Tag Archives: historic

Anti-Semitism: where’s Labour’s plan to stop discrimination against members who are falsely accused?

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I never thought I would find myself in agreement with the lunatics from Labour Against Anti-Semitism.

But their call for an independent review of all historic reports of anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015 is right on the button.

It was a reaction to a new plan announced by Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, for an independent complaints process in line with recommendations by the Equality and Human Rights Commission earlier this year.

As with all such plans by politicians, the real issue is what’s missing, rather than what is included.

The EHRC found that no fewer than 60 per cent of the cases it examined involved discrimination against the respondent – the person accused of anti-Semitism – by the Labour Party while it was supposed to be pursing an independent inquiry.

Starmer – whose strategy since becoming Labour leader has been to use false accusations of anti-Semitism to persecute prominent left-wingers and eject them from the party under false pretences – has made no plans to rectify this.

I had to take the party to court to prove that Labour threw away its own regulations to falsely accuse and expelling me.

So let’s have that “full review” of all cases since 2015.

And let’s see how many other members were falsely accused by lying Labour officers from Starmer’s wing of the party.

Source: Labour publishes plan to rid party of anti-Semitism – BBC News

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Police action on historic child abuse is STILL too little, and much, much too late

Despair: too many paedoophiles have escaped justice because police were not interested in investigating. And there are serious questions to be asked about their reasons.

I know at least one person who is a victim of historic child sexual abuse and while she may applaud the justice others are getting, it is far too late for her.

She tried to get her local police force to investigate and convict her abuser – and they rejected her allegations out-of-hand.

She believes this is because the perpetrator was a police informant and that officers of the force in question had known about his crimes but were content to ignore them.

As the victim, the suffered extreme mental ill-health including a nervous breakdown. It has taken decades for her to reach a point where she can conduct even the semblance of a normal life.

And the effect on her has meant there has been an effect on her own children too.

Her abuser is now extremely old and infirm. It is doubtful he would understand what was going on if police launched an investigation now.

And it is extremely unlikely that she would want to relive the hell that he made of her life. It would be risking a relapse into mental illness, and for a negligible return.

So the belated police interest in such matters, known as Operation Hydrant, will always be too little, and far too late.

But that doesn’t make it pointless, by any stretch of the imagination. Look at the figures and you’ll see the truth of it.

That’s why I agree that Boris Johnson should be pilloried for his suggestion that inquiries into non-recent sexual abuse were “spaffing money up the wall”.

Also, his choice of words – and remember, this is a journalist; he knew what he was doing – was extremely offensive.

And it shows where his priorities lie.

They lie in hiding what happened – in covering up the extent of historic paedophile abuse in the UK.

Why?

Let’s not forget that his immediate forerunner as prime minister, Theresa May, managed to mislay a file of paedophile allegations against more than 100 people.

Is this attitude from the Tories an attempt to protect people who used positions of power to abuse children?

What other reason would they have?

I ask merely for information.

Source: Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s | UK news | The Guardian

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Mercer’s threat may be toothless, but it demonstrates May’s loss of control

Show of defiance: Johnny Mercer reckons he can exploit Theresa May’s weakness to demand action on a single issue. What if large numbers of Conservatives follow suit?

There’s not really much point in withdrawing support from the government over everything but Brexit when Brexit is all that’s left on the agenda.

Still, Johnny Mercer’s decision to make a stand – no matter how weak – on the prosecution of British servicemen over historical allegations demonstrates very clearly Theresa May’s loss of authority.

She has no Parliamentary majority now; her alliance with the DUP has been used up and it will cost another vast amount of public money to renew it, if she even thinks that would be worthwhile.

Some Conservative MPs have quit to join Change UK and one is facing the loss of his seat after being convicted of expenses fraud.

Now Mr Mercer has made a show of resistance.

Will others – who may be in a position to do more damage – do the same?

Conservative MP Johnny Mercer says he has withdrawn his support for the government over the historical prosecution of British servicemen.

A former Army officer, Mr Mercer called on Theresa May in a letter to end the “macabre spectacle of elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland” to face possible prosecution.

In his letter to the prime minister, the Plymouth Moor View MP said he found investigations into historic allegations surrounding ex-services personnel “personally offensive”

He said he was not to prepared to vote for Government legislation – except on Brexit – until the Government took “clear and concrete steps” to end the “abhorrent process”.

Source: Johnny Mercer: Tory MP withdraws support for government over historical prosecution of servicemen | The Independent

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‘Pestminster’ scandal means Theresa May must tell us – IMMEDIATELY – what she knows and when she was told

Theresa May: The minority prime minister has serious questions to answer [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images].

Michael Fallon has owned up to touching Julia Hartley-Brewer inappropriately, marking him out as possibly the first sex pest on the Tory spreadsheet to be identified.

Perhaps he thought there was no point trying to deny it – after all, we already know he had to be peeled off a female Russian agent while drunk, and also that he referred to a female journalist as a “slut” – to her face, not recognising who she was.

To This Writer, it suggests that he is the person described as “perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women” on the spreadsheet.

I may be wrong! In that case, I stand ready to be amazed at the name of someone whose behaviour is even worse.

The recipient of Mr Fallon’s unwanted attention was Julia Hartley-Brewer, a very strong supporter of the Conservative Party who has played down the incident:

Note that her tweet clearly identifies Mr Fallon as the man the Sunday Times claimed “placed his hand on the thigh of a senior female journalist in full view of his frontbench colleagues at a party conference dinner some years ago and announced: ‘God, I love those tits.'”

But Ms Hartley-Brewer stated: “I believe it is absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting – and even misjudged sexual overtures – between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault.

“It demeans genuine victims of real offences… I have not been a victim and I don’t wish to take part in what I believe has now become a Westminster witch hunt.”

Others may have a strong opinion about that!

Perhaps Ms Hartley-Brewer was able to put off a sex pest, but others – in a similar situation – may not be able to do so. Perhaps she did not consider that when she wrote her tweet.

As a man writing about this subject, perhaps I should pause and make it clear that I have spent a considerable time thinking about what may be deemed appropriate behaviour, and what may not.

I would agree that workplace banter should not be equated with serious sexual harassment or assault – but what do you call workplace banter? I would imagine it would be joking about another person – perhaps about their sexual nature, life or abilities – in a way that the other person does not find offensive (or at least, they can get their own back), and I would strongly suggest that it would be with at least one other person present and aware of the behaviour in question. Even then, there is a danger that it could cross the line. Workplace banter should not be a sexual advance, I think.

Flirting should be obvious as such, and it really shouldn’t be possible for anyone to infer threat from it. I have enjoyed flirting with other people very much, and would be absolutely desolate if any of the people with whom I enjoyed those moments considered them anything more than humorous and complimentary. The key is that both people should be at their ease, I think.

As for misjudged sexual overtures – would inappropriate touching come under this heading, or is it going too far? I think the answer to that question is found in the overall demeanour of the person making the overture. If they’re aggressive in any way, then perhaps it’s a little more serious than a misjudgement.

In the case of Mr Fallon, we have examples of the language he is alleged to have used – and it seems entirely inappropriate to me. If I was trying to attract a woman sexually (and I admit it has been a while, as Mrs Mike and I are quite happy in that department, thank you very much), then I would not make a habit of using words like “slut”, or phrases like “God I love those tits”!

Also mentioned by Ms Hartley-Brewer are the words “witch hunt”. Let’s consider that aspect of this story.

The Independent has run an article claiming: “May knows she can’t sort this out: she’s the figurehead of a boys’ club whose male members would scream ‘Witch hunt!’ if she ever dared to try”.

The piece imagines that Mrs May takes a dim view of various potential shenanigans, before making the very serious point that bemusement at the behaviour of her errant MPs is “no excuse to tolerate abuse”.

It continues: “While the case of Mark Garnier, minister for ‘Brexit trade’ … has no criminal implications [he described his behaviour as “good humoured high jinks], it is less hilarious than our more Neanderthal MPs will think. In the hours since the Mail on Sunday broke the story, the gallant Garnier has admitted addressing his secretary as “sugar tits”, and sending her into a Soho shop to buy a brace of choicest vibrators on his behalf.

“Even Chuckles Gove, the Rumpelstiltskin of sexual wit, couldn’t spin that into comedy gold. And whether or not this is a relatively trivial abuse of the power imbalance between male boss and female employee, it simply isn’t funny.

“With Stephen Crabb … it is worse. Having quit his leadership bid when outed for sexting, Crabb now fesses up to having sent “explicit messages” to a woman of 19 he interviewed for a job in 2013 when a minister for Wales.  What he calls ‘foolish’, I call ‘an abuse of power for which the Speaker should drag him from the Commons by the penis, promising to remove it with rusty garden secateurs if he ever tries to return’.”

And the article concludes, in agreement with This Writer, that the problem lies in a whips’ office that covers up MPs’ behaviour – especially if it is criminal – in order to use it for political gain.

Theresa May, who receives weekly reports on these “Ins and Outs”, is a part of this process.

The Independent piece states – again rightly – that “wherever there is strong evidence of a sexual offence, moral or criminal or both, it should be removed from the whips’ safe and exposed to the cleansing light of day… But I don’t imagine May will do that. She can’t afford to, as the figurehead of a boys’ club whose male members would scream “Witch hunt!” if she did, and the hostage of a tottering Government that could fall at any time for any number of reasons.”

I think the Independent is far too lenient on Mrs May. She has serious questions of her own to answer – starting with how long she has known about the sexual harassment allegations against her MPs and cabinet ministers – of whom we are told at least six are implicated, among 21 serving ministers, ex-Cabinet ministers and a permanent private secretary.

Will Downing Street answer? No.

A spokesperson for Theresa May today repeatedly refused to say when the prime minister first heard about dozens of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behaviour made against Conservative MPs and serving cabinet ministers.

May’s spokesman told Business Insider that May acted once the allegations were “made public” but was unable to say when the prime minister was first informed about them.

So she was quite happy to let these people carry on with their nasty pastimes while the wider public remained unaware – and is only acting, half-heartedly, now that the revelations are starting to fly. Now that they – and she – have been found out.

This fits the “boys’ club”/”witch hunt” scenario, certainly – but then there’s the allegation that her advisors, silenced a survivor of historic child sexual abuse in order to keep Mrs May’s way clear to Downing Street during the 2016 Conservative leadership selection process (we can’t call it an election).

Sharon Evans claimed that the contracts panel members were made to sign by the Home Office were used to stop them from speaking openly about “very serious allegations about very public figures” – allegations which she says were taken back to the inquiry leaders, but ‘nothing was being done about” them. She said:

I suggested that we wrote to Theresa May, who was the Home Secretary, to express our concerns. At the end of the day I was taken to one side and it was made clear to me – this is what I was told – that Theresa May was going to be Prime Minister, that this inquiry was going to be part of this, and that if I didn’t toe the line and do as I was told, if I tried to get information out I would be discredited by her advisors.

If true, why would Theresa May do this?

As the evidence mounts, it seems reasonable to conclude that the rot is not limited to “workplace banter”, “flirting”, or even “inappropriate sexual advances”, but goes much further and involves people in positions of enormous power – possibly even the person with the most power.

That is why it now seems increasingly possible that this so-called “Pestminster” crisis could topple the minority Conservative government.

Not only has the Conservative Party lost its credibility as a responsible party of government but serious questions – indeed, the most serious questions – must now be asked of that party’s, and the government’s leader. Now – not at her convenience.


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Two down: Woolf resigns from sex abuse inquiry

Beleaguered: At last, Fiona Woolf has done the decent thing, after acknowledging that she could never hold the trust of child sex abuse victims due to her relationship with Leon Brittan, who might have to give evidence to the inquiry she had been appointed to chair.

Beleaguered: At last, Fiona Woolf has done the decent thing, after acknowledging that she could never hold the trust of child sex abuse victims due to her relationship with Leon Brittan, who might have to give evidence to the inquiry she had been appointed to chair.

The second chair of the so-called independent inquiry into historic child sex abuse cases has resigned, according to the BBC.

Fiona Woolf said she wanted to “get out of the way” after it became clear that victims did not have any confidence in her.

To the Tories, you see, image is everything – and it had been made abundantly clear to Mrs Woolf that hers was tarnished by her freely-admitted association with Leon Brittan, a man who, as Home Secretary during the 1980s, managed to lose a dossier containing the names of more than 100 alleged child sex offenders, including some prominent Conservative Party members (if rumours are to be believed).

The association made her as suspicious to victims’ groups as her forerunner, Baroness Butler-Sloss, whose own name was unavoidably linked with that of the late Sir Michael Havers, attorney-general during the 1980s, whose behaviour has also been called into question by allegations that he tried to hush up child sex abuse allegations against prominent members of the Establishment.

And these were all Establishment figures in their own right. Mrs Woolf had tried to distance herself from these claims by making assurances that she herself was not a member of the Establishment – but her case was lost before she even made it. She is, you see, the Lord Mayor of London.

This second resignation from an inquiry that is supposed to be independent, by a chairperson who had clear ties to people she would have been investigating, has raised renewed claims that the current Home Secretary, Theresa May, has not carried out ‘due diligence’ when considering who to appoint.

Mrs May seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. She has to appoint someone who is acceptable to the Conservative Party, but who is also acceptable to the general public – and the public has serious issues with her choices for the reason laid out in this very blog less than a month ago: Will a Conservative-led government ever find someone to chair this inquiry who is free of any alleged connections to its subject matter?

And the longer this drags on, the more suspicious the entire situation will seem. People will start asking more deeply disturbing questions. Logically, the first will be whether Mrs May has encountered so much difficulty in appointing a chairperson because the Conservatives want to influence the inquiry’s outcome, to ensure that nobody connected with them is ever implicated.

You see, image is everything to the Tories, especially with a general election taking place in the not-too-distant future.

David Cameron had given his backing to the choice of Mrs Woolf – as, if memory serves, he did to the choice of Baroness Butler-Sloss – so the resignation calls his judgement into question.

Then again, it seems that almost everything said about Cameron these days calls his judgement into question, whether it is his cavalier attitude to the NHS privatisation started by his former boss Andrew Lansley (that he didn’t understand), his keenness to award NHS contracts to Tory donors, his (alleged) failure to take an interest in the European Union’s re-evaluation of membership fees until he was presented with a bill for £1.7 billion this week, or any of the many other bombshells that seem to be bursting around him every day.

A report in Thursday’s Guardian has accused him of misleading the public over the total amount of his government’s planned austerity cuts that have been implemented during the current Parliament. Cameron said four-fifths of the process was complete, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies said more than half were still to come into force.

Now this.

Never mind Fiona Woolf’s resignation – isn’t it time we demanded Cameron’s?

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Is sex abuse inquiry one reason the government is trying to dismantle judicial review?

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Fiona Woolf: Unsuitable to chair historic sex abuse inquiry? [Image: BBC.]

The BBC is reporting that a legal challenge has been launched against Fiona Woolf’s appointment as chair of an inquiry into historic child sex abuse.

The judicial review has been launched by a victim of exactly the kind of abuse Mrs Woolf will be investigating. She is the second chair appointed to this inquiry after Baroness Butler-Sloss was forced to step down due to fears over a conflict of interest affecting her suitability – and the second to face allegations that she should resign due to her connections, in this case with Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary who apparently did nothing after a dossier containing allegations against more than 100 people was handed to him.

Will a Conservative-led government ever find someone to chair this inquiry who is free of any alleged connections to its subject matter?

Perhaps Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has found a way around this problem for them, since Mrs Woolf is being challenged by judicial review – and he has launched a bid to end the process.

According to politics.co.uk, his attack is particularly insidious. Rather than try to stop it altogether and face an outcry, Grayling set in motion a plan to price it out of the reach of “anyone but the most reckless and wealthy”.

The article states: “Part four of the criminal justice and courts bill tries to dismantle judicial review through a four-pronged attack. First, it restricts the use of protective costs. Second, it exposes friends, relatives and associates of a claimant to financial costs. Third, it makes charities and NGOs who get involved in a case liable for costs. And fourth, it shields public bodies which have acted unlawfully from public scrutiny.

“Protective costs limit how much of the other side’s legal costs you have to pay if you undertake the case. Without it, the financial costs of pursuing judicial review become very daunting. The bill prevent judges granting protective cost orders until permission is granted, a stage which already requires lots of expensive legal work to get to. It’s not even a problem – only a handful of these orders are granted a year anyway.

“Prong two of the attack makes claimant’s friends, colleagues, family and associates – anyone who might be able to help them financially, basically – liable to the legal costs. The emotional impact of this is severe. Someone may be willing to risk their own wellbeing and livelihood for something they believe in, but it feels entirely different if you’re risking the livelihood of those around you.

“The measure against charities and NGOs is basically an attack on expert commentary. You can see why. Officials at the Ministry of Justice always seem averse to hearing from experts, because experts so rarely agree with them. As things stand, they can only contribute expert advice and guidance with the permission of the court. Making them liable to costs just freezes out people who know what they’re talking about from participating in the legal process.

“Finally, a no-difference threshold will mean authorities can escape legal challenges even when they’re plainly acting improperly.”

It is too late for this legislation to affect the Fiona Woolf judicial review; it has already been launched and current rules will apply to it. But a government that has been embarrassed by this and many others will clearly want to rid itself of such interference – especially as it is interference by poor people.

You need to fight for this.

A good start will be getting in touch with your MP, or with the lords who have tabled amendments against the Grayling measures – Lord Pannick, Lord Woolf, Lord Carlile, and Lord Beecham. It seems they have not yet had a chance to debate those amendments.

The Tories are trying to take away your rights – again.

Are you going to let them?

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