Tag Archives: issue

Do these politicians know their comments on Riley-related Big Issue boycott ARE NOT TRUE?

Ian Austin: Did the Mail mislead him into believing that people who oppose Rachel Riley’s claims about anti-Semitism want to penalise the homeless?

Unlikely though it seems, This Writer is going to be charitable to two hard-right political headbangers.

Former Labour MP, now Lord Ian Austin has said people who said they would boycott The Big Issue after it published a one-sided article about Rachel Riley and anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were “a complete disgrace.

“They would rather homeless people lose out and go hungry because The Big Issue contains an interview with Rachel Riley, who they hate because she campaigned against racism.”

Neil Coyle: Does he care that he made a false claim when he said people are boycotting The Big Issue because it is exposing racism?

And current Labour MP Neil Coyle said: “Anyone suggesting we don’t buy The Big Issue and ignore homeless people because it is also exposing racism reveals quite how these people sank Labour and why they must never again be trusted to be anything other than a factional cult.”

As anybody who read This Site’s article about the row last Wednesday will know, their comments are shocking misrepresentations of the facts.

Nobody who commented on the Riley article suggested that homeless people should be harmed because of The Big Issue‘s descent into fake news.

You can read a few of the reasons Riley’s opinions were not supported by the facts in the Vox Political piece, so we won’t rehash old ground by re-examining what she calls campaigning against racism and why it is more likely to be political factionalism.

Concerns that a boycott would cause problems for homeless Big Issue sellers were raised by Shaun Lawson – one of the very people Riley has accused as part of her so-called campaign against racism.

That isn’t mentioned in the Mail article.

Nor are any of the comments in response. Let’s redress the balance here:

Giving money direct to the seller isn’t a perfect solution because The Big Issue relies on the seller buying the copies they pass on to the public – at half cover price.

But refusing to take the magazine while handing over the cash makes a strong statement – especially if the sellers hand all their unsold copies back to the publisher.

As you can see, nobody who called for the Riley issue of The Big Issue to be boycotted did it to harm the homeless sellers, or to attack a campaign against racism – because they do not accept that Riley does anything of the sort.

My question is: did the Mail‘s reporter make this clear to these politicians before they made their highly contentious and prejudiced statements?

If so, then This Writer is happy to forgive them after they publish a full retraction.

If not, then anybody who is not already shunning these people is encouraged to do so.

Source: Now hard-Left activists boycott The Big Issue because it ran interview with Rachel Riley | Daily Mail Online

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Riley writes for The Big Issue – so readers vow to stop buying it

The Big Issue: This Site is temporarily without image editing capability, otherwise there would be a big ‘No Entry’ sign across this logo.

The standout line in Rachel Riley’s Big Issue interview wasn’t about anti-Semitism, you may be surprised to learn.

It’s where she states: “If someone was ringing up your house phone and saying these things you would block that number. If someone came up to you in the street, you wouldn’t accept it. So there’s no reason why you should have to on social media either.”

What a coincidence that she should say such a thing at a time when I have been receiving abusive messages on my house phone! I sincerely hope it’s a coincidence, anyway, what with Riley being set to go into a civil trial against me over alleged abuses on the social media by herself and her Twitter friends and followers.

Needless to say, I haven’t blocked the number. I have saved the messages and reported the abuse to the police. We’ll see what comes of it.

The rest of the article is shockingly one-sided.

Riley is said to have become active against the Labour Pary’s handling of anti-Semitism accusations during Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader, but no mention is made of the fact – revealed in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report, published almost exactly a year ago – that Corbyn and his general secretary Jennie Formby hugely improved Labour’s response to such allegations after it had been allowed to grow lax by the party’s Governance and Legal Unit under previous GenSec Iain McNicol.

She states that new leader Keir Starmer has a “tough job” because Mr Corbyn “gave the worst result in 80 years for Labour”. This is debatable as the number of seats won did not reflect the number of votes cast. In fact, Corbyn won more than 10 million votes – more than previous leader Ed Miliband in 2015 (9.34 million) Gordon Brown in 2010 (8.6 million) and Tony Blair in 2005 (9.5 million).

Mr Corbyn is the Labour leader who scored the highest number of votes for Labour in the 21st century (so far) in 2017 (12.87 million).

It would be right to say that Labour won its lowest number of seats since 1935 – but that is more correctly attributed, not to Mr Corbyn, but to Starmer – whose insistence on a bad Brexit policy led to the loss of the so-called “Red Wall” seats in northern England to the Conservatives. It was Starmer who lost the 2019 election for Labour.

“In terms of antisemitism he’s definitely tackling it,” Riley said. Er, no.

He is suspending left-wing, socialist Labour Party members on hearsay accusations – for political reasons that have nothing to do with their attitude towards Jewish people. For proof of that, consider the fact that, according to campaigning Jewish organisations that Riley supports like the CST and the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the worst threats to Jewish people are on the right of the political spectrum – yet not a single complaint about anti-Semitism by right-wing members of the Labour Party (who all happen to be supporters of Keir Starmer) has been investigated. Not one.

Meanwhile, under Starmer, Jewish Labour Party members are now five times more likely to be accused of anti-Semitism than non-Jewish members. How does Riley reconcile that with her pro-Starmer attitude?

The interview goes on to discuss abuse that Riley says she has received after she “became more outspoken on social media”. It does not mention any of the evidence that her behaviour there has caused her followers and supporters to abuse others, that is the basis of the court action between her and This Writer.

And Riley is said to now be an ambassador for the grandly-titled Centre for Countering Digital Hate. Let’s have a look at that connection, shall we?

What a tangled web. Perhaps The Big Issue would have been wise to investigate these connections between the organisation for which Riley is now an ambassador and these people and organisations that are all connected very closely to Sir Keir Starmer.

Could it be possible that her statements about him may come from a position of… I don’t know… bias?

This Big Issue piece is a mockery of journalism. One would have expected at least some effort to provide factual accuracy – and where is the right of reply for people she has misrepresented?

The result is clear: People are boycotting The Big Issue.

It is a potentially problematic decision. The Big Issue is sold by people who are homeless and they receive a proportion of the money that is given to them.

Boycotting the magazine could harm homeless people – a point made very well by Shaun Lawson, whose articles about Riley’s unacceptable behaviour towards a teenage girl with mental health issues led to This Writer’s current court case:

He’s right to ask that we don’t make the homeless suffer. But here’s a solution, suggested by Jackie Walker – a person who knows very well how it feels to suffer a “false flag” attack on claims of anti-Semitism:

That’s the answer, for the time being.

Instead of buying The Big Issue, just give the money direct to the vendor and make it clear that it is for them, and not for the magazine. None of that money should go to The Big Issue.

And remember to do it when the next edition comes out because it will again feature Riley.

“Heavygusto”, below, makes a good point about it:

I would also urge everybody to contact Big Issue publisher John Bird and demand a balancing article. I would happily contribute and I’m sure others who have been victims of anti-Semitism-related falsehoods would also be keen to have their voices heard – for a change.

Riley’s lawsuit against me is still going on (and on, after nearly three years!) so if, after reading the above, you are interested in supporting my defence against her, please do one or more of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, 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.

Oh – one last point: Starmer’s approval rating is -40.

He won’t be winning any elections – especially with the likes of Rachel Riley cheerleading for him.

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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Suspend benefit cap to protect disabled people in coronavirus crisis? It’ll never happen under Tories!

She’ll never support it: Therese Coffey’s record suggests she is not sympathetic to disabled benefit claimants.

It’s a good, solid, practical suggestion: with disabled people most at risk of financial loss during the coronavirus crisis, the government should suspend the penalties it has imposed on them in the last 10 years.

These include the benefit cap and the “two-child policy” for benefits relating to children.

Also suggested by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is conversion of the Universal Credit advance loan into a non-repayable grant.

In fact, the DBC requests the suspension of all debt repayment deductions from UC.

And the organisation calls on the government to suspend work-related conditionality and associated sanctions for those receiving benefits.

Other proposals include a call to give higher priority to resolving technical and capacity issues in the benefits system, as well as providing clear guidance for making both a digital and non-digital claim for UC. This is practical as the Department for Work and Pensions has been swamped with claims after the coronavirus lockdown began.

And there is absolutely no hope that the government will grant – or even seriously consider – any of these requests.

The Tories have turned the benefit system into a very efficient device with which to persecute people with disabilities.

They seem to see the coronavirus as a handy aid to this cause, with hospitals already being told to ration ventilators to those with a better chance of surviving – which is prejudicial against the disabled.

In fact it would be easy to see the crisis as providing the Tories with an opportunity simply to continue their hate campaign by other means.

When the final figures are summed up, it will be interesting to see what proportion of the dead happen to be disabled.

Source: Coronavirus: Suspend the benefit cap during crisis to protect disabled people, charities ask – Mirror Online

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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Lottery bosses say they won’t withdraw funding if charities speak out about Universal Credit. Do we believe them?

This is a welcome announcement from the Big Lottery Fund – that it won’t withdraw funding from any organisation that speaks out on social issues like the human disaster known as Universal Credit.

But it is very easy to say such things. Considering the situation, it is important for us to see this organisation put its money where its mouth is.

Ellie Waugh, of the charity Humanity Torbay, made her situation as clear as crystal when she spoke out against the misery caused by Universal Credit in a video posted to Facebook last week.

And she made it clear that she had been told the charity would lose money if any of its representatives criticised the so-called benefit and its disastrous effects.

Now further details have emerged, courtesy of iNews.

An article states: “Ellie Waugh, who is CEO of Humanity Torbay, said she was visited by a Lottery official after she applied for £130,000 of funding for the charity… which would pay the rent on their building and pay two staff members.

“But she claimed the official told her to not express any more of her opinions about Universal Credit and the Government or she won’t receive any money.

“The Big Lottery Fund is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

“Trustee Shirley Holbrook said she was in the room when lottery official allegedly made the statement.

“Shirley said: “She said categorically if we were to receive a big lottery grant we would be unable to speak out against Universal Credit or any other government measure that affected our clients adversely.

“We are not a political organisation. We speak out about homelessness because we deal with the results of it every day.””

Those are contradictory statements, and there is only one way for the confusion to be resolved – with a decision on the charity’s £130,000 grant application from the Big Lottery Fund.

If the grant application is honoured, then we will know that charities need not fear losing out on funding if they speak out on social issues that the Conservative government may find embarrassing.

If it isn’t, then we know Humanity Torbay’s story was right, and the Tories are trying to hide the effects of Universal Credit through threats – by a form of violence, if you like.

The arrogance of such a choice is staggering. The UK has an honourable tradition of free speech and it is intolerable that the Conservatives should try to make restricting such comment a condition of funding from them.

That goes for any kind of funding. Bear in mind the Home Office’s attempt to gag members of the Windrush generation with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) before paying out fast-track compensation for the horrors they suffered under the Tories’ “hostile environment” policy.

The Home Office’s only comment on this is that NDAs are no longer used on the Windrush generation. Not exactly encouraging, is it? No admission, no apology, no willingness to change.

Humanity Torbay deserves to see all three, in addition to its funding: An admission of guilt, an apology for bad behaviour, and an undertaking to change for the better. And £130,000 of grant money, of course.

Source: Homeless charity boss ‘told she won’t get Lottery funding unless she stops criticising Universal Credit’ – inews.co.uk

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Speaker signals that ‘dynamic’ democracy means questions like Brexit cannot be forever closed

John Bercow [Image from The Guardian].

This will increase pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to change Labour’s stance on Brexit – and he should, but only at the right time.

We all know it’s a terrible idea; we can all see that it is already harming the UK’s economy; but the evidence against it must be unequivocal before Labour can call for a halt, for the good of the nation.

It is a useful intervention, though – and of course, even if Brexit does happen in spite of all good sense, it opens the door for a reversal in the future, when the adverse effects become incontrovertible.

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has warned democracy is under threat and said those on the wrong side of a referendum result do not have to accept their case has been lost forever, in remarks welcomed by campaigners for people’s right to change their mind on Brexit.

The Speaker is duty-bound to remain neutral on political issues, but his comments appeared to make a thinly veiled reference to the EU referendum, defending the right for people to argue for a second vote.

He made the speech at a reception on Thursday for Operation Black Vote in the House of Commons, where he warned there were “threats to representative democracy that should concern us”.

“Democracy is not just about one vote once every five years or one vote once on a particular issue causing all argument on that matter to be considered legitimately shut down,” he said.

“That is not the way democracy works. Democracy is a dynamic concept. People who are on the losing side are not obliged to accept that their view has been lost for ever and they are perfectly entitled to continue to argue for it.”

Source: Referendum voters should be able to change their minds, says John Bercow | Politics | The Guardian


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