Tag Archives: standards

Tories fall out: Heseltine lays into Sunak’s Spring Statement

Michael Heseltine at Downing Street in 2017 when he was sacked from his advisory roles for rebelling against the government in a Brexit vote in the House of Lords.

Don’t you just love it when Conservatives start arguing amongst themselves?

It tends to indicate that their government doesn’t have much life left in it.

Rishi Sunak’s spring statement has been labelled “cloud cuckoo land” by the former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine.

Asked on LBC radio by presenter Andrew Marr for his thoughts on the chancellor’s spring statement, which did not land with “universal enthusiasm”, Lord Heseltine replied: “No and nor can it, it’s cloud cuckoo land.

“As the chancellor has said that public finances are in a difficult situation, the debt is rising and inflation is likely to force up interests are so, all this talk about tax cuts and cutting public expenditure and all this sort of thing is simply not real in the present circumstances.

He added: “What is needed is a strategic plan to battle our way through by increasing the scale of the economy and economic activity and more productive investment. But there are no plans expect in a limited number of places.”

“The one thing that I’m as sure as I can be from any experience I have is that the next twelve months with the cost of living rises and the reduction in living standards is going to be, very, very difficult for the government. “

Let’s hope so – as the architects of our difficulties, they deserve to suffer much more than we will.

Source: Rishi Sunak’s spring statement labelled ‘cloud cuckoo land’ by Lord Heseltine

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Spring Statement signals huge fall in UK living standards – especially if you’re on benefits

Despair: the indifference of the Conservative government that UK voters put into office by a landslide means that – unless you’re a millionaire like them – you are going to struggle to survive over the next few years. Does voting Tory still seem a good idea?

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has let voters down badly.

His failure to do anything meaningful to tackle the cost of living crisis, coupled with inflation and high taxation, mean people are facing the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1956. Worst-hit will be people on benefits, for whom Sunak offered absolutely nothing at all.

Watch Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies as he lays out the bad news:

I’m not going to suggest that any Vox Political reader was stupid enough to vote Tory. But somebody is bound to find this article and consider responding along the lines that the alternative was Jeremy Corbyn “and we’d all be in a terrible state with him in charge!”

But this is quite clearly nonsense. Corbyn was never allowed to be in charge and so any such claims are just childish speculation.

We know why he wasn’t allowed to be in charge:

You were told he was an anti-Semite, and that was a lie.

You were told he wanted to dismantle the UK’s armed forces, and that was a lie too.

You were told he was a friend of Vladimir Putin, and that was also a lie. The friends of Vladimir Putin are currently sitting in Downing Street pretending to be his enemies.

In broader terms, the Tories won because you were told that Brexit would be good for you and voting Tory was the only way to “Get Brexit Done”. That was the biggest lie of all; Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster for the people – and the economy – of the United Kingdom.

As your Tory friends struggle to make ends meet over the coming years and months, please don’t hesitate to remind them of the facts that they ignored because they preferred the convenient lies.

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Is this the reason #DowningStreet #police aren’t being grilled about all those parties?

Take a look at this image:

For those who can’t see well or read from images, the text states: “This is Bas Javid. He’s the brother of Sajid Javid the Health Minister. He’s also the Assistant Commissioner for Professional Standards. In case you’re wondering why the police aren’t investigating the conduct of police officers at Number 10.”

It is indeed an image of Sajid Javid’s brother Basit, who is indeed an Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police.

He was promoted to the role while Sajid Javid was Home Secretary. Feel free to come to your own opinion about whether the appointment was entirely based on his own merits.

I would also encourage you to draw your own conclusion as to whether this close relative of a member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet may have been influenced to veto any investigation into the conduct of Metropolitan Police officers guarding Downing Street at the times of the 13 parties alleged to have taken place there between May 2020 and April 2021.

Strangely, I have been able to find no information on the Metropolitan Police website (so far) to indicate that Professional Standards is indeed Basit Javid’s responsibility. Odd, that. Other organisations make the responsibilities of their senior staff abundantly clear.

(UPDATE: Many thanks to Cathy – @NarcAware – on Twitter for providing this –

– which seems to clear up the matter.)

Of course we know already that Met Commissioner Cressida Dick was at Balliol College, Oxford, around the same time as Boris johnson.

There really does seem to be an interconnected network of people in the highest positions of power in the UK. Whether it really has led to the kind of corruption described in the image at the top of this article or not, the impression it gives could hardly be worse.

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#ReesMogg is facing #sleaze #investigation by watchdog he tried to scrap

Shifty: Jacob Rees-Mogg is facing an investigation into his business practices outside Parliament – by a Standards Commissioner he tried to have abolished. Now, why would he have wanted to do that?

Karma comes around quickly these days, doesn’t it?

Remember how Jacob Rees-Mogg tried to shut down Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone after she found Owen Paterson guilty of corruption?

Now Ms Stone is investigating claims that he took £6 million of loans from his company, Saliston Ltd, between 2018 and 2020 – and failed to make an “open and frank” disclosure of them in the register of members’ interests.

The details are here:

It’s highly suspicious, isn’t it?

Rees-Mogg tried to have the Standards Commissioner’s role abolished, and is now being investigated by the Standards Commissioner.

Was he corruptly acting on his own behalf, rather than (as he undoubtedly claimed) in the interests of justice?

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Jo Bird: another Jewish woman is expelled from Labour – and the timing is suspicious

Jo Bird: Bigoted witch-hunters in the Labour Party have finally succeeded in their campaign to have her kicked out of the party under false pretences – and just in time to influence her demand for enforcement action against the newspaper that smeared her (and me).

The Labour Party has expelled Cllr Jo Bird – and while she says she is delighted to be out of its “hostile environment”, the timing is extremely suspicious.

Cllr Bird was originally suspended by the Labour Party – for just nine days – after making a self-deprecating remark that their should be “Jew process” when considering allegations of anti-Semitism against party members.

She was suspended again when she was running for election to Labour’s ruling body, the NEC, early last year.

Much was made of this at the time, including by the Jewish Chronicle. Ms Bird complained to press regulator IPSO about inaccuracies in its article, and the eventual finding came back in her favour.

The decision is one of more than 30 IPSO decisions and court libel verdicts against that newspaper. Ms Bird and a group of other people – including This Writer – have formally requested that IPSO launch a “standards investigation” examining whether measures should be taken to compel the Jewish Chronicle to conform to the Editors’ Code, rather than publishing falsehoods.

IPSO;s board is now set to discuss the matter on December 8. It is against this background that Labour has, finally, expelled Cllr Bird – retrospectively, for actions involving proscribed organisations that were considered entirely respectable at the time she was involved with them:

The expulsion is the usual nonsense from Labour’s leadership – which, let’s not forget, is riddled with racism, of which this is just another example.

The party claims to oppose discrimination against Jews, yet here it is, discriminating against a Jewish member over something she could not have known would ever be considered unacceptable.

And the expulsion has happened in advance of the IPSO meeting on December 8, meaning board members may form a false impression that the principle figure responsible for the request against the Jewish Chronicle is an anti-Semite.

As it is, the board seems to be in opposition to any enforcement action against that rag, despite its long history of what could at best be described as inaccuracies.

See this article by Brian Cathcart for Byline Times for the details.

Apparently the “toughest regulator in the Western world” is so toothless that it meekly hopes a bit of training for the JC‘s editor, Stephen Pollard, will fix the problem.

Now Labour’s racist leadership has given this toothless regulator an opportunity to avoid doing its job, on a false pretext that the request comes from a dodgy source.

Let’s remember that, by publishing a stream of articles containing falsehoods about Labour members who have been accused of anti-Semitism, the JC has been helping Labour to expel innocent party members under false pretences.

Labour has an interest in defeating Ms Bird’s (and my) demand for a standards investigation into this unethical rag.

In other words: it’s corruption. The Tories don’t have a monopoly on foul play, you know.

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Downing Street tries to pressurise INDEPENDENT standards watchdog not to investigate Johnson’s flat redecoration

What would these freebies have cost? Boris Johnson doesn’t want you to know but it isn’t up to him or his Downing Street toadies – and they don’t like it one bit.

How can these Tories rise so high and still not understand the meaning of the word “independent”?

Officials working for Boris Johnson have claimed that there is no need for the independent Parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, to investigate who paid for the redecoration of the prime minister’s Downing Street flat.

They also reckon she shouldn’t look into the monetary value of the villa in Marbella that Zac Goldsmith loaned to him while he pretended he was Van Gogh for a week last month.

They gave reasons which seem like nonsense to This Writer.

And the fact is that, only last week, Tory MPs were trying to bully Ms Stone into resigning from her role, after she found Owen Paterson guilty of corruption. She didn’t; she’s unlikely to cave in to this kind of weak argument either.

It is not for Downing Street yes-people to tell the standards commissioner what she can and cannot investigate; it is for her to tell them.

And if she finds against Johnson, it’s for him to take his punishment like a man, for a change.

Source: No 10 says watchdog should not look into PM’s flat renovation | Boris Johnson | The Guardian

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Did Boris Johnson attack Parliament’s standards commissioner to help HIMSELF?

Oops: Not only has Boris Johnson opened the floodgates to dump sewage all over the UK, but it seems his pantomime over Owen Paterson has dumped him IN the sewage.

It seems likely, doesn’t it?

After obviously-guilty Owen Paterson was threatened with 30 days’ suspension from Parliament for paid lobbying (firms employed him to get government contracts for them), Boris Johnson intervened to have the suspension overturned and called the work of Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone into doubt.

He wanted to push Ms Stone into resigning her position, making it easier for him to end the current Parliamentary standards system – that has been running since 1695 – and replace it with a new regime in which Tory MPs get to mark their own homework (so to speak).

It didn’t work. She didn’t resign and none of the other political parties in Parliament supported his plan to change the system. Now questions are being asked about Johnson’s reasons for attacking the Standards Commissioner, and the system:

I’m not sure what breaches Ms Ribeiro-Addy is referencing. Is it the funding required to redecorate Johnson’s Downing Street flat? Dominic Cummings seems to think so:

Well, it may not matter too much as Johnson may soon face investigation over his latest holiday:

The allegation is explored in detail here:

It seems that, after Zac Goldsmith failed in his attempt to become London Mayor (partially because it was spectacularly Islamophobic, if I’m not mistaken), Johnson had him ennobled (made him a Lord).

Then, Goldsmith offered Johnson the use of his villa in Marbella, just after this year’s Budget speech – a donation to the prime minister worth (allegedly) around £25,000.

And Johnson hasn’t declared it.

That’s what Angela Rayner’s letter (above) says and she has asked Ms Stone to investigate.

The allegation here is that Johnson wanted to end Ms Stone’s job so she would not be able to.

Obviously with the failure of the bid to oust her (if there really was one), she will be able to investigate this alleged breach of Parliamentary rules by the prime minister. I hope she does.

The real question is, what will the prime minister do about it?

Is he really to suggest that she has already made up her mind, again?

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Is IPSO incapable of investigating standards at the Jewish Chronicle? Or UNWILLING?

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. And guess what? We’re not the only ones.

Remember the letter to newspaper regulator IPSO that This Writer co-signed, requesting a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle after it notched up 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years?

It seems IPSO would rather forget about it.

Tasked with providing a respond by August 12, the organisation’s first reaction was to send a ‘holding’ letter, to which one of my co-signatories, Jo Bird, replied with a list of seven questions.

She then received another holding letter from IPSO’s head of standards, saying she was going on holiday but would get on the case when she got back, and that Lord Faulks, the IPSO chair, would respond on his own account ‘in due course’.

Ms Bird chased this – only to receive yet another ‘holding’ letter saying the head of standards was now sick, and she has written again to say that the questions she asked (When will Faulks write? How many JC breaches has IPSO counted? And others) don’t need the head of standards to answer them.

We expect to receive another ‘holding’ letter.

Meanwhile, there has been another ruling against the JC, involving two code breaches: https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/?id=29092-20 – that makes 37 breaches of the law or the code in 37 months, including seven code breaches and one libel settlement in 2021 alone.

Some of us want to know what’s going on at the so-called press regulator. It should not take more than a month to work out whether there are grounds to investigate the standard of reporting at a newspaper that, over the last three years, has broken the rules – and the law – an average of once a month.

IPSO is itself owned and run by newspaper bosses and owners. Are they concerned that an investigation may create a precedent, setting a bar for investigations that their own newspapers could pass? Are they opposed to an investigation because they like what the JC has been doing? And are they embarrassed by the fact that the JC has put them in an impossible predicament?

Well, their problem is about to get worse.

Hacked Off – the campaign for a national press that is accountable and free of political and commercial influence – is launching a campaign demanding an IPSO standards investigation into the JC, and pointing out at the same time that there are very strong grounds for IPSO to investigate The Times over Islamophobia, The Telegraph on bad science and The Mail on a whole range of subjects – today, September 20, 2021.

Suppose IPSO has been gearing itself up to reject an investigation – or to run a token inquiry and whitewash the JC.

It seems to This Writer that such a course of action is about to become much, much more difficult to justify.

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Jo Bird, the proposed standards review of the Jewish Chronicle… and me

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level.

In case you’ve been living under a rock since the weekend, the newspaper regulator IPSO has made yet another ruling against the Jewish Chronicle for failures in its journalism.

The right-wing rag was found to have wrongly reported that Ms Bird, a Labour councillor in the Wirral, had been suspended for a third time in late 2020.

Details are below, including her own statement on the ruling which points out that the JC crucially failed to mention the fact that she is Jewish in its account of alleged anti-Semitism by her – thereby omitting crucial context.

As you can see from the last paragraph of her statement, Ms Bird demanded a formal Standards Investigation by IPSO into the JC.

This means that IPSO would consider whether the number and regularity of Editor’s Code breaches means that the JC‘s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. If it were to find against the newspaper, then penalties – and measures to improve it – may be demanded.

Where do I fit in to this?

I’m glad you asked.

Back in 2018, the JC was one of a handful of newspapers that re-published a false claim from The Sunday Times that I was a Holocaust denier. There was no truth in the allegation, which was derived from documents leaked by the Labour Party, which was investigating me at the time; investigators had ignored their own regulations on fairness in order to fabricate the claims.

The JC had not attempted to verify any of the claims against me before it published them. I complained to IPSO and my complaint was upheld (although you wouldn’t know it from the surly line of clarification that was added to the story, to the effect that I had said the claim was false. The Sunday Times was subsequently forced to publish a lengthy clarification in which it admitted that there was no truth at all to its claim about me).

After Ms Bird’s victory was announced, I was contacted by friends acting on her behalf, to ask if I would be willing to sign a letter calling on IPSO to conduct the Standards Investigation that she had already demanded, in my capacity as another victim of false reporting.

I was happy to do so.

And that is the reason my name is attached to the following letter:

Dear Lord Faulks,

We welcome IPSO’s agreement to consider Jo Bird’s proposal for a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle and we urge you to launch such an investigation without delay. With 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years, it is clear that the paper’s editorial standards are shockingly low and IPSO’s actions to date have made no difference.

We have all either seen our complaints to IPSO about the Jewish Chronicle’s bad journalism upheld or secured admissions of libel from the paper. Unless standards there improve there will be more victims, while readers will continue to be misled.

IPSO’s regulations say a Standards Investigation can take place where there is evidence of ‘serious and systemic breaches of the code’. The seriousness of the breaches by the Jewish Chronicle is attested to in IPSO’s own rulings while the sheer number of breaches and libel defeats – taking place at a small publication that appears only weekly – proves the problem is systemic.

We would be grateful if you would circulate this letter to all IPSO board members and to senior management.

Yours,

Jo Bird

John Davies

Ibrahim Hewitt, Interpal

Jenny Lennox

Kal Ross

Mike Sivier

Thomas Suárez

Marc Wadsworth

Audrey White

Now we must wait for a response from IPSO, due by August 12, and then for its findings – if an investigation is launched.

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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Johnson’s crony Con club: his government ignored 171 other candidates to employ his chum

Laughing at us: Boris Johnson appointed his former Bullingdon Club colleague to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog, over 171 other applicants. It seems clear he did it to ensure that he would never be found guilty of the many corruption accusations made against him.

We all screamed “foul” when it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government had appointed his Bullingdon Club chum Ewen Fergusson to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog.

Was he put in the Committee on Standards in Public Life to rubber-stamp Johnson’s offences as being within reasonable standards of behaviour, we asked (or at least, This Writer did).

Now we have more evidence, and it suggests that he was.

Why else would Johnson’s government have appointed his friend over 171 other applicants who were not directly and personally linked to him – in the face of objections that the connection should disqualify Fergusson altogether?

As The Independent puts it,

The longtime friend of the prime minister was appointed to scrutinise him.

By the way: final say on who got the job went to Boris Johnson. He chose his friend for the position.

If you wanted an honest verdict on your own actions, would you appoint a personal friend to provide it? I wouldn’t. My friends would tell me if they thought I was going wrong, but they’d never voluntarily say so to strangers.

And this was pointed out by the Labour Party (even though it shouldn’t have to be):

Labour said friends of the prime minister should be disqualified from the role on the Committee on Standards In Public Life, given the nature of its job scrutinising members of the government, including Mr Johnson.

“Being Boris Johnson’s chum from the Bullingdon Club does not qualify you to sit on the watchdog that is supposed to crack down on sleaze and cronyism in our politics. In fact, it should disqualify you,” deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told The Independent.

“This appointment is an utter joke, and out of 173 applicants of course the Bullingdon Boy fits the job description of marking the prime minister’s homework.

It is a joke. And next time Johnson gets accused of corruption, and his Bullingdon chum green-lights it, he’ll be the one laughing at all of us.

Source: Government passed over 171 candidates to pick Bullingdon Club ‘chum’ of Boris Johnson for sleaze watchdog role | 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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