Tag Archives: incident

#Labour councillors crossed a #picket line they should have been joining. Here’s the shameful reason [VIDEO]

The Labour Party is supposed to represent workers and working-class people, especially if they are struggling for decent pay, in-work benefits and pensions, as part of its reason for existing – wouldn’t you agree?

Members of the University and College Union have been striking in a dispute that is partly over the management and financing of the University Superannuation Scheme (USS), which provides pensions to the UK’s older universities as well as research institutes and academic thinktanks, and partly over low pay and issues including insecure fixed-term contracts used to employ an increasing number of teaching staff.

So why did Labour councillors in Sheffield not only cross a picket line but, in one case, apparently assault a picketer?

It seems a meeting of Labour-led Sheffield City Council had been scheduled to take place in a university building – during the strike, which seems extremely insensitive of a Labour-run organisation.

These councillors were attending a pre-meeting, and it seems they crossed the picket line to do so, attracting cries of “Scab!” from some of the picketers. That’s how the incident came to take place.

Sheffield UCU subsequently released a statement:

For those who can’t read images, it says:

Today, the majority of Labour councillors entered a University of Sheffield building for a pre-meeting, and in doing so, walked past striking members of Sheffield UCU. Along with UCU members from 57 other HE institutions across the UK, today is our first day of strike action in our dispute over rampant precarity, unhealthy workloads, equal pay, and substantial cuts to our pay and pensions. These are issues that we trust would be of particular importance to the Labour party.

“We do not condone the use of university buildings during strike action, and when we learned of this meeting, had worked with the Sheffield Students Union to find an alternative location in the Students Union next door, which is treated as neutral ground during industrial action.

“We are extremely disappointed that any member of the Labour party would choose to cross past striking union members, despite being given an opportunity to support our action by simply relocating their pre-meeting to a nearby building. We understand that at this pre-meeting, the Labour members took a vote and were determined to not attend the later, full council meeting. This decision does not negate their previous choice to do so, but we are pleased they made the correct choice in the end.

“We appreciate the solidarity of those Labour, Green, and Lib Dem council members who chose to not enter the building.”

Yes indeed. Apparently the alternative, Student Union, building was turned down by councillors because they thought it was too small for social distancing.

That doesn’t excuse the Labour Party from having scheduled a meeting to take place at the university during strike action, though.

What were they thinking?

And isn’t this typical of Labour Party policy at the moment – that the challenges faced by workers and working-class people are increasingly overlooked by career politicians who are more concerned with keeping their positions as members of the Establishment?

If that’s the political position occupied by Keir Starmer’s Labour, then it is worse than useless to the people for whom that party was originally formed.

Labour Exploitation Party. They climb to the heights by walking all over us.

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Labour ‘cyber incident’ exposes the party’s own Data Protection breaches

Data theft: the Labour Party has admitted that details of members – and FORMER members, that it handed to a ‘third party’ without telling us, have been stolen. This includes information the party should not have had. Should we take the party to court over it?

The Labour Party has informed This Writer – and many others, it seems – that my data may have been hijacked after it was given to a “third party”.

This is very concerning for several reasons:

Firstly: I am no longer a member of the Labour Party and it should not be holding any information of mine, for any reason at all.

Secondly: I have not given permission for any data held by me to be passed on to any third party, and it is illegal for the Labour Party to have done so.

Next: The Labour Party has not passed on details of the identity of this mysterious third party. Why not? Is it embarrassing? Is it potentially incriminating? I want to know, and I reckon thousands of others will want to know as well.

Finally: Why am I hearing about this on November 4, possibly an entire week after the incident took place – and a day after many other victims were informed? Why were we not all informed at once?

According to Labour’s letter to affected people (which the party is apparently asking us not to share, although that part seems to have been cut from mine), party officers were informed of the incident on October 29.

This implies that the data was hijacked on a still earlier date, meaning that we went uninformed that our illegally-held data had been held by wrong-doers for a longer time than Labour suggests and that we have been vulnerable to cyber crime for all of that period without even knowing about it.

The crime itself seems to be a ransomware incident in which data is rendered inaccessible to a user unless it pays the hijacker some form of remuneration. If such payment is refused, the hijacker may go on to use the stolen data to harm the people to whom it belongs. Labour doesn’t mention this in its email.

Nor are we informed of the nature of the data that was stolen. It may include personal information that could be used for identity theft or blackmail, and/or financial information that could result in plain theft from our bank accounts. We don’t know because Labour hasn’t told us.

The email goes on to say that Labour has reported the incident to authorities including the National Crime Agency (NCA), National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). No doubt those organisations are busy doing very little about it (I have experience of the ICO’s dawdling with regard to Labour Party data breaches; it says it has received so many reports about the party that it is swamped).

And we are told that the Labour Party “takes the security of all personal information for which it is responsible very seriously”, which seems plainly untrue, considering the fact that it should not have had any of my personal information at all.

Members – old and current – are up in arms about this:

We do need to know the identity of the “third party”. For one thing, it might be an organisation we would not want to have any of our information at all.

Skwawkbox has pointed out that

Labour has outsourced projects recently to one company formerly run by Evans and now run by his wife and another run by a ‘friend of a friend’.

I would also be concerned if my information had been handed to the Jewish Labour Movement, the organisation Labour has said it would task with providing training to members on the nature of anti-Semitism and indoctrination against it.

That organisation is highly prejudiced, in the experience and opinion of This Writer, and I would not trust it with my personal details in any event.

One final point: Labour Party members may have no choice on who receives their information because party secretary David Evans and the leadership helmed by Keir Starmer demand that they automatically agree to everything the party does with it, as a condition of membership.

But I am no longer a member.

I think a class action lawsuit on this case may be appropriate, don’t you?

I would certainly be interested in hearing from anybody who feels the same way and is interested in taking the matter forward (although I would not want to be the principal claimant as I am already involved in a highly time-consuming court case, as is well known).

Who’s interested?

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Covid-19: Worst-yet infection & death rates; hospitals breaking… & Johnson is pinning all his hopes on vaccines?

Boris Johnson: he has relied on mindless optimism and wishful thinking, and he has failed. The NHS in London is at the point of collapse and it is his fault.

The UK has recorded 1,325 Covid-19 deaths and 68,053 daily cases – the highest level of both in a single day.

Total – official – deaths are nearly up to 80,000, and nearly three million infections are known to have happened in the UK – almost one-twentieth of the population.

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident as the number of Covid cases in the capital’s hospitals hit “critical” levels.

He said the virus in London is now “out of control” and the NHS is “on the cusp of being overwhelmed” with 7,000 Covid patients in hospital – almost 2,000 more than the first peak last April – and almost 1,000 on ventilators.

The UK now has more Covid-19 cases per head of population than any other nation in the world.

This Writer has yet to see evidence that the Nightingale hospitals have been pressed into service, though.

There is good news: apparently the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the new variants of Covid-19 – both from the UK and South Africa.

Another vaccine has been approved by the UK’s regulator – made by Moderna – but the 17 million doses on order won’t arrive until March.

And a fourth – single-dose – vaccine by the Belgian arm of Johnson & Johnson could be approved in early February.

Finally, it seems two arthritis drugs may be able to save the lives of Covid patients, also.

But the speed at which the emergency has fallen out of control shows how ill-advised Boris Johnson has been in his strategy. He has relied on wishful thinking, and it has let him down.

His current plan is to put all his eggs in one basket and rely on the vaccination programme – which is stuttering due to supply issues and a failure to inoculate the designated number of people on time.

Only days ago he was promising an early release from lockdown with the creation of “mega-vaccination” centres in the Nightingale hospitals (indicating we may finally get some use out of them).

It is sheer, boneheaded stupidity.

All the way down the line he has adhered to a slack-jawed, mindless optimism. He thought Covid-19 was just a touch of flu – and was proved wrong. He thought it would be all right to let the infection run rampant through the population until herd immunity was established – wrong again. He thought it was okay to sell off personal protective equipment before the pandemic arrived, even though he knew it was coming.

He thought ventilators wouldn’t be needed.

He thought lockdown didn’t have to last very long.

He thought he could send people back to work and they wouldn’t catch or spread the disease.

He thought he could send children back to school and they wouldn’t catch or spread the disease.

He thought it would be okay to prioritise the economy – his friends’ bank balances – above our lives.

And he forced his opinions on the rest of us.

And 80,000 people are dead.

And three million people have been infected.

And millions of people will suffer the lasting effects for a long time to come.

And the National Health Service is at the point of collapse – exactly as he and everyone else in the Conservative government were told after Operation Cygnus in 2016.

He thought it would be okay to let that happen.

Well, if you live in London, with your health service in critical condition, I’d like to know: do you think it’s okay? I’m especially keen to hear from people who voted Conservative.

Remember: Johnson knew Covid-19 was coming.

He knew what he needed to do, and didn’t do it.

He knew it was likely to mutate, and ignored that.

And that’s how we got where we are.

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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The devil’s in the detail of proposed new rule on hate behaviour in the Labour Party

Jewish Labour Movement chair Jeremy Newmark with former Labour leader Tony Blair in 2010 [Image: Facebook].

We all know the Jewish Labour Movement is pushing for a change to Labour Party rules, in a bid to make it harder for members to engage in hate behaviour.

Readers of This Site will know that This Writer has been accused of anti-Semitism, but I don’t see anything wrong with the wording of the motion that will go before the Labour Party conference.

It seems to me that the questionable aspects are all around the enforcement of the rule change – and the Jewish Labour Movement could very easily find itself in a hole of its own devising.

Because hate speech is something of which anybody can be found guilty.

That’s one reason why This Writer believes the JLM should not be given the responsibility of explaining enforcement of this proposed rule change to constituencies (if it is passed), as has been suggested. A single-issue group like the JLM cannot help but show bias towards its own subject matter – and may betray bias against other advocating organisations, such as those in favour of Palestinians (obviously).

The motion as it now stands is not about anti-Semitism, but about hate speech and behaviour, so it would be wrong for concerns about anti-Semitism to predominate. The Labour member who has received the most abuse is Diane Abbott, who is a black woman and not (to my knowledge) Jewish. How would the JLM address the unpleasantness she has experienced?

I’m not sure that a counter-motion with words that explicitly protect “legitimate political discourse” about Israel or Zionism, as I see nothing in the JLM motion to prevent that.

If the JLM were to go on to demand codes of conduct that define criticism of Israel and Zionism as anti-Semitic, then it occurs to me that such a move should be opposed – but at the appropriate time.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism as including criticism of Israel and Zionism is the principle reason people of good conscience cannot accept it, and any move for the Labour Party to adopt it should also be rejected.

That being said, it would be inappropriate to attack the existence of Israel itself. It is the actions of that nation’s government that would be subject to legitimate criticism.

Similarly, with Zionism, there is nothing wrong with the aspiration for Jewish people to have a homeland – but if questionable methods are used to achieve that end, then they should be subject to reasonable criticism.

Any nation or ideology should be subject to criticism under the same criteria.

These are my views, and I believe any rational, impartial onlooker would take the same position.

But I have been accused of anti-Semitism. Comments about JLM leader Jeremy Newmark in the source article suggest possible reasons for that to have happened and I would advise readers – especially those who are likely to be voting at the Labour Conference – to read them carefully.

This issue is not going away, because agitators within the Labour Movement won’t let it.

It is the responsibility of all Labour members to ensure that good sense prevails.

An Israel lobby group in the Labour Party is trying to pass a rules change at the main UK opposition party’s conference, which starts this weekend.

The Jewish Labour Movement – which is closely linked to the Israeli embassy – claims the motion aims to “create a zero-tolerance environment for anti-Semitism” in the party.

But critics charge that the Jewish Labour Movement, which has been at the center of politically motivated exaggerations of anti-Semitism, is merely aiming to make it easier to push Palestine solidarity activists out of the party.

Jewish activists in Labour have told The Electronic Intifada that, although not as bad as the original version, the new rule could still endanger free speech on Israel.

Jewish Voice for Labour is a new group which will launch at the conference.

It rejects attempts by the Jewish Labour Movement “to extend the scope of the term ‘anti-Semitism’ beyond its meaning of hatred and bigotry towards Jews, particularly when directed at activities in solidarity with Palestinians.”

Leah Levane, a Labour activist in South East England, was due to speak at the conference in favor of an alternative that would explicitly protect “words or actions regarding Israel or Zionism that are part of legitimate political discourse.”

Jewish Voice for Labour activists have recommended that conference delegates back the alternative motion.

Jewish Voice for Labour media officer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi told The Electronic Intifada that even in the watered-down version, “the notion that ‘the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions’ should be taken into account when someone is accused of breaching party codes of conduct is alarming.”

Should the rule change be approved, Wimborne-Idrissi said, the Jewish Labour Movement is likely to push for new “codes of conduct” that define criticisms of Israel or Zionism as “anti-Semitism.”

This would be done by incorporating the controversial “IHRA definition” of anti-Semitism, which Israel lobby groups have pushed legislatures and institutions around the world to adopt.

Source: Is the Israel lobby rewriting the Labour Party’s rule book? | The Electronic Intifada


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There’s nothing wrong with the Labour motion on discrimination. The proposals for actioning it are a different matter

[Image: Getty Images.]

This Writer has already indicated that there seems to be nothing wrong with the proposed Labour Party rule change regarding hate incidents. As someone who has been accused (maliciously) of involvement in such behaviour, I think I might have a stake in this.

Here is a copy of the proposed rule change. It’s a hefty wedge of text but it is worth wading through it. See if you can find anyting in principle wrong with it:

“No member of the party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the party. The NEC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age, disability, gender reassignment or identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation as conduct prejudicial to the party; these shall include but not be limited to incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as determined by the NEC, wherever it occurs, as conduct prejudicial to the party. Any dispute as to whether a member is in breach of the provisions of this sub-clause shall be determined by the NCC in accordance with Chapter 1 Clause IX above and the disciplinary rules and guidelines in Chapter 6 below. Where appropriate the NCC shall have regard to involvement in financial support for the organisation and/or the activities of any organisation declared ineligible for affiliation to the party … or to the candidature of the members in opposition to an officially endorsed Labour Party candidate or the support for such candidature. The NCC shall not have regard to the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions except in any instance inconsistent with this party’s aims and values, agreed codes of conduct, or involving prejudice towards any protected characteristics.”

It seems okay – right?

However, it also seems that some of the proposals around it are less sound. Here’s Free Speech on Israela predominantly Jewish campaign group that was set up “to counter the manufactured moral panic over a supposed epidemic of antisemitism in the UK”:

This (organisation) deplores antisemitism. But we believe the press outcry on alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party was designed, in league with Israel’s apologists and censors, to damage the party and its leadership. This does no service to a genuine fight against this hate crime.

“We deplore the proposal to task Jewish Labour Movement with training Labour Party branches and organisations in recognising and defining antisemitism. JLM is an affiliate both of the Israel Labour Party which in office has promoted the building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories and the World Zionist Organization, which has channelled funds to the illegal settlements.

“We oppose censorship of legitimate and valid political action such as Palestine solidarity. We assert our right to speak and organise against the State of Israel’s systemic, historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and violations of human rights and international law, and to support Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against those complicit in these injustices.

“This (organisation) therefore, urges the Labour Party to:

“* Listen to the many Jews who are outraged by the lie that Jews are not safe in the Labour Party; establish an ongoing role in the Party for alternative Jewish Labour voices;
“* Adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members;
“* Call to order Labour Party members who bring the Party into disrepute by spreading false allegations about widespread antisemitism in the Party;
“* Urgently lift all suspensions that were based on flimsy or unfounded claims of antisemitism.
“* Strongly oppose
 the press incitement against Muslims, refugees and immigrant workers.”

That seems to put a different complexion on the matter.

Your opinions are requested.


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Bus driver subjects disability activist to humiliating discrimination

[Image: Getty.]

I don’t know Paula Peters personally, but everyone in the UK who has a disability should be aware of her activism, fighting government changes to benefit conditionality, fighting injustice against people who are forced to endure pain and prejudice through no fault of their own, and trying to make the UK a country in which life for the disabled is bearable, despite Conservative government policy.

If conditions for people with disabilities is any more bearable today than the Tories intended when they came back into office in 2010, it is because of Ms Peters and people like her.

If you don’t believe me, just type her name into This Site’s search box and read about a few of the initiatives in which she has taken part.

What follows is an example of the way she is treated, because she has a disability. It is deeply unpleasant; it is a stain upon our lives as citizens of the UK today.

Why do we sit quietly and tolerate this abuse?

It has taken a week for me to write this as was too upset to put this into words. I want to share this with you all now.

This is an experience I had on the R3 bus last wednesday morning 16th August 2017 at 10.40 am.

I had chaos with me. I call my tri rollerator walker Chaos. I give names to my mobility equipment, it helps me deal with the fact I need the equipment as part of my every day life.

I need to use chaos as unsteady on my feet due to POTS and lots of other health issues. Its not much fun falling over with no warning.

Chaos has a seat so I can sit down when i need to rest. I can fold it up when required to do so.

I often take chaos into the wheelchair space when no wheelchair user is using the space a) to keep the walk way free so other passengers can get to the back of the bus and b) more room for me to get in and out of the bus easily and somewhere for me to sit down. I would move for a wheelchair user if required to do so. I never get offered a seat in priority seating or one easy for me to access. I have often experienced abuse on the bus when asked, which has left me distressed. There have been times I have been threatened with physical violence, called a scrounger, fraudster and worse. I have to say not one person on the bus came to my aid on those occasions.

Anyway, last week experience on the R3. I waited for the bus to arrive at my local stop. Doors opened, driver saw my walker and immediately looked behind her at the wheelchair space where a pram was already parked to see if i could get in. There was plenty of room for me, but could see the driver was not happy about me boarding the bus and tutted loudly when I did so. As I went past her to access the space I got fucking disabled people should not be allowed on any bus.

I ignored it, not the first time I have had that to be honest, and before bus drivers on my wall have a go at me, not every bus driver is like this, and I have met many who are lovely people go the extra mile and i see first hand the abuse they get from passengers every day and feel for many of them.

So I get in the wheelchair space. I sit on my tri rollerator and another pram user comes on behind me and immediately goes into wheelchair space. I said to driver there is a pram already here and myself. There was not room to swing a cat. I get told aggressively by driver the space is for wheelchairs and I can move fold up my tri rollerator and sit on a seat. Well there were no seats for me to sit in where i had access to fold up chaos and keep the tri rollerator out of the way and I could not access the back of the bus.

Driver then thought I was being awkward and decided to switch off her engine. I took my headphones out of my ears and said to her what is the problem? Got told to move. I said I have no where to move to and as wheelchair user is not on the bus i am in the right space for my mobility equipment.

I then get threatened to be removed from the bus! By the driver! I told her she was discriminating against me and not taking my access requirements into account and putting my safety at risk. I then get screamed at which triggers my anxiety and has me on the verge of tears.

I get out my notebook to make a note of the date and the time and get the bus driver’s number located at door. MB 321 a metrobus bus. So time 10.40 am 16th August 2017 Wednesday 2017 in case anyone here thinks I am making this story up which I am not. I have a friend of mine who can back up this story who saw me in deep distress within two minutes getting of the busl later on as I was shaking like a jelly and in tears.

Because I got out my notebook to make a note of the time and date, I then get abuse from the passengers and accused of being rude to the driver. I can assure you now I was not, but the driver screamed at me and I got sworn at by three passengers.

I am sick and tired of having a daily battle to access public transport. Sick and tired of being looked at like I am a fraudster and I don’t need need a mobility aid. Well, people want to try living with what I have see the pain I am in on a daily basis with RA, Fibro POTS and the balance problems I experience on an hourly basis, and the severe and enduring mental health issues I have on top of all of that.

I often feel anxious leaving the house, mainly because I do not feel safe when leaving the house because a I can fall and hurt myself, but mainly because of people’s appalling attitudes towards disabled people like myself.

I did not ask for my disability. No one does. All I want to do is live my life, access services and public transport and go about my way. Life is made all that much harder because of incidents like this.

Needless to say I have not used the local bus again. I do not feel safe to do and it has ramped my anxiety up.

To the bus company, while you have many good drivers, you also have ones who need to seriously have updated disability equality and awareness training and one driver’s bad attitude gives the company a bad name.

Anyone can become disabled. Anyone. It can happen to the bus driver. In the world we are living in now and the high rate of stress, she could have a break down. No one is immune from that.

I am scared to complain due to retribution. I took a risk to write this because I am frightened of a back lash. But, if I do not write and share my experiences and show just how bad things are getting how can i encourage anyone else to.

I feel deeply sad, disappointed by people’s attitudes, but most of all scared. It is getting to the stage due to the reheotric, in large part due to the government propaganda in our media that has caused such huge divisions in society that has seen an implosion of hate crime towards disabled people and society thinking we deserve to be treated in this way.

I have rights, I am a human being and I will not stay silent on incidents such as this any longer.

I am glad Ms Peters had the presence of mind to note the details of the bus, the date and time – and I have no problem with re-publishing them here. Let the driver be identified; let us see how the bus company handles prejudice by its employees.

Let us all remember: Bus companies are legally obliged to give priority to wheelchair users over mothers with baby buggies after a court ruling in January; that ruling is pointless if they continue discriminating against other people with disabilities.

And if any of us witness the same, I hope we have the courage to stand up and support the disabled person. These ugly incidents happen because good people do nothing, and that makes them complicit.

Don’t be complicit.

Set a better example.


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Cameron – and the respect he deserves

141027camcollision

Fancy meeting you here! Dean Balboa Farley gets up close and personal with David Cameron while a security guard tries to break up the touching scene.

Do we believe the jogger who collided with David Cameron in Leeds today?

Most of us would relish the chance to make a short, hard, physical comment on the quality of Cameron’s leadership, but Dean Balboa Farley – for it was he – claims it happened by accident.

In fact Mr Farley – who should be reckoned a hero of the people simply for reminding the comedy prime minister what a member of the public looks like – made matters worse for the PM when he recalled the incident, saying he only “brushed into someone”.

It’s fun to compare the different account of this event. Police Chief Inspector Derek Hughes said: ”Around midday, a 28-year-old local man was briefly arrested after he came close to the prime minister’s group who had just left the civic hall in Leeds.

”No threats were made, and after the man’s details were checked, he was de-arrested and allowed on his way.” The police said they believed he had been jogging to a nearby gym.

Mr Farley, on the other hand, wrote on Facebook: “So I’m all over the news as ‘the protester that attacked david cameron in leeds’ yeah if you call brushing into someone while running then getting assault[…]”

Cameron probably deserved no better. He now has a personal collision to add to the battering he is taking from the public over the state of the English NHS and the failures of his European adventures.

Considering the way he has used his premiership, not to improve the nation’s finances and sort out any imagined mess caused by the previous administration but to advance the business interests of the Conservative Party and its backers, with no concern about the consequences for the State he was supposed to be defending, he probably deserved much worse.

Perhaps next time someone could engineer it so that a piano falls on him?

So let’s be honest – do we really believe that Mr Farley had so little spatial awareness that he didn’t know he was on a collision course with the face most Vox Political readers want to slap?

If he lived up to the fictional character who shares his middle name* – and considering he was on his way to the gym, this seems possible – then spatial awareness should be one of his skills!

So let’s not bother whether it’s true or not; let’s all just enjoy the fact that one person managed to do what we’ve all envisioned. Not only did he give Cameron a hiding…

He also got away with it.

*Rocky. The one who’s nothing to do with Bullwinkle.