Tag Archives: Sivier

Corbyn to begin legal action against his Labour Party suspension

At long last, Jeremy Corbyn is doing what he should have done in 2016 – taking his critics in the Labour Party to court.

He will apply for disclosure of documents held by Labour in a hearing on Monday afternoon (January 18).

This could lead to a legal challenge against his suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party, ordered by Keir Starmer in November.

Mr Corbyn was suspended by officials in October for claiming that the scale of anti-semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons.”

Despite an NEC panel’s decision to readmit him [and] the Equality & Human Rights Commission’s warning against political interference in such cases … Sir Keir removed the whip.

The announcement has provoked considerable discussion on the Vox Political Facebook page.

“He should have had Hodge in court over her slurs before she knew what had hit her,” said one commenter.

Another replied: “He was doing all he could to facilitate that “broad church” they constantly whined on about.

“However, I have no reason to see why he shouldn’t win the upcoming court case which I hope will achieve much in the middle to slightly longer term in our battle to reclaim the party for the socialists it was created for and not as a hiding place for desperate LibDems.”

Another commenter, discussing the launch of Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley’s judicial review against the EHRC, added: “Things are going to go tits up for Starmer and Co, and it can’t come quick enough.”

Source: Corbyn to begin first steps in legal action against his suspension next week | Morning Star

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Dutch government faces collapse over child benefits scandal. Why didn’t that happen to the Tories?

I bring this to your attention because the UK Conservative Party restricted child benefits to cover two children a few years ago.

Any parent wishing to claim benefit for a third child (or more) had to prove that the child was born in extraordinary circumstances conforming to a clause in new Tory legislation that swiftly became known as the rape clause.

It demanded that people who had been criminally violated not only had to relive the experience but also had to discuss it with strangers who should have had no right to know.

Parents with more than two children who could not provide such information lost benefit for more than two children instantly.

Those who could provide it were not guaranteed the extra cash because a DWP adjudicator could easily decide against them.

There was an outcry against this change in the law – which unreasonably discriminates against victims of violent crime.

But the Tories were never in any danger of being removed.

So here’s the question:

Are the Dutch overreacting? Or should the Tories have stepped down over their law that exposes and humiliates rape victims?

The Dutch government will decide on Friday whether to step down over an escalating scandal in which tax officials wrongly accused thousands of parents of fraud, plunging many families into debt by ordering them to repay childcare allowances.

The opposition Labour party leader, Lodewijk Asscher, who was social affairs minister in the previous government, resigned over the affair on Thursday, denying he knew the tax authority was “wrongly hunting down thousands of families” but conceding a failing system had “made the government an enemy of its people”.

Source: Dutch government faces collapse over child benefits scandal | Netherlands | The Guardian

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After ‘hamper’ fiasco, Tories want to deny kids free school meals during half term week. But what are they hiding with all this noise?

Scandal: only two days ago, the Tory government came under attack for letting an outsourcing company skim £25 in profit from the cost of a £30 food hamper FOR CHILDREN. Now the Tories are trying to confuse parents by forcing them to apply to their local council for food vouchers over half term week. Is it all a big distraction from something else they don’t want us to see?

Isn’t it incredible?

Days after they were found to have been starving children by outsourcing £30 ‘free school meal’ hampers to a company that provided only £5 worth of food and kept the other £25 to itself, the Conservative government has announced a plan to starve schoolkids during half term week.

They say they won’t allow schools to provide free meals to pupils who usually get them; instead, local councils have been given responsibility to provide food under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

This scheme provided £170 million to councils in December. Under it, families have to apply to their local council for help, and will get a £15 voucher for each qualifying child.

It seems a deliberate attempt to cause confusion by switching schemes just when families need clarity.

And how much of that £170m fund has been spent already? It’s not a lot, divided across the whole of England (other UK countries have equivalent schemes, according to the government).

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, warned that switching schemes meant “yet more disruption to free schools meals could lie ahead in half term”.

He said that rather than allowing schools to carry on providing food it would cause an “unnecessary logistical nightmare”.

He said ministers should now “hang their heads in shame” for threatening more “chaos and confusion” over providing food.

“These are battles which should not have to be repeatedly fought,” said Mr Courtney.

But they are.

And both the media and the public tend to focus on recurring issues like this, to the exclusion of other matters happening at the time.

School meals don’t cost a huge amount – in government terms – and it won’t cause too much upset if the Tories are forced to capitulate again.

So This Writer is left to ask what else is happening that the Tories don’t want us to know?

Source: Row over half term free school meals plan – BBC News

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Court challenge against EHRC anti-Semitism claims about Livingstone and Bromley

Ken Livingstone: he is appealing for donations to help him mount a judicial review against questionable accusations made against him by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The basis in which the Equality and Human Rights Commission said the Labour Party committed unlawful harassment of Jewish people is to be challenged in court.

The long-delayed EHRC report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, when it finally appeared in late October last year, stated that it could find only two instances in which Labour members had broken the law – involving Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley.

The report claims that Livingstone committed unlawful harassment in April 2016 when he pointed to a “smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to stigmatize critics of Israel as anti-Semitic, as well as being aimed at undermining and disrupting the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn,” in his defence of Labour MP Naz Shah.

The EHRC report said Shah had posted an image to Facebook “suggesting that Israel should be relocated to the United States” and a second post “in which she appeared to liken Israeli policies to those of Hitler.”

(For clarity: the first image was a satirical response to moves within Israel to forcibly remove all Palestinians from within the borders claimed by the Israeli government to neighbouring Arab states; the claim about the second was even more disgusting – the text, stating that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal, was pointing out that an act can be legal and still be wrong, as stated by the black man depicted in the image… probably the 20th century’s most-celebrated anti-racism campaigner, Martin Luther King. I notice EHRC does not appear to have mentioned that small but important fact.)

Shah admitted anti-Semitic intent in posting the images, although they are not inherently anti-Semitic in themselves. The third tweet mentioned in accusations against her – a claim that “the Jews are rallying” in response to a poll on whether Israel should stop bombing Palestinians to oblivion during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – was anti-Semitic (it would have been accurate if it had said “pro-Israelis” instead of Jews).

Livingstone has always denied saying anything anti-Semitic. He says the draft EHRC report had not been sent to him before publication, which means he had not been given the opportunity to correct the record.

Livingstone’s defense of Shah included a BBC radio interview in which he accurately pointed out that in the early 1930s when he first came to power, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “was supporting Zionism.” This was perverted by critics including former Labour MP John Mann into a false claim that Livingstone was saying Hitler himself was a Zionist. That was never true; his aims and those of German Zionists coincided for a brief period, that is all.

The EHRC report does not mention the radio interview comment – which was what led to Livingstone’s suspension from the Labour Party and eventual forced resignation.

Instead it states that, merely by denying that Shah’s posts were anti-Semitic, Livingstone was guilty of “unwanted conduct related to Jewish ethnicity,” which “had the effect of harassing members of the Labour Party.”

But the anti-Semitic intent of the image posts was not apparent in the posts themselves; Shah had to admit it for it to be considered true.

This Writer is less familiar with the case against Bromley so I shall not comment on it here.

In a press release announcing the launch of the case Livingstone said,

“The EHRC’s investigation into the Labour Party was a politically-motivated attack aimed at derailing Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. The Commission cobbled together a half-baked case against me, justified by a flawed legal analysis.

“This judicial review will be a vital step in correcting the record and in fighting back against a McCarthyite smear campaign which has been waged against the British Left over the past five years.”

And Bromley added,

“The EHRC Report and its dubious legal analysis will have knock-on effects for freedom of expression. The right of pro-Palestine campaigners to criticise the State of Israel and its apartheid policies is being actively suppressed.

“This judicial review will not only help to clear mine and Ken’s names, it will ensure that the EHRC Report can’t be used as a tool to bludgeon activists who dare to speak up for Palestinians.”

The judicial review is supported by the Left Legal Fighting Fund, which was set up by left-wing former Labour MP Chris Williamson, using the proceeds of a legal win against the Labour Party in 2019.

The fund is hoping to raise £40,000 towards legal costs.

Further details and information on how to donate are available from the Left Legal Fighting Fund here.

Today’s (January 14) announcement must be another blow for hard-right-wing Labour leader Keir Starmer, who welcomed the report and used it to attack former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He keeps saying he wants to put Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis to rest – but his own activities are prolonging it.

Source: Ken Livingstone to challenge EHRC in court | The Electronic Intifada

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Lords inflict two defeats on government over ‘spy cops’ bill – but Keir Starmer could have made it three

Keir Starmer: he thinks the government and its agents should be above the law.

The Tories bid to allow spies working for government agencies like the Financial Conduct Authority to commit crimes like murder and rape without fear of prosecution has been foiled by the Lords.

Peers supported amendments to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill as follows:

Peers inflicted two significant defeats on the government on Wednesday evening over a bill to regulate the use of undercover informants, passing amendments to stop them participating in murder and rape, and to curtail the use of children as informants.

The government was also defeated by 299 to 284 on an amendment from the peer Doreen Massey, which proposed explicitly banning those acting undercover from being allowed to participate in a list of serious crimes, including murder, torture, rape or other sexual offences as they gained information.

Ministers had ruled out introducing such a list previously, arguing that creating a list of forbidden offences could give terrorists and serious criminals ways to unmask infiltrators by asking them to engage in such banned activities.

Campaign groups welcomed the result, arguing that it would put the UK on a par with similar western countries in setting clear limits.

Sadly, this result is notable for another reason – Labour leader Keir Starmer’s unacceptable support for the Bill with all immunities against criminal prosecution intact.

If he had whipped Labour to oppose it in the Commons, it would never have got as far as the Lords. But he didn’t.

Worse still, after former shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti put forward an amendment to remove immunity from prosecution for crimes from government agents who commit them, saying there would otherwise be a “grave risk” of human rights abuses by undercover agents, Starmer whipped Labour peers to abstain and it failed:

Peers were debating the bill at the second day of its report stage. On Monday, an amendment from Shami Chakrabarti seeking to strike out immunity for undercover agents acting within authorised guidelines was defeated by 309 to 153, after the Labour leadership chose to abstain.

It seems clear that this former Director of Public Prosecutions thinks the government and its agents should be above the law.

It is an unacceptable attitude for any potential national leader to have.

Source: Lords inflict two defeats on government over ‘spy cops’ bill | House of Lords | The Guardian

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Three reasons Keir Starmer is a Conservative, not Labour politician

Starmer is showing his true colours.

He has provided three examples of his personal political beliefs, within a single day, that show he is a Conservative and is therefore leading the Labour Party under false pretences.

Firstly, there is his decision to return Labour to the Conservative, neoliberal economic policies of the New Labour era, that lost the party two general elections in 2010 and 2015.

Secondly,

Yes, it’s true.

Finally, his social politics is positively fascist:

The only reason I can see now for people to vote for him or the party he is defiling with his presence is, they think the only choice is between him and the Conservatives. These are the people whose argument is, “What, you think the Tories are better?”

It seems we all have to take a broader perspective.

If Labour is now the same as the Tories, we’ll have to find someone else to support.

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UK Covid deaths hit a new high

Another 1,564 UK citizens have died of Covid-19, according to the official figure – a new high.

It would be easy to say that Boris Johnson’s new lockdown isn’t working, that he is vaccinating the wrong people – too slowly, and his stupidity means the NHS will be overwhelmed.

But it’s too early for that.

This Writer does think he is vaccinating the wrong people, too slowly, and that his rush to inject as many people as possible by delaying the booster shots (making them useless when they do happen) is genocidal.

A further 1,564 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid test – the biggest figure reported in a single day since the pandemic began.

It means there have been 84,767 deaths by that measure.

Another 47,525 new cases have been recorded, according to the government’s coronavirus dashboard.

Bear in mind that the official death figure is only of people dying within 28 days of a positive Covid test. The actual figure is pushing 100,000.

Source: Covid: UK reports record 1,564 daily deaths – BBC News

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Labour backs away from credible opposition by copying Tories on economics

Annaliese Dodds: do you really think you could trust this woman with the economy?

Keir Starmer’s Labour has announced that its new economic policy is to copy the Conservatives. Why not? Starmer’s copying the Tories in everything else!

Starmer, now well on his way to infamy as the worst leader in the more-than-100-year history of the Labour Party, may have turned the announcement over to his shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, but it has his naive pawprints all over it.

Because it’s yet another example of an inexperienced politician, who doesn’t stand for anything apart from grabbing power for himself, blowing in the wind.

The Financial Times gave the game away.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will signal on Wednesday that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn

Sorry, what? “Hard-left” policies?

Corbyn was never hard-left and the author of the FT piece – Chris Giles, whose criticism of the Tories over the number of people dying due to Covid-19 has been exemplary – should know better. Perhaps he is being led by his ideological nose.

If Corbyn had been hard-left, he would have been demanding the nationalisation of everything and the end of individual property ownership. Hard-left policies require everything to be owned by the state and he never advocated that.

Corbyn’s policies were most similar to those of the Scandinavian countries – and anybody with an eye on international affairs will know that, economically, those nations are much more stable than the UK; their people far more prosperous. The UK would have been better-off under Corbyn’s economic policies.

But Starmer wants to turn his back on them because he is a Conservative at heart.

The trouble is, we already have a Conservative Party in the UK. Returning to the policies that lost Labour two elections (in 2010 and 2015 respectively) will not help a Labour leader who has failed to win a single victory against Boris Johnson’s inept and imbecilic Conservatives.

But that is exactly what Dodd’s is announcing.

In the annual Mais Lecture, she will cloak Labour’s strategy to become the UK’s next government in the latest thinking from international organisations such as the IMF, which recommends waiting until unemployment falls and the recovery is complete before thinking about the sustainability of public finances.

So, it’s back to austerity for Labour. That will be a long wait.

The best way to increase employment is to invest in it – not to leave everything to the market. That is hard-right neoliberalism and Labour should not have anything to do with it. Sadly, Labour members elected a Conservative as their party leader and he is imposing hard-right Conservative policies on them whether they want them or not.

The fact that he lied, lied, and lied again to get himself elected only partially excuses them (as it was clear that he was lying).

Strangely, in her speech, Dodds will distance herself from the economic programme Labour put forward in the run-up to the 2019 general election, that offered spending increases of £83 billion – a modest amount in comparison with the hundreds of billions splurged by Boris Johnson in the last year.

Instead, she will align Labour’s economic policy with that of the Tories, while referring to “responsible” policies no fewer than 23 times. There is nothing “responsible” about Conservative economic policy, or about aligning with them.

There’s an easy test for this. Conservative neoliberalism has been the dominant economic policy in the UK since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected into office.

At that time, a family of four could afford to pay the mortgage on their house together with all household bills including groceries and vehicle running costs, from the wages of just one parent – and still had enough left over for a holiday away from home during the summer.

Is that possible now?

No, it isn’t. Most of us are much worse-off after 41 years of this nonsense – apart from people in positions of extreme power, including MPs like Starmer and Dodds.

So perhaps there is an intention to help in this policy change. Starmer and Dodds are planning to help themselves.

Their predictable lapse into neoliberalism has been greeted with a chorus of derision from everybody who understands what it means:

Who would? The voting public certainly won’t.

Source: Labour signals end of Corbyn era in setting out economic vision | Financial Times

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Boris Johnson can’t even sort out vaccination in the right order

If Boris Johnson really wanted to put a stop to the Covid-19 crisis, why didn’t he order that children be the first to have vaccinations?

Schools are the most common vector for the disease – more people catch it at school or from people who have been to school than from any other cause – but children are among the last on Johnson’s list.

Top of the list are pensioners who either live in seclusion as a matter of course or have adhered very closely to lockdown restrictions, knowing that they are most likely to succumb to the disease if they catch it.

The priority list is ordered by age, meaning the oldest UK citizens get the jab first.

Clearly Johnson has got his priorities wrong.

First on the list should be teachers and pupils, as I’ve already mentioned; key workers; transport workers including bus and taxi drivers… anybody whose job brings them into contact with other people as a matter of course.

Some have said that this would needlessly – and divisively – complicate the process – creating a list that artificially elevates some over others.

But it’s not an artificial elevation; it would actually help cut Covid infections.

So Johnson won’t have it.

He is promising to open vaccination centres 24 hours a day, to speed up the process.

This Writer will believe it when they’re open. We all know Johnson’s promises are worth absolutely nothing.

Again, it is too little, and may possibly come too late.

But then, isn’t that the catchphrase of the Johnson government – “too little, too late”?

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Now Brexit has happened, will Boris Johnson backtrack on his promises and scrap our protections?

Daniel Hannon: he has also called for NHS hospitals to be sold to private US companies after Brexit. It makes you wonder whose side he’s on.

We shouldn’t be surprised.

They’ve already backtracked on their promise not to use a pesticide that kills bees (albeit admittedly in conjunction with other EU countries).

And they’ve cancelled our freedoms to travel to and from EU countries – deliberately making it especially difficult for musicians to work there.

So why shouldn’t the Tories follow Daniel Hannan’s demand and ditch the other protections UK citizens have enjoyed as members of the European Union?

Safeguards for the use of data, pay and conditions, GM foods, hedge funds, dangerous chemicals and the disposal of environmentally-damaging vehicles should all be binned, Daniel Hannan said.

He wants to ditch:

the Temporary Workers’ Directive – which guarantees agency staff receive equal pay and conditions with employees in the same business.

the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – that gives individuals control over their personal data and limits its transfer to other countries.

the ban on products made from genetically modified (GM) crops – potentially allowing US food derived that way into the UK, as part of a future trade deal.

the REACH Directive – to outlaw chemicals linked to health problems including cancer, thyroid disease, hormone disruption and slow development.

the End of Life Vehicles Directive – to achieve environmentally-friendly dismantling and recycling, with targets for the reuse of vehicles and their components.

the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) – introduced to regulate hedge funds and private equity following the 2008 financial crash.

the ‘Droit de suite’ rules – that pay artists a fee on the resale of their works of art, instead of the American ‘first-sale doctrine’ that removes rights from subsequent sales.

“chunks of” the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) – the legal framework to harmonise regulation of securities markets and trading venues.

He doesn’t say how that makes the UK more competitive.

To This Writer’s untutored eye, it seems he just wants to hurt his fellow UK citizens for no very good reason.

His plans would make the country less competitive as they are backward steps that help nobody.

Source: Scrap EU consumer and worker protections now Brexit is completed, leading Tory says | The Independent

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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