Tag Archives: Kerry-Anne Mendoza

‘Bad faith’ bid to ruin left-wing website prompts huge increase in subscriptions

NOT a liar; NOT a hate-mongerer; NOT a purveyor of fake news: Kerry-Anne Mendoza and her left-wing news site The Canary is highly-reputable – unlike her critics Rachel Riley and “Stop Funding Fake News” (whoever they are). Support The Canary by clicking on the image and following the instructions.

This is poetic justice.

Yesterday (August 3), thousands of people saw a tweet from Canary editor-in-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza, stating that false claims about that news site were being used to discourage advertisers and starve it of revenue in an attempt to put it out of business.

Guess who was spearheading this nasty little operation?

That’s right – Rachel Riley, who is currently trying to sue This Writer for libel after I revealed the consequences of her own reckless behaviour on Twitter.

There seems to be a linking tactic here.

The organisation “Stop Funding Fake News” has persuaded several advertisers to boycott The Canary, in a bid to starve it of the cash it needs to function properly. Ms Riley’s court fight against me appears to have the same aim – to deprive me of the funds I need in order to carry on writing Vox Political.

It’s a ‘bad faith’ attack – an attempt to deceive you into disapproving of a reputable news site, solely on the word of people who only claim to be reputable themselves. Ms Riley’s currency has been tarnished by her own behaviour and “Stop Funding Fake News” is a group of anonymous activists whose motivation cannot, therefore, be trusted.

I believe both these attacks are doomed to failure.

Ms Mendoza tweeted a thread about the threat to The Canary, as follows:

I was away from my desk yesterday and could not write an article in support. But I re-tweeted the appeal and I understand more than 1,500 others have done the same.

I can’t speak for the others, but it seems my own contribution has helped somewhat. Here are some of the responses I’ve received, many from people who chose to respond directly to Ms Riley:

“They’re Newsguard trustmarked, independently regulated, we know who funds them & how they share that income. They’re open & accountable when they make mistakes. Is it really fake news or just news that doesn’t fit your agenda?”

Thanks for highlighting this, I’ve just set up a direct debit to support @TheCanaryUK #forthemany NOT the privileged FEW.”

“Thanks for bringing this to my attention. As a supporter of free speech I’ve now taken out a monthly subscription to support their new business model.”

“Seems like this [has] backfired. Loads of people are subscribing with donations. Free and truthful left-wing media will survive despite your efforts. Well done.”

“Never heard of the website so thanks for bringing it to my attention, am now a subscriber!”

“Thanks for the heads-up. Just subscribed.”

“Had no idea this was happening. Just became a subscriber.”

“Thank you for bring The Canary to my attention. My wife and I have just signed up for a monthly subscription. Because of your rampant foaming bitterness against free press many people have signed up.”

If that’s the response, just to my re-tweet, then it seems likely the Canary‘s future is secured. Ms Mendoza published this tweet a few hours after her original, which I consider very positive:

This is the way to beat operators like Ms Riley and behind-your-back campaigns like “Stop Funding Fake News” – by politely thanking them for drawing the matter to your attention, and then doing exactly the opposite of what they wanted.

And after saying that, it would be remiss of me to omit mention of my own campaign for funds to fight Ms Riley’s hugely-expensive court case against me, based on a false claim that I have libelled her.

If you are unfamiliar with the details, they are here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

I originally set – and hit – a target of £25,000 in donations, but the costs keep racking up because Ms Riley seems determined to take this matter all the way, despite the wealth of evidence against her.

I’m asking supporters to take one or more of several actions:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge, at the same address as above: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

The threat is obvious. The solution clear. And who wouldn’t want to be part of the solution?

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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Do you want to service your government’s debts forever?

At last the Torygraph comes out with an article that tries to make the Zombie Economy seem like a good thing.

The idea is to make slaves out of every working person in the UK, by ensuring that their taxes do not pay for services, but instead service the ever-mounting debts racked up by right-wing governments such as we have at the moment.

IMF economists cited research by Moody’s Analytics that suggested countries such as the UK, US and Canada could afford to live “forever” with relatively high debt shares compared with their pre-crisis averages.

… claims the Torygraph‘s Szu Ping Chan.

We can conclude that the so-called ‘developing’ nations were offered the same language by the IMF when it imposed ‘Structural Adjustment Programmes’ on them. These SAPs perform several functions as follows:

  • They enforce the sale of nationalised industries and resources (mostly to foreign-owned investors and governments.
  • They remove capital controls on money flowing into and out of the country.
  • They dictate the level of public spending.
  • They prioritise debt repayments and corporate welfare over infrastructure development and personal welfare (the good of a company becomes more important than the good of the people).
  • And they demand wage suppression and the restriction of labour unions.

As you can see, much of this is already taking place in the UK.

It is a way to force neoliberal economics onto a country without having to worry about getting the people to vote for it (even though, bizarrely, the UK did vote for it last month).

Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s extremely useful book Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy states: “Structural Adjustment Programmes are now being rolled out across Europe, disguised as ‘Austerity Programmes’ – to reorientate European economies toward servicing the debt economy. Central banks are lending to stabilise national economies that have been broken by the cost of bailing out other banks. The central banks make these funds contingent upon the national government imposing an Austerity programme.”

And you know what the worst of it is?

The whole point of the ‘Austerity programme’ is that you can never pay your way out of it.

Look at the amount of debt that George Osborne has racked up in just five years.

Source: Britain can afford to live with high debt ‘forever’, says IMF – Telegraph

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Vox Political’s London adventure part two: What I actually said

No, I'm not singing 'My Way': Vox Political's Mike Sivier at the 'Austerity' book launch.

No, I’m not singing ‘My Way’: Vox Political’s Mike Sivier at the ‘Austerity’ book launch.

In response to the hordes of readers who have written in, demanding a follow-up to my article about the ‘Austerity’ book launch, it turns out there is a record of it on the Occupy London website.

Yours Truly is in the very last video on the page – but be warned, it is neither a pretty sight nor sound. I had no idea I looked like a hunchbacked no-neck goblin (although I confess I was aware of the hair loss). As for the voice – it’s hard to describe the mixture of feelings when one realises that the appearance of one’s own Bristolian accent comes as a relief.

“O wad some Power the viddie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!”
– as Robert Burns might have said, if he was around today.

Here’s my part of the proceedings. I turn up around the 37th minute – you have been warned:

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Shining the spotlight on ‘Austerity’ (or, Vox Political’s London adventure)

Launching 'Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy' in London. I'm the blob closest to the camera.

Launching ‘Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy’ in London. I’m the blob closest to the camera.

This writer was in London on Tuesday, helping fellow blogger Kerry-Anne Mendoza (of Scriptonite fame) launch her debut book “Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy”, published by New Internationalist. It was an interesting exercise because Yours Truly is not against austerity.

If you’re reeling from the strangeness of that statement, please be assured that it is the truth.

I have endured austerity on a personal level many times – perhaps most notably when I was studying on a five-month Journalism course in Cornwall, where the county council refused to pay me housing benefit according to the terms of a deal I had done with the organisation then known as the Department of Social Security.

I lived on £7 a week for four months, meaning my diet consisted of Rich Tea biscuits and water. I was probably the poorest man in Cornwall.

Towards the end of that time, however, I was able to get some work experience at a local newspaper. I contacted the county council and gave fair warning that an extremely inclement report would appear in that paper if my case was not reviewed and an appropriate decision returned.

For the last month of my time there, I was probably the richest man in Cornwall.

This was austerity with a reason. I stuck out the hard times because I knew that I would be better for the experience – certainly better-qualified to pursue an intended career in journallism, and better-equipped to make Cornwall Council pay up, too.

So you can see that I am not against austerity if it is self-imposed; if there is a logical purpose to it.

What I can’t abide is austerity imposed from above, by a gang of spoiled rich kids who have overspent their pocket money and don’t want to pay their dues – so they force the less-fortunate to pay up for them. Perhaps I just don’t like bullies.

That’s the kind of austerity being imposed on far too many people in this country today.

It doesn’t make anybody a better person.

It doesn’t make anybody better-qualified.

It doesn’t make anything better at all.

But I didn’t start Vox Political to rail against austerity. I started it because I was seeing a lot of political comment that didn’t make sense to me – what I was reading was not what I was seeing in the real world. The effect of government austerity on the poorest in society – the most vulnerable – was just one aspect of that, but it quickly became one of the most popular.

Perhaps it is because this is the most emotive subject I discuss. Perhaps it’s because my own partner – ‘Mrs Mike’ – is a long-term claimant of disability and incapacity benefits and has been affected by government policies attacking her right to claim.

Perhaps I just happen to enjoy a good argument? Yes, that seems likely too.

I have covered the imposition of the Bedroom Tax and its disastrous effect on people’s security.

I have covered the pointless Work Programme – let’s face it, it’s just a way to make people toil for less than the minimum wage, isn’t it? – and its disastrous effect on people’s hopes.

And I have covered the Work Capability Assessment of people claiming disability and incapacity benefits, and its disastrous effect on people’s lives.

I’m currently waiting for a decision on my appeal against the refusal of my latest information request, calling on the government to reveal how many people have died since the start of December 2011, after taking the assessment. For more than three years, the government has refused to publish any information on these deaths – possibly in fear of a backlash against a punitive system that does more harm than good.

I took a telephone call last week in which I was asked what I would be prepared to accept instead of details that the government does not have. Don’t worry – they weren’t crucial changes, and the fact I had the call means I can be hopeful about the result.

If I get the information I want, I’ll use it to try to persuade the Labour Party into offering to scrap the Work Capability Assessment once and for all.

I’m hoping that the information will prove that the test – which only exists to find ways of pushing people off of a benefit that may be their only source of income – is a threat to the lives of the vulnerable, and no attempt at modification will rehabilitate it. By threatening to keep the test, even in modified form, Labour is asking people to lay down their lives – for nothing.

This is just one small, personal battle – one of many.

That is why I was glad to be celebrating the launch of Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy on Tuesday evening. It is important for everybody who is labouring against this ideology to understand the context in which their own struggles exist; that they are not alone, but part of a wider conflict.

I applaud Kerry-Anne for her work and look forward to the day when I can read the book and remember when the issues it raises became shadows of the past. Let us hope that its publication brings that time a little closer.

That’s what I would have said, had I been asked to deliver a straightforward speech. I wasn’t. What actually happened was more interesting and (dare I say) enjoyable for the many who attended the event. Perhaps I’ll write another article about that later. Would you like that?

In the meantime, the following retailers are stocking Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy in paperback and ebook versions:

Amazon

Amnesty

Friends of the Earth

Good Reads – you can obtain a free copy if you review.

Guardian Bookshop

New Internationalist

Sainsbury’s

Waterstones

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