Tag Archives: PCC

Black Triangle Website Back Online After Daily Mail Has It Shut Down – Same Difference


The Daily Mail was successful in shutting down the Black Triangle Campaign website by serving the disability campaign a ‘cease and desist’ letter from their lawyers”, according to the Same Difference blog.

“The Daily Mail ran a story about “NC” [anonymised by request on June 15, 2020], claiming that she works four jobs/35 hours per week, and is £400 a month worse off than she would be if she received disability benefit. Online Bloggers found inconsistencies about this report and blogged about it.

“After writing a blog on this issue, Black Triangle received an email from their hosting company, Orange, informing them that their website is suspended until  “… any pages referring to NC the person. This is a breach of privacy laws displaying photos without permission. Your account is suspended until you make contact and change this.”

“With the website suspended, Black Triangle simply could NOT gain access to their website to edit any of their website.  Since then, it has been made clear to BlackTriangle that Orange – their hosting company – has received a ‘cease and desist’ letter from the lawyers involved in this case.

“Black Triangle’s website has now back online after Orange allowed access to the Black Triangle webmaster to remove the offending article but this shows how low the right-winged press will go to continue their attacks on the disabled community in the UK.”

Anyone concerned with free speech should be furious about this. Just because the Daily Mail has money and influence with Orange, it was able to silence another news source that was exercising its right to provide a fair comment on an issue.

It seems that Black Triangle had found inaccuracies in the Daily Mail story, which indicates that the site was right to criticise the ‘newspaper’ in its article.

The Mail habitually escapes with many infringements of Press Complaints Commission rules, apparently because the PCC is dominated by Daily Mail personnel – Paul Dacre, the Mail’s editor, sits on the PressBoF committee that dominates the PCC and also chairs the Editors’ Code Committee. Meanwhile, one of the three directors of the company that owns both the PCC and its planned successor, IPSO, is Peter Wright, editor emeritus at the Mail group.

A large amount of effort goes into making the Mail look respectable, every day.

What does it have to hide?

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Naughty, naughty Daily Mail! Miliband story creates torrent of complaints

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Cast your mind back to October last year and you may remember the big controversy was the way the Daily Mail shot off its (metaphorical) mouth about Labour leader Ed Miliband’s father in spectacular fashion – and spectacularly shot itself in the foot by doing so.

The ill-judged article – it claimed that Mr Miliband (senior), who immigrated here from abroad and loved his adopted nation, was “unpatriotic” – generated a storm of protest on factual grounds and built a groundswell of sympathy for Mr Miliband (junior).

Yesterday, the Press Complaints Commission released its monthly complaint summary for January 2014. The PCC is dominated by Daily Mail personnel – Paul Dacre, the Mail’s editor, sits on the PressBoF committee that dominates the PCC and also chairs the Editors’ Code Committee. Meanwhile, one of the three directors of the company that owns both the PCC and its planned successor, IPSO, is Peter Wright, editor emeritus at the Mail group – so it should be no surprise that the most interesting part of the report was tucked away at the end.

This was an acknowledgement that the PCC had received no less than 14 complaints from third parties (people not involved in the story) about the Ralph Miliband article, ‘The Man Who Hated Britain’. In its summary, Inforrm’s Blog stated: “We suspect this was one of the most complained-about stories of the last 12 months or so, but of course that’s not really clear from the PCC data.”

Thanks to the number-crunchers at Inforrm, we can see that the Daily Mail incurred 12 breaches of the Editors’ Code – more than double the five incurred by its nearest rival: The Mail on Sunday.

That’s right. Mail Group newspapers dominate the table with 53.1 per cent of the total number of breaches recorded against national newspapers and large regionals.

But it seems Inforrm is right to say the PCC exists “mainly to protect [its] paymasters from censure, keeping the public at arms length with a cynical strategy of ‘complaint’ fatigue’, that means Code breaches are not properly recorded and adjudications are avoided at all costs”. All the complaints against the Mail were said to have been resolved away with sufficient remedial action.

We learn two things from this:

  • The Press Complaints Commission is worse than useless at policing the UK’s print media.
  • The reading public is nowhere near as stupid as the Mail‘s bosses would like to think. People of all political persuasions genuinely despised the Mail for its treatment of Mr Miliband. Former Conservative cabinet minister John Moore said: “The Daily Mail is telling lies about a good man who I knew. The people of this country are good and decent too. They do not want the Daily Mail attacking the dead relatives of politicians to make political points.”

Will the Mail learn from this huge error?

Don’t count on it.

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This is how democracy ends: Not with violence but with a shrug

Someone has suggested that more people might have voted for participants in today’s ‘bushtucker trial’, on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, than for candidates in the police and crime commissioner elections.

The suggestion was made on the BBC’s ‘live blog’ as results were awaited for the least effective exercise of democracy in British history. Both votes took place yesterday

Voter turnout was expected to be around 15 per cent – the worst ever result in a peacetime election, totalling only two-thirds of the previous worst-ever result, 1999’s European Parliament vote. This statistic raises the obvious observation:

This is not democratic.

How can it be? The vast majority – around 85 per cent of those entitled to vote – never bothered to turn up.

Already the speculation machine is churning out possible reasons for that: Not enough was spent on the election; the government should have funded a mail-out to all voters, explaining what was going on and who their local candidates were; many people did not even receive a leaflet from their candidates; people were being asked to traipse down to a polling station in the middle of winter (actually it’s still technically autumn); it was a dark and wet day.

No. Here’s the reason:

It is a bad idea and the vast majority of the population aren’t stupid enough ever to accept that it is a good one.

As I write this, only one result is in – Wiltshire will have a Conservative police commissioner. One may safely assume that Angus McPherson, elected by a fraction of a 15.3 per cent turnout – and those who did vote had no less than five other candidates to choose from – will be a cheerleader for Tory policies of privatisation and staff cutbacks.

He will receive £70,000 a year to be a figurehead. The people of Wiltshire might just as well have elected the Cerne Abbas Giant.

Bear in mind that the – what is it? – £100 million spent on this election could have funded an extra 3,000 police officers. Instead, the Tory-led Coalition is axing 15,000.

Responding to criticism over the election turnout, the live blog told us policing minister and serial Question Time liar Damian Green said the PCCs were a new idea that would need time for people to get used to.

Mark Easton, the BBC’s Home editor immediately responded: “Real flaw was the public were never persuaded they needed elected police commissioners.”

This is the truth of it – and the idea of commissioners affiliated to political parties was anathema to voters. That’s why they stayed away in droves. Look at these responses, all taken from the live blog (I’m keeping it there to show the strength of feeling on just one news outlet).

John Amos in Plymouth emailed: “I am unhappy that political candidates came first and second in Wiltshire. Police Commissioners should not be political. We do not want a politicised police force.”

Had the choice only been between the three main parties’ stooges I would have spoiled the paper. This will be a disaster for policing,” wrote ‘Richard’ on the BBC news website (and quoted in the live blog).

Araura Berkeley in Glastonbury emailed: “I did vote but am very disappointed in the lack of proper information on candidates – I had early on requested the full info on all my candidates but had to wait until the official leaflets were put through all doors. This was very late on and there was no telephone number whereby I could quiz any of the candidates about their manifesto.”

Nigel Coldwell tweets: Don’t assume low turnout is apathy. I actively didn’t vote. Would’ve spoiled paper but I thought they’d count it in turnout.

Peter Wilson commented on the BBC News website: “Voted last night and learned on arrival that there was a second choice system if there were more than two candidates. Asked how that would work and no-one knew. Presiding officer looked in their information book and still no answer.”

So: A bad idea, handled in a shambolic way.

The Conservatives will say the low turnout is not undemocratic, and people will warm to the idea of having commissioners once they see it in practice.

The response from their opponents will be just as predictable: The next time a union calls a strike, and gets a mandate for it on a low turnout, that will not be undemocratic either.

And you never know, once people see a really big strike happening, they might warm to that as well!