Tag Archives: Party

Hated disability ‘benefit’ to be replaced in Scotland – with no dreaded face-to-face assessments

Meanwhile, in England and Wales: it’s not quite this bad but the death toll suggests it might as well be.

It’s easy to understand why the Scottish National Party is so popular north of the border – it actually fulfils its promises.

For example: it is replacing the hated Tory Personal Independence Payment for people living with disabilities.

The new Adult Disability Payment will be phased in next year, providing financial support to cover the extra costs faced by people with disabilities.

The SNP-run Scottish government has announced that the benefit will take a new approach, to ensure dignity, fairness and respect.

According to the Daily Record:

Social Security Scotland will make decisions about entitlement for ADP using the applicant’s account of their circumstances and existing supporting information, where possible.

The number of face-to-face assessments will be significantly reduced and will only be necessary when it is the only practicable way to make a decision.

Most consultations will be carried out over the phone, but can be face-to-face in a GP surgery or even at home – whatever works best for the person applying.

And claimants will no longer be asked to carry out tasks to demonstrate how their disability, long-term illness or mental health condition affects them as part of the application process.

This promises to be a huge improvement. Also helpful will be the provision of supporting material which may include a social care needs assessment, a report from a Community Psychiatric Nurse, and information from a carer.

As a carer myself, This Writer would have loved to be able to submit information to support Mrs Mike’s PIP (and ESA) claims.

But anything can seem good before it has actually been tested.

I would like to hear from claimants of the new benefit, once it starts coming in. Let’s hope they say good things about it.

Source: PIP to be replaced by new disability payment which includes no face-to-face assessments – Daily Record

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Foster quits as DUP boss over Brexit. Can we get similar leverage against Boris Johnson?

Gurning, gurning, gone: Arlene Foster, whose support of Theresa May in 2017 deprived the UK of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, has been forced out of politics after a vote of “no confidence” by her party, the DUP. Why couldn’t it have happened sooner?

The leader of Ulster’s Democratic Unionist Party who propped up Theresa May’s minority Tory government to help push through a disastrous, unpopular exit from the EU is being forced to quit politics.

Arlene Foster, announced that she was resigning as DUP leader on Wednesday, after losing a vote of “no confidence” among party members.

About 80 per cent of the DUP’s Stormont and Westminster ranks signed a letter of no confidence in her leadership.

Brexit has been hugely divisive in Northern Ireland, with the imposition of an artificial trade border in the middle of the Irish Sea considered by many to be a breach of the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called ‘Troubles’, 23 years ago.

As a result, violence has flared up in many parts of the province.

Ms Foster supported the UK Conservative governments of Theresa May and Boris Johnson that have brought this division down upon Northern Ireland and it seems she is being made to take responsibility for the result.

She has now announced her intention to quit the DUP altogether, saying it is no longer the party she joined. Sour grapes?

Her future seems assured. Loyalty to the Tories tends to reap rewards for individuals, and it has been suggested that Foster will find her way into the House of Lords, with its £300-per-day salary, just for turning up.

Her fate raises an important question: when will Boris Johnson suffer a similar humiliation?

Johnson was the poster boy for Brexit. He campaigned hard for it in 2015-16, and was noted for his ridiculous red bus with a grotesque lie painted on the side, that money paid to the EU could be spent on the NHS if the UK left.

Trade deals he promised have failed to materialise. The UK’s banking power has been decimated. Exports have fallen dramatically. And the nation’s international influence is waning.

Johnson himself stands accused of serial dishonesty, and of wishing death on thousands of his fellow UK citizens in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis he has mishandled so atrociously.

And yet he remains perversely popular. For how much longer?

Arlene Foster believes the DUP is no longer the party she joined, say sources close to her.

Source: Arlene Foster to quit DUP after leaving leadership roles – BBC News

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‘Shadow’ Labour Party is a good idea – IF it can avoid the stigma that will be thrown at it for obvious reasons

Perhaps this is the moment for people who have been smeared for political reasons to form their own party.

Alex Salmond has formed Alba – a new Scottish nationalist party – after SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was found to have misled Parliament (albeit unintentionally) in evidence about accusations against him – and already one SNP MP has quit that party to join him.

Before Salmond made his announcement, suspended and expelled Labour Party members were already planning to create a ‘shadow’ Labour Party to fight back against the purge of left-wing members instigated by Keir Starmer and his unelected general secretary, David Evans.

The ‘shadow’ party is the brainchild of Labour In Exile Network (LIEN), a national organisation of members who have been unfairly suspended or expelled from the party headed by Starmer.

It is holding its first meeting today (March 27) at 6pm – and as an unfairly-expelled Labour member, This Writer did seriously consider attending.

But my problem is that I come with the kind of baggage that opponents in Labour and the other mainstream political parties could exploit.

And I’m not alone. Most, if not all, of the members of LIEN will have been removed from Labour accused of anti-Semitism or of supporting anti-Semitism by backing Jeremy Corbyn after Starmer (or was it really Evans?) suspended him.

I have no doubt that such accusations are false. They were in my case. But that won’t matter to seasoned politicians who will merrily manipulate a lie if it means keeping their privileged position.

So I hope one of the topics of tonight’s inaugural meeting will be a discussion of how to sideline such accusations and make the accusers look ridiculous.

LIEN has said this about the event:

How do we fight back against the ongoing onslaught against the left in the Labour Party? That’s the theme of LIEN’s first Fightback Meeting at 6pm on Saturday 27 March on Zoom – open to all members and supporters of LIEN (and no, you don’t have to have been expelled or suspended from the Labour Party to get involved!)

SHADOW CLPS: One key way is the building of shadow structures, “ghost” CLPs which enable members to continue debating how we advance the cause of the left. People will share their experience of setting up such structures and possibilities of national cooperation will be discussed.

WORKING GROUPS: From fighting the witch-hunt, racism and disability discrimination, to how we engage with the media and transform the Labour Party — LIEN is setting up a series of working groups to enable grassroots members to take their struggle forward. This meeting is your chance to get involved in an existing group or make the case for a new group. If you have an idea for a working group, please draw up a proposal of around 200 words and send it to [email protected] There are a few working groups already running/in preparation – see here: https://www.labour-in-exile.org/working-groups/

Please consider joining LIEN – annual minimum fee of£5 unwaged/£10 waged: https://membermojo.co.uk/lien

I have no doubt that this organisation will develop into a political party of its own, rather than concentrating on trying to save the original Labour Party; many are likely to believe this is a lost cause after more than 40 years of pollution by right-wingers, starting in earnest with Neil Kinnock but expanded hugely by Tony Blair. After that amount of time, the corruption runs deep.

I wish it the best in its inaugural meeting – and may apply to join later. I want to be sure it will be able to deal with the smears first. If you want to sign up for the meeting, you can do so here.

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Bad timing: ‘Baloo Labour’ beats Starmer’s party political broadcast in public imagination

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

He only has himself to blame.

Today, Keir Starmer’s Labour Party released a party political broadcast. Here it is, but you don’t need to watch beyond the point where the focus puller wakes up and sharpens the image because it seems everybody had switched off by then. There’s a reason for that…

It’s because everybody was watching THIS:

It really is the best thing to come out of 2020s politics so far.

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Court says Corbyn can’t have Labour documents – it doesn’t mean his case is over!

Have the news media given up on reporting court proceedings properly?

I lost when Rachel Riley applied to strike out my defence against her libel case and everybody thought it meant I had lost the whole case. I haven’t.

Now Jeremy Corbyn has lost a court application to make the Labour Party disclose documents that he said would show that Labour had gone back on an agreement to fully reinstate his suspended membership as a result of “political interference” and some media types are acting as though he has lost his case too. He hasn’t either!

According to The Independent, Labour has attacked Corbyn for wasting “the court’s time and our members’ money”. Strangely, Riley’s supporters have been trying to stop people from supporting my CrowdJustice site with similar claims.

It is understood that Labour will also seek to recover its court costs from Mr Corbyn personally.

Judge Lisa Sullivan made it clear that the case could continue without Labour documents being passed to Corbyn: “In terms of Mr Corbyn’s ability to properly plead his case, I do not accept that he would suffer significant prejudice without pre-action disclosure.”

So it’s clear the case will continue.

But look at The Independent‘s headline: Labour attacks Jeremy Corbyn for ‘wasting time and money’ after court defeat over suspension from party. Doesn’t that make it seem that he lost?

So, just on an anecdotal level, it seems clear that certain elements in the press have lost their impartiality altogether when it comes to reporting the courts.

Or perhaps, going back to a theme we’ve discussed recently, they’re just prejudiced when it comes to Corbyn and his supporters.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn: Setback for ex-party leader in Labour suspension fight – BBC News

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In London’s mayoral race, UKIP pins its hopes on Gammons

Once again, the UK Independence Party has made itself the butt of the joke.

You’ll be familiar with the expression “gammon”, meaning “a middle-aged or older white man with conservative, traditionalist views, stereotypically characterized as having a red or flushed complexion”. It has been linked with supporters of UKIP for many years.

Today (January 15) we all discovered the name of the party’s candidate in the London mayoral election… and the fun began:

We all had a few giggles about the coincidence:

But the real punchline is the fact that this is not the first time UKIP has been ham-strung (sorry) by an unfortunately-resonating name:

This Writer, for one, is grateful to Mr Gammons.

He has brightened up an otherwise miserable day.

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Starmer’s strategy for his party becomes clear – and it is everything Labour should NOT be

You may be wondering about the image above.

Well, I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation during lockdown (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!) and it seems to me that Keir Starmer is trying to turn the Labour Party into a 21st-century version of the Borg Collective, an alien race from that famous science fiction TV show.

In the show, the Borg travel the universe assimilating other races into their collective, either killing or subduing the leaders and absorbing the population by using cybernetic implants to impose their will.

Among their catchphrases was the line: “You will adapt to service us.”

That is exactly what Keir Starmer and his Parliamentary colleagues seem to be saying to Constituency Labour Parties across the UK with their new initiative to get rank-and-file members using the “Dialogue” phone banking app.

This incentive scheme demands that members call up voters in their constituencies to get as much information about which way people will vote as possible (and get them to vote Labour).

Constituency parties making the most calls will receive rewards – if you can call them that – which mostly involve congratulatory messages from party leader Keir Starmer, deputy leader Angela Rayner or some other shadow cabinet member.

The presentation makes it seem that CLP members should consider such contact a great honour and privilege from celebrities, in comparison with whom the rank-and-file members should consider themselves to be nothing more than functionaries whose only reason for existence is to serve.

Do you see why I am comparing Starmer’s new version of Labour with the Borg now?

The shift in emphasis has not gone unnoticed:

And the contrast with the previous Labour leader could not have been more apparent:

The other aspect of the Borg comparison is the elimination or co-option of leaders who might otherwise oppose the ruling cadre.

Isn’t that what we’ve been seeing since Starmer was elected, in April?

Prominent figures who might otherwise undermine the entitled few have been smeared, accused, suspended and expelled; their names blackened with slanders they find themselves ill-equipped to fight because the party manipulates it own rules to undermine the accused.

In short, while Starmer can’t actually have them killed, these people have been eliminated as any realistic opposition.

So there you have it.

Worse than any comparison with fantasy monsters, though, is the obvious correlation with real-world creatures that no Labour member should want to be seen imitating, even in death.

I refer, of course, to Tories.

In setting himself up as a member of a ruling class within the Labour Party, and demanding that CLP members be reduced to carrying out simple functions for their masters in Parliament (or who have been chosen from a highly-select group of party elites to stand for election), Starmer is re-modelling Labour to resemble the Conservative Party.

Shouldn’t that be the cardinal sin, as far as Labour is concerned?

He certainly isn’t impressing anybody with his choices.

Today he announced that he had co-opted former prime minister – and New Labour stalwart – Gordon Brown to support his plot to restore Labour’s popularity in Scotland (and the other UK nations) by devolving more power outside Westminster.

And when he broadcast a big speech about it, Starmer sank, almost without trace. Fewer than 2,500 people bothered to watch – and many of them were probably members of the press.

Maybe today wasn’t the day for this.

Or maybe the target audience had had enough of Starmer’s arrogance and entitlement.

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Damning: Parliament reports on Johnson government’s Covid-19 response – and pulls no punches

 

Boris Johnson’s government has failed to address the Covid-19 crisis in any reasonable way, according to a new report by his fellow MPs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus published its interim report today and it is scathing in its criticism of Johnson and his cronies.

At 91 pages’ length, there is far too much material for me to publish an in-depth analysis so soon – but I don’t have to. The introductory conclusions are damning enough. Here are some highlights:

The UK government’s approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic has been based on the
false choice between saving lives or saving jobs and the economy.

The centralised and outsourced Test and Trace system operating in England is not working. It
has consistently failed to meet the required target of 80% of contacts traced to be effective.

The UK government has prioritised arbitrary testing targets over a coordinated testing
strategy.

The UK government’s outsourced tracing service has consistently traced only 60% of contacts,
well below the required 80% target. Local contact tracing services have been much more
successful, regularly tracing 90% of the contacts.

Without adequate financial support and general assistance to isolate, the requirement to
isolate is not being complied with by a significant proportion of cases. As a result, the chains
of transmission are not being broken, and cases continue to rise.

Lockdowns have become the UK Government’s only solution to bringing down the incidence
of Covid-19 in England, because it does not have a locally led Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and
Support system in place throughout the country.

The inability for local authorities to access the precise real-time data has significantly impaired their ability to work effectively at a local level to contain outbreaks.

Centralised identification of, and communication with, those shielding has not been
consistent or clear.

Councils need clarification on the resumption of the policy of ‘everyone in’ (ensuring
accommodation for all homeless people).

UK government advice and guidance on shielding and on visiting those in residential care has
been inconsistent and unclear.

UK government public health messaging has been inconsistent and unclear.

Testing

Access to testing for frontline NHS and social care staff has been unsatisfactory, resulting in
staff being absent from their role while they or their family members wait for test results. This
impacts on the ability of the NHS and social care sector to provide care.

The international standard for the turnaround time of tests is 24 hours. The APPG
recommends that the UK government improves turnaround time for tests, such that all
results are accessible within 24 hours.

The APPG finds that there has been inadequate coordination between Pillar 1 (NHS) and Pillar
2 (commercial) laboratories, which has detrimentally affected testing capacity, information
flows and management decisions.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the capacity deficiencies in the UK’s public health
laboratory capability: existing public health laboratories did not have the capacity to meet
the surge in demand posed by Covid-19.

The recently announced proposals for testing at airports are not sufficient.

Personal Protection Equipment

There was an insufficient supply of PPE for those in the social care sector
and NHS.

Public Health England

The reorganisation of Public Health England would be detrimental to UK’s ability to respond
to the coronavirus pandemic.

Support for the NHS

Before the coronavirus pandemic, NHS England had around 106,000 FTE vacancies including
nearly 44,000 nurses and more than 9,000 doctors.

Support for the Social Care sector

The social care sector did not receive sufficient support in terms of PPE, guidance, testing or
quarantining provisions for those coming from the NHS into social care settings.

At the outbreak of the pandemic, there was a shortage of 100,000 social care staff.

Oversight of the social care sector was stopped in March 2020 due to a lack of testing
availability for Care Quality Commission inspectors.

Isolation is having a devastating impact on those in social care. All people living in care or
supported living need to be safely reconnected with their support networks for the crucial
emotional and practical support that friends and families provide.

Inequalities

NHS staff, and in particular those from BAME backgrounds, have experienced bullying and discrimination in the workplace when raising questions of workplace safety and lack of PPE.

The impact [of the Covid-19 crisis] has been particularly detrimental on those living in areas of high deprivation, on people from BAME communities, on older people, men, those with a learning disability and others with protected characteristics.

Long Covid

As a medical condition, Long Covid has not yet received full recognition, sufficient research
funding or adequate rehabilitation support.

There are insufficient guidelines for employers and GPs on recognising and managing Long
Covid.

The UK government is not counting the number of individuals who are left with long-lasting
effects of Covid-19 as a measure of the severity and impact of the pandemic.

Mental Health

Covid-19 has had severe impact on the mental health of a significant proportion of society. This may be because of isolation, loss of income, or loss of daily routine.

There has been an increase in demand for mental health support services, with many individuals seeking help for the first time. The APPG also finds that those suffering from mental health issues, including addictions, have seen their condition worsen over the course of the pandemic.

International Comparisons

The UK government has failed to look to or learn from other countries in their handling of the
pandemic. The APPG notes the experience of Norway and Finland, who built up their Find,
Test, Trace, Isolate and Support systems over the Summer, as well as those countries who
instigated testing and quarantine measures at airports early on, such as South Korea,
Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

That last comment is particularly telling – that the UK has failed in comparison with other countries – on the day that Gavin Williamson was telling radio audiences that Britain is best. What a bad joke.

You can see that this report pulls no punches. This Writer only regrets the fact that the parts quoted above fail to mention the number of fatalities.

I will try to go into depth in the near future.

In the meantime, I look forward to hearing Boris Johnson attempt to justify his inactions in the face of this substantial criticism.

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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Is Whittome Labour’s latest hypocrite in the Corbyn/suspension/free speech controversy?

Nadia Whittome: her behaviour is all the more vexing because she has no reason to be loyal to Keir Starmer – he sacked her as a Parliamentary Private Secretary because she voted against a Bill that would have protected soldiers from prosecution if they participated in acts of torture overseas, and briefed the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog about the sacking BEFORE telling her.

A Labour MP who had been considered to be on the left of the party and who said Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated when his membership was suspended has become a turncoat, it seems.

Despite her own comments about Corbyn, it seems Nadia Whittome does not believe that her peers in the party should have the same right, as she stated in a Tweet following a meeting of Nottingham East Labour Party (she is MP for that constituency but not a member of the CLP):

It seems the agenda of last Friday’s CLP meeting included a motion that called for Corbyn’s reinstatement, the lifting of disciplinary measures from others for discussing the issues as well as for the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party, who imposed Corbyn’s suspension and the ban on discussing it that led to the suspensions of other party members.

Ms Whittome objected to the motion, despite having spoken against Corbyn’s suspension herself, it seems.

What are we to make of that? That she considers herself to be above her party colleagues? That she agrees that, while she may discuss such matters with impunity, it is right that rank-and-file party members be suspended for daring to do so? That she thinks party members should not be allowed to register their opposition when party officers flout rules and regulations?

That’s how it looks to This Writer.

Worse, Ms Whittome passed comment on an incident in which a Jewish CLP member left the meeting, claiming they did not feel safe there.

It appears that all was not as she led people to believe. Here‘s a statement from the CLP itself:

“There was only one interruption during the meeting. This arose when one member stated that in his personal experience he had never witnessed any antisemitism in any of our meetings. As he continued with his personal view, another member shouted out – in a manner that some found to be aggressive – that he himself had suffered personal, antisemitic abuse from the person speaking, who was taken aback and stated that this wasn’t true; the Chair intervened and tried to calm things down. At this point the member who had interrupted declared that he no longer felt safe at the meeting and left.

“The member who left has changed his narrative on social media to stating that the member he accused had ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than had attacked him personally.”

Ms Whittome also mentioned the possibility that disciplinary proceedings had been launched against a member of the CLP. This appears to be CLP chair Louise Regan, a former NUT president and (I really hope this has nothing to do with it) vice-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

It seems Ms Regan’s party membership was, in fact, suspended:

This can only be for allowing the motion to be heard (it was passed by 23 votes to 10). Ms Regan’s conduct during the meeting was described in the CLP statement as “exemplary” and Ms Whittome is said to have joined in thanking her for the way she chaired it.

If that was everything, it would be bad enough, but it seems even worse than that, as evidence has come to light claiming that Ms Whittome actually participated in a smear campaign against Ms Regan. Read:

Maybe Mr Kazmi has his own axe to grind (although, considering the number of Tweets by other people linking Ms Whittome with this AWL group, this seems doubtful). In any case, This Writer will be happy to hear what the MP has to say about all this.

At the moment, it seems likely she has fatally wounded her reputation among the very people on whom she would have to rely in order to be re-elected in any future Parliamentary poll.

And at the very least, it seems likely that she should expect a flood of complaints to Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit, that her comments have brought the party into disrepute – the very charge which, when used against her colleagues, she supported.

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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Rayner defies EHRC by threatening to suspend ‘thousands’ of Labour members

Angela Rayner (here with her boss Keir Starmer): hypocrites – and very possibly anti-Semites without acknowledging it.

Note to Sienna Rodgers at LabourList: the headline on your report is wrong. It should have read Angela Rayner is a big ol’ hypocrite.

In the article, Rayner states that the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party are not open to debate:

There’s no debating what the EHRC said.

LabourList also reported another statement she made to the Jewish Labour Movement’s conference – insultingly held on the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians – that she and Keir Starmer attended rather than support the Palestine solidarity event:

If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that.

The two comments are mutually exclusive. The report clearly states that

We have concluded that the practice of political interference was unlawful… The Labour Party should… implement clear rules and guidance that prohibit and sanction political interference in the complaints process.

Her threat to suspend thousands – a warning that the leadership is planning to purge the party of anybody who dissents against its dictatorship – is itself political interference in the process, as it is an attempt to suppress complaints by members against the actions of the leadership of which she is a member. Therefore she is not only debating the legitimacy of the EHRC’s finding; she is ignoring it altogether.

Remember that this is all about the attack on Jeremy Corbyn by Keir Starmer, party general secretary David Evans, and others at the very top of the Labour leadership including Rayner herself, despite the fact that she once said this:

She went from that position to saying that the truth is “unacceptable”:

She is a hypocrite. She has revealed her true colours. She cannot be trusted. She should be ejected from her position of power.

This will be hard because the Labour Party leadership has a well-known track record of rejecting any complaints against its own members and friends, no matter how well-justified they may be.

But we have all seen this behaviour and we are talking about it:

And organisations that formerly wanted Rayner’s support and endorsement are now rejecting her. To be honest, I don’t know if the following tweet was connected with what she said on LabourList, but I anticipate that this is the soft footfall that precedes a stampede:

Oh, and by the way, Labour is not completely irredeemable. Members across the UK did come out in support of Palestine, unlike their treacherous leader and deputy leader. Here’s a tweet from Wales:

Let’s remember that Rayner – and her vile boss Starmer – are saying that they are taking all this action against the good members of their own party because of hurt, harm and injury done to Jewish people in the UK.

What about the harm done to Jewish people who agree with the viewpoint Rayner, Starmer and the others are attacking?

That’s right. These Jews feel that Rayner, Starmer and the others are attacking them. And Rayner, Starmer et al treat them as though they don’t even exist.

Isn’t that attitude a little… you know… anti-Semitic?

Finally, Labour’s deplorable leaders need to acknowledge that this confrontation between them and party members arose because the EHRC found that the leadership had been interfering in investigations of anti-Semitism complaints in order to make it seem that there were more anti-Semites in the party than was the case.

A court found only last week that the process of investigating accusations against This Writer – me, Mike Sivier – was perverted in order to produce a false finding against me.

Labour failed to follow its own investigation procedure. It did not adequately inform me of the nature of the allegations against me (in fact, the party changed those claims as it went on, in order to ‘fix’ the result), and a party officer leaked false claims about me – including a lie that I was a Holocaust denier – to The Sunday Times (which subsequently had to publish a lengthy correction).

And I’m not the only one who has suffered this treatment. The EHRC report found that, of the investigations it examined, no fewer than 60 per cent suffered from bias calculated to discriminate against the respondent – against the person accused of anti-Semitism.

Where are the apologies for lying and smearing us? I still receive abusive messages accusing me of anti-Semitism, even now. It may be that I will continue receiving them for the rest of my life. The Labour Party is to blame for that. Where is the contrition? Where is the apology for that?