Tag Archives: strike

New low for Starmer: Workers at the Party of the Workers are to go on strike

For the many? It seems “the many” are deserting the Labour Party in their thousands, in disgust at Keir Starmer.

Staff at Labour Party HQ who are members of trade unions have voted overwhelmingly to strike, in protest at the plan to sack 90 of their number and replace them with short-term contractors in exactly the kind of ‘fire-and-rehire’ deal that leader Keir Starmer claims to oppose.

It is suggested that they voted to strike by a majority of three to one:

It’s doubtful that this has anything to do with Starmer’s attack on the unions (he has spoken out against Unite’s new boss Sharon Graham, while Bakers’ union BFAWU boss Ian Hodson is in danger of auto-exclusion, apparently on a trumped-up charge) – but it is also doubtful that it will do their relationship any good.

Labour was originally formed to give working-class people representation in Parliament.

The fact that the party’s current leadership sees nothing wrong with betraying its own employees – and therefore its very reason for existing – is more damning than anything This Writer can say about it.

I just hope it goes the distance and they all walk out between September 25 and 29 (at least) – because those are the dates of the Labour Party Conference.

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Why did ex-Gurkhas have to go on HUNGER STRIKE in DOWNING STREET over unequal pensions?

Hunger striker: the government agreed to talks after Dhan Gurung (pictured) returned to the hunger strike outside Downing Street. He had been admitted to hospital after his heart slowed.

The answer to that is simple: racism, ingrained into the way British governments treat people.

Allow me to tell you the story:

Once upon a time (1814), the British East India Company, then in control of India, declared war on neighbouring Nepal because of Gurkha incursions that had taken place.

The war was extremely civilised, with both sides controlling looting and respecting non-combatants.

The war ended in 1816 and both sides decided to build a friendship in which 10 Gurkha regiments were recruited into the East India Company’s Army.

After the partition of India in 1947, a tripartite treaty between Nepal, India and the UK meant four Gurkha regiments were transferred to the British Army.

Here’s the problem, though: the terms on which the Gurkhas joined the British Army were not the same as those for any UK-born soldier.

Those who retired before 1997, like Mr Gurung, currently receive a fraction of the pension the rest of the British Army receive because the Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS) was based on Indian Army rates.

The Not New Labour government of Tony Blair tried to paper over this racist injustice in 2007, when it eliminated the differences between Gurkhas’ terms and conditions of service and those of their British counterparts.

The change was backdated to July 1, 1997, because that was the date when the UK became the home base for the Brigade of Gurkhas (it had previously been based in Hong Kong, which itself transferred to Chinese rule on that date) and changes in immigration rules meant retiring Gurkhas may settle in the UK after discharge.

The difference between pension rates pre- and post-1997 has long been a subject for grievance because it seems to be impossible to live comfortably on pre-1997 rates, either in the UK or in Nepal. Former Gurkhas who had served the UK as some of our most effective service personnel were therefore consigned to lives of poverty and misery because they weren’t British.

That is why Dhan Gurung, Pushpa Rana Ghale and Gyanraj Rai went on hunger strike on August 7.

Challenged to meet the hunger strikers and discuss their case, current UK prime minister Boris Johnson did what he always does when offer the chance to be a statesman: he ran away.

Previously, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had said he would be happy to meet  protesters, but argued no government “of any colour” had ever made retrospective changes to pensions of the kind they were demanding.

We can see from the actions of the Blair government in 2007 that this was a lie of the kind for which the Boris Johnson government is now justifiably infamous.

It seems the politicians’ position only softened when it seemed likely that one of the hunger strikers may suffer serious harm to their health on the prime minister’s doorstep.

Dhan Gurung was hospitalised after his heartbeat slowed, after refusing food for 12 days. It was initially believed that the diabetic veteran was having a heart attack.

He returned to the protest yesterday but shortly afterwards the government announced that it will hold talks with the group, and with the Nepalese government, and the hunger strike has now ended.

Further information on the situation is available in this House of Commons Library briefing.

I think it is important also to note that a petition, calling for Gurkhas to have equal pensions as other British veterans of the same rank and service, has reached the 100,000 signature threshold for a debate in Parliament.

How would any such debate run, if one or more of the protesters had suffered significant harm to their health because they had to go on hunger strike even to have their demands noticed?

And the discussion with Nepal seems dishonest, too. The four Gurkha regiments suffering the pension prejudice at the heart of the protest have been employees of the British Army since 1947; their pay and conditions are really nobody else’s business.

Whatever happens, this is another opportunity for Boris Johnson to drape himself in disgrace. He has already fled from dealing with this matter and his Defence Secretary has lied about it.

Who can doubt that they’ll concoct an excuse to short-change – once again – some of the bravest soldiers the UK was ever lucky enough to have?

Another ‘reserved judgment’ after Riley libel appeal hearing

I suppose we should not have been surprised.

After a hearing of slightly longer than two hours, judges at the Court of Appeal have reserved judgment on my bid to reinstate my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim.

This is the defence that I published my article on a matter of public interest.

It has been suggested to me that this is because they need to consider the effect, if any, that their decision will have on the effectiveness of that defence in the future. Will they make it pointless to use it, just in order to shut down a single defendant’s case?

Alternatively, will their decision make it a “get out of trouble free” card for defendants?

I’ll keep you informed of future developments but I can tell you that I already know what I’m going to do if this appeal is dismissed.

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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Johnson and Hancock are jeopardising Covid recovery by prioritising useless ‘Test and Trace’ over hardworking NHS staff

At breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service. The Tory government could make it better by paying NHS staff what they’re worth – but Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have spaffed billions on Dido Harding’s useless and lazy ‘Test and Trace’ white elephant instead.

It has been calculated that a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff will cost around £82 million per year, or 0.22 per cent of the £37 billion that has been spaffed on Test and Trace as run by Dido Harding.

The full 12.5 per cent pay rise for NHS staff would cost £1.025 billion – only 2.75 per cent of the spending on Test and Trace.

And Test and Trace has been useless. Employees notoriously spent their days doing nothing at all – and being paid £1,000 per day to do it, while NHS staff slaved in conditions that made them highly vulnerable to Covid-19 because the Tories couldn’t be bothered to secure PPE for them.

Many NHS staff are working overtime or using credit to afford essential bills, visiting food banks so they can eat, and struggling with both mental and physical health problems.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s attitude seems to be, “So what? I’ve offered you one per cent, which is more than you thought you were going to get!”

He and other Tories have made false claims that nurses have actually received far more, already, than they’re saying.

But this is nonsense. The fact that they cannot afford to survive is clear evidence that they are not paid fairly.

Stunningly, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the one per cent pittance, saying it is

“what we think is affordable”

Could the UK have afforded the deaths of millions if those doctors, nurses and support staff had not been there to keep Covid victims alive? Of course not. Hancock was talking gibberish. He rarely does anything else.

This Site broke news of health professionals’ disgust at the lack of respect being shown to them on Thursday – before any of the mainstream news sites. At the time, strike action was being demanded by only one group – Nurses United UK.

Now strike calls are being taken up by the British Medical Association, Unite, the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwives and Unison.

And what if an NHS strike happens before Boris Johnson’s arbitrary deadline for reopening the UK economy – which is already looking shaky because health professionals are planning for another wave of Covid admissions in July?

All his plans will be dashed – because he decided to pay Dido Harding and her minions to sit on their fat backsides rather than supporting our hard-working NHS staff.

Source: NHS pay: More health unions join backlash against 1% pay rise – BBC News

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Mainstream media finally notice nurse strike threat – after being prompted by This Site?


Isn’t it odd that the BBC only realised that nurses were threatening to go on strike over low pay after Vox Political ran a story on it?

I published my piece yesterday lunchtime (March 4) and the BBC came out with its story (link below) just before midnight.

I’m not going to make extravagant claims about being first with the news because I had found the story on the website Nursing Notes, where it had been published on March 3.

It had taken the BBC at least a day and a half to realise this was a major news story (it was the lead on the Corporation’s politics page when it was published).

Would the BBC ever have mentioned it at all, if I hadn’t picked it up and published it on my little social media site?

I don’t know. The implications for news reporting in the UK if the answer is “no” are terrifying.

The message for you is simple: don’t rely on the BBC and the other mainstream media giants for your news because you won’t get it.

All you’ll get is what has been passed as fit for you to be spoonfed, plus whatever media bosses realise has gained traction elsewhere and can’t be ignored.

If you want to know what’s really going on, come to This Site – and the others like it.

Source: Nurses’ union anger over ‘pitiful’ 1% NHS pay rise – BBC News

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Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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Game on! Court grants Mike permission to appeal in Riley libel case

I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

The Court of Appeal has granted me permission to appeal against an order striking out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim against me.

Firstly I must thank all of the readers and contributors who supported my crowdfunding campaign. You made this happen and without your generosity I would have had no way to defend myself against an aggressive attack.

Secondly: the court is allowing me to appeal on only one element of my defence – that publication of my article was on a matter of public interest. This is the end of the line for my defences of truth and honest opinion.

I can now reveal that I never held out much hope for my ‘truth’ defence. The High Court has made it clear that it would not entertain such a defence unless I was able to produce a tweet from Rachel Riley in which she declared herself to be a bully and demanded that all her followers should pile abuse and harassment on a teenage girl.

That simply isn’t a realistic expectation. It doesn’t mean the girl did not receive abuse, and discussion of the manner in which it came to her is certainly a matter of public interest.

I am sorry to see that the court doesn’t think I can defend the publication of my honest opinions. The Defamation Act allows me to rely on any fact that existed at the time my statement was published, and I had plenty of material available to me that would have allowed me to support my beliefs. Sadly, the court won’t hear it – at least in this context.

It is wholly possible to win the case on a ‘public interest’ defence. I have established a host of reasons why it was in the public interest for me to publish my article – and I am sure you can think of a few yourself, just off the top of your head.

I will not be making those arguments in the Court of Appeal. I will simply be putting forward reasons why I should be allowed to do so.

And I don’t need to do anything at all until Riley lodges what’s called a “respondent’s notice” and her skeleton argument against me.

All underlying proceedings are suspended while the appeal process takes place and while the court order does not mention it, the High Court costs order must also be suspended as it will be subject to alteration if I win the appeal.

And I can win the appeal.

And I can then go on to win the case.

Sadly, it will cost more money to get that far but – joyfully, if I win – Riley will have to pay it all back.

Therefore I repeat my request for funds. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

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

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the CrowdJustice site.

I don’t know how long we have to wait for the court to hear my appeal. This means I don’t know how soon I will need to provide payment for it.

But I will keep you informed, as ever, of all new developments.

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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Why have UK university students had to waste £1 BILLION on digs they couldn’t use?

Rent strike: students are permanently penniless. When you see how much this year’s alumni have had to pay – for NOTHING – you’ll understand why they’re raging.

Those Tories really are selective about who they help with the costs of Covid-19, aren’t they?

I remember being a student. Most of the time, I hardly had two pennies to rub together. The rented accommodation available to us was – mostly – diabolical. And expensive.

One place was damp. It gave me bronchitis.

But at least I got to live in it!

Since the Covid crisis started, according to a survey, the

average student has so far paid £1,621 in rent for unrefunded empty rooms.

In total, according to advice website Save the Student,

university students have wasted nearly £1bn on empty rooms in flat shares and halls of residence that they have been unable to use because of coronavirus restrictions this academic year.

The website estimates rents are so high that they take up three-quarters of their maintenance loans at an average of £146 per week, so it’s no wonder that

Students’ anger with high rents… boiled over on UK campuses this term as students launched the largest rent strike in 40 years.

There has been a patchy response from universities, private halls of residence and landlords, with some refusing discounts while others have offered full rebates.

I have a lot of sympathy for the universities, and for the landlords – as well as for the students themselves.

It is unfair for the accommodation providers to foot the bill for thousands of empty rooms when the situation was thrust on them by the government – albeit admittedly in response to a nationwide pandemic.

It just happens to be even more unfair for them to demand that students pay the bill, rather than the government. This is loaned money, remember – they have to pay it back, plus interest, over a period of decades to come.

Businesses – especially the bigger ones – have received huge subsidies, and employees have had 80 per cent of their wages paid by a government “furlough” scheme. Why weren’t students added to that, at the very least?

The Guardian story tells us the government has provided students with £70 million in hardship funding, which seems to fall quite a long way short of what they’ve had to shell out.

Considering the billions given to Tory cronies and their – let’s be honest – fake firms for nonexistent or inadequate Covid-related services, this is an insult to the next generation of the UK’s movers and shakers.

Let’s hope they remember it.

Source: UK university students wasted £1bn in a year on empty accommodation | Student housing | The Guardian

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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Court hears evidence that Rachel Riley bullied vulnerable teen

The High Court in London: The judge was here, but This Writer was at home in Mid Wales because the hearing took place remotely, via the magic of the internet.

ADDITIONAL, 12/12/2020: I woke up this morning to discover my personal Twitter account – @MidWalesMike – has been suspended. I have received no email providing any reason but can only conclude it is because I tweeted the link to this article, and somebody complained. It is not a breach of Twitter rules to tweet a link to a fair and accurate article like this.

Please contact Twitter to request the restoration of my account.

Judgment was reserved – I could have screamed!

It means the judge will consider the evidence and deliver a written judgment in due course, stating whether or not she considers there to be enough evidence to support my defence against Rachel Riley’s claim of libel against me – and for a trial to take place in order to establish whether I libelled her or whether I was right to make the statements I did.

But the fact that a public hearing took place today (December 11) that mentioned some of the evidence means we can discuss that evidence here.

The claim is that I libelled Riley by saying that she had engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl, conduct which has also incited her followers to make death threats towards her.

There are also claims which are defended as matters of honest opinion, based on these facts.

The judge seemed most interested in the way Riley was alleged to have bullied a girl who was aged 16 at the time, and who had mental health issues.

She heard that:

“Celebrity adult claimant” Riley first heard of the vulnerable “child victim” (as my counsel characterised them both) after she tweeted in support of claims that left-wing journalist Owen Jones acted an in anti-Semitic way when he tweeted in support of Lord Sugar leaving the UK if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister.

The “child victim” tweeted in support of Jones, and this attracted the attention of Twitter followers of Ms Riley, who replied with abuse. They would not have seen the girl’s tweets if they had not been followers of Riley, and she sent a tweet to the celebrity, pointing out the abuse she had received.

This led to more abuse, to which the girl responded at one point by saying Riley had been “encouraging a smear campaign” (against Jones).

Riley responded with seven tweets, all sent to the girl within a 13-minute time frame. Some right-thinking people have questioned whether sending a teenager with mental health issues a tweet every two minutes is harassment.

The content of those tweets is also questionable. My counsel argued that Riley ignored the subject matter – her smearing of Owen Jones – and instead tried to gaslight the girl into doubting both her views and herself.

While recognising the abuse the girl had been subjected to, it was claimed that Riley failed to condemn her own supporters who had perpetrated it, patronised the girl, questioned her motives and suggested she was a dupe for the opinions of undesirable other people.

This led to a “dogpile” on the girl, with many more abusive comments from Riley’s Twitter followers. Riley herself wrote a second thread, but again failed to condemn the activities of her followers (despite the fact that every tweet was a reply to her – meaning she would have seen all the abuse).

By this time, she was referring to the “smear” as being about the Labour Party claiming accusations of anti-Semitism generally were smears, rather than about her having smeared Owen Jones.

She accused the girl of having called her a liar, and also of “helping to spread the virus that is antisemitism”.

The thread totalled 16 tweets over 44 minutes. Harassment?

The girl had certainly had enough, it seems, because she tried to end the dialogue, tweeting, “Have a lovely Christmas, I’m putting this debate behind me now.” [This was on December 17, 2018.]

Matters then became more sinister, because the court heard that Riley would not leave the girl alone. She tweeted: “Thank you for listening Rosie, I would appreciate an update to this please, so as to not encourage the smear rhetoric, if you now think there’s more to the story?” The girl also received more abusive tweets from Riley’s followers.

So the following day, she tweeted that she had blocked Riley. This means Riley was not allowed to read or respond to the girl’s tweets, or have anything directly to do with her on Twitter.

The judge took interest in this and wanted to know how we could be sure that Riley genuinely had been blocked. She mentioned it herself in a tweet on January 15 the following year: “I wouldn’t have been able to contact her even if I wanted to.” Riley certainly never contacted the girl directly again, indicating that she no longer could.

So how did she manage to acquire tweets the girl published on December 31, 2018, and January 8, 2019 – which she published in a 13-tweet Twitter thread on January 9?

This led to a discussion of stalking, and whether Riley had stalked this vulnerable teenager who has – let’s bear in mind – anxiety issues.

Riley’s counsel argued that the dialogue between her and the girl had been entirely polite and civilised, and denied that his client’s tweets contained any questionable material.

He said that when Riley mentioned the girl in her thread of January 9, and another on January 15, she had removed the girl’s Twitter handle in order to discourage any more dogpiles – but her name was clearly visible, along with her profile picture, and her father was fully identified in the January 15 thread, meaning anybody who wanted to do it could go back through Riley’s timeline and find all the contact details they needed.

Speaking for Riley, and in addition to his claims that the dialogue between his client and the girl was perfectly polite, John Stables said the “celebrity adult claimant” could not be associated with any abuse directed at the girl because she was not responsible for the behaviour of her followers.

The judge summed up his submissions as saying, not that there had been no online abuse of the girl but that Riley had not taken part in it or encouraged it, and any such campaign was nothing to do with her.

If that was the case, then why did the abuse follow – and refer back to – Riley’s tweets? Isn’t it more accurate to say that the abuse the “child victim” received would not have happened if Rachel Riley had not tweeted about her and to her?

Stables also suggested that we do not know to what extent the “child victim” suffered Twitter dogpiles. This is also not true, as the defence lists exactly the number of retweets, ‘likes’ and replies each of Riley’s threads received.

There was much more argument but these were the main sticking-points.

Bearing in mind that this hearing was only to establish whether there was enough evidence for a trial, what do you think?

If you reckon I have a strong enough defence, please help me fund it in the now time-honoured manner:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

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

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

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

The evidence may seem obvious from the above – but I have to admit that it is impossible for me to be objective about this case as I am the defendant. The judge may see matters differently.

It seems unlikely that the judge will throw the whole case out completely – as Stables had to retreat from a claim that my defence that I said what I did in the public interest should also be struck out.

But any decision in Riley’s favour could result in a crippling costs order against me.

And even if I beat this application to strike out my defence, I still need to fund the actual trial.

That won’t happen for some time yet, but I need to be ready for it, when it does happen.

I must thank everybody who has supported the crowdfunding effort already. Without your help I would not have been able to get to court at all.

Please help me see this through to the end.

Riley libel case: court hearing THIS FRIDAY. Help Mike win!

Before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

I am currently working with my legal team to put the finishing touches on our defence against Rachel Riley’s latest vexatious attack – a bid to have my defence against her libel action struck out.

The application will be heard in the High Court on Friday. Fortunately the court has agreed to hold it online – via Teams – as there is a risk that, having used public transport (trains and the Tube) to get there, I might carry Covid-19 back to my home town, which has been more or less virus-free throughout the pandemic. My situation applies to others who are appearing as well, I understand.

Most of the points in the Riley application appear to be either expressions of opinion that are not permissible in court or attempts to deny reality.

Part of the claim could be expressed as saying that Riley’s followers sent abusive messages to a teenage girl with anxiety problems at random, and they only happened to coincide with the TV celebrity’s Twitter threads attacking her.

That isn’t realistic.

Another claim is that Riley took pains to anonymise the girl she was attacking. This is also not true, as complaints on Twitter at the time, from concerned bystanders, made clear.

My personal opinion is that this is just another attempt to avoid having the evidence (and I have a lot of it) heard at a trial. Ms Riley seems highly averse to having this particular pile of dirty linen washed in public, which is exactly why it needs to happen.

But there is a possibility that she might win some of her points – and this could be extremely expensive for me.

She is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this case, employing extremely expensive lawyers to make her case for her. If she wins even one point, the costs claim against me could be enormous.

That’s why she’s doing this, of course – to obstruct justice by making it impossible for me to continue. It has long been one of the strangenesses of this case that the defendant is the one who wants a trial and the claimant wants to prevent it from happening.

There are two ways to foil this plan. As I mention at the top of this update, I am working hard on the defence and hope to convince the judge with my arguments.

The other way is to ensure that I have enough funds to keep going, regardless of any minor wins the Riley team manage to score along the way.

My case is entirely crowdfunded and it is thanks to the contributions of thousands of people like you – possibly including you (I don’t know; many are anonymous) – that I have been able to get even this far.

Please help make sure I can take this all the way.

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

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

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

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

This is a very uncertain time and I have to admit that the possibility of any kind of loss is preying on my mind. That’s exactly what the predators on the Riley legal team want, of course. Part of their strategy is to demoralise me with constant vexatious applications like this one.

Won’t they be disappointed – and I know I’ll be cheered up immensely – if I get a sudden financial boost, right before this hearing? Please help make it happen.

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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