Tag Archives: settlement

Six-figure payout for civil servant who endured ‘insidious’ Ministry of Justice racism

The face of the problem? It must be hard to clamp down on racism in government when the prime minister is a man who (allegedly) danced around in front of a black woman, waving a banana at her.

This may seem like a good result for Olivea Ebanks – but is it? Does the money really compensate for 20 years of racist abuse in the Ministry of Justice – of all places! – that she says broke down her body and mind?

And how is the government acting to end the racism that, it seems clear, is rife in all the corridors of power? Have the Tories lifted a finger to improve matters?

Let’s see what Ms Ebanks had to put up with…

She was called racially insulting names by a manager, prevented from progressing her career, and had her out-of-work activities monitored.

Ms Ebanks said working in an “abusive” environment led to her physical and mental health suffering.

“The first time I went to court, I lost my good mental health… The second time I decided to go to court, I lost my marriage and the third time, I lost my job.”

Ms Ebanks alleges managers blocked access to career-enhancing opportunities and training open to colleagues.

She says her work was unfairly scrutinised and managers began to “constantly” pick at her work, and claims her concerns about this were routinely dismissed.

One day after asking her manager why she was being treated differently to other members of the team during a meeting, she was shocked when the reply was: “Are you accusing me of racism?”

An internal probe, which pointed towards institutional racism within the MOJ, was triggered soon after.

She decided to write a book about her experiences – she says with her managers’ blessing. But Ms Ebanks found herself the centre of investigation and suspended from work for “bringing the organisation into disrepute”.

The former civil servant claims she was called racially offensive names by senior staff and was subject to privacy breaches, alleging her out-of-work activities following global Black Lives Matter protests was monitored.

Ms Ebanks says she complained about the incidents numerous times but claims she was ignored.

She resigned in June 2020 after the “situation became intolerable” and then began her third case against the ministry which was settled last year.

Ms Ebanks says she applied for upward of 40 promotions without any success and experienced a manager refusing to provide essential backing for a senior role because she “couldn’t see” Ms Ebanks thriving in such a position.

Reflecting on her ordeal Ms Ebanks described it as “exhausting” and said she suffered loss of appetite, insomnia and panic attacks.

“With the accumulation of illnesses, my body and mind were breaking down and I started to feel so unwell that I had to keep going back to the doctor.”

Her account of what happened when she tried to complain is particularly damning: “As a Black person, you complain to a manager, who has no understanding of racism.

“They then say there’s no merit to your complaint. You unpick their reasoning and appeal, and then your manager’s manager will then tell you – the only person who’s experienced the racism – that what you experienced was not racism. It’s torture without the bruising.”

The comment from the MoJ is risible:

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to discrimination of any sort. All allegations are investigated fully and action taken where necessary.”

I have a few doubts about that, considering Ms Ebanks’s story.

So let’s think: why would a government ministry make such a claim, in the face of evidence from a victim of sustained racism over a period of 20 years that has resulted in that ministry paying out a six-figure sum of money to end court proceedings?

(And let’s bear in mind that this is not the only case – the source story mentions Kay Badu, who also received a six-figure sum over racism claims.)

Well, isn’t it true that sustained racism of this kind has a “chilling” effect on people of the ethnic group against which that discrimination is being shown?

In other words, aren’t people of the same ethnic group put off applying for government jobs?

So by claiming not to tolerate discrimination – while actually perpetrating it time and time again – the government and its departments ensure that they remain the playgrounds of privileged white boys and girls.

Isn’t that the aim?

If not, then let’s see some evidence of good conscience. How many people have been sacked for perpetrating this “insidious” and sustained racism? What measures have been put in place to monitor it? What is being done to ensure that complaints are taken seriously?

I think we can all guess the answers to those questions: none, none and nothing.

Am I right, MoJ?

Source: ‘It strips your humanity’: Civil servant wins six-figure sum over ‘insidious’ Ministry of Justice racism

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Prince Andrew settles sexual abuse lawsuit out of court – leaving serious questions unanswered

Settlement: Prince Andrew (the accused) and Victoria Giuffre (the accuser). To the right (trimmed out of this version of the image) is Ghislaine Maxwell, now convicted of trafficking underage children to Jeffrey Epstein for sexual abuse. Andrew now says he “regrets” his association with Epstein. It has been claimed – but not proved – that the image is a fake.

Prince Andrew has reached an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre that will end her abuse claim against him – but will leave questions about his own conduct hanging in the air.

Ms Giuffre had brought a case of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Prince.

It was claimed she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and others to Andrew, who was alleged to have sexually abused her when she was under the age of 18. Court documents referred to three separate occasions in which Ms Giuffre accused him of sexual misconduct.

She had claimed the Prince had sex with her against her will at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home.

She also alleged he forced her to engage in sex acts against her will at Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

And he was also alleged to have sexually abused Giuffre during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James.

Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed but it appears to involve substantial sums of money including a large donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights. This amount may be revealed when the charity’s annual reports are released.

He has stated that he accepts that she suffered, both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.

The Prince has not admitted any guilt or apologised for any of his behaviour.

But he has acknowledged that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked “countless” young girls over many years and has said he “regrets” his association with that man.

To demonstrate this regret, he has pledged to support the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and to support its victims.

There appears to be nothing in the settlement – no non-disclosure agreement – stopping Ms Giuffre from publishing her claims in the future.

International lawyers have said they think Andrew’s lawyers were left with little option other than to make a deal, considering the weakness of his legal position and fears over his performance in the witness stand.

They have said the settlement may cost him at least £10 million, in line with settlements of previous cases involving wealthy individuals.

The agreement raises more questions than it answers.

Most obviously, Prince Andrew’s personal reputation has not just been dragged through, but has arguably been drowned in the mud – as has that of the UK’s Royal Family, by association.

Adverse publicity has already led to Andrew being stripped of all his royal patronages and military affiliations, with the Queen’s approval. He has also agreed to stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity.

It had been feared that a court case would overshadow the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations this year, with details of the Prince’s personal life examined and his denials of ever meeting Ms Giuffre challenged.

If an agreement could have been reached, why did this not happen earlier?

Is it because the Prince was facing the prospect of sitting for a deposition – giving sworn evidence – at which he would have been questioned under oath by Ms Giuffre’s legal team? Did he have reason to fear the possibility that information may be uncovered that he doesn’t want to see the light of day?

Who is paying? It has been alleged that the Queen herself has put up some of the money for Andrew’s defence, and his representatives have declined to comment on the source of funds for the donation. Ultimately, are the citizens of the UK paying to whitewash this privileged man’s name?

Does Prince Andrew think this will all go away now, and he can resume work as a member of the Royal Family as if the court case didn’t happen? Commentators are already saying that this is unlikely – meaning his future is still in doubt.

York MP Rachael Maskell has called for him to stop using his title as the Duke of York, to show respect for the people of the city.

And concern has been raised over the possibility of him appearing alongside the rest of the Royal Family at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service next month; with vindication impossible if a trial does not happen, it is not known whether the claims of sexual assault were accurate – and this may overshadow the occasion if Andrew is allowed to participate.

Perhaps the Prince hoped that, by reaching a settlement, he would be able to draw a line under these accusations and move on.

In fact, it seems he has merely extended the controversy well into the future.

Source: Prince Andrew settles sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre – live updates

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Benefits assessor pays off family of dead claimant – is this the new trend?

Death by DWP: Philippa Day.

Is this the new fashion for the Department for Work and Pensions and its privately-hired assessors: pay off the families of people who have died and sweep their cases under the carpet?

Philippa Day is the second deceased benefit claimant this week whose case is being ended with a payment by one of the organisations involved in pushing her to her death.

This time, benefit assessor Capita is paying up in an out-of-court settlement after Ms Day’s family started a lawsuit. In the other case, the DWP itself paid more than £16,000 to family members of another claimant after being ordered to do so by an Independent Case Examiner (ICE).

Coroner Gordon Clows delivered a damning indictment of Capita and the DWP at the inquest into Ms Day’s death in January this year.

He said her mental illness had been “exacerbated” by the way her benefits were processed: “Were it not for this problem, it is not likely that she would have [taken the act which ended her life].”

And he said a lot more. See This Site’s previous article – here – for all the damning details.

Now Capita is paying an undisclosed amount – out of court – meaning there will be no UK court verdict against the organisation or the Department for Work and Pensions to show that they drove a vulnerable woman to her death.

Do you think that is fair? I don’t.

Nor, it seems does solicitor Merry Varney, who acted for the Day family on behalf of law firm Leigh Day.

She said: “Capita has shown acceptance of their failures and a willingness to ensure their mistakes are not repeated, however there remain too many examples of the DWP, which controls the financial circumstances of the majority of people too sick to work, acting inhumanely to those receiving benefits and a continued resistance by the DWP to transparent investigations into benefit related deaths.

“Until the DWP changes its attitude, people like Philippa and her family remain at risk of gross human rights violations and ‘benefit related deaths’ are just another example of preventable deaths of people with disabilities occurring without any proper investigation or scrutiny.”

Somebody needs to take a court case through to the end. Otherwise the DWP and its assessment firms will keep dodging responsibility for the thousands of deaths they are causing.

Source: Capita pays compensation to family of woman who died after benefits cut | Welfare | The Guardian

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‘Bullied’ former Home Office boss drops case against Patel in return for huge payout of YOUR cash

Sir Philip Rutnam: rather than prove claims of bullying against him – and demonstrate the culture of bullying allegedly created by Priti Patel in the Home Office – he’s going to take the money and run.

Pathetic.

The former Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, has stabbed his fellow civil servants in the back by coming to a settlement of his ‘unfair dismissal’ case against Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Rutnam had claimed he had been the victim of a “vicious and orchestrated” briefing campaign after trying to get Ms Patel to change her bullying behaviour.

His case was due to be heard by an employment tribunal in September – which seems a long wait, considering he quit in February last year.

But now it isn’t going to happen because he has opted to take Patel’s thirty pieces of silver instead – or rather, £340,000 plus his legal costs.

And when I say “Patel’s” money, I mean public money because of course she wouldn’t dream of paying him anything herself.

This is not an appropriate use of public funds.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said:

Taxpayers will be appalled at having to pick up the bill for the home secretary’s unacceptable behaviour.

(Strictly speaking, he’s not right. The government creates money to cover its expenditure. It taxes us to give that money its value. But he’s right that we should not expect public money to be used to pay for the indiscretions of Tory ministers.)

The government is saying it does not accept liability for the manner of Rutnam’s departure from his job.

If that’s true, then why pay a “substantial” amount to settle the case?

Source: Philip Rutnam: Ex-Home Office boss settles unfair dismissal case – BBC News

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Does money matter more than your life? Corporations prepare lawsuits against countries over Covid-19 protections


Remember the fuss over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)? No?

Let me tell you a story.

Back when the UK was part of the European Union, there was a move to create a trading partnership with the United States, allowing goods to flow between the two power blocs, practically tax free.

But problems arose over a so-called ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement’ system that would have allowed corporations to prosecute individual nations if they passed laws that – for example – protected citizens from having to buy inferior goods that put their health at risk.

This would have interfered with the corporations’ profits, you see.

The possibility of entering an agreement that gave ultimate power to greedy shareholders rather than national governments that – at least nominally – exist to protect citizens killed the TTIP stone dead.

Now we have evidence of what a good idea this was:

Countries could soon face a ‘wave’ of multi-million dollar lawsuits from multinational corporations claiming compensation for measures introduced to protect people from COVID-19 and its economic fallout, according to a new report.

Researchers have identified more than twenty corporate law firms offering services to mount such cases, which would seek compensation from states for measures that have negatively impacted company profits – including lost future profits.

Measures that could face legal challenges include the state acquisition of private hospitals; steps introduced to ensure that drugs, tests and vaccines are affordable; and relief on rent, debt and utility payments.

Under controversial ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) mechanisms, foreign investors, companies and shareholders are able to sue states directly at obscure international tribunals over a wide range of government actions… in what the researchers describe as “a parallel justice system for the rich”.

This Writer is not aware of the UK being a part of any ISDS procedure, and it is clear that any agreement to take part in one would be an offence against democracy.

Note very carefully that the UK’s Conservative government was very keen to take us into such an agreement with the United States, as part of the EU.

I can only agree with Labour’s John McDonnell…

… and urge that anyone hearing of such lawsuits taking place here in the UK let me know immediately.

Source: Exclusive: Countries to face a ‘wave’ of corporate lawsuits challenging emergency COVID-19 measures | openDemocracy

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High Court takes next step in Riley libel case – but why hasn’t she tried negotiation?

The High Court has ordered the legal teams acting for myself and Rachel Riley to move onto the next stage of her libel action against me.

This means we have to fill out a ‘directions questionnaire’ containing details including, for example, the names of any witnesses we wish to call.

More interesting, though, is the possibility of “alternative dispute resolution” – meeting with Ms Riley’s legal team in order to end the case without going to trial.

Courts take the view that litigation should be a last resort, and that claims should not be issued prematurely when it is possible for the parties to come to a settlement. If parties refuse to consider this option, then the court may penalise them when determining costs.

This was made clear in the ‘Pre-action Protocol for Defamation’ that Ms Riley’s lawyers sent me, almost a year ago.

But when my own legal team contacted them to discuss the case, they filed proceedings against me rather than take this reasonable step.

I’m still happy to have a chat about it.

It seems silly for Ms Riley to be determined to waste thousands of pounds forcing a trial in which her own behaviour will be dragged into the light, for all to see and condemn.

But, for the time being at least, it seems that is what she wants to do.

She still knows that I can only take the case to trial with your support, while she can rely on her TV-derived riches to, basically, buy a verdict against me.

If you think that it is unreasonable to force a trial when an alternative settlement is available, then please contribute to the CrowdJustice fund.

The only way to discourage Ms Riley from her apparent plan is to convince her that she can’t buy a verdict and faces the possibility of the facts being brought out in court.

Here’s how you can do that:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

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

I’m offering Ms Riley a chance to avoid expensive court proceedings but so far she hasn’t taken it. To me, that seems to show that she is less interested in justice than in bullying a poor person.

If you agree, please give what you can to make sure she is foiled.

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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EU and Ireland leaders slam David Davis for “unacceptable” comments – as predicted by Vox Political

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and UK Brexit Secretary David Davis: The one on the right is a liar, but the one on the left intends to hold him to his word – as does Guy Verhofstadt of the European Union.

It is exactly as Vox Political stated: David Davis has undermined trust in the UK’s sincerity during Brexit negotiations and now the EU27 are halting further developments until cast-iron assurances are provided.

Serves the arrogant, ignorant and flat-out stupid Tory right.

And Guy Verhofstadt isn’t the only one vowing to hold the UK to its obligations: Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said both Ireland and the EU would be holding the UK to the terms of the agreement reached last Friday.

A spokesman for Mr Varadkar said, “as the Taoiseach indicated on Friday, even if the worse case scenario occurs and there is no final deal, there must still be full alignment north and south under the agreement”.

The … spokesman cited in particular Article 46 which states that: “The commitments and the principles…are made and must be upheld in all circumstances, irrespective of the nature of any future agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.”

It is exactly as This Writer stated, regarding Mr Davis:

They are judging him according to his character: He lied about the ‘impact assessments’ and he reckons Friday’s agreement is a lie as well.

Does anybody remember the saying, “An Englishman’s word is his bond”?

Mr Davis, together with the Conservative government under Theresa May, has put an end to that. Our international reputation is ruined.

And if he thinks anybody is going to sign a trade deal with a government of liars, he’s going to have a very nasty surprise.

The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator has accused David Davis of “undermining trust” with “unacceptable” comments that implied last week’s breakthrough deal was not legally binding.

Guy Verhofstadt lashed out as he revealed MEPs would toughen up their red lines before agreeing that the negotiations can move onto a future trade deal – a development Britain badly wants.

“Remarks by David Davis that phase one deal last week not binding were unhelpful & undermines trust. EP text will now reflect this & insist agreement translated into legal text ASAP,” Mr Verhofstadt tweeted.

Source: Brexit: European Parliament chief condemns ‘unacceptable’ David Davis remarks as backlash grows | The Independent


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Known liar says UK could lie about Brexit deal; what is the EU supposed to think?

[Cartoon: Ben Jennings.]

David Davis really should know when to keep his mouth shut – especially after his own Brexit ‘impact assessments’ debacle and the recent behaviour of his colleague Boris Johnson.

Let us remind ourselves of the disgrace with which Mr Davis has covered himself, courtesy of this video by Peter Stefanovic:

It is clear that Mr Davis lied about the existence of these documents. If anybody wants to split hairs about the difference between an “analysis” and an “assessment”, This Writer would urge them to look up a dictionary definition of both terms and consider whether there really is a huge difference between them.

Now he has said the last-minute agreement on the Irish border, citizens’ rights and the financial settlement between the UK and the EU27 on Brexit is “non-binding”.

According to the BBC: “He stressed that the deal struck by Theresa May on Friday to move to the next phase of talks was a “statement of intent” and not “legally enforceable”.

“Mr Davis has said “full alignment” would apply to the whole of the UK, not just Northern Ireland, but the Sunday Telegraph said Conservative Brexiteers had been reassured that it was “non-binding” and had been included to secure Ireland’s backing for the deal.”

This shows an extraordinary lack of intelligence from Mr Davis.

Only a few weeks ago, his colleague Boris Johnson caused an international incident when he said he believed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching journalism in Iran – confirming the claims of the Iranian authorities who had arrested her (such actions are considered to be ‘soft’ campaigning against the ruling regime there). In fact, she had been on holiday.

Of course the Iranians took Mr Johnson at his word and threatened to double Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s prison term. The imbecilic foreign secretary is in Iran at the time of writing, trying to put right his monumental blunder.

Now Mr Davis has made almost exactly the same kind of blunder – but one that could have far more serious repercussions for everybody in the UK.

And why not?

All they would be doing is judging him according to his character: He lied about the ‘impact assessments’ and he reckons Friday’s agreement is a lie as well.

And he is, after all, the UK minister responsible for Brexit.

The harm to Mr Davis’s reputation is indelible. If you want proof – look at the reaction to his claims about trade deals after Brexit.

He told Andrew Marr that the UK could sign a “Canada plus, plus, plus” trade deal with the European Union “the second after we leave”.

What do we think of that? See for yourself:

We have a Brexit Secretary who has ruined his own reputation with a silly lie – and giggled like a schoolgirl about it when his falsehood was exposed, let’s remember.

He has acted in extremely bad faith and the EU’s negotiators – not to mention the leaders of the other 27 nations – know it.

And he has ruined not only his own reputation but that of the UK internationally.

Still, he won’t be resigning any time soon. Theresa May is too weak to demand it and besides, the stupid Tory government will simply try to hide behind another lie.

Here it is, in fact:

“New sense of optimism?”

New smell of merde, more like!


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Selling us a pup: Theresa May’s non-deal with the EU on Brexit

Theresa May meets Jean-Claude Juncker for their early-morning meeting. She’s smiling because she thinks she’s found a way to hoodwink us all into believing she has achieved something solid when all she has done is kick the Brexit can down the road.

Am I wrong? Let’s consider.

Here’s what Theresa May and the Tories want you to think has just happened:

And here’s what analysts are saying.

On the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the announcement today states: “In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South co-operation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”

This means Theresa May and her EU counterparts have sidestepped the competing demands facing them – not to have a ‘hard’ border, and for Northern Ireland not to enjoy separate rules from the rest of the United Kingdom. And:

The BBC states: “It’s not entirely clear how full alignment could be maintained without Northern Ireland staying in the single market and the customs union, especially as there is no such thing as partial membership.”

The Daily Mirror is more scathing: “Everyone’s kicked the can down the road… The UK wants to secure Northern Ireland’s status without any special treatment through an overall EU-UK deal later in the process.”

There will be no hard border, but Northern Ireland will get unfettered access to the internal UK market – even though the UK is leaving the EU’s single market and customs union.

Even if an overall UK-EU deal does not secure NI’s status without special treatment, the plan now offers NI “full alignment” with some current EU rules it shares with the Republic – possibly including some aspects of the Customs Union as mentioned above.

The Mirror continues: “The words “regulatory alignment” – which enraged the DUP so much they called Mrs May midway through a lunch to scupper a previous deal – have been dropped from the agreement. Instead the Northern Ireland government will get a veto on any new “regulatory barriers” between Northern Ireland and the UK.”

Won’t this simply scupper talks further down the line?

“Meanwhile, the UK and Ireland can continue to sort out between them people’s rights to move across the border under the Common Travel Area. This will not affect Ireland’s obligations under EU law.”

And what about NI’s obligations under UK law?

“And Irish Premier Leo Varadkar said Northern Ireland citizens can continue to “exercise his or her right” to EU citizenship” – further complicating matters as not every NI citizen is going to do that.

On the financial settlement – often known as the ‘divorce bill’, Theresa May wants you to think she has beaten back the EU, and the UK will not pay any more than it must, meaning more cash for domestic concerns like “housing, schools and the NHS”.

But she won’t be devoting £350 million a week to those concerns, as Leave campaigners offered in the run-up to the referendum, so UK citizens should rightly feel short-changed.

And the wording of the financial settlement is opaque to the point of impenetrability. It states: “The second phase of the negotiations will address the practical modalities for implementing the agreed methodology and the schedule of payments.” In other words, everyone’s kicked the can down the road.

The BBC says: “A method for calculating the bill has been agreed, but the calculation of an exact UK share will depend on exchange rates, on interest rates, on the number of financial commitments that never turn into payments, and more. The question of how and when payments will be made still needs to resolved, but it will be a schedule lasting for many years to come, and it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever be able to give an exact figure for the size of the divorce bill. UK sources say it will be up to £40bn, but some EU sources expect it to be higher than that. No-one can say for sure, and both sides want to keep it that way.”

The Mirror adds a few details that Mrs May would probably prefer you didn’t know:

  • “The financial settlement itself will be drawn up and paid in Euros – meaning Britain will lose out because the pound plummeted on referendum night.
  • “Britain will have to pay its share of budget commitments “outstanding at 31 December 2020”.
  • “It will take 12 YEARS [for the UK] to be repaid the huge pot Britain has in the European Investment Bank. The sums will be repaid in instalments of 300 million Euros a year.
  • “Britain will honour commitments it made before 2019 for refugees in Turkey.
  • “It will also continue to pay into the European Development Fund in full until the current round ends in 2020.”

Is this really a good financial deal? It looks like a fudge to This Writer.

All right, then – what about citizens’ rights?

It seems that Mrs May has given in to the EU on most of the details – although the announcement that this is a reciprocal deal, meaning everything that applies to the UK will also apply to EU citizens, is a bit of a breakthrough for the minority prime minister.

Brextremists will hate the agreement that, although the European Court of Justice will not have direct jurisdiction over citizenship cases, UK courts must continue to give “due regard” to its decisions – indefinitely. Not only that, but UK courts will have to refer questions of interpretation (of the rules) to the ECJ for no less than eight years after Brexit.

The Conservative government wants us to believe the agreement is entirely voluntary and will only apply to two or three cases a year. We’ll see.

There are multiple blows for people who wanted Brexit to mean the UK will be able to control the number of people moving here from EU states:

EU citizens will be able to move here at any time up to the date of Brexit (March 29, 2019), and their rights will be protected under today’s agreement.

According to the Mirror: “If an EU citizen is living legally in Britain before March 2019, a huge range of relatives will all have the right to move to Britain – for the lifetime of the person already living here. That includes their spouses, registered partners, children and grandchildren (“direct descendants”) under 21 – even if they’re not born yet – and spouses’ dependent direct relatives.”

The Mirror goes on to provide a long list of other conditions that will have made Brextremists choke on their breakfast today:

  • “Mrs May’s plan to force EU citizens to apply for “settled status” appears to be intact – she wanted to let people apply after they’ve been in Britain for five years. But the arrangements must be “transparent, smooth and streamlined”, the deal says.
  • “People who’ve settled in Britain can now leave for up to five years without losing their settlement rights. Theresa May wanted it to be just two years.
  • “Residence documents must be issued either free of charge, or no more expensive than similar documents would be for UK nationals. A “proportionate approach” will be taken to those who “miss the deadline with good reason”.
  • “People who already have UK residence documents issued under EU law must have them converted to the new status free of charge – with only a security and background check.
  • “Benefits and healthcare arrangements will continue as they are now for people living in a country under the agreement before 29 March 2019.
  • “But in a blow for expats, there’s no deal on whether UK citizens settled in the EU will be able to move to other EU countries freely, or will be fixed in the country they’re in now.”

Is that really “securing” everybody’s “rights”? Or is it simply doing as we’re told by the EU negotiators?

Let’s all remember the following, from the agreement document: “Under the caveat that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the joint commitments set out… in this joint report shall be reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement in full detail.”

This means nothing has been delivered at all.

Everything that has been agreed so far could be thrown away if future stages of Brexit negotiations run into difficulty or unravel altogether.

And commentators in the social media have already sniffed out the devils in the details:

And supporters of the deal are being hammered:

To This Writer, it seems we’re being sold a pup.

The details of the Irish border agreement have been delayed, as has the final agreement on the financial settlement, despite the fact that we were all told these must be finalised before negotiations move on to trading deals.

And the deal on citizens’ rights seems to be everything the EU could want it to be, while ‘Leave’ voters will feel that they have been left out in the cold.

But all the negotiating parties seem happy to let this non-deal stand.

I wonder what Parliament will do with it, let alone what the representatives of the EU’s 27 remaining states will think, when they discuss it on December 14.


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The ‘Repeal Bill’ will put profit over people in a double-whammy for the Tories

The Tories promised they would take back control after Brexit. They meant they would take it AWAY – from US [Image: PA].

If you were wondering why the Tories have quietly dropped their dodgy ‘Bill of Rights’, it’s because they don’t need it any more – they can achieve the same aims, with far less fuss, in their so-called ‘Repeal Bill’.

The Bill will be the most dishonest piece of legislation to go through Parliament in decades – starting with its title. It will repeal nothing. The stated aim is to enshrine European laws that the UK observes (without having passed them as our own) into UK law, to ensure a smoother transition when Brexit happens.

But this is not true. The Tories intend to pick and choose which EU laws get to go on the UK statute book – and the plan is to ensure that the people lose out to corporations on every line.

So the ‘Bill of Rights’ – which was intended primarily to remove rights that had been conferred on UK citizens by the EU – will no longer be necessary; the Tories will simply cut those rights out of the Repeal Bill and hide it from the public.

Similarly, the Tories won’t have to face public scrutiny over their plans to ensure that corporations can sue the UK government if any future administration tries to put the good of the citizens before private profit.

The so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system was a principle reason the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement foundered last year. Soon after, it was rumoured that the whole project may have been demanded by the UK government, with the intention of putting corporations in control.

Now, with our departure from the EU imminent, the Tories don’t need anybody else’s permission to impose the worst of all possible worlds on the people of the United Kingdom.

They are planning a new hierarchy, with working people at the bottom, enjoying no rights other than what their overprivileged toff masters hand down to them.

Next will be the apparatus of the state, as embodied in the elected government.

But the government will be a slave to the will of the corporations.

And who will be at the top of this system?

Why, shareholders in corporations, of course. And wouldn’t it be a strange coincidence if these boardrooms turned out to be stuffed with people who are currently Conservative government ministers?

Perhaps you should ask your Tory-voting neighbour why they support this kind of corruption.

Fundamental rights and powers that ordinary citizens currently enjoy will be scrapped.

This week we have discovered, for instance, that British citizens will no longer be able to sue the government for breaking the law.We will lose our rights, if the government gets its way, to sue for compensation in court when the government acts illegally and infringes our rights at work, or our right to a clean and healthy environment.

Currently, a European ruling means an individual can seek damages if the government has failed to properly implement the law. But the government says that no similar domestic law exists, so there will be no legal mechanism to get such redress in future.

There will be plenty more where this comes from. The Great Repeal Bill, after all, awards our government powers that no modern government has enjoyed in peacetime. And far from simply changing the words “European Union” into “United Kingdom”, ministers will gain the ability to make radical changes to fundamental human rights and environmental protections that simply don’t make sense when taken out of an EU context.

As if this weren’t bad enough, Trade Secretary Liam Fox is touring the planet looking for unsavoury regimes we can sign deregulatory trade deals with. And at the heart of those trade deals, in all likelihood, will be special “corporate courts” that allow foreign businesses the power to sue governments for regulations they judge to be “unfair”.

That’s right – as British citizens lose their ability to hold the government to account in court, foreign multinationals will gain rights to sue the government in secret arbitration panels for passing a regulation or standard that those corporations believe will damage their profits.

We know this because these “courts”, formally known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), already exist in hundreds of investment deals in which countries all over the world have been secretly sued for such radical actions as putting cigarettes in plain packaging, placing a moratorium on fracking, removing toxic chemicals from petrol. No appeal is allowed. And we know that the British government has been one of the most vociferous in the world in putting the case for such courts.

Read more: The Government is using Brexit to take control away from citizens and give it to corporations


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