Tag Archives: public

Crony contract to Tory friends was ‘unlawful’ – but government is lying about the decision

Backhander: the Tory government is still claiming there was nothing wrong with the Public First contract but the High Court’s ruling is final – it was not legal.

The High Court has ruled that a Tory government decision to award a £560,000 contract to friends of a Tory minister and advisor gave rise to “apparent bias” and was unlawful.

The Tories are already trying to spin this by saying there was no suggestion of “actual” bias, and the contract was not awarded due to personal or professional connections between Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings and their friends in Public First, Rachel Wolf and James Frayne. She co-wrote the Conservatives’ 2019 election manifesto and he worked on the campaign to leave the European Union with Cummings.

I don’t know what the Cabinet Office is trying to achieve by saying that. The judge’s ruling is crystal clear: the government broke the law:

Delivering her ruling, Mrs Justice O’Farrell said: “The claimant is entitled to a declaration that the decision of 5 June 2020 to award the contract to Public First gave rise to apparent bias and was unlawful.”

Nothing else matters. Public First and the Cabinet Office can say what they like but the decision to award the contract to Tory cronies was not permitted within the law and that is the end of the matter.

This Site has been reporting on it since July last year, when the contract first became public knowledge.

I wrote at the time: “It’s jobs for the boys, the Old School Tie, and every other example of favouritism you can imagine in the Tory government during the Covid crisis!

“They’re using emergency regulations, that allow services to be commissioned quickly, to pass huge amounts of money to their friends.

“And apparently there’s a conflict of interest as it seems to involve Eurosceptics working on focus group research related to Brexit – parts of the work contracted involved research on public attitudes to Brexit, which is dodgy in a Eurosceptic firm – although a Cabinet Office spokesman said this was a bookkeeping issue. Do you believe that?

“The Tories are using the Covid-19 crisis to funnel public money away from vital services and into their friends’ bank accounts.”

And I quoted The Guardian‘s report which is interesting in that it states the contract was worth £840,000. It’s curious that these amounts always fall when people are in trouble over them – and always rise when public money is being used to pay.

One piece of information that should have been a dead giveaway was the fact that Public First’s registered office is a residential address – a house – in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.

Public First was also behind the disastrous plan to bias (there’s that word again) ‘A’ level results against students who didn’t go to Public Schools like Eton.

The collaboration led to the result we all know:

The algorithm used by Ofqual downgraded 40% of the A-level grades assessed by teachers under the process set after the exams were cancelled, leading to a storm of protest from students, parents, school leaders and teachers, that culminated in a complete government U-turn on Monday and the system being scrapped.

Details of this contract were not made public and Ofqual declined to say how much public money had been spent hiring the firm of Tory cronies. It was only later that the organisation had to admit handing over £49,000 of your money to buy poorer results for your children.

Ofqual’s boss at the time, Sally Collier, later resigned – apparently in shame at having given Public First the contract, and at what that firm did with it.

So now here’s the big question: if the contract to Public First was not legal, shouldn’t that money be paid back?

And if so – by whom?

Say what you like about Public First; the work was carried out. Whether it was carried out to an acceptable standard has not been recorded (and the Ofqual experience casts doubt on that) but somebody did the work that was contracted, and we may expect that it was done in good faith.

So, shouldn’t the government minister(s), who broke the law by awarding the contract wrongly, now pay back into public funds at least the £560,000 quoted in the High Court’s judgement?

Matt Hancock, maybe? Or Boris Johnson?

Source: Government acted unlawfully over firm’s £560,000 Covid contract – BBC News

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Court of Appeal to hand down judgment in Riley v Sivier: 2pm, May 14

The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on my appeal against the striking out of my “public interest” defence against Rachel Riley’s libel accusation at 2pm on May 14.

At the time of writing, that’s tomorrow. By the time you read this, it may be today.

This is extremely short notice. At the time of writing (again), I do not know whether the Court of Appeal wishes my legal team to attend the hearing. I won’t be able to, in any event.

Usually, a hearing like this is simply a mention whereby the Court of Appeal says that it has handed down its judgment.

But it is sometimes necessary to give further directions – for example, the court might find in my favour on the basis that the High Court did not address the strike out application correctly and send it back to the High Court to re-hear the application.

I hope that is reasonably unlikely – either the court will decide that my public interest defence is too weak and no amount of re-hearing will make any difference, or that it is so fact-specific that we need to get on with the trial.

I will be hoping for the latter.

Alternatively, if I win, there might then be a debate about how the High Court’s costs order should reflect the fact that both I and Riley won certain aspects.

The timing of this is interesting. It is happening right after the hearing of Riley’s case against Laura Murray came to an end?

I wonder what Riley will do if she loses both this appeal and that other case.

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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Confused by the Riley libel appeal? Here’s what it all meant


I was just looking at viewing figures for the Court of Appeal on YouTube.

The case before mine came in at 156; the one after, 67.

Riley v Sivier: 3,400.

How nice to be popular!

But I wonder how many of those were repeat views by people trying to understand what was going on. The suited and bewigged inhabitants of Court 70 seemed to be arguing about things to which the casual viewer wasn’t privy.

This article is an attempt to address that.

So for a start, let’s look at my grounds for appeal.

One of my defences was that I had published my article about Rachel Riley and the teenage girl with anxiety issues who suffered sustained abuse on the social media for daring to criticise the TV parlour game-player because it was a matter of public interest.

According to the Defamation Act 2013, it is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that— (a) the statement complained of was, or formed part of, a statement on a matter of public interest; and (b) the defendant reasonably believed that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest.

In determining whether the defendant has shown this, the court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, and must make such allowance for editorial judgement as it considers appropriate.

For the avoidance of doubt, this defence may be relied upon, irrespective of whether the statement complained of is a statement of fact or a statement of opinion.

So the task for our justice system was to determine three issues:

i) was the statement complained of, or did it form part of, a statement on a matter of public interest?

If so,

ii) did the defendant (that’s me) believe that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest?

If so,

iii) was that belief reasonable?

The first and third issues are objective – it either was or wasn’t, depending on whether it meets the relevant criteria. The second issue is subjective – it’s about what I believed at the time I published the article.

In respect of the second and third issues, the truth or falsity of the allegation complained of by Rachel Riley is irrelevant. The defence can apply to an untrue statement (or in this case, a statement for which insufficient evidence was provided to the strike-out hearing to establish that it was true).

My public interest defence was separate from, and in addition to my other defences, which were that my statements were true and that they were statements of honest opinion.

The judge at the strike-out hearing, Mrs Justice Collins Rice, struck out my truth defence on the grounds that I was unable to provide a tweet by Rachel Riley declaring that she was a bully and that she published the tweets mentioned in my article in order to cause a teenage girl with mental health issues to suffer an enormous amount of abuse.

She then struck out my honest opinion defence on the grounds that I could not have an honest opinion about statements that were not true.

Her finishing touch was to strike out my public interest defence on the basis of a false submission by Rachel Riley that it must fail as a consequence of the truth defence being struck out.

Here’s what Riley said, in paragraph 71 of her strike-out application:

“71. Similarly the defence brought under s.4 DEA 2013 cannot have been reasonably believed if the facts relied on in the truth defence are incapable of supporting a plea of truth.”

This was a clear error of law.

Riley’s counsel accepted in oral submissions (that’s during the strike-out hearing itself) that this statement was wrong.

Riley’s case concerning my public interest defence was otherwise undeveloped and did not occupy the court’s time.

Nevertheless the judge, in her judgment, seemed to have swallowed Riley’s submissions whole and did not address any of the requirements of the defence.

She did not address the contents of my actual pleading (what I said).

In fact, she showed no evidence that she had given my public interest defence any due consideration at all.

Not only that, but the conditions in which my truth defence was judged – which had been laid down by a different judge, Mr Justice Nicklin – had nothing to do with the public interest defence.

Mrs Justice Collins Rice appeared – although we cannot be sure because her judgment was so vague that she did not even provide the reasons on which it was made – to have proceeded on the assumption that “the statement complained of” in a public interest defence against the allegations against me was the same as the single meaning of the words complained of, as found by Mr Justice Nicklin. Not true; “the statement complained of” refers to the actual words that I published. There’s a difference!

And, by the way, I pointed out that there was a difference, through my own representative, at the strike-out hearing. She couldn’t even say she hadn’t been told.

If she had considered my defence as pleaded – as she was bound by law to do – it would have been readily apparent that she had no power to strike it out, because it is unsuitable for such an action. “The court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case” – so it is impossible to determine whether it was reasonable for me to believe that publishing my article was in the public interest without hearing any actual evidence from me.

I’ll come back to this, because there’s an assumption here that my article is dishonest – and I take the greatest offence to anyone – High Court judge or whoever – bandying about such a claim without even showing any evidence for it.

Furthermore, the public interest defence is a developing area of the law. Mr Justice Nicklin (remember him?) said, “In an area of law which is developing, and where its boundaries are drawn incrementally on the basis of decided cases, it is not normally appropriate summarily to dispose of the claim or defence.

“In such areas, development of the law should proceed on the basis of actual facts found at trial and not on the basis of hypothetical facts assumed to be true on an application to strike out.”

Are we clear, so far? The strike-out application did not provide any admissible grounds for my public interest defence to be struck out, and the judge made an error in law by doing it.

So, in her response to my appeal, Riley put forward a completely new case that was longer than the whole of her previous application to strike out all of my defences. Not allowed!

So in my appeal, I submitted that Riley should not be permitted to advance her new case, on the following grounds:

Whilst a respondent may provide “reasons different from or additional to those given by the lower court” it does not extend to mounting an entirely new case, unheralded in that lower court. It is confined to “reasons” which were open to the lower court, but which it did not rely on. In order for these reasons to have been open to the lower court, they had to have formed part of the respondent’s case. And these hadn’t.

It was incumbent on Riley to bring forward the entirety of her case in her original application. As a matter of procedural fairness it is objectionable for her to withhold the entirety of her application until my appeal.

This was addressed in the appeal hearing when my Counsel pointed out that the proper place for Riley to bring forward her new arguments was the High Court, and in not doing so, she had deprived me of the opportunity to consider and respond to them there – putting me (and contributors to my CrowdJustice fund) to the extra expense of an appeal court hearing that could otherwise have been prevented.

My public interest defence cannot be determined in the absence of my evidence as to my belief that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest. Concerning as it does my subjective belief, this is an in inherently fact-sensitive inquiry. In the absence of a clear case that the defence is bound to fail – which this is not – it is not amenable to summary determination (in other words, strike-out by a judge on the basis of barristers’ arguments rather than on the basis of evidence).

Possibly the most important point is that my appeal had to be on a “pure point of law”. By the same token, Riley should not be permitted to raise a new case in the Court of Appeal because it is not a “pure point of law”.

So, having failed to put forward a permissible argument in the High Court, Riley had no right to make an entirely new and separate case against me in the Court of Appeal.

That said, I still had to show that her new arguments were wrong, so let’s look at them.

She claimed that the statements I made were not on a matter of public interest because:

It discloses no grounds capable of giving rise to a reasonable belief by me that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest. Further or alternatively:

The particulars of the defence are deficient such that the pleaded defence stands to be struck out as being likely to obstruct the fair disposal of proceedings.

I responded without prejudice as follows, to Riley’s new case:

My defence (the original document, written in early 2020) pleads four matters of public interest addressed in the Article:

  • Online bullying and harassment including death threats; I highlighted the online bullying and harassment including death threats to which C has been exposed, as well as Rose.
  • The power of an adult celebrity compared to the relative powerlessness of a vulnerable child suffering anxiety.
  • Mental health; this point is connected with that of Riley’s power in comparison with that of her teenage victim, emphasising that the girl is a vulnerable person, quite apart from the fact that she was a child at the time of the events to which my article referred.
  • Anti-Semitism.

Riley’s contention is that none of the last three matters “is the focus or purpose of the article. None of these topics is examined in the article or forms any material part of it”. This is demonstrably wrong . Amazingly, she even made a general assertion to the effect that they aren’t even matters of public interest – although she did not provide overt arguments.

In respect of “Online bullying and harassment including death threats”, Riley does say that this is not a matter of public interest. This is a curious position for at least three reasons:

i) The article explains that Riley herself is the victim of such bullying, harassment and threats, as reported in a national newspaper. The first portion of the article is specifically concerned with The Guardian’s reportage and includes Riley’s own words.

ii) The article then sets up a counter-narrative by addressing the online bullying and harassment including death threats, suffered by the teenager. This remains a matter of public interest not least as it again concerns Riley, albeit as perpetrator, not victim.

iii) In terms of wider context, it is indisputable that online bullying and harassment is not just a matter of public interest, but pressing public interest – consider the recent Online Harms White Paper and Law Commission consultation on reform of communications offences (as I did, in my written submissions).

On the claim that I could not reasonably believe that my article was on matters of public interest, I had the following to say:

Riley was proceeding from a false premise – a limited selection of the tweets that formed the basis of my article. The full facts were not considered by the High Court. The judge excluded relevant tweets showing that the teenage victim was trying to retreat from the debate (and from the abuse she was receiving) – but Riley kept dragging her back to it, culminating in a thread on December 18 in which she said:

“I’m not finding Rachel Riley to be a nice person at all. I said I wanted to move on from this debate and end it, then she tweets me about retracting my comments after I said I stand by my opinion but will always listen to others.

“She said that she isn’t singling me out but all she has done has encouraged an onslaught onto me. I tried to be respectful and mature to her by saying I understood her stance but she’s just thrown it in my face.

“I may be sixteen but that doesn’t automatically make me an idiot. I will not sit here and let her dictate what I say and how I feel. I do not feel threatened by you, Rachel and I would have hoped you could have listened to everyone else’s opinions instead of just your own.”

According to Mrs Justice Collins Rice, the dialogue between Riley and this girl was entirely civilised and respectful until the teenage changed her attitude in January (nearly a month after this thread was published). The judge expressed the belief that other people had persuaded the girl to change her stance but this is clearly untrue.

No consideration is given to tweets by anybody other than Riley and her teenage victim.

In addition, the Twitter accounts of various third party followers of Riley’s, including their tweets, had since been deleted.

Riley does not challenge my belief in the public interest in publishing my article, whether in terms providing a counter-narrative to the Channel 4 News broadcast, The Times article, The Guardian article and her own widely-published tweets, or in highlighting perceived hypocrisy in her own treatment of the teenager or her record on anti-Semitism. These are not addressed.

These omissions are significant, as I will explain in his evidence at trial – should I ever get to provide it! I will demonstrate that:

a) The version of events presented in the mainstream media appeared incomplete. Riley was reported as being targeted by Labour supporters but the reportage did not detail how Riley had engaged with and attacked those same Labour supporters with whom she disagreed.

b) Primary sources in the form of the tweets of Riley, Tracy-Ann Oberman and the teenager were available and I checked them. Riley and Oberman are blue-tick Twitter celebrities whose tweets could be attributed to them (the blue tick on Twitter means the account is only used by the celebrity claiming ownership of it). I considered Rose’s tweets and the bullying narrative they conveyed (including those in which she specifically implicated Riley). I saw the abusive messages to which the girl had been subjected by Riley’s followers and noted the intensity and unpleasantness of the campaign waged against her and her father by Oberman, who had tagged Riley into her tweets. Oberman’s campaign coincided with Riley’s own tweets about Rose.

c) In my judgement this was a matter of public interest. It was not a minor Twitter spat. A child, who faced mental health challenges, reported being subject to online abuse culminating in death threats which had extended to attacks upon her parents. This was as a result of the conduct of adult celebrities whose power was wholly disproportionate to that of the child. The protections afforded to those adult celebrities were also disproportionate, Riley receiving extra security in her role as a television presenter whereas no protections were available to the child. There was a wider context to the hypocrisy alleged against Riley, given her record concerning anti-Semitism.

d) Riley’s story was prominent in national broadcast and print media and had been publicised on Twitter to her 600,000-plus followers. By contrast, the girl’s story had a much narrower audience. I sought to draw the public’s attention to both stories in parallel, highlighting a counter-narrative which in his judgement was of public interest.

e) I published urgently – at my earliest opportunity – in order to challenge the narrative in the mainstream media most recently conveyed in newspaper articles that morning. I am an experienced journalist. The decisions I made with regard to the article were in the exercise of my editorial judgement.

This is only a summary of the evidence I will give. But it serves to illustrate that my reasonable belief is unsuitable for summary determination by any judge in the absence of actually hearing my evidence.

Nevertheless, Riley squarely challenged the honesty of my belief that publishing the statement was in the public interest. To say, as my Counsel did, that “This is objectionable” is a devastating understatement. I take deep offence to unevidenced claims that I am a liar and of course no judge should ever support unevidenced claims made in a courtroom. Case law must be about facts, not fanciful tittle-tattle from the top of a TV game show girl’s head.

Put another way: “dishonesty must be specifically alleged and sufficiently particularised” and “The purpose of giving particulars is to allow the defendant to know the case he has to meet” – Sofer v Swissindependent Trustees SA [2020] EWCA Civ 699 per Arnold LJ at paras 23(1) and 24(1). That’s your actual case law.

According to the Defamation Act, when considering a public interest defence, “the court must make such allowance for editorial judgement as it considers appropriate”. Riley did not address my editorial judgement as described in my defence. Instead, she simply asserted that “the article as a whole was not on a matter of public interest”. This assertion is untenable.

That is the gist of what I said in my written submissions to the court, and what Riley’s Counsel (and the judges, at times) tried to argue against.

When the judges announced they were retiring, after the evidence had been heard on Tuesday (April 27), I thought they were going to come out with a verdict straight away – that they had already made up their minds.

It was a huge surprise when they said they were reserving judgment and would submit it in written form in the future. On the day I tweeted that this may be because – as the public interest defence is a new area of law – they need to consider the possible repercussions of any decision in either direction.

As time stretches on, I don’t mind admitting that there have been discussions about whether the judges are trying to find an excuse for a verdict against me.

If that happens – well, you’ve seen the arguments. You can see that they are all on my side.

And it’s only a short hop to the Supreme Court.

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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Ex-politicians shouldn’t harm public life, says man who’s busy harming public life as a government minister

Robert ‘bent as a nine-bob note’ Jenrick: his own activities as a housing minister suggest that he is the last one to criticise politicians who turn out to have acted corruptly while in office.

Robert Jenrick – he’s a fine one to talk, isn’t he?

He’s been a minister for three years and is already mired in more allegations of corruption than most MPs, yet he has taken it upon himself to criticise David Cameron.

The claim is that Cameron rigged the system, while in office, in order to feather his nest once he had left frontline politics.

While it may well be valid – and it is certainly worth saying that UK politicians should set an example to the world by turning their back on that kind of corruption… well, I shudder to think what we’ll hear about Jenrick after he retires from Parliament.

The simple fact is, our politicians – particularly our elected government – are able to twist the system so it delivers fat profits to them, knowing that they will never be penalised or prosecuted for it because they are above the law.

Repeat until you understand everything that it means: they are above the law.

They will never be arrested because the police never prosecute politicians, particularly those who have been senior members of a government. Never.

So there is absolutely no incentive for them not to corrupt the system to the limits of their imaginations, is there?

Oh, you disagree?

Take a look at history, and the revelations it provides about UK politicians’ behaviour both in and out of office.

Source: Ex-politicians should be very careful – minister – BBC 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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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For once, it IS important for us to know that Boris Johnson had affair with Jennifer Arcuri

Johnson and Arcuri: I know there’s no real justification for the image of her in that costume, but if anybody is appalled that she put it on, how do you feel, knowing that HE probably took it off?

Of course I’m not interested in the sex revelations. The thought of bloated Boris Johnson bouncing around on some debutante can only inspire concern for her health (both mental and physical).

But the fact is that between 2012 and 2016 Johnson had the affair with a woman who then received benefits from him, as Mayor of London and later as Prime Minister, that she may not otherwise have had.

The Mirror makes this clear in its “world exclusive”:

Boris Johnson faces an inquiry by the Greater London Authority – responsible for the mayor’s office – over claims his failure to declare his relationship with Arcuri may have been a breach of the Nolan Principles of Public Life, which are contained in the Mayor of London’s code of conduct.

Arcuri was granted access to events at three top level trade missions, despite her businesses not meeting the criteria for the trips.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said there was no evidence he’d committed the criminal offence of misconduct in public office but he may have breached the Nolan Principles.

Not only that, but he also handed her £126,000 of public money:

Jennifer… went on to receive £126,000 of taxpayer money in event sponsorships and grants. The bulk, £100,000, came in a government grant in 2019.

Johnson was cleared of impropriety in public office by the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which is tasked with ensuring that the London Mayor’s office does not fall prey to corruption.

The police investigation said that Johnson did not influence decisions to let her go on the three trade junkets or to give her the public money.

But there were serious faults in the inquiry, as This Site pointed out last year:

Why were records relating to this case deleted – what did they cover and when were the deletions made? We may never know, but the questions should be enough to raise suspicion.

Why were some records never made? The report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct remarks on them so it is reasonable to believe that they were necessary. Who was responsible for making these records? What information would they have provided?

Why did the third parties mentioned in the report delay providing their information? What influenced them to inconvenience the investigation and would their information have been different, had they not done so? What was the subject of the information they had been asked to provide?

Possibly most damning is the statement that officers working for Johnson and making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions “thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making”.

It seems those officers were right. As it influenced their decision-making to put Arcuri on trade missions, it seems to This Writer that Johnson had a case to answer after all.

Ah, but the police don’t prosecute senior politicians. Like all fascist dictators, Johnson is above the law.

It’s not good enough. We deserve better answers than we’ve had so far – and Johnson should resign (of course). He never does because he’s an unaccountable fascist, but it is always worth reminding ourselves that he should. Here’s a tweet about it:

The BBC, under its Tory Director-General, has been hiding the story:

Still, there is an upside to it all. At least the satirists are having fun:

Amazingly, Twitter is also filling up with apologists who are still moaning, “But Corbyn..!”

Source: Jennifer Arcuri admits four-year affair with serial love cheat Boris Johnson – Mirror Online

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Priti Patel wants to stop protests against male violence on women. Will YOU help stop her?


The government’s reaction to protests like that on Clapham Common last night (March 13), when male police officers arrested many women who had gathered to protest at the kidnap and murder of a woman, apparently by a male police officer, is simple: it will stop us from protesting.

Do you think that is reasonable?

Priti Patel is pushing through new legislation to ensure that police can step in to prevent any protests, rallies, or other public demonstrations tomorrow (March 15).

Her new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand on powers to restrict demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 that allowed them to be restricted if there was a risk of “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.

The new Bill increases the scope to allow restrictions on the basis of noise: Patel means to literally silence protest in the UK.

If it is enacted as it stands, then police will be able to stop protests that “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” – for instance by distracting employees in a nearby office.

This also applies if the event disturbs passers-by – if the noise of the protest could have “a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the procession”.

The threshold is minimal: if just one person could be caused “serious unease, alarm or distress”, the rozzers would be allowed to move in and get busy with their truncheons.

This is fascism – and it makes a mockery of the false hand-wringing the Bill’s author, Priti Patel, was exhibiting on Twitter yesterday:

We should have known this was coming, though. She made her position clear when she told LBC’s Nick Ferrari “I don’t support protest”:

The horrendous scenes on Clapham Common last night were a direct consquence of Patel’s ideology. Remember, she controls the Metropolitan Police:

It seems the new Bill will contradict the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our right to protest in law:

This Writer therefore called for all right-thinking people to make a stand against Patel’s fascism:

I am glad to report that there will indeed be such an event:

So there it is. If you want to protest against Priti Patel’s (and by extension, Boris Johnson’s) plan to silence protest against male violence on women* then be at Parliament Square in London from 5pm tomorrow – Monday, March 15.

*Yes, she wants to stop all forms of protest but this is what she is stopping right now, and people need to be aware of what it means. If you want to complain about my choice of words, your priorities are as wrong as if you wanted to complain about my characterisation of “male” violence in a previous article.

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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Supreme Court got it wrong, say voters: Shamima Begum SHOULD come to the UK [POLL RESULT]

Justice: before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes – although it sesems people believe the courts now exist to give ordinary people a hammering.

Voters in a Vox Political poll have overwhelmingly condemned a Supreme Court decision to deny Shamima Begum entry to the UK to defend her citizenship, quoting national security concerns.

At the time of writing, 64 per cent of voters (583 votes) said the Supreme Court has not treated Ms Begum fairly. Just 36 per cent (329 votes) supported the decision.

The issue has provoked huge debate on the social media, with more than 440 comments on This Site’s Facebook page alone.

Many commenters on Facebook have suggested that, as she was 15 when she left the UK to join the so-called IS caliphate, Ms Begum was not old enough to be considered responsible (although others have pointed out that environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg was the same age when she started campaigning publicly, and nobody says the same about her).

Many commenters have suggested that Ms Begum was “groomed” by adult male supporters of IS – manipulated into travelling to the Middle East to become a child bride and bear children for a terrorist – and that this should be discussed in court, in order to root out any terrorist supporters who remain here in the UK.

Others have stated that the authorities let her down by allowing her to leave the UK unaccompanied by an adult.

It had been argued that Ms Begum’s right to a fair hearing, in her bid to have her revoked UK citizenship restored, would be harmed if she was forced to conduct her case from the north Syria camp where she is currently living.

But the Supreme Court said this right does not overrule the government’s obligation to national security. Its judges accepted that she is a threat to national security and that she should not be allowed back into the UK.

The result of the Vox Political vote – which is admittedly unscientific – suggests a groundswell of distrust in the courts by the people of the UK.

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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How much public money are the Tories wasting on court action to hide their unlawful acts?

Let’s just remind ourselves that Matt Hancock isn’t the only Tory cabinet minister who has wasted our money in the courts, defending the indefensible.

Spotlight has published an article highlighting current and recent court action against the Johnson government, including the following:

CIVIL SERVANTS UNION BRING CASE AGAINST BORIS JOHNSON OVER PRITI PATEL BULLYING INCIDENT

ASYLUM SEEKER BRINGS CASE AGAINST PRITI PATEL OVER 23HR A DAY CURFEW POLICY

GOVT LOSES APPEAL IN CASE WHERE CHILDREN BEING CHARGED £1012 FOR BRITISH CITIZENSHIP

GOVT APPEALS RULING WHERE CHILD REFUGEE DETAINED AS AN ADULT BY IMMIGRATION SERVICES

GOVT APPEAL RULING THAT SHAMIMA BEGUM BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO FIGHT FOR HER CITIZENSHIP

Details are here: UK government swamped by legal action and costs! | Spotlight News

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Are the Tories trying to stop poor people having a say in public services because they stopped the low-paid from paying tax?

Some of us saw this coming.

If you’ve seen the video clip in which Richard Murphy explains how money works, you’ll know that people who pay tax are more likely to vote – they feel they have more of an interest in it.

(Of course, tax is about returning money the government has created, in order to avoid catastrophic inflation – and not about giving the government the money it needs in order to provide public services, but let’s not complicate matters by going into that.)

But the Tories have spent the last 11 years raising the earnings threshold at which people pay tax, claiming this as a sign of their generosity.

Oh really? Watch the video and consider the comment by Paul Sweeney.

It seems to This Writer that, through no fault of their own, attempts are being made to deny more than 20 million people the right to say which services the government funds. Presumably the next step is to say, if you don’t pay tax, you don’t get to vote.

We’re on a very slippery slope, here.

And a hypocritical one.

You’ll notice that nobody is saying you shouldn’t have a say if you don’t pay all the tax for which you should be liable – for example, because you engage in tax avoidance.

So super-rich tax avoiders will be able to vote/help decide which public services are funded or whether they get funded at all – despite the fact that most of them don’t need the most expensive of those services. Logically, they’ll say those are the ones to get the axe.

Meanwhile, the super-poor – who are now prevented from paying tax, either because they are on benefits or their wages have been pushed into the dirt by Tory employers – may be denied that right.

It should not even be a subject for discussion.

The qualification for voting – and therefore for helping decide how public money is spent – is UK citizenship because we all live here and we are all affected by the decisions the government makes.

Oh, and of course Income Tax is not the only tax that people pay.

So to rule people out of the process because they have been priced out of paying just one of the UK’s many taxes would be unfair in the extreme – and Emma Barnett was talking out of her rear end.

What a shame that’s such a good description of our current Tory government.

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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Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial – but not by the court of public opinion

Did anybody think Donald Trump would be found guilty by the Republican-dominated US Senate?

Impeached for the second time in his presidency – for inciting the Capitol riot in January that led to the deaths of five people – the evidence was considered by the 100-strong Senate, whose membership is evenly balanced between Republicans (Trump’s party) and Democrats.

For Trump to be convicted, a simple majority was not enough; the rules state that two-thirds of the Senate would have to find against him.

And here’s the result:

Final vote tally 57-43 but Senate fails to achieve two-thirds majority needed to convict former president of incitement.

Seven Republicans voted against their now-former president but it wasn’t enough. The others supported Trump.

It is suggested that they would have done so, no matter what evidence was put before them. That is a matter for their consciences.

The court of public opinion is another matter, though.

And the reaction of the people seems clear:

 

 

“The only thing easier to buy in the USA than a gun is a Republican Senator.”

Fair comment?

Source: Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial | Donald Trump | The Guardian

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