Tag Archives: journalists

Calls mount for Corbyn to ‘come out fighting’ in support of falsely-accused Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

This is what happens when the Labour Party refuses to acknowledge the facts in a false accusation of anti-Semitism.

I hope you remember the case of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism campaigner who was instrumental in helping the family of Stephen Lawrence get an inquiry into his death, and who was then accused of anti-Semitism by right-wing MP Ruth Smeeth for no reason at all.

A judging panel from Labour’s National Constitutional Committee later expelled him from the party on the grounds that he had brought it into disrepute, even though it was the behaviour of Ms Smeeth that had done the damage. She remains an MP and a member of the Labour Party, although her actions certain warrant her removal from both positions.

Calls have been mounting for Mr Wadsworth’s case to be reviewed. At last week’s Labour Party Conference, MP Clive Lewis called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to “come out fighting”

The Morning Star reported: “Mr Lewis said Mr Wadsworth had merely been making a political point about right-wing MPs working with right-wing newspapers.

“‘It was not an anti-semitic trope. It was a political observation,’ he said to applause…

“He added: ‘You’ve seen what happens when you stick your head above the parapet on this issue. It gets shot off,’ but he had had to stand in solidarity with a comrade and for the principle that ‘people should be able to express themselves politically.’

“He declared: ‘I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn come out fighting on this issue.’”

A crowdfunding campaign to fund the cost of Mr Wadsworth’s appeal has raised £30,000 since it was launched in April, and all I can say is I wish my own attempt to raise funds to clear my name had that kind of back-up (I’ve raised more than £5,000 since June – only a fraction of his total. Anyone willing to help me out is invited to visit my JustGiving site). Then again, our situations are slightly different as Labour has yet to arrange a hearing to judge my case.

It’s a curious coincidence that, just when the tide was beginning to turn in favour of this honourable and principled man, someone had to try to put a spanner in the works.

That person was Sarah Ditum, a critic, columnist and fellow member of the National Union of Journalists.

She waded into this matter after attending a meeting of the NUJ in which Mr Wadsworth, in his capacity as chair of the union’s Black Members Council, spoke supporting the choice of Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza to deliver the Claudia Jones memorial lecture (an issue I have discussed in a previous article; NUJ members also voted to support her).

She tweeted:

https://twitter.com/sarahditum/status/1045932834404347904

Notice that it was a carefully-worded attack. Mr Wadsworth had suggested that Ms Smeeth and the Telegraph reporter, with whom she was exchanging a leaflet that he had been distributing, were “hand in glove” – but there was no mention of her Jewishness until she started hollering about it herself. Her tweet stops short of saying that he was engaging in an anti-Semitic trope but that is clearly her implication. And the use of the word “defending” in reference to Kerry-Anne as “The Woman Who Publishes Steve Topple” makes it clear that we are to consider any publication of Mr Topple’s articles to be a bad thing, without having any reason to do so. Sinister.

And she drew out a series of tweets in her support, which I won’t mention any further as it is far more instructive to examine some of the comments in favour of Mr Wadsworth.

Chris Williamson, a Labour MP who has long supported Mr Wadsworth’s cause, wrote:

Mr Wadsworth himself had something to say:

And I think the following is especially pertinent:

https://twitter.com/PeterTwohey/status/1045837536982183936

This is the real issue, is it not?

It isn’t about any claim of anti-Semitism against Mr Wadsworth, that is easily disproved.

It is about his willingness to stand up and talk about what those in positions of power and privilege would prefer to keep hidden.

That’s why a false claim of anti-Semitism was cooked up against him.

It is also why that claim was reheated when he spoke in favour of a social media journalist who the right-wing, mainstream press wanted to silence.

And it is why prominent figures like Mr Lewis are asking Jeremy Corbyn to weigh in and take action.

But Mr Corbyn has been, himself, targeted with false accusations many times – especially over the summer months.

He may conclude that it would not be productive for him to speak out at this time – a decision that, I’m sorry to say, may have been the sole intention of his own accusers.

That is why people like Mr Wadsworth – and myself (don’t forget that JustGiving page) need the help of people of good conscience – from all parts of the political spectrum.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

UPDATE: Guardian journalists to host lecture by Canary editor whether they like it or not

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor in chief of The Canary.

Despite protests by journalists at the Guardian/Observer, the Claudia Jones memorial lecture will be hosted by that paper’s chapel (branch) of the National Union of Journalists, and the speaker will be Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza.

For further information, see my previous article.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Journalists’ outrage at Canary editor’s speech invitation boosts ‘Boycott the Guardian’ campaign

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, editor in chief of The Canary. This shot is from a Newsnight appearance in 2016, in which she promoted other members of the New Left Media, including Vox Political.

This is a story about treacherous people getting their just desserts.

The editor-in-chief of The Canary – This Site’s friend Kerry-Anne Mendoza – has been honoured with an invitation to give the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture, as part of the series held in memory of the pioneering black female journalist.

The lecture is organised by the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council and the choice of speaker is nothing to do with the Guardian-Observer chapel (that’s their word for a branch) of the NUJ – but it seems these reporters complained bitterly at the choice of speaker:

https://twitter.com/MarkDiStef/status/1045023451390636034

The release of Mark Di Stefano’s tweet (above) prompted something of a backlash. The fact that white journalists at the Guardian were seeking to vote that one of UK media’s only black/minority ethnic editors-in-chief be stopped from giving the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture for Black History Month was considered by many to be a sign of The Guardian officially losing the plot.

Kerry-Anne herself said: “I’m a proud member of the National Union of Journalists and honoured to be invited to give the Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture this year.

“It’s a sign of the entitlement of our establishment journalists that they would behave so poorly in response.

“I think we’ve reached peak Guardian. A group of mostly white, middle class journalists trying to stop one of Britain’s only working class, BAME editors in chief from giving a speech for Black History Month.”

Followers of the social media agreed – and it just happened to be the case that a Twitterstorm in support of the hashtag #BoycottTheGuardian had been arranged, to take place between 7pm and 9pm on September 27. You can understand why Kerry-Anne called for us all to support it:

It trended at number one.

Kerry-Anne herself received a lot of support:

But The Guardian‘s change of editorial policy to one that undermines the Labour Party and its leader was also targeted:

In fact, this had been the intention behind the Twitterstorm – and it would have received much less attention if the Guardian-Observer NUJ chapel’s members had just kept their mouths shut (or their typing fingers away from whatever messaging system they have been using).

The result of all this activism is not yet known. The NUJ itself has said nothing on the subject.

It is possible that the Establishment will try to hush up the fact that there has been a huge protest against what can be seen as a clear example of racism by mostly white, middle-class university-graduate journalists.

If that happens, we’ll just have to run another campaign – bigger, louder, and impossible to ignore. Repression always incites rebellion.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Nicola Sturgeon quizzed after Police Scotland caught spying on journalists

Here’s something that should worry everybody.

Tapping people’s communications in order to keep journalists under control is a Tory strategy, don’t you know?

Let’s all keep a close eye on this.

The Scottish government is under growing pressure to clear the air over alleged spying on journalists and their sources by an elite unit within Police Scotland.

Scottish Labour has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, to reveal what she knows about the allegations.

“We need full transparency from the first minister about exactly what SNP government ministers know about these allegations and whether they have authorised any surveillance of journalists and their sources by Police Scotland,” said Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour’s shadow justice secretary.

The political row follows a report in the Sunday Herald that named Police Scotland as one of two forces which used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) without judicial approval to find sources. Ripa was amended in March, requiring judicial approval before officers can gain access to journalists’ phone records, texts and emails.

The Herald reported that Police Scotland’s elite counter corruption unit (CCU) used its spying powers to try to uncover a journalist’s sources without getting approval.

Source: Nicola Sturgeon told to reveal what she knew of Police Scotland spying claims | UK news | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Standing up for the powerless – the real strength of the press

“Basically, newspapers are not run by a bunch of nice people. The journalists themselves are a special breed. I often say that, in many cases, they are pathetic people who love the power of the pen. They are spiteful individuals whose mentality is to pry and dig and give people grief. They’ve never achieved anything themselves, but they can’t wait to attack someone who is trying to achieve something. That’s why you very rarely see any positive stories in the newspapers.

“Whenever I see something negative written about me in a newspaper, I will go on Twitter and slag off the journalist in question. This results in a load of followers agreeing with me and slagging off the journalist even more – which I’d imagine is the first time that one of these pathetic cretins has ever had any criticism voiced against them. And when they see it, they don’t like it, so I’ve found that it does shut them up.”

– Alan Sugar, The Way I See It.

I’m a newspaper reporter by trade. I’m also, by all accounts, a nice person. I know that is quite a dangerous assertion to make, but if you ask people who know me, I’m optimistic that they’ll confirm what I’ve just stated.

Because I am a newspaper reporter, though, I have come in for an amount of unjustified criticism that I doubt anyone else in other professions would tolerate.

Let me give you an example. I moved to Mid Wales to start a new job in August 1997, and was just starting to become known in the community when the news broke that Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed in a car crash in France – while being pursued by paparazzi (that particularly odious breed of newspaper photographers). That evening I went to my local pub for a pint of bitter and was bombarded with acid instead. “It’s you newspaper scum who killed her!” “You bloody paparazzi can’t leave anyone alone!” “What lies were you going to print about her this time?”

I put up with this for a little while, then turned on them: “Yes. It was me. After I left here at closing time last night I travelled straight to the airport, got on a plane for Paris, hired a car and started following her, hanging out the window with a Nikon perched on my nose.” That shut them up for a moment so I pursued my advantage: “Don’t be so bloody stupid. we’re not all out to dig up the dirt on every single human being around us. You only believe that because you’ve been told it by someone else – who probably did so in the newspapers or on television! How gullible can you be?”

Nevertheless, once you’ve admitted you’re a reporter, the stigma stays with you. One lady refused to speak to me at all for a long time because she was convinced I would seize any tiny detail of her conversation and make some column inches out of it. What would be the good of that?

In the quote I’ve used above, it’s Lord Sugar making the tired old accusation. He doesn’t actually clarify it in the book, but he’s referring to journalists working for national tabloid newspapers, who really are a breed apart, and about whom I tend to agree with him.

But because he doesn’t clarify, we all get tarred with the same brush, right down to lowly local reporters like myself. So he’s utterly mistaken where he doubts that any journalist has ever had criticism voiced against them. It happens all the time, and is most commonly undeserved.

At local level, we provide a valuable service to readers. We tell them what’s going on around them – both recent history and upcoming events. We warn them when political changes are coming up that might damage their way of life. we campaign for them against plans – whether by the government (local or national), developers or private companies – that might blight them. We work to ensure that they enjoy a certain quality of life.

Perhaps the most extreme example of that, in my case, was back in the 1990s when a gentleman contacted me to say he had been on a waiting list for a vital heart operation for 11 months; it had been put back and back and back again. This was back in the days of the last Conservative government, when I think we can all agree the NHS was neglected badly. I campaigned to get him his operation and we won. Afterwards, he sent me a letter claiming I had saved his life!

So we don’t deal entirely in bad news – in fact, the front page lead on one of my locals this week states ‘Campaigner up for Nobel Prize’, referring to a dedicated lady who has spent her life working for peace.

But the doom and gloom does tend to overshadow much of what goes on – because it’s what readers need to know.

Today I read a perfect example of the good service newspapers provide – in, of all places, the Daily Mail. Now, if ever there was a paper that deserved the brunt of Lord Sugar’s bile, it’s the ‘Wail’, with its biased, vindictive, right-wing reporting and cavalier attitude to accuracy. This is the home of Quentin Letts and Jan Moir – both of whom rightly get lambasted in Lord Sugar’s book.

But today, the Mail featured possibly the best article yet, vilifying the government – the government which this newspaper has supported and promoted for more than 20 months – for hushing up the overwhelming tide of opposition to its Welfare Reform Bill.

Under the headline “We’re all desperate for welfare reform, Mr. Cameron, but hiding the truth is not the way to achieve it“, writer Sonia Poulton states: “They are more mean-spirited than ever – proving that when it comes to politics, David Cameron’s Conservatives retain their place as ‘the nasty party’.

“Despite conducting a public consultation, the Department for Work and Pensions – whose arm DLA falls under – have chosen to blanket ignore the opinions of their respondents.”

She writes: “The upshot is that 3.2 million people will be transferred to a system that will include yet more assessments and a cutting of existing claims by 20 per cent.

“Even more savage are those disability cuts that will result in as much as 50 per cent of weekly benefit deducted. When you are receiving little more than seventy pound, as it is, then reducing the income by half is a frightening and shocking amount. People are already dying through lack of food and heat and it will surely only increase.  Remind me. We are living in a privileged country in 2011, yes?”

“This Coalition love to talk about our ‘shameless’ generation but we are led by a shameless government.  One that runs regular ‘Sweetheart Deals’ with multi-nationals and allow them to get away without paying billions – yes, that’s right billions – of pounds in taxes and yet turn on the very people we need to protect.

“Like their fatcat mates in The City – who they protected again last week when David Cameron vetoed a financial transaction tax for business – this Coalition is symbolic of the ‘me, first’ era.

“That’s not a country that represents me or, indeed, any of the decent and fair-minded people of my acquaintance… When it comes to your proposed welfare cuts, the ones you seek to change but by giving us only half the story in which to make up our minds, I say this: not in my name.”

Bravo, Daily Mail. Bravo, Sonia Poulton. Bravo, journalists – standing up for the people.

Vox Political is funded entirely by donations and book sales.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook