Tag Archives: Lawson

Rachel Riley is caught in a contradiction: it seems it IS about money after all

What do you think of this apparent hypocrisy?

Last year, announcing that he had been hired by Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman to prepare lawsuits against people they said had libelled them, lawyer Mark Lewis said:

“This is not about money… They’re not looking to enrich themselves by taking legal action. They’re looking to stop vile lies.”

You can read him saying it very clearly in The Guardian and also in MetroThe Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Daily Star and other news outlets.

How interesting – because if it isn’t about money, the following reason for this week’s decision to halt proceedings against Jane Heybroek makes no sense at all:

“Their libel insurers did not see any advantage in pursuing a case over the liability of a retweet that was deleted so quickly and therefore paid a very modest sum. Regrettably the defamatory tweeter lives in South America and has no visible assets.

“‘There are bigger fish to fry, in the pursuit of those who choose to maintain a serious libel.'”

[This is from a tweet by Ms Riley that she has since taken down. It referred to another case as well, so I won’t reproduce it here. I do have a copy, though.]

First let’s put one line straight: the case against Ms Heybroek arose from her decision to retweet a link to an article by Shaun Lawson – as did all the other cases to which Mr Lewis was referring in his 2019 comment. The description of him as “the defamatory tweeter” is false as he has never faced court proceedings. No judge has passed comment about him.

More important, though, is the fact that Ms Riley has never tried to bring any such proceedings directly against him. Because he “has no visible assets”? That would contradict Mr Lewis’s comment that “they’re not looking to enrich themselves… They’re looking to stop vile lies.”

If Ms Riley really wanted to stop any “vile lies” she claims are in the article that Ms Heybroek retweeted, then she would have pursued Mr Lawson. She hasn’t done so. The only reason for the decision, that I can see, is that it won’t result in a cash return.

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why did she and Tracy-Ann Oberman pursue Ms Heybroek, knowing that she had deleted her tweet and it was not possible to assert that it had influenced anyone?

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why are RR and TAO not personally paying Ms Heybroek’s costs in full?

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why did RR issue a tweet touting for new cases to bring to court, implying that she would give the proceeds to charities?

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why is RR pursuing me with vexatious court applications that seem intended to run down the crowdfunded cash that you have generously donated to help me? Like Mr Lawson, I don’t have any assets worth mentioning.

And if it is about “looking to stop vile lies” then why is RR trying to run down my funds now, rather than taking her evidence to a full trial? I have made it clear all along that I consider her behaviour to be an attempt to drain me of cash before a judge gets to hear the evidence in the case.

This week’s revelations make it clear that Ms Riley herself has contributed very little towards these court cases; her legal team is employed on a “no win, no fee” basis and she has also taken out insurance – it is her insurers who have paid compensation to Ms Heybroek.

So it seems all the risk is being taken by her victims – people like myself whose lack of funds make us highly vulnerable to predatory litigation.

Of course, I may be wrong. What do you think? Please feel free to answer by doing one or several of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

These cases can be “about money” even if the people bringing them don’t directly benefit – because they can deprive other people of their own finances.

I’ve always said that’s what seems to be happening here – with the knock-on result that people like myself would be unable to fight the libel assertion and people like Ms Riley would have their way regarding “vile lies” too – without having to prove a thing.

Some of you might consider that to be a misuse of the justice system that should be stopped.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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The government is weak and Labour should take the advantage

Don't dribble, David! The spittle on his chin shows us exactly how much calm leadership we can expect from this over-promoted, spoilt, overgrown child.

Don’t dribble, David! The spittle on his chin shows us exactly how much calm leadership we can expect from this over-promoted, spoilt, overgrown child.

As the Commons went into recess, both David Cameron and Nick Clegg were desperately trying to reassert their authority – not just over the government but their political parties as a whole.

For Cameron, the last couple of weeks must be like falling into an ever-deepening pit, lined with members of his own party who are criticising him and calling him ugly names.

UKIP – or, as I think I’ll call them from now on, BLIP – humiliated him at the local elections; the EU issue stayed with him when his own Parliamentary party tried to amend the Queen’s speech; Tory grandees including Tebbit, Howe and Lawson spoke against him; he alienated his grassroots party members, who now firmly believe that the Tories in government think they are “swivel-eyed loons”; and this week he alienated them again by pushing through the same-sex marriage bill via a deal with Labour, even though Conservative association members have been saying that his government is now acting against the wishes of modern Conservatives.

(Traditionally, if an amendment to the so-called ‘Gracious speech’ had succeeded, Cameron would have been forced to resign and a new government would have had to be formed. An alternative amendment, put forward by Labour’s John Mann, regretted that there was no plan for a referendum on the Coalitions shameful and abhorrent treatment of the National Health Service. Had Speaker John Bercow chosen this for discussion, matters might have been very different indeed.)

Apparently there has been some kind of campaign to oust Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader, but he is now such an irrelevance to politics that I couldn’t be bothered to look up the details.

It is in this atmosphere that both men (we can hardly call them leaders any more) took to speechifying, as if talking themselves up would make any difference.

It didn’t help that Cameron included one statement that we can all see is blatantly untrue: He said the Conservative Party was a “broad church” and would continue to be, under his leadership. In fact it has become – more than ever before – a minority-interest group, aiming to suck all the money in the country into the hands of the wealthiest party members and their friends in big business, impoverishing the rest. This blog has made that clear from the start.

Cameron said the government was focused on issues that were “squarely in the national interest”. Let’s have a look at some of those issues.

The Huffington Post tells us that it may be possible to use the forthcoming Anti-Social Behaviour Bill to make homelessness a crime – and this has given rise to fears that, in conjunction with the Conservatives’ implementation of laws that make it extremely hard for poorer people to keep up rent payments on their homes, and their support of privately-owned prisons, they are planning to bring back the 19th-century idea of the workhouse, with poor people worked mercilessly to make money for the idle rich. It may seem like fantasy, but there’s something in it!

What about the failure of the Work Programme? Does anyone remember Iain Duncan Smith (Vox‘s Monster of the Year, 2012) wagging his finger and screaming at Owen Jones on Question Time last year – “I didn’t hear you screaming about two and a half million people who were parked, nobody saw them, for over 10 years, not working, no hope, no aspiration. We are changing their lives”. In fact, the government is not changing their lives, unless Mr… Smith admits he meant changing them for the worse.

Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee has discovered “growing evidence” that organisations involved in the Work Programme are the ones that are “parking” the most disadvantaged people, who had spent the longest period of time out of work.

They’re not interested in helping people; they don’t want to boost the economy by increasing employment. All these firms want is their pay packet from the Department of Work and Pensions. That is what we see.

And we have Michael Gove, failing the youth of this nation with his ridiculous ideas about education. These can be summed up by saying, “State education must never be as good as private education and state pupils must never be allowed to achieve high results”. This is why he interfered with the marking of GCSE exam papers last year (did he do it to A-levels as well?), prompting the Welsh and Northern Irish education ministers to intervene.

Mr Gove’s reaction to that, revealed this week, has been to write to the ministers concerned, suggesting that they should set up their own examination system. A Whitehall source, quoted in The Guardian, said: “The Welsh are determined to keep dumbing down their exams. Leighton Andrews interfered with exam boards last year. He opposes our attempts to toughen things up and made clear he will continue to interfere to make things easier. It’s better that we all go our own way and defend our positions to our electorates.”

For a Conservative Party that is supposedly trying not to be divisive, those words are a shot in the foot.

The Welsh Government, seeing this for what it is, responded tersely: “Wales is keeping GCSEs and A-levels, as is Northern Ireland. We wish Mr Gove well with his plans to rename these qualifications in England.” In other words, it is the English system under Gove that will let pupils down.

This is the landscape we currently inhabit. The government has treated the people abominably and seems determined to continue in the same manner. Sympathy for it is draining away and the people are looking for an alternative.

It’s time for Her Majesty’s Opposition – the Labour Party – to step up and offer that alternative. Not ‘Tory Lite’ or another shade of neoliberalism but a genuine plan to improve this once-great nation’s fortunes.

Over to you, Mr Miliband. No pressure.