Tag Archives: Sonia

Observer/Jeremy Corbyn/EHRC/antisemitism footnote: article author’s ill grace

Facepalm: And quit right -what will Jeremy Corbyn (and his supporters) have to put up with next?

The author of the Observer article I criticised so roundly earlier this week has commented after (apparently) a few corrections were made to the online version.

I can only agree with Aaron Bastani:

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

And I found plenty more errors. Are they going to stay uncorrected?


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Top barrister attacks media falsehoods about Jeremy Corbyn and the EHRC report

Laughter: I doubt this has been Jeremy Corbyn’s reaction to the latest vain attempts to destroy his reputation, but let’s hope he gets a warm feeling from the fact that the rest of us are laughing at his detractors.

This is what I get for missing Not the Andrew Marr Show.

On Sunday, it featured award-winning human rights lawyer and former legal advisor to the Race Relations Board, Geoffrey Bindman KC, who exposed the failures of both The Guardian and The Observer to report the facts of the EHRC investigation into whether there was “institutional antisemitism” in the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

Here’s a video clip of him doing it:

So now there’s a highly-distinguished legal analysis opposing these journalists’ unevidenced opinions.

I hear the Guardian has run more anti-Corbyn drivel on its letters page. Where’s the factual accuracy? Or did that leave mainstream newspaper reporting around the same time I did?


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Observer hack attacks Jeremy Corbyn – and triggers a war of words

Jeremy Corbyn: falsely accused YET AGAIN.

What was Sonia Sodha thinking?

“Keir Starmer was right to exile Corbyn,” she wrote. “Labour has a duty to voters, not to rebellious members.”

And: “The party leader correctly sent a signal that democracy is about winning votes, not indulging nostalgia among a minority.”

What?

Did Ms Sodha hear the same speech I did?

Starmer used the opportunity provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission whitewashing his anti-Semitic attacks on left-wing Jews to again tar Mr Corbyn with the anti-Semitism brush, along with any Labour members who supported Corbyn’s “Scandinavian” style of socialism.

And then Starmer told socialists across the party that if they didn’t like his leadership, he wanted them to get out.

So anybody who takes his advice won’t be voting for him, then. So much for Starmer’s duty to voters and to winning votes!

I don’t see where nostalgia figures in what happened at all.

And that’s just looking at the first two paragraphs of Ms Sodha’s Observer article!

She makes basic errors of fact:

  • The EHRC’s report of 2020 did not find Labour responsible for “institutional antisemitism” as she claimed – indeed, it ruled that Labour was not guilty of such an offence.
  • Ken Livingstone – and Pam Bromley – may have been found to have unlawfully harassed Jewish party members, but both are currently (as far as I can tell) embroiled in court action against the EHRC over this claim; it is wrong for her to publicise the former without also confirming the latter.
  • Claims of “appalling” abuse against Luciana Berger from within the Labour Party have been debunked (although she did receive abuse from right-wing activists who had nothing to do with the party)(there are far too many examples for me to provide links here); Margaret Hodge submitted hundreds of complaints – the vast majority of which had nothing to do with Labour Party members.
  • Jeremy Corbyn did not accuse the EHRC of the EHRC of “dramatically overstating” the extent of antisemitism in the party “for political reasons”; he said that, in general, the scale of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party had been overstated by its political opponents.

  • Mr Corbyn has no reason to show contrition because he had not “presided over” anti-Semitism in his party. In fact, he worked hard to eradicate it and succeeded in reducing it until anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was far below not only that in other political parties but also well below the national average as well. Under Mr Corbyn, Labour really was the safest place for Jews. That is not true under Keir Starmer.

And let’s have a few facts that she missed:

  • The report said that Labour discriminated against people who had been accused of anti-Semitism in 42 of the 70 cases the EHRC examined, meaning complaints were exaggerated.
  • The report wrongly blamed Mr Corbyn’s Labour leadership for failing to do enough – or act quickly enough – to implement recommendations for improvements, but it also showed that this situation was quickly put right when Jennie Formby took over from right-wing factionalist Iain (now Lord) McNicol as general secretary; it was party officials working under him who had been dragging their feet.
  • The leader’s office was found to have interfered in several investigations – but often the prejudice was against the people who had been accused of anti-Semitism, and not against anybody Jewish.

So Ms Sodha’s claim that Starmer’s decision was “principled” and “morally correct” because Mr Corbyn hasn’t shown any contrition for the anti-Semitism he “presided over” is baloney because he didn’t preside over it – he worked hard to stop it.

Starmer’s decision therefore comes across as narrow-minded factional hysteria. Ms Sodha’s description of him as a “leader of integrity” is risible; he has opportunistically hung an unwarranted attack against an innocent man on the EHRC’s announcement.

Ms Sodha says Mr Corbyn’s “deep unpopularity in 2019 was a significant factor in Boris Johnson’s resounding victory” but fails to accurately record the reason for that unpopularity: false media reporting of issues like anti-Semitism that has clearly gone uncorrected in the mainstream media to this day.

Still, she gets one aspect of Starmer’s leadership right: he’ll sacrifice any and all principles in order to grasp power.

Ms Sodha wrote: “For Labour’s left flank… votes are not to be achieved at the expense of sacrificing their principles,” clearly implying that the so-called “moderates” (in reality, right-wingers who have very few political differences from the Tories) with happily go anywhere the wind blows if they think it will win them a few votes: “Democracy is first and foremost about winning votes.”

It’s Tony Benn’s argument about politicians being either “signposts” or “weathercocks”; a “signpost” always points in its direction of travel and you know exactly what they are, while a “weathercock” changes with the wind, meaning you can never trust them to do what they say they’ll do from one day to the next. Keir Starmer, as I’ve said before, is clearly a “cock”.

It follows clearly from this that Ms Sodha’s claim that Starmer’s “duty is to voters” is not how the current Labour leader sees his position; he reckons his first duty is to elevate himself, no matter what means he uses to do it. If he’ll sacrifice any policy position to achieve his aim (and remember, he has ditched all 10 of the pledges he made when he was seeking election as party leader), then voters cannot know what he will do and he clearly feels no duty to them at all.

She goes on to attack democracy; if members of the Labour Party can’t have equal say in the election of a Parliamentary candidate, then democracy has been betrayed. If party leaders can override constituency members in choosing who will represent them, then democracy has been betrayed. Ms Sodha denies this.

“It is fundamentally undemocratic to give the small, unrepresentative sliver of voters that constitutes the Labour party membership too much power to impose a leader that neither the party’s MPs, nor the country at large, think is decent and competent, or to impose an idiosyncratic choice of individual as a likely local MP on tens of thousands of voters,” she trumpets, unable to see the fundamental flaw in her argument.

What is that flaw? Simply that the membership of a political party describes its policies, beliefs and direction of travel – or should do so. The membership’s choice tells the voters at large what the party is about.

And – crucially – handing these important decisions over to the leadership simply gives power to an even smaller, less representative sliver of voters and must, therefore, be even more undemocratic according to Ms Sodha’s own argument.

So much for her.

The article has attracted a large amount of flak. Here’s just some of what I’ve found:

You can probably find more on the social medium of your choice.

Personally, I hope press regulator IPSO receives a barrage of complaints about this article.

Ms Sodha – and all at the Observer and sister paper The Guardian – should be ashamed.

Mythbusting: nurse(?) makes mistake over ‘Do Not Resuscitate’

Ventilator: people with long-term illnesses, disabilities and learning disabilities are still being denied resuscitation by the NHS – and one nurse, at least, has denied the existence of this scandal.

I can’t let this pass.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on June 16, Peterborough’s Tory MP Paul Bristow asked an important question about “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders that have been made on NHS patients during the Covid-19 crisis.

Having reported on this scandal many times on This Site, I tweeted in response:

I was surprised and saddened when this provoked the following response from a Twitter user who identifies as a nurse (I won’t reproduce the tweet here because I do not wish to identify that person):

“Are you a healthcare professional?

“No.

“Then do not spread false theories about something you obviously know nothing about.”

I attempted to put my critic straight – as politely as possible, in the circumstances:

“I am a news reporter of nearly 30 years experience and have been covering this story from the start. I DO know the facts here. And I see that, since you provide no information to support your insult, you probably don’t. Go well.”

Sadly, this person would not take the (rather overt) hint and came back at me:

You have confirmed it.

It is a story.

I do not have the time, inclination or room on twitter to “provide you with information” only to say that I have 30 years experience as a nurse and have a postgraduate qualification in Professional Practice

Then this is a person who ought to have known better. The claim, “It is a story,” was an attempt to downplay the DNR deaths as fiction, and I wasn’t having that. Also the refusal to support a claim with factual information is a classic tactic by trolls who don’t have any facts to offer.

So I responded (again):

“And how does that better qualify you to comment on this? I’ve done the research so I know my facts. It isn’t fiction.”

And again this person came back at me:

Ok then would you attempt CPR on a five stone frail old woman? Am not going to carry on with this because I’m afraid you just don’t know what you’re on about

This is misleading, and a lie. Allow me to explain.

Mr Bristow’s question is available  to read in Hansard, here. He said: “Last year, doctors and care settings issued an unprecedented number of “do not resuscitate” orders to patients with learning disabilities and mental illness. Many were unlawful and caused avoidable deaths.

“Despite urgent Care Quality Commission and NHS guidance, shockingly, this practice has continued. Last week, The Telegraph reported that Sonia Deleon died unresuscitated. Her family said she was given a DNR without them knowing, and with her learning disabilities and schizophrenia stated as reasons.

“Does the Prime Minister share my alarm about these cases, which should have no place in our care, and does he agree that they should be independently investigated?”

I won’t bother to repeat Boris Johnson’s response as he made no undertaking to prevent further abuses of DNR orders.

It was clear that the issue here was not the safety of attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on a person who may suffer as much harm in that attempt as by the condition that had caused them to need reviving.

It was a political choice to deny health care to people dying with Covid-19, because they have learning (or other) disabilities. It seems to have been considered an opportunity to clear many thousands of so-called “useless eaters” from the UK’s benefit books.

Sonia Deleon’s story is a classic example; you can read about it here.

In brief, almost a year after it was revealed that a policy was in place to deny NHS Covid-19 care to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – and NHS bosses then claimed to have warned hospitals, GPs and NHS managers not to make such orders on these people, Sonia Deleon was deliberately allowed to die because a DNR order on her had been made.

Hospital authorities claimed that it the order had been agreed with Ms Deleon’s family but they deny this strenuously.

Ms Deleon had learning disabilities and the circumstances of her death are not only a scandal in themselves but are a continuation of a national disgrace.

And I was criticised for highlighting this atrocity – by someone claiming to be a nurse.

I won’t take this matter further by seeking to identify the NHS trust for which this person works and requesting that they be reminded of the facts and properly disciplined for trying to mislead the public. I may change my mind if any further attempts at deception result from this article.

But I will take the opportunity to request that anybody who has relatives living with a long-term illness or disability, or a learning disability, should contact the NHS and ensure that orders equivalent to death sentences have not been applied to their loved ones without their knowledge.

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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