Tag Archives: High

Court date for Mike – but look what Rachel Riley’s doing in the meantime

After considerable discussion, the High Court has decided the next hearing in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me will happen on November 6.

If you think the only fireworks that week will be the night before – or the night after – you may be surprised.

This will be the hearing on Rachel Riley’s bid to strike out all – or part – of my defence, that she was desperate to force into a courtroom before the end of July.

So, what’s she planning to do with all the spare time that the court has presented to her?

This:

 

How interesting.

It could be read as an enticement for her followers to entrap people into making comments about her, so she can burden the court with more libel cases.

The offer to give the proceeds to charity would be the enticement.

I have always claimed that she launched her case against me in the belief that her huge wealth and my own comparative poverty would mean I could not defend myself and she would therefore buy justice. Does that seem the case here?

It looks like grifting – “influencing anybody, anywhere, at anytime, into doing whatever they choose to have them do, that will result in the grifter’s personal gain.”

And it is also right on the boundary of vexatious litigation – a pattern of behaviour leading to possibly frivolous lawsuits.

A court may consider such behaviour to be an abuse of the judicial process and may choose to impose sanctions against the perpetrator. Repeated instances by a single lawyer or firm can result in disbarment.

Already we have seen what I consider to be vexatious attempts at running down the crowdfunded cash supporters of This Site have provided to help me fend off Ms Riley – the silly “shifting sands” claim last December, that the judge threw out without blinking, was one; my opinion is that the current “strike-out” bid is another.

I hope to monitor this situation; if she or her solicitor starts legal action against more people as a result of this tweet, I want to know about it.

In the meantime, I hope you agree that the courts do not exist to further enrich already-overpaid TV parlour game-players – or the charities they support (and we don’t know exactly which charities those might be, either).

If I am successful in defending against her claims, then this might all go away. You are, of course, invited to support me in the usual 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.

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

And tell everybody you know what you think about Ms Riley’s behaviour – in a non-libellous way, of course.

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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Before lockdown is eased any more, hasn’t anybody noticed the Covid-19 spike in reopened SCHOOLS?

Boris Johnson’s decision to reopen schools is killing teachers.

The number of cases of Covid-19 in schools has more or less doubled every week since Johnson forced them to reopen, despite his insistence that they would be “perfectly safe”.

Here’s Schoolsweek:

PHE’s weekly COVID-19 surveillance report, published [June 25], shows the number of “acute respiratory outbreaks” in schools rose from 24 to 44 – 16 more outbreaks than were recorded at hospitals.

An outbreak is defined as two or more people experiencing a similar illness, which appears to be linked to a particular setting.

The 44 cases last week mark a sharp rise since schools reopened. In the week starting June 1, there were 14 acute respiratory outbreaks, then 24 in the following week.

Barring the week before schools opened, the number of suspected outbreaks did not rise above four.

Of the 44 outbreaks recorded last week, 23 tested positive, up from 12 confirmed cases in the previous week.

Overall, the number of new acute respiratory outbreaks rose from 199 to 223. It means schools made up nearly 20 per cent of the outbreaks last week, compared to 12 per cent in the previous week.

The Leicester Mercury reported earlier this week that five schools in the city had to close following confirmed coronavirus cases.

It seems that those who are trying to bring this to public attention are having a had time doing so:

Now, why on Earth would the mainstream media want to suppress it?

Let’s put it in context:

And concentrating on education:

That’s right – 81 teachers have died.

So Boris Johnson has opened up high schools as well as primaries.

Homicidal.

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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Why did Labour suspend members after anti-Semitism dossier leak – and keep quiet about it?

Labour: whose memberships has the party suspended?

This is peculiar.

The Labour Party has said it has suspended party members named in a leaked party report as having broken rules.

The claim, it seems, was not made voluntarily but in response to High Court litigation.

A party member named Mark Howell has brought a claim for breach of contract against the party, demanding damages as well as the expulsion of members who broke internal rules and a referral to the CPS for possible prosecutions.

He claims party funds and resources were deliberately deployed at the 2017 election, “not to win vulnerable seats presently held by rival parties but instead to increase majorities in safe seats of certain favoured party Members of Parliament.”

In other words, he says Labour breached its contract by sabotaging its election campaign in not trying to win enough seats to win a Parliamentary majority.

According to the Evening Standard:

The court heard three separate investigations have been launched by Labour since the report was leaked, while a written legal argument on the party’s behalf confirmed that members have been suspended.

“The party has promptly commenced an investigation into whether any members referred to in the Report have, based on the materials referred to in the Report, breached the Party’s rules”, it said.

“Some of the party members have been suspended from membership so far as it is necessary to do so to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

“To protect the integrity of the investigation” – to This Writer, that suggests the suspensions were of party officers who might have had a chance to interfere – such as those in the governance and legal unit, which investigates anti-Semitism accusations, among other complaints.

But it may also indicate suspensions of people suspected of leaking the report.

The party has faced multiple, insistent demands for suspensions over the allegations in the report but stonewalled – suggesting the latter is the more likely case.

Labour has insisted that no further hearings will be needed until its internal investigations – three of them – are concluded, around mid-July.

We’ll know the way the wind is blowing by then, in any event, depending on whether any of those accused of sabotaging the 2017 election or racially abusing Labour MPs end up facing expulsion or other punitive action – or if someone is named as the whistleblower who leaked the report.

And that should tell us everything we need to know about Keir Starmer’s position on this issue.

Source: Labour Party suspends members after anti-Semitism dossier leak ‘to protect integrity’ of internal probe | 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.

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Tories launch court battle to strip severely disabled people of sorely-needed benefits

How can the Tories justify their determination to retain the discredited Universal Credit ‘benefit’ when the courts have ruled that it deliberately makes disabled people worse-off?

Not only that, but the courts also ruled that the Tory government lied to benefit claimants when they were told they wouldn’t lose money.

Judges ruled that the uneven rollout of Universal Credit makes the benefit system a postcode lottery, with people moving into areas with the new system likely to be seriously disadvantaged.

And – possibly worst of all – why are the Tories determined to waste public money appealing against those rulings in court when it is clear that, in legal terms, they don’t have a leg to stand on?

That is what the Tories are doing to two disabled men – known only as TP and AR.

They had been forced onto Universal Credit when they moved into a local authority area where the new system had been rolled out.

This meant they lost out on the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) and Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP), leaving them suddenly around £180 a month out-of-pocket, despite being repeatedly assured they would not be worse off.

A High Court judge found that this was unlawful because those that moved to a different local authority area were being treated differently to those who moved within their local authority area – the Tory government had created a postcode lottery.

Take note of this:

The judgment in this first case described a “striking” lack of evidence from the [then-] Secretary of State that she had understood or considered the far-reaching consequences for severely disabled people who moved into a different local authority and would be forced onto Universal Credit.

As a result of the case, the Tory government proposed that those who had already moved onto Universal Credit would receive transitional top-up payments – but at a rate of £80 per month rather than the £180 per month they had actually lost.

TP and AR again took the Tories to court, arguing that short-changing them was unlawful as they were being unjustifiably treated differently to those who had not moved onto to Universal Credit and would continue to receive the full amount of SDP and EDP. The High Court again found in their favour.

And now the Tory government is appealing against both decisions.

Rather than accept the self-evident facts that their flagship “benefit” system is deliberately depriving severely disabled people of the money they need simply to survive – and rectify the change…

The Tories are demanding that the courts rubber-stamp this act of governmental daylight robbery.

And they are currently campaigning to win a general election, with a claim that they will solve problems with Universal Credit, when in fact they are actively trying to make it worse.

These are all excellent reasons to vote Labour – that party will abolish Universal Credit once and for all.

Source: Court of Appeal to hear two Universal Credit claims

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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Labour vows to help women affected by pension age changes after court lets them down

The Labour Party it will do what it can to compensate the so-called ‘WASPI’ protesters – Women Against State Pension Inequality – after the High Court ruled that the government had not discriminated against them on grounds of age and/or sex.

The government has implemented changes to the pension age for women, in order to equalise it with that for men, in a move that affected nearly four million women who were born in the 1950s – some became homeless as a result and many became suicidal.

They said not enough was done to publicise the changes and to ensure that those affected would be ready.

The UN committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has said the rise in the pension age has added to “poverty, homelessness and financial hardship among the affected women”.

“The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes. They will understandably be very disappointed by today’s finding,” said shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey.

“Labour has already made commitments to support women affected, including by extending Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women. We will consult further with the 1950s women affected as to what future support we can put in place once in government to help ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.”

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the women affected, added: “They have pushed women who were already disadvantaged into the lowest class you can imagine.

“They’re on the brink of survival, and I’m not overstating that. This group – especially the percentage of the group affected born in 1953 onwards – are increasingly having taken away from them four to six years’ worth of state pension. We’re dealing with very serious sums: £37,000 to £47,000. I think any citizen would be concerned by that withdrawal.”

In a summary of the court’s decision, Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple said their hands were tied: “The court was saddened by the stories contained in the claimants’ evidence. But the court’s role was limited. There was no basis for concluding that the policy choices reflected in the legislation were not open to government. In any event they were approved by Parliament.

“The wider issues raised by the claimants about whether the choices were right or wrong or good or bad were not for the court. They were for members of the public and their elected representatives.”

In fact, it seems the only person happy about the verdict was Boris Johnsons spokesperson, who crowed that it has “always been our view” the changes made were “entirely lawful and did not discriminate on any grounds”.

“Government decided in 1995 it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality,” the spokesperson said. “Today the court recognised the extensive communications that the Department for Work and Pensions made to publicise these changes over many years.”

Did it?

It seems clear that there’s only one way these pensioners are going to get compensation for this decision – made by a Tory government in 1995 and implemented by a Tory government in 2010:

Elect a Labour government.

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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Challenge to Parliament suspension rejected. Johnson will have a job to do, though… 

This Writer predicted that Gina Miller’s high court challenge against Boris Johnson’s five-week prorogation of Parliament would fail, and I was right.

I was also right about the challenge in the Scottish courts, which also failed – so I’ve scored two-for-two.

It shouldn’t worry anybody.

Boris Johnson has painted himself into a corner.

Parliament has decided that the UK cannot leave the EU without a satisfactory withdrawal agreement – or at least, it will have done so by the time the suspension comes into force.

As Mr Johnson seems not to want to start a new session afterwards, but to have a general election instead, he has an opportunity to use all this extra time by securing just such an agreement.

That’s if he still wants the UK to leave the EU on October 31, of course. If he doesn’t – and we don’t – then his premiership will be confirmed as the biggest failure of any UK prime minister’s, ever.

(It already is, but this will confirm it.)

Brussels has said it is still waiting for any overture at all from Mr Johnson.

It will be interesting to see if he can be bothered to do anything – or if he has already given up.

Source: Brexit: Challenge to UK Parliament suspension rejected – 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.

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High court bid for justice after coroner turns down call for Clapson inquest

161119-david-clapson

Only hours ago (at the time of writing), This Blog stated that the Conservative Government imposed a draconian, financially-crippling sanction system on jobseekers because they don’t want to pay any money to people who are out of work and simply don’t care if those people come to harm as a result.

Now we have figures showing that the number of sanctions is increasing – dramatically, in the case of Employment and Support Allowance claimants.

These are people who have long-term illnesses and need that money to survive.

Who is monitoring the health of these people while their sanction runs its course? Not the DWP!

And not Her Majesty’s Coroners, either, it seems.

Hertfordshire’s senior coroner, Geoffrey Sullivan, has refused to order an inquest into the death of David Clapson – on very shaky grounds, it seems to This Writer.

He said: “The evidence does not support either a direct or contributory causal link between the imposition of the benefit sanction and Mr Clapson’s death.

“In addition… there is no evidence as to whether the benefit sanction was imposed properly or not.”

Oh, really? So the fact he had less than £4 to his name, an empty stomach, and had not been able to pay for the electricity to keep his insulin at the right temperature did not suggest a link with the withdrawal of his benefits – his only means of financial support?

I don’t think that will stand up in court – which, by the way, is exactly where it is going.

Mr Clapson’s sister, Gill Thompson, has set up a crowdfunding account to pay for the latest stage in her legal battle, and to take the case to the high court.

It raised more than £5,000 of an initial £10,000 target within 48 hours but I’m still going over there to contribute, just as soon as I’ve finished this article.

I strongly urge you to do the same.

The sister of a disabled man who died after being left destitute by having his benefits sanctioned is to seek the help of the high court after a coroner refused for the second time to hold an inquest into his death.

David Clapson (pictured), who had diabetes, died in 2013 as a result of an acute lack of insulin, three weeks after having his jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) sanctioned.

Because he had no money, he couldn’t afford to pay for electricity that would have kept the fridge where he kept his insulin working, in the height of summer, and he had also run out of food.

But despite the circumstances of his death, and clear links with the sanctions system, no inquest was ever held.

Now Clapson’s sister, Gill Thompson, is to ask the high court for a judicial review of the coroner’s decision not to hold an inquest.

Her announcement came as new Department for Work and Pensions figures showed a sharp rise in the number of sanctions imposed on claimants of the out-of-work disability benefit, employment and support allowance.

In May 2016, there were 1,199 decisions taken to impose a sanction on an ESA claimant, but in June that shot up to 1,749. In January, the figure was as low as 900.

The number of JSA sanctions also rose, although not as steeply, from 12,067 in May to 14,049 in June.

Source: Sanction death man’s sister turns to courts after coroner turns down inquest call

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Benefit sanctions on North Wales job seekers ‘hitting most vulnerable’ – like everywhere else, then

North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd: He's right, but he's very late coming to his conclusion.

North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd: He’s right, but he’s very late coming to his conclusion.

This is how the Tories are getting away with their attacks on benefit claimants – everyone thinks it only happens to other people.

People in North Wales didn’t start having their benefits sanctioned unjustly when Plaid Cymru started running its study – the DWP has been carrying on in this entirely scurrilous manner for years, just as it has everywhere else in the UK.

And yet the Daily Post gets to report the Plaid Cymru findings as though it never occurred to anybody that it could happen in North Wales.

I’ve got news for you, fellows: It is happening everywhere in the United Kingdom.

You probably know somebody who is suffering the effects of it.

You may even be suffering it yourself, and just haven’t been notified (a common DWP dirty trick).

Wake up. Your Tory ministers don’t take money from people who deserve to lose it…

Like common thieves, they’ll take money from anybody if they think they can get away with it.

More than 17,000 people in North and Mid Wales had their benefits stopped forcing some to turn to food banks and loan sharks – only for the decision to be later overturned, it has been revealed.

A study by Plaid Cymru revealed 36,905 people were subjected to sanctions on their job seekers allowance (JSA) between 2012-2015 – but 17,596 of those sanctions were overturned on appeal or cancelled due to errors.

Plaid Cymru regional AM Llyr Gruffydd said the system meant often “vulnerable people” were being “left high and dry”.

Mr Gruffydd believes this questions the validity of the penalties, which are applied if claimants fail to complete agreed tasks with Job Centre staff.

Source: Benefit sanctions on North Wales job seekers ‘hitting most vulnerable’ – Daily Post

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What is the REAL reason more older people are working?

older-workersThe Conservative Government slipped out an insidious little press release over the weekend, claiming the number of people aged 50-65 who have found paid work has hit a record high.

Apparently, more than 8.2 million people in that age group are now in work – almost as many as those aged 25-49. The Tories are keen to claim that this is a good thing, but is it?

How much of this figure is the result of fewer people taking early retirement because they have found they cannot afford it? How much is the result of more people staying on in self-employment because they cannot afford to stop, rather than starting new employment with government help?

The figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (covering the period between April and June this year) don’t tell us much that is helpful.

They say the overall number of people in self-employment has risen by 8,000 in the last three months – but the number of employees has dropped by 54,000.

Looking at the different age groups, the difference between employees and the self-employed is not recorded, but the 50,000 more people working in the 50-64 age group is offset by a drop of 22,000 in the 34-49 age group.

Isn’t it likely that these people have simply passed the age of 50 while keeping the jobs they already had?

No figures are provided for the number of people who retired during these three months.

From what we see, it is entirely possible that the 50,000 ‘extra’ workers are entirely composed of people who have kept their current jobs, people who are self-employed and people who have decided not to retire – in the last two categories, probably because they can’t afford it!

Now look at the Conservative Government’s press release:

“The government is committed to changing perceptions of older workers amongst employers and promoting the business benefits of maintaining an age-diverse workforce.”

That’s changing perceptions of older workers – not actually putting them into work.

“These efforts are part of a wider determination to give working people across the UK the chance to get on at every stage of their life and ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve the dignity of a job, the security of a pay cheque, and a comfortable retirement.”

Oh, the Tories are determined to give older people a chance, are they? That doesn’t mean they’re actually doing anything.

“Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann said: ‘Record numbers of older people are bringing their skills, talents and experience into the UK workplace, which is good news for people’s incomes, their future pensions, and the overall economy.'”

There’s nothing in this to suggest that the Conservative Government had a part in it.

“‘But with 735,000 vacancies in the economy today, businesses are still not making the most of the opportunities that this huge pool of talent has to offer.'”

No indeed – it seems more likely that they are continuing to ignore those opportunities, and the increased in-work figure is due to entirely different reasons.

“‘As part of our one nation approach, this government wants to see employers do even more to eradicate outdated misconceptions and age discrimination, so that employers realise the benefits when they retain, retrain and recruit staff who are over the age of 50.'”

“Wants to see.” That translates as “isn’t actually doing anything”.

The whole story stinks worse than an abandoned fish market.

It reminds This Writer of an article published here in October 2014, based on the findings of our friends at Flip Chart Fairy Tales. The conclusion was: “What we’re seeing, then, is a huge rise in the number of people who find themselves unable to retire because they won’t have enough income to support themselves.”

And the Tory press release?

Part of the philosophy of The Big Lie that the Conservative have taken back from the Nazi Party in Germany during the 1930s and 40s is the principle of staying with the lie so that, if it isn’t believed at first, constant repetition will hammer down the resistance of the masses until they accept what they are fed:

“The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

The man who said those words was Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

They could easily be applied to Baroness Altmann.

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No zeal in Labour for SNP pact

Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon [Image: BBC].

Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon [Image: BBC].

Labour backbenchers have little enthusiasm for an alliance – on any level – with the Scottish National Party after the general election, according to The Guardian.

Admittedly, the paper’s information comes from a Democratic Unionist (Irish) MP, but it supports a clear direction of travel that we are seeing in the run-up to May 7; that the SNP has burnt its bridges with the Westminster parties.

The DUP is traditionally seen as closer to the Conservatives politically, meaning SNP supporters are likely to try to spin this into a claim that the possibility of an alliance with that party shows Labour are moving further to the right-wing of politics. Announcements like yesterday’s, that Labour would increase paternity leave (and paternity pay) substantially, show up the falseness of such a claim.

“It stands to reason that Labour should not rely on SNP votes and the enormously high price the nationalists would extract off Ed Miliband,” the DUP’s Nigel Dodds told the newspaper.

“I know that many people in the Labour party are deeply concerned about that prospect because it could be the death knell of the Labour party in Scotland. Because if they go down this route they will basically be saying to Labour supporters in Scotland that it’s OK to vote for the SNP in the future.

““I think everybody that supports the union should be very, very concerned about the prospect of a large swath of nationalist MPs holding the balance of power and being able to dictate to the Labour party for instance.

“That would lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom.”

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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