story would require as an alternative the virus represented by deaths-head skulls – and I thought that would be too depressing.

“We’re world beating!” says Boris Johnson.

How hollow those words ring.

They mean This Writer lives in the deadliest country in the world:

The UK has recorded its deadliest day from coronavirus so far, with 1,610 deaths recorded on Tuesday.

It comes as the number of new infections fell, showing early signs that lockdown restrictions are working, with confirmed coronavirus cases within 24 hours dropping to 33,355 – down from 38,598 cases on Sunday, and 37,535 on Monday.

Official data showed one in eight people in England – about 5.4 million – had already had Covid by December last year, with experts claiming the disease was “much more widespread than previously realised”.

A further 1,610 people died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed. This is the biggest UK figure reported in a single day since the pandemic began.

We know, now, that a huge number of deaths from Covid-19 are now being recorded beyond 28 days after a positive test, as the so-called “long Covid” makes itself felt in a big way.

And I regret I will soon be writing about a massive 46 per cent increase in care home deaths. After Johnson and his Tories vowed to protect vulnerable residents, it seems his promise was empty.

That is the grim reality.

Meanwhile, Johnson and his Tories are living in a fantasy – and trying to get you to believe in it too.

Damian Lewis, on the morning media round of UK TV and radio channels, tried to avoid the huge death toll by emphasizing the claim that the Tories have vaccinated more citizens than any other nation.

It isn’t true. Our people haven’t been vaccinated because they have had only one of two necessary shots. After the second jab they will be vaccinated – if, and only if, they have had the injection within the recommended time limit. That’s three weeks, for the Pfizer vaccine.

This issue has been picked up by the media, it seems. The Guardian report of the death toll, above, suggests that the fall in infections is due to the current (attempt at a ) lockdown, rather than to the injections.

It may well be the worst failure of any government in its duty to protect the citizens of a nation since history was first recorded. The enormity of this catastrophe cannot be overstressed.

And it happened because, instead of trying to care for the sick, the government concentrated on filling Tory pockets with public money.

Yet, even after more than a year of Covid-related incompetence, the Tories are still rated highest in political opinion polls. Are we all masochists now? Do we have a death wish?

Source: UK coronavirus death toll rises with highest daily record of 1,610 | Coronavirus | 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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Could Trump impeachment help Mike’s libel fight against Rachel Riley?

The arguments are exactly the same.

After Donald Trump tweeted that his supporters should protest at the United States Capitol building to “stop the steal” of his presidency (he had been defeated in a perfectly legitimate election last November), a riot ensued in which five people died.

The US Parliament – Congress – is to consider whether to impeach Trump (remove him from office) on the grounds that his tweet was “incitement of insurrection”.

Isn’t that similar to what I said about Rachel Riley – that her tweets to a vulnerable teenager encouraged her followers to send abuse to that girl, harass her, and ultimately made her believe her life was in danger?

Both Riley and Trump have protested against this characterisation of them – Riley by accusing me of libel, Trump by opposing the impeachment.

Riley has tried to have my defence against her accusation struck out by claiming that she had not intended any harm to the girl and that she could not be said to have had any influence over her followers who read her tweets and behaved inappropriately.

Trump’s argument will be the same – he didn’t intend any harm to take place and he cannot be said to have influenced anybody.

The difference is that he is opposed by members of his nation’s Parliament – many of whom will have years of legal experience, whereas I’m an internet-based journalist with a crowdfunded legal team.

If he loses his case, it will have a knock-on effect upon mine. The judge in Riley’s strike-out application still hasn’t handed down her judgment and I wonder whether this is because she is aware of the transatlantic situation and knows that an appeal could be lodged in my case, depending on the result in Washington DC.

In the meantime, it is important to ensure that I can still pay to defend myself against Riley. So while we’re waiting, 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.

There is now an international aspect to the Riley case.

Depending on events in Washington DC this week, anything could happen 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/


Vox Political needs your help!
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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