Tag Archives: leadership

Starmer’s bid to gerrymander Labour leadership elections is shattered – so he’s falling back on Plan B

Entitled: Keir Starmer HATES democracy and is doing all he can to remove it from the Labour Party.

Entitled types like Sir Keir always have a back-up plan to destroy democracy when their first one goes wrong, don’t they?

After the trade unions unanimously trashed Starmer’s lie that going back to an ‘electoral college’ voting system in leader elections (he had lied that it would empower the unions when in fact it would hand a huge amount of power to his crony right-wing Labour MPs), he took a different set of proposals to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).

It’s not a coincidence that the NEC currently consists mostly of right-wingers just like Starmer after he spent a year filling it with his cronies.

That organisation has wholeheartedly approved Starmer’s new plan to keep left-wing MPs off of leadership election ballots.

He is demanding that any candidate who wants to replace him should have the support of 20 per cent of MPs (according to the BBC; 25 per cent, according to The Guardian), rather than the 10 per cent required now.

This would effectively block out left-wingers before the wider party membership – which is broadly left-wing – could have a chance to vote for the member it supports.

The intention is clear: deprive grassroots members of the chance to have a leader they want, instead forcing them to choose between the least-worst options among right-wing Tory clones. It’s a sure-fire way to empty the party of democratic socialists.

Details are less clear on some of Starmer’s other plans to end democracy within the Labour Party.

He wants to abolish registered supporters, who pay a cut-price rate to show their support for the party and in return are allowed to vote in internal elections.

This would make party membership and participation the province of people who are rich enough to afford the standard membership fee, which isn’t cheap.

But it is not clear whether this was approved by the NEC.

He also wanted people to be in full membership for a longer period before being allowed to vote in leadership contests. This would give his perverted disciplinary system time to weed out the socialists before they had a chance to take part in internal party voting (you won’t be able to call it democracy).

Nobody seems to be saying what’s happened to that.

At local level, Starmer wanted to protect his cronies in the Parliamentary Labour Party by changing the procedure to deselect sitting MPs.

Instead of supporting democratic, open selections in which MPs would have to re-apply for the job in advance of general elections, Starmer wants a presumption that MPs will be re-selected automatically, unless more than half of constituency party members demand a contest.

Finally (as far as we can tell), he wants to restrict the number of policies that may be debated at party conference from 20 down to 12.

The fact that Starmer is proposing any of these ideas is disgusting in itself. No Labour leader should be trying to restrict popular representation.

The possibility that he might get any of them passed by conference is appalling.

Starmer has spent considerable time, in the run-up to the conference, cancelling delegates’ passes on trumped-up disciplinary charges (or security grounds, according to on-the-day reports).

And now it seems he wants to avoid full, properly-counted card voting on crucial issues such as whether his hitman David Evans will be rejected as general secretary.

A ‘show of hands’ vote would succeed or fail on whether the conference chairperson reckons a majority is for a particular side – but would not take account of the fact that each hand does not carry the same voting weight, as delegates from larger local parties and larger unions represent larger numbers of eligible votes.

None of this is acceptable.

In the name of democracy, let us all hope that Starmer is defeated on every one of these despicable offences to decency.

Source: Starmer ditches key part of plan to change Labour leader selection rules | Keir Starmer | The Guardian

Starmer snubs unions over threat to party democracy – & may now face leadership challenge at conference

The flag and the faker: Keir Starmer has revealed his true – blue – colour in an 11,500-word rejection of Labour Party values, and is attacking party members both electorally and psychologically. He must be stopped before he does any more damage – and could face a challenge to his leadership if he pushes ahead with these vicious plans.

This Writer was practically salivating with anticipation about what I might read on BBC News after discovering the following on Twitter:

And what did I find?

If this is what he stands for then it could have been done in far fewer than 11,500 words – and that’s down from his original claim that it would be 14,000 (let’s thank providence for small mercies)!

The short version is that Starmer has abandoned all Labour Party values. He proposes a “contribution” society – not in which contributions go from those according to their means, to those according to their needs – but (if I’m reading this right) from those who can be made to work the hardest to the UK as a whole (by which I’m presuming he means rich people like himself).

And he’s suddenly fully in favour of privatisation:

What’s the difference from Toryism?

And there’s a nasty return to the old “strivers v skivers” rhetoric that demonised a generation of people with disabilities and long-term illnesses and sent many of them to early graves because of benefit refusals on the basis of trumped-up excuses.

Some commentators have referred to fascist language that is reminiscent of Vichy France.

Others were more visual in their condemnation:

Personally I think that, if it’s supposed to be an essay, we should give it a mark and a comment:

D-
Needs improvement.

The BBC story unaccountably neglects to mention the meeting with the unions, so let’s see what we can get from elsewhere.

It seems that not even one union supported Starmer’s plan to return to an “electoral college” system of voting in Labour leadership elections, that would steal a huge amount of power from party members by depriving them of their individual votes altogether, and hand a huge amount to MPs – the party’s 200+ elected representatives would have one-third of the vote.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise – Starmer’s offer would not have benefited the unions in any way so they were able to reject it without any qualms:

And of course, handing veto powers to 200 high-earning middle-class MPs will do nothing to make Labour relevant to working-class people.

Now: we had understood that, if he didn’t get enough support from the unions (or indeed any, as has happened), Starmer would scrap the plan and would not take it to the NEC for inclusion in the agenda for the annual conference at the weekend.

It seems that claim was a lie.

I think Starmer is panicking. He reckons this will be his only chance to force through the changes he needs to secure his position as leader.

You see, Starmer’s hired guns at the Governance and Legal Unit have apparently been busily despatching notices of suspension to constituency party delegates, in order to ‘fix’ the result of conference votes.

Recipients of these letters are being told, it seems, that the reasons for the suspension of their membership will only be revealed after the conference, in what must be a breach of investigatory rules that is also attacking them financially (because they’ll already have paid for transport and accommodation at the Brighton-based conference) and psychologically:

As a victim of this treatment, I can confirm the truth of Mr Sellers’s words.

So Starmer has launched an attack against the Labour movement, on several fronts: against the trade unions, by snubbing them and ignoring their wishes; against party members, by pressing on with his plan to disenfranchise them while also subjecting them to the torture of the disciplinary process; and to the wider Labour-supporting electorate by betraying everything the party should represent, in his scummy little screed.

Fortunately it seems he’s not going to have it all his own way.

The unions will oppose his plans – and that’s half the conference vote against him before he has even made his first proposal. More than half, if he has deliberately suspended a significant number of delegates.

The remaining delegates – if they’re worth a farthing – will want to reject his plan in solidarity with their wronged colleagues. Right, delegates?

And even some Labour MPs are preparing to rebel against this insult to democracy. Starmer may think this is bad enough:

Worse for Starmer – much worse – is this:

Here’s corroboration, for the sceptical:

Expect fireworks at this conference.

Strange to think that these shenanigans all started because Starmer was worried about losing the vote to confirm his despotic acting general secretary David Evans in the role that has made him despised across the UK.

Whatever happens, Evans is toast.

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What are the Tories going to sneak past us while we’re going football crazy?

Big lie: racist Boris Johnson cropped this image to remove the references to a campaign against race-motivated hate crime, then put it out as his own expression of support for the England team. Is there any limit to the depths he’ll plumb while the England football team rides the crest of its wave.

Gary Neville nailed it after England won their Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark: “The standard of leaders in this country the last couple of years has been poor, but looking at that man there [Gareth Southgate] – that’s everything a leader should be: respectful, humble, tell-the-truth, genuine.”

The sentiment is exactly right, and Neville was right to use the platform he was given by the win to voice it.

Sadly, those other leaders he mentioned are almost certain to take the opportunity provided by all of us going football crazy… to try to slip something really nasty past us. See if I’m right.

And of course Boris Johnson, oily opportunist that he is, will try to jump on the bandwagon. He’ll try to associate himself with Southgate’s brilliance – and his government with that of the England team.

I say: don’t let him. We’re seeing something inspiring on the grass of Wembley. Let’s use it to demand better within the walls of Westminster.

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PMQs: Starmer misses Johnson’s gaping-open goal, allowing the Tory to make a fool of him

Johnson and Starmer: we have a PM for whom the initials more appropriately refer to him as a Performing Monkey, but the ‘forensic’ former Attorney General is incapable of beating him, despite his incompetence.

Keir Starmer’s protestations of support for Tory government anti-Covid policies came back to bite him on the arse in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Two weeks after supporting the government in its decision to close pubs at 10pm, Starmer u-turned, demanding an explanation of the science behind it. He gave Johnson a perfect opportunity to land a knockout blow – and launch a new anti-Labour soundbite:

I was dismayed:

Sadly, that was the way of it for the whole of this week’s PMQs – as I had feared at the outset:

Look at the rest of my commentary on the confrontation:

He didn’t. But Johnson picked up on that failure and it led to the knockout later on.

As I write this, Jo Coburn on the BBC’s Politics Live is suggesting to Labour’s Stephen Doughty that Starmer wrote Johnson “a blank cheque” by offering his support “whatever restrictions are in place”.

That failure – that lack of closure – seems to have given Johnson the confidence to launch his own attack.

I could have done better:

Starmer is under attack at the moment, for his failures to lead an effective Opposition against the Johnson government.

On Twitter, the general public are at each other’s throats with many attacking him under the #StarmerOut hashtag, while others have tried to subvert that with an opposing line, #StarmerOutstanding.

In the real world, the union Unite has withdrawn 10 per cent of its funding because Starmer “isn’t listening” on matters of major importance (I’ll make more of this in a separate article).

If he can’t respond to these criticisms – as he failed to protect himself from Johnson soundbiting him into shreds – then he must seriously reconsider his position.

He is leading Labour into irrelevance.

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#ANewSlogan for #Labour and #KeirStarmer – but it’s the same old #NewLabour underneath

Empty: Keir Starmer’s slogans are as empty as the promises in the 10 pledges he made when he was trying to be elected Labour leader (he has broken nine of them already).

Keir Starmer isn’t fooling anyone with his new empty slogan.

On the eve of Labour Connected – the party’s virtual conference, he’s replacing the previous empty slogan, “Under New Management” with one making the unlikely claim that he and his party are “A New Leadership”.

The problem is, neither Keir Starmer nor Labour under him have provided any leadership at all.

What are his achievements to date? Hmm…

Approving Boris Johnson’s disastrous Covid-19 strategy.

Agreeing with Boris Johnson that schools should open in September.

Paying off a gang of media-savvy ex-Labour apparatchiks before they could take the party into a court case that Labour was expected to win.

If that is leadership then Boris Johnson is the world’s greatest statesman (ha ha)!

Iain Watson of the BBC reckons the slogan has a lot of work to do:

First, it is designed to contrast favourably with Boris Johnson’s leadership – and build on Sir Keir’s sustained attempt to portray the current government as lacking competence.

Second, it dovetails with Labour’s plan to “introduce” Sir Keir to the country.

Third, it will be deployed to try to eliminate a negative.

While he may not have been fully introduced to the electorate, the good news for Sir Keir Starmer is that his personal ratings are positive.

The bad news for Starmer is that while he has made a relatively positive impression since becoming Labour leader in March, the party has been lagging behind the Conservatives in most polls.

The aim now is to bring the party’s standing closer to Starmer’s.

That’s a lot of work for a three-word falsehood to do.

If you visit the BBC story, you’ll see that among the illustrations is one of Tony Blair unveiling his slogan, “New Labour, New Britain” back in 1994.

They were empty words. New Labour, we soon discovered, was just a continuation of old Tory neoliberalism. Margaret Thatcher later described it as her greatest achievement.

I mention this because there seems to be a clear progression in Starmer’s slogans.

Could it be that he is marching with ponderous predictability, from “Under New Management”, through “A New Leadership”…

… back to “New Labour”?

Source: Labour Party: Starmer aims to build trust with ‘new leadership’ slogan – BBC News

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‘Desperate’? Boris Johnson is clutching at straws as his party loses faith

Impotent rage: Boris Johnson is losing his grip on his party, as his incompetence as a leader becomes increasingly apparent.

Remember the old adage that repeating an action and expecting a different result is a sign of madness? It seems Boris Johnson hasn’t.

But then we already knew his grip on reality is tenuous at best.

The Observer is reporting that he is furious at the failure of his attempt to smear Labour leader Keir Starmer by connecting him with the IRA.

But rather than finding an alternative, he has instead reprimanded his advisers for leaving him under-prepared – and demanded more attack lines on Starmer, doubling down on criticism of his legal record.

It hasn’t worked; it won’t work.

Even where Starmer may be criticised, he knows those weaknesses and will have answers.

And of course Johnson will be laying himself open to analysis of his own past career – which consists of multiple claims of dishonesty and at least one high-profile sacking.

That won’t play well when he lays himself open to an airing of his faults at PMQs.

Meanwhile, his colleagues in the Conservative Party will be doing what they always do when they see a leader sinking; they’re sharpening their knives. Here’s The Observer:

There is evidence that the wider Tory party is losing faith in Johnson’s ability to lead them against Starmer – and signs that the chancellor Rishi Sunak has become the new favourite of the Conservative grassroots.

According to the latest survey of Tory members by ConservativeHome, the website for party activists, Johnson is now in the bottom third of cabinet ministers in the satisfaction ratings – having been the runaway leader nine months ago.

Johnson has slumped to 19th place, below Baroness Evans, the leader of the House of Lords, with a rating of plus 24.6%. Sunak meanwhile is out in front on plus 82.5%.

The verdict among the Twitterati is that Johnson is self-destructing:

You get the idea.

Who said Johnson would be gone by Christmas?

It seems likely he might be out a lot sooner.

Source: Desperate Boris Johnson to step up personal attacks on Keir Starmer | Politics | The Guardian

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Johnson in leadership crisis over ‘back to work’ demand*

UPDATE – 4.30pm, August 29: Furious Tory backbenchers are demanding an explanation from Boris Johnson after an opinion poll showed he has squandered his thumping great lead over the Labour Party.

Charles Walker, vice-chair of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said his colleagues were concerned that a series of u-turns over Covid-19 had undermined the party’s credibility to govern. This Site has already reported that this has been attributed to a desire not to be outflanked by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.

The fiasco over ‘A’ level exams and GCSEs, together with policy reversals – most recently on the wearing of face masks in schools – have created unrest that Walker said he will have to report to Johnson when MPs return to Parliament on Tuesday (those who do – many are likely to stay away due to social distancing).

Of course the poll lead the Tories enjoyed at the end of March, when with the help of misleading news media they were widely held to be handling Covid-19 well – and Labour was awaiting the announcement of its new leader, should not have been taken as an indication of the kind of lead the Tories could hope to maintain.

But new Labour leader Keir Starmer has failed to make a good impression on the general public with a series of questionable decisions, so the outlier Opinium poll showing his party neck-and-neck with the Tories is a major wake-up call for Johnson and his cronies.

The drama is related to the revelation that Boris Johnson could be facing a challenge to his continuation as prime minister – over his demand that we should all stop working from home and risk Covid-19 infection by going back to work.

It’s an odd demand to make as we come to a time of year when coronavirus infections normally increase – and indeed we are seeing a rise in the Covid-19 infection rate.

Doubly so, considering the fact that a majority of both employees and employers seem to be opposed to it.

iNews has reported that a month after Johnson ditched his advice that people should work from home in favour of them returning to the workplace, his demand has fallen on deaf ears. Town centres remain empty.

Ministers are trying to explain away the sluggish response by pointing to the fact that August is the height of the holiday season (even though, with Covid restrictions, there’s practically nowhere to go).

But there appears to be a growing wave of opinion that Johnson has failed to inspire the nation and should be replaced.

(To be continued…)

* This story is ongoing and will be updated as new developments come to This Site.

Source: Ministers may be wasting their breath with calls for people to go back to work

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Here’s why the witch-hunters are wrong about Chris Williamson

Outdoor oratory: Chris Williamson speaking to the crowd in Brighton on August 8.

You’ll be aware that MP Chris Williamson, suspended from Labour on a trumped-up anti-Semitism charge, had to make a speech in the open air after Brighton venues were bullied out of hosting him, apparently by organisations claiming to represent Jewish people.

It seems representatives of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council rushed to Brighton to protest against his appearance on Thursday evening. We know that protesters were there, taking photographs of Mr Williamson’s supporters without permission (and we should certainly ask who these photographers were and what they intended to do with these images).

Today, I have seen two pieces on Facebook that suggest the hysteria whipped up around this meeting was not only utterly unwarranted but completely unfair.

Consider this post by Robert Cohen:

“With the President of the Board of Deputies and the CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council rushing down to Brighton last night to stop a speech by Chris Williamson MP, you’d think Williamson was about to call for destroying Jewish homes, or stealing Jewish land or denying Jewish human rights, or maiming Jewish protestors. Or perhaps he was about to proudly reveal he’d been a former guard at a concentration camp in Poland several years before he was actually born. But no, he made a speech about fighting racism and capitalism.‬

‪”The antisemitism case against Williamson is thin and flimsy at best. Personally, I don’t buy it. Unless “Jew baiting” now means not agreeing with the BoD, which in turn is the ‘new antisemitism’.‬

‪”The British Quakers must have been under huge pressure to cancel the Chris Williamson meeting on their premises. Fear of violence must have been a big factor too with calls for protestors to descend on the seaside town. I’m not going to criticise the Quakers as they’ve stood firm against the Board many times before (including on my behalf).‬

‪”As usual, the Board and JLC gets worked up about the wrong threats to Jewish interests. When will our Jewish leaders understand what’s really eating away at our Jewish safety and Jewish integrity? It’s taking place on the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem everyday. ‬

‪”Stand with the oppressed, never the oppressor (no matter who they are). Shabbat Shalom.‬”

What did he say? That the BoD and the JLC rushed to Brighton to stop an MP from giving a speech that denounced racism?

That seems completely arse-backward to This Writer.

If only we could see the speech and judge for ourselves, eh?

Here it is.

Who are the racists here – Chris Williamson and the crowd who came to hear him talk about challenging racism? Or the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and their intimidating adherents?

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Latest ‘anti-Semitism’ attack on Labour reveals the cruel intention behind it

Injustice: How many innocent Labour Party members have suffered as a result of false accusations?

Labour has been “letting off” party members accused of anti-Semitism, according to the Board of Deputies of British Jews – but they are deliberately misinterpreting party policy.

Still, what can we expect from an unelected self-interest group?

The claim is that Labour’s own disciplinary process shows that members can avoid punishment – by apologising and agreeing to take part in education to show why their actions were wrong.

And why shouldn’t they be excused from suspension or expulsion, if they know they have done wrong, have accepted it, and are willing to learn, so they don’t do it again, even inadvertently.

The Board of Deputies, it seems, wants all offenders to be driven out of the Labour Party, no matter whether they have accepted and apologised for wrong-doing or not. That is unreasonable.

Still, what can we expect from a predominantly right-wing – Tory-dominated – group? It seems to me that this demand springs from a desire to weaken the Labour Party, rather than any wish for justice.

And in any case, there is plenty of opportunity for injustice in Labour’s system as it is.

I was accused of anti-Semitic behaviour on several occasions, based on false allegations by that fake charity, the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

One or several of its members had concocted a press release in which they mangled my words in a bid to claim hatred of Jewish people where there was none.

Accused – and summarily suspended – by Labour, I expected a proper investigation into the truth or falsehood of the allegations against me. I received none.

The party’s attitude was that the accusation against me was proof of my guilt. After I proved that my actions were not anti-Semitic by any accepted definition of the term, the party changed its tune to claim that it did not matter, because my words had caused upset, and that was enough.

(It isn’t enough. And, as the party could not produce anybody who claimed to have suffered such upset, no such person legally exists.)

I was initially offered reinstatement, if I apologised and accepted education on anti-Semitism – in line with the policy against which the Board of Deputies is now protesting.

I refused it because I had done nothing wrong and Labour’s investigation had been a farce.

But because the party’s disputes team had already made up their collective mind that I was guilty, I was subjected to another farce when my case was heard by the National Constitutional Committee.

That was the day it earned its derogatory nickname of “National Kangaroo Court”. It is clear that nobody who enters such a hearing may expect anything even approximating justice.

In fact, the entire procedure shames the Labour Party to the deepest level, and all those who defend it – from the lowest party official posting out suspension notices to the NEC, NCC and the general secretary.

All these people have been complicit in huge harm to the livelihoods and reputations of those whose names their decisions have besmirched.

In the light of these facts, Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl’s claim that “Labour’s disciplinary processes still seem to be more geared towards protecting antisemites than protecting Jews” is silly childishness.

The process is not a “‘get out of jail free’ card for racists,” as she claims. It is a mechanism to persecute the innocent.

So, by rights, I should be in favour of the now-much-touted demand that Labour turn over its disciplinary system to an independent organisation.

But here’s another stumbling-block: When Labour offered me the chance to apologise and take a course on anti-Semitism, the people running that course would have been the Jewish Labour Movement.

That would be the same Jewish Labour Movement whose members secretly recorded Jackie Walker when she attended a “safe space” meeting (meaning attendees had been promised freedom to discuss anything, without their words being used against them), and then used her words against her by passing a version of that recording on to the press.

I would describe that behaviour, at the very least, as untrustworthy. Wouldn’t you?

The Jewish Labour Movement has been highly-critical of the Labour Party in the past, as have the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, all of whom have endorsed the call for an independent investigation/disciplinary process.

Perhaps they intend to demand that they should carry out such a process?

Whether they do or not, they must certainly never be allowed to do so.

Source: Jewish leaders accuse Labour of ‘letting off’ antisemites | Politics | The Guardian

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Right-wing Jewish groups are criticising Labour again – does this mean the EHRC will support Corbyn?

Marie van der Zyl: Unelected, unrepresentative, right wing. Why should any Labour Party member, let alone its representatives, pay any attention to her?

When I heard that the essentially Tory Board of Deputies of British Jews has again called Labour “institutionally anti-Semitic” I had to smile.

It suggests that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is unlikely to say the same after its investigation into Labour concludes – so these right-wingers are getting desperate.

It’s hardly surprising, really. The inquiry into Labour anti-Semitism would have to find evidence that the party habitually discriminates against Jewish members for no other reason than because they are Jewish.

This means, for example, that Jews would be specifically required to identify themselves as such in applications for party membership, and would have to be excluded from certain activities – such as candidacy for election – because they were Jewish.

I wonder how Louise Ellman would square that with her own position as a member of Parliament?

For a handy list of other requirements, see this article.

In fairness, we should not expect the Board of Deputies to treat such considerations with much respect – all of its members are appointed, not elected, and while they claim to speak for all British Jews, ultra-orthodox synagogues are not affiliated and Jews who are not affiliated to synagogues have no representation at all.

It is not a democratic organisation and as such is poorly-placed to criticise one.

Also criticising Labour is the Jewish Leadership Council – a charity which has been criticised for claiming to act for Jewish interests in the UK, it is self-appointed and unaccountable.

This criticism has come from major Jewish Organisations including the Jewish National Fund.

So when the JLC says, “The Labour Party currently attracts anti-Semites and repels Jews… It is the undeniable truth,” we can only conclude that it is what the vested interests in that organisation want you to believe, rather than any empirical “undeniable truth”.

Isn’t it time these organisations came clean?

They are taking issue with one of the largest democratic organisation in Europe, but they are not democratic themselves; in fact they claim to represent a constituency that has disowned them to a large degree.

Perhaps newspapers like the Metro should ignore these organisations until such time as they reform themselves into bodies that truly stand for all the people they currently only claim to represent.

Source: Labour shadow minister quits criticising party’s ‘lack of tolerance’ | Metro News

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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