Tag Archives: Justice

Why is this think tank so influential on Tory policy – and who pays for it?

The puppet PM-to-be? Liz Truss appears to be nothing more than a figurehead for shadowy business concerns. Are her strings being pulled by think tanks like Policy Exchange?

Remember the report the Tories pushed into both Houses of Parliament three years ago, attempting to claim that Extinction Rebellion is a terrorist organisation and its protests should be stopped?

A few months later it was revealed that ER had been listed as an “extremist ideology”, to be referred to the Prevent programme – which aims to safeguard vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.

There was a row, and then the reference was described as an error and removed.

But it is widely agreed that the report played a large role in the drafting of Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act which heavily restricts protest, criminalises many peaceful actions, disproportionately targets minority groups including  people of colour and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The report had been published by Policy Exchange, a right-wing think tank that is part of the Tufton Street Brexit Nexus which

ties together fossil fuel interests, climate denial groups and a whole array of Brexit campaigns, pushing for a deregulated low-tax playing field pushing profit and growth over people and planet. As well as close ties to most of the current Conservative right politicians, they reach deep into the media, influencing the output of the Telegraph and Spectator, as well as the Times, Mail, Express and Sun.

We don’t know the names of everybody who funds this organisation, but information that is available shows that its work – and therefore Conservative Party policy – is being driven by private business interests:

As well as receiving around £3million per year from undisclosed donors, it has received ‘sponsorship’ money from many UK energy companies for arranging meetings with government ministers, and these included Drax, E.On, Centrica, and lobbyist Energy UK. It also receives money from ‘American Friends of Policy Exchange’, a US non-profit organisation supporting Policy Exchange UK and backed by mainly anonymous donors. They were listed in a 2017 ExxonMobil worldwide-giving report  as receiving a $30,000 donation from the giant fossil fuel corporation. ExxonMobil has spent vast sums over decades on promoting climate denial.

And think about this:

Policy Exchange also funds something called the Judicial Power Project which seeks to limit the rights of our justice system to rein in the power of government ministers or question unfair or draconian legislation. Under the guise of concern over “how and by whom public power is exercised”, it’s basically pushing for more power for heavily-lobbied ministers along with less accountability to a judicial system that may be more resistant to corporate influence.

Other changes suggested by Policy Exchange include calls for amendments to the Overseas Operations Bill, giving soldiers impunity for war crimes, and for government control over appointments of judges; and it has published a major study on “judicial interference” over the government’s Rwanda deal and other anti-asylum proposals. The project strongly influenced the tabling of the Judicial Review Act, which limits citizens’ ability to challenge government decisions in court.

And now, as RealMedia points out,

we are about to face a leader elected by a tiny unrepresentative club, advised by secretly-funded policy units, and cheered on by a media owned by its rich friends and donors.

This will get messy and you will probably be badly harmed by what these people will do. The big question is: how long are you going to let them do it?

Source: The hidden forces pushing change in our democracy and rights – Real Media – The View From Below

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EU to launch court action against Liz Truss’s smuggler’s charter for Northern Ireland

I can’t say I blame the European Union chiefs.

As mentioned on This Site before, Liz Truss’s plan to ease the burden on businesses caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit deal effectively creates a “smuggler’s charter”.

It creates the concept of “green lanes” and “red lanes” for trade, with goods coming from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) into Northern Ireland and which are staying there using the green lane – meaning no checks and minimal paperwork, while goods moving from Great Britain through NI into Ireland or the wider European Union would use the red lane –  continuing to be checked at ports in Northern Ireland.

How would anybody know the “green lane” goods were stopping in Northern Ireland – or even whether the goods in the lorries were really as described in the paperwork?

I previously suggested that, alongside plans to ease checks on goods coming into the UK from the EU, this could create a people-smuggling pipeline all the way through to Ireland, wrecking any strategy to prevent it put up by Priti ‘Send ‘Em To Rwanda’ Patel.

The UK also wants the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) to have no future role in deciding disputes involving the protocol, with an independent arbiter sitting in judgement instead.

Independent, as defined by whom? I can see legal disputes over who should judge rattling on until Doomsday.

In response, the EU has indicated it will restart legal action it began in March last year, when it accused the UK of delaying, without consultation, the enforcement of parts of the protocol relating to customs checks – and may go further by taking the UK to the ECJ over claims it did too little to set up border control posts and share data with the EU.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the very law intended to remove the UK from ECJ judgments led to it facing just such a fate?

The problem facing the UK’s Tory government – particularly those dunces Liz Truss and Boris Johnson – is that unionists in Northern Ireland are likely to tear up the Good Friday Agreement if they can’t get free trade between the Province and Great Britain.

That could lead to a resurgence of the infamous “Troubles”.

Sadly, the Labour opposition has no better ideas. Keir Starmer has said negotiation with the EU is the best way forward – but advocated using “guile”, which implies that he wants to deceive the EU into giving UK vested interests what they want.

Level heads can see that no workable solution is being suggested by anybody. They all seem determined to upset each other rather than find a way forward.

How sad to see our supposed national and international leaders squabbling like children.

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Six-figure payout for civil servant who endured ‘insidious’ Ministry of Justice racism

The face of the problem? It must be hard to clamp down on racism in government when the prime minister is a man who (allegedly) danced around in front of a black woman, waving a banana at her.

This may seem like a good result for Olivea Ebanks – but is it? Does the money really compensate for 20 years of racist abuse in the Ministry of Justice – of all places! – that she says broke down her body and mind?

And how is the government acting to end the racism that, it seems clear, is rife in all the corridors of power? Have the Tories lifted a finger to improve matters?

Let’s see what Ms Ebanks had to put up with…

She was called racially insulting names by a manager, prevented from progressing her career, and had her out-of-work activities monitored.

Ms Ebanks said working in an “abusive” environment led to her physical and mental health suffering.

“The first time I went to court, I lost my good mental health… The second time I decided to go to court, I lost my marriage and the third time, I lost my job.”

Ms Ebanks alleges managers blocked access to career-enhancing opportunities and training open to colleagues.

She says her work was unfairly scrutinised and managers began to “constantly” pick at her work, and claims her concerns about this were routinely dismissed.

One day after asking her manager why she was being treated differently to other members of the team during a meeting, she was shocked when the reply was: “Are you accusing me of racism?”

An internal probe, which pointed towards institutional racism within the MOJ, was triggered soon after.

She decided to write a book about her experiences – she says with her managers’ blessing. But Ms Ebanks found herself the centre of investigation and suspended from work for “bringing the organisation into disrepute”.

The former civil servant claims she was called racially offensive names by senior staff and was subject to privacy breaches, alleging her out-of-work activities following global Black Lives Matter protests was monitored.

Ms Ebanks says she complained about the incidents numerous times but claims she was ignored.

She resigned in June 2020 after the “situation became intolerable” and then began her third case against the ministry which was settled last year.

Ms Ebanks says she applied for upward of 40 promotions without any success and experienced a manager refusing to provide essential backing for a senior role because she “couldn’t see” Ms Ebanks thriving in such a position.

Reflecting on her ordeal Ms Ebanks described it as “exhausting” and said she suffered loss of appetite, insomnia and panic attacks.

“With the accumulation of illnesses, my body and mind were breaking down and I started to feel so unwell that I had to keep going back to the doctor.”

Her account of what happened when she tried to complain is particularly damning: “As a Black person, you complain to a manager, who has no understanding of racism.

“They then say there’s no merit to your complaint. You unpick their reasoning and appeal, and then your manager’s manager will then tell you – the only person who’s experienced the racism – that what you experienced was not racism. It’s torture without the bruising.”

The comment from the MoJ is risible:

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to discrimination of any sort. All allegations are investigated fully and action taken where necessary.”

I have a few doubts about that, considering Ms Ebanks’s story.

So let’s think: why would a government ministry make such a claim, in the face of evidence from a victim of sustained racism over a period of 20 years that has resulted in that ministry paying out a six-figure sum of money to end court proceedings?

(And let’s bear in mind that this is not the only case – the source story mentions Kay Badu, who also received a six-figure sum over racism claims.)

Well, isn’t it true that sustained racism of this kind has a “chilling” effect on people of the ethnic group against which that discrimination is being shown?

In other words, aren’t people of the same ethnic group put off applying for government jobs?

So by claiming not to tolerate discrimination – while actually perpetrating it time and time again – the government and its departments ensure that they remain the playgrounds of privileged white boys and girls.

Isn’t that the aim?

If not, then let’s see some evidence of good conscience. How many people have been sacked for perpetrating this “insidious” and sustained racism? What measures have been put in place to monitor it? What is being done to ensure that complaints are taken seriously?

I think we can all guess the answers to those questions: none, none and nothing.

Am I right, MoJ?

Source: ‘It strips your humanity’: Civil servant wins six-figure sum over ‘insidious’ Ministry of Justice racism

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Starmer abolishes fairness and natural justice from Labour’s expulsion rules. In as many words – SKWAWKBOX

Unfair and unnatural: the rule change was rammed through as part of a “take it or leave it” proscription rule package with the collusion of right-wing trade union leaderships (surely a contradiction in terms?) at last year’s farcical Labour conference.

This should sound the death knell for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

It is quite clearly nowhere anybody who believes in the founding Labour values of fairness and equality can stay any more – because Starmer has deliberately removed those values from the way his club treats the people who fund it:

The Labour party’s new 2022 rule book has abolished fairness and natural justice from its expulsion processes.

No, that’s not a joke – though perhaps it is a sick one.

The party’s rules now explicitly rule out those concepts from the entitlement of anyone it decides to expel.

Chapter 2, Clause ii.8 tells members they have a right to dignity, respect and fairness… Clearly that ‘right’ now only applies – and is therefore not regarded as an actual right by the regime – as long as the party feels like keeping you in as a member. If it decides to kick you out, your right to that ‘right’ doesn’t exist.

The regime slipped through this anti-justice horror as part of the ‘take it or leave it’ proscription rule package rammed through at last year’s party conference with the collusion of right-wing union managements.

There are plenty of genuine socialist parties springing up in the UK now, so there is no reason to stick with this hollowed-out hulk that Starmer is milking to destruction before jumping ship – probably to the Tories.

My advice to all members of good character and conscience: GET OUT NOW.

Source: Starmer abolishes fairness and natural justice from Labour’s expulsion rules. In as many words – SKWAWKBOX

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#Corbyn smears: Don’t be fooled by this poisonous fake of a website

As figures in the Labour Party move to smear former leader Jeremy Corbyn and push him out, supporters need to be aware of more subtle attackers.

For example: the “Project for Peace and Justice” website at https://projectforpeaceandjustice.com that attempts to satirise Mr Corbyn’s new organisation with smears that are neither accurate nor amusing.

The current version of this page offers a foul-mouthed tribute (if you can call it that) to the late Peter Newbon, a leading light of the pressure group Labour Against Anti-Semitism who brought it into disrepute by publishing a doctored image showing Mr Corbyn apparently reading anti-Semitic hate book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to schoolchildren. In fact he was reading Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Rosen’s entirely justified response to this abuse appears on the page, where he is described using a four-letter word beginning with ‘C’. Accurate? No. Amusing? No.

Another page attacks two campaigners who have demonstrated repeatedly that the current hysteria over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is nothing more than a witch-hunt. It describes a fictional “Greenstein” award (named after Tony Greenstein) for services to anti-Semitism on social media being given to Simon Maginn for his #ItWasAScam campaign? Accurate? No. Amusing? No.

The indicia at the bottom of every page includes the message: “The Project for Peace and Justice does not adhere to the IHRA definition of antisemitism. I didn’t want to do this Laura made me” – an apparent claim that the site is operated by Mr Corbyn himself after his wife Laura demanded it. Accurate? No. Amusing? No.

Possibly the worst aspect of this is the call for donations that appears immediately whenever anybody visits the site. It doesn’t work – clicking to donate says it can’t be done – and this may put people who genuinely want to donate to the Corbyn Peace and Justice Project off doing so.

You can see this travesty yourself – if you’ve got the stomach for it – by visiting the website at the link above. But your time would be far better-used by visiting the genuine Peace and Justice Project site at https://thecorbynproject.com where you can learn about the four main projects: climate justice, economic security, democratic society and international justice – and may donate by using the proper system for doing so. This one does work.

Considering the hatred for Mr Corbyn and the concentration on fake accusations of anti-Semitism against people who have done nothing more than campaign for accuracy, This Writer wonders whether the fake site was set up by the former Labour leader’s critics on the right wing of that party.

It would seem reasonable, considering the fact that right-wingers like Steve Reed are now admitting their involvement in the creation of pressure groups like the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, that has been found also to be involved in spreading such hate against figures like Mr Corbyn, to question whether right-wing Labour members are also behind the fake “Peace and Justice” website.

If so, it makes a mockery of their claim to be crusading against fake news.

But while it is important to be aware of these fakers and their lies, the best thing to do is simply to ignore them.

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Patel plan to secretly strip people of UK citizenship is ‘offence to justice’ after court ruling

The Court of Appeal has struck down a Home Office decision to remove a British woman of her citizenship without telling her.

Home Secretary Priti Patel had tried to argue that notification had been given to D4, who has been detained in the Roj camp in Syria since January 2019, by simply placing a note on her Home Office file.

D4 was born in the UK in 1967 and had British nationality from birth, along with Pakistani nationality. The decision to strip her of British citizenship was made on December 27, 2019 but her solicitors were only informed when they wrote to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in September 2020, asking for help in repatriating her.

The Home Office’s claim relied on regulations that had been introduced by statutory instrument, without parliamentary approval.

But the court said the British Nationality Act 1981 required written notice to be given to someone of a decision to strip them of their citizenship and only parliament could decide to alter that requirement.

Lady Justice Whipple said: “The 1981 act does not confer powers of such breadth that the home secretary can deem notice to have been given where no step at all has been taken to communicate the notice to the person concerned and the order has simply been put on the person’s Home Office file. To permit that would be to permit the statute to be subverted by secondary legislation.”

Whipple said the purpose for requirement to give notice in the 1981 act was that “the person needs to know that a decision has been made; the person is entitled to know the reasons for that decision; and the person is put on notice of their appeal rights”.

This should have serious consequences for Patel’s current plan to remove the requirement to give notice – including retrospectively – as described in Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The ruling states that British justice requires a person to be told their nationality has been removed, to be given the reason for that decision, and to be told how they may appeal.

Failure to provide that information is an offence to justice.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, the charity representing people who suffer extreme human rights abuses (and note that this means the Home Office subject D4 to extreme abuse) said the decision confirmed that stripping a UK national of their citizenship in secret is illegal.

“But the government is already cynically attempting to circumvent the courts by using Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill to render this ruling moot, making a mockery of the rule of law.

“Ministers should change course and recognise that depriving people of their citizenship without even telling them is an affront to British principles of justice and fairness.”

And what are ministers actually doing?

They are seeking permission from the Supreme Court to appeal against the ruling. The UK’s government has nothing but contempt for the rule of law.

Source: UK unlawfully stripped woman of citizenship without telling her – court | Home Office | The Guardian

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If this is how #JeremyCorbyn responds to #KeirStarmer’s backstabbing it will be brilliant

Jeremy Corbyn: if Keir Starmer is determined to stop him standing as a Labour Parliamentary candidate, will he form a Peace & Justice Party? If so, he’ll have no shortage of members.

The Mail online is reporting that Mary Creagh is on a shortlist of female Labour candidates set to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for his Islington North Parliamentary seat in the next general election.

It is an indication that Labour leader Keir Starmer is determined to deny Mr Corbyn the opportunity to stand again as a Parliamentary candidate for that party.

In response – according to the Telegraph – Mr Corbyn is said to be (at last) considering forming a political party of his own in order to defend his seat.

This is terrific news.

Mr Corbyn has been an icon of the UK Left since his shock election as leader of the Labour Party in 2015.

Opposition by right-wing factionalists within Labour is said to have sabotaged the party’s chances of winning a general election under his leadership – but this is unlikely to be a problem in a party that he forms and leads.

And he’ll certainly have no shortage of candidates for membership:

I do have a doubt about the possible name: The Peace and Justice Party. The PJ Party? Won’t that lend itself to critics calling it the pyjama party? Or am I the only one who made that link?

Whatever the new organisation is called (if it comes about at all), This Writer certainly hopes Mr Corbyn enters into talks with the leaders of the other splinter parties that have broken off from Labour since Keir Starmer began his hugely destructive and divisive reign of terror there.

My understanding (from a dialogue with a representative) is that the Breakthrough Party is actively discussing an alliance with left-wing political parties, trade unions, campaigns and other movements to form an alliance.

I would certainly hope common ground could be reached with Chris Williamson’s Resist, that has also announced an intention to form a political party.

They wouldn’t have to merge, or lose any of their individuality – just find enough similarities to share a platform at election times.

They could brand themselves the Progressive Alliance; it would be the first time the title was used correctly.

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Riley libel: her lawyers react about her failure to show losses

What a strange way to behave!

After my previous update on Rachel Riley’s libel case against me, in which I pointed out that she had failed to demonstrate any evidence that she had suffered financial losses as a result of my article, her solicitors seem to have taken offence.

You see, Riley may claim for general and special damages: general damages refers to the level of compensation that would make up for any harm caused to her reputation. Special damages is a loss of specific opportunities.

Her solicitors say no claim for special damages has been made, nor is such a claim pleaded on her behalf – which is also, as it happens, exactly what I’m saying.

My point was that they had threatened to make such a claim, as stated in Riley’s Particulars of Claim, paragraph 12: “The Claimant relies upon the inference that the publication of such serious allegations has caused and is likely to cause serious harm to her reputation. Should it be necessary, she relies on the following particulars in support of her case on serious harm to reputation…”

In paragraph 12.2: “The Claimant makes her living in the public eye: her reputation is crucial to the goodwill among public audiences and among broadcasters, production companies and others she relies on for her career.”

And in paragraph 12.3: “The Claimant in her professional and personal life is closely involved in projects and activities concerning children and young persons, such that allegations of misconduct towards a child or young person would be especially harmful.”

Her disclosures show no evidence that Riley has suffered any loss to her reputation among “broadcasters, production companies and others she relies upon for her career”, nor in the loss of involvement in “projects and activities concerning children and young persons”. It simply hasn’t happened.

When describing the damage she has suffered at paragraph 13, Riley expressly links back to paragraph 12.2 and 12.3 then makes a claim for “damages for libel” without distinguishing between general and special damages: “She relies upon the particulars of serious harm set out at paragraph 12 and its sub-paragraphs.”

So I had reason to expect evidence that she had lost work as a result of my article – and she has not provided it.

She can still claim general damages – but her failure regarding special damages suggests that nobody who makes much difference to her has actually changed their opinion of her because of my article.

I look forward to hearing her explain how my words have harmed her reputation among the general public any more than it has been harmed already by her own highly-self-publicised antics.

I would provide examples but I am also very much looking forward to the spectacle of her legal team shooting themselves in the feet (metaphorically) at the trial.

Of course, it means we still need to get this case to trial, so please…

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.

Matters are starting to accelerate again – this isn’t even the only issue between the parties at the moment, and I’m sure there will be more.

I will provide more information when I’m able to.

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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Raab’s move from Foreign Office to Justice is a DEMOTION

And quite right too – although he should have been kicked onto the backbenches to go back to his lazy old ways.

Remember: Dominic Raab came to public attention as a co-author of the book Britannia Unchained, which alleged that British workers were among the laziest in the world. It was then revealed that he was one of the laziest MPs in the House of Commons.

And let’s face it he’s been absolutely rubbish as Foreign Secretary:

We knew he was on his way out after the debacle that was the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He actually admitted that the intelligence agencies of both the UK and USA were outsmarted by a gang of desert-dwelling Taliban terrorists (but were they? Or was he just too stupid to pay attention to what they were saying, and did he think the Taliban would abide by what he decided to do? That was Joe Biden’s mistake).

He had only just got back from holiday, although he claimed he had been working – there – from the moment he had been told of the emergency. He denied claims that he had been seen sunning himself on the beach by claiming that “The sea was closed.”

His pathetic performance was highlighted by the resurfacing of an image of him posing with a woman wearing a sign saying, “He has no idea what he is doing” (above).

Trouble is, his role as prime minister Boris Johnson’s official stand-in has been confirmed with Raab named Deputy Prime Minister in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. But his record in this respect is no cause for pride:

Covid-19 safety rules told us not to touch objects when we don’t know where they’ve been, and then lick our fingers. Raab did it while standing in for Johnson at a Covid-19 press conference.

He still has this job. In fact, it has been given a title for the first time.

Perhaps that’s the reason he has said he is delighted with the change.

Because going from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Justice is, in no uncertain terms, a demotion. Raab is out of favour, and rightly so. He is a disgrace to UK politics.

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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Buckland judged unworthy – but plan to put government above the law lives on

Robert Buckland: he had one job – to put Boris Johnson above the law.

Robert Buckland has become the second Cabinet member to be sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.

If you can’t place the name, he used to be Justice Secretary and has been behind the plan to ensure the courts will not be able to stop Johnson’s Tory Government from breaking the law in the future.

The idea is to restrict the courts’ powers of judicial review to prevent them from examining government legislation and deciding whether it conforms with the law – or breaks it.

It would give Johnson the ability to do anything he wants – by making sure the rest of us have no legal power to stop him.

Johnson was deeply embarrassed by judicial reviews that overturned his decisions to mismanage Brexit and to prorogue Parliament, back in 2019, and it seems this is the entirely selfish motivation behind the proposed law.

MPs from every party apart from the Conservatives have pointed out that the plan is based on a lie by Johnson and his government that a panel led by Lord Faulks QC had found that courts in judicial review cases had become more prone “to edge away from a strictly supervisory jurisdiction”.

Faulks himself has contradicted this Tory lie. He said his panel did not identify any such “trend” and “was not ultimately convinced that judicial review needed radical reform”.

The plan to put the government above the law has been condemned by the  Bar Council, Law Society, Constitutional and Administrative Law Association, Liberty, Justice and the Public Law Project for the same reason.

The Ministry of Justice – and therefore Buckland, as the Secretary of State, responded: “We made a manifesto commitment to ensure the judicial review process is not open to abuse or delay, or used to conduct politics by another means.” Fine words that are not borne out by the substance of the plan.

So we are losing a Justice Secretary who wanted to put injustice at the heart of Tory government decision-making. But is Johnson only replacing one such character with somebody worse?

ADDITIONAL: As I was typing this story, it was announced that Dominic Raab has been demoted from Foreign Secretary to Justice Secretary. It seems likely to This Writer that this is in order to push through the plan to put Johnson above the law more quickly.

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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