Tag Archives: student

Has plan to double English medical students stalled so ‘physician associates’ can be installed instead?

Physician associate: training for these not-doctors is cropping up all over the place (this is at Chester University), while a government promise to fund more places for trainee doctors has proved to be economical with the truth.

A plan to increase the number of trainee doctors in England to 15,000 by 2031 has stalled, with only 350 places funded for 2025-6 – just a quarter of the expected annual total.

Ministers have dramatically stalled plans to double the number of doctors being trained in England by 2031 in a move that has caused dismay across the NHS, as well in medical schools and universities.

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In June last year, ministers backed a long-term plan to expand the NHS workforce and pledged, amid great fanfare, to “double medical school places by 2031 from 7,500 today to 15,000, with more medical school places in areas with the greatest shortages to level up training and help address geographic inequity”. Labour is also committed to raising the number of doctors to 15,000 by 2031.

But a leaked letter written jointly by health minister Andrew Stephenson and the minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, Robert Halfon, to the independent regulator the Office for Students, says they will fund only 350 additional places for trainee doctors in 2025-26. This is less than a quarter of the annual number widely anticipated and there is no guarantee that even that level of resource will be repeated.

This Writer never believes any “long-term plan” announced by a government; these always seem to be bids for short-term boosts in popularity. Last year’s announcement about medical students seems a perfect example.

I also wonder whether the Tories are trying to save money by force-replacing doctors with controversial ‘physician associates’ – under-qualified substitutes for doctors whose decisions have proved dangerous, and occasionally fatal.

Source: Government delays plans to double number of medical students in England | NHS | The Guardian


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Rishi Sunak roasted for ‘pathetic’ boast on banning overseas students’ family members coming to UK

Rishi Sunak: the compressed lips mean he knows he’s put his foot in his mouth again.

This is somebody else’s story so I’ll let them tell it:

The Prime Minister has faced a barrage of criticism after boasting about a policy to ban overseas students from bringing their family members to the UK, which came into effect on New Year’s Day.

Making the new rules announcement on Monday, Rishi Sunak wrote on X that, “From today, the majority of foreign university students cannot bring family members to the UK.”

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He added: “In 2024, we’re already delivering for the British people”.

However his start to the year boast for the Tories was met with disgust online, as one X user responded, “imagine bragging about this. Embarrassing.” With politicians across the spectrum expressing their criticism at the rule change.

Editor Ben Smoke replied: “Making life more difficult or painful for a relatively small number of people whilst living standards for all continue to plummet, welfare and health systems collapse, housing crisis spirals etc isn’t delivering for the British people, it’s just being spiteful.”

As part of the government’s plans to reduce legal migration, the new policy means international students starting courses this year will no longer be able to bring dependants to the UK, except for postgraduate research or government-funded scholarship students.

Source: Rishi Sunak roasted for ‘pathetic’ boast on banning overseas students’ family members coming to UK – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate


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Student loans: Bad news for English people starting university in the autumn

Graduates: how many of these people will ever fully pay back their student loans? How many new students, entering university in autumn 2023, will be even worse-off?

Anyone English who starts a university course in the autumn will pay more for their student loan, and over a longer period of time.

Here’s Martin Lewis, explaining it on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

So for anybody who lives in England and has not gone to university yet (but will in the autumn or at any time afterwards), from the April after you leave university, you will not pay back the £243 per year that current ex-students do or will; you will pay back £450 per year.

The period of time over which you will make those payments will not be a maximum of 30 years, as it is now, but 40 years. This means you won’t pay a minimum of £7,290 but a minimum of £13,500.

Some might think that’s still a good deal on loans of more than £25,000.

And of course there is interest to be paid. Some ex-students known to This Writer have recently discovered that, after paying back their student loans for more than 20 years, they owe more now than when they started.

In terms of the public purse, where the state is currently paying 44p for every pound spent on education, from September – for new university students – it will pay just 19p for every pound spent on education.

Instead of paying 56p per pound, the individual will pay 81p per pound. Martin Lewis reckons this is a 50 per cent increase. I make it around 45 per cent.

Apparently more people are likely to clear the cost of the loan plus interest. I’d be fascinated to learn just how they’re likely to do that.

To me, it seems like a way of offloading debt from the state and onto individuals. Bear in mind that the level of student debt owed to the Student Loans Company currently stands at £205 billion.

That figure has doubled in the last six years, after the then-Tory/Liberal Democrat Coalition government increased tuition fees from £3,600 per year to £9,000. The decision was made in 2012 but the change happened in 2016.

We can all see what this is, I hope. The Tory government is saddling poorer students with a debt they will have to repay for their entire working lives, making them more vulnerable to exploitation by employers – wage slaves.

All this in the middle of a huge – and worsening, remember – cost of living crisis.

Meanwhile, privileged students whose parents have more cash to splash on them will be able to pay off their loans faster and go on to earn more.

The whole situation puts the lie to Tory claims that they are the party of opportunity, of equality, and facilitators of upward social mobility. Doesn’t it?


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Braverman ‘going to ground’ as record migration figures revealed

Suella Braverman: don’t you think she looks worried?

Migration from foreign countries to the UK has soared, with new figures showing 1.2 million people coming to live in the country during the last year.

Net migration – the number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants (either UK citizens or non-citizens) stands at 606,000, according to the statistics released today (May 25, 2023).

It’s a 24 per cent increase on the previous high of 488,000. Embarrassingly for Brexiters Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman, the rise was fuelled by people from outside the EU entering the UK to study, work or escape conflict or oppression.

At the time of writing, Braverman has not commented on the figures – instead, she ran like a rabbit from an urgent question in the House of Commons, leading Shadow Home Secretary to accuse her of going to ground. “What is the point of her?” she asked

Some might say that this was better than the comedy response from Rishi Sunak who, while agreeing the numbers were too high, actually said, “I’m bringing them down.”

Clearly he isn’t!

His government has announced a few new measures, like making it harder for international students to come to the UK by banning them from bringing “dependents”.

This seems to have confused some MPs, who mentioned students’ parents and grandparents in Commons debate. In fact, it means students will be banned from bringing their partners (spouse, husband, wife, civil partner, relationship partner) and children.

Amazingly, this has been welcomed by the Labour Party:

The result will be that foreign students will be discouraged from coming to the UK.

Readers of This Site will be aware that Yr Obdt Servt (that’s me) has been re-watching the old BBC sitcom Yes, Minister lately, and one episode refers to attempts to stop foreign students attending UK universities.

In it, the university authorities squealed like pigs in the mating season, because foreign students paid eight times as much as UK citizens and a ban would create financial difficulties for them.

Is the situation the same today?

If so, what advantage do Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman hope to create for the UK by closing our universities?

Source: ‘What’s the point of her?’: Braverman accused of ‘going to ground’ as record migration figures revealed


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Will #KeirStarmer apologise to #LSE students he falsely accused over #TzipiHotovely protest?

Anti-Hotovely, not anti-Semitic: British-Jewish people protesting against a previous Hotovely event.

Students who were condemned by Home Secretary Priti Patel and Labour leader Keir Starmer for protesting against a speech by the violently racist Israeli ambassador have been cleared by their university.

In a letter to around 200 staff, bosses at the London School of Economics stated that they found “no evidence whatsoever of protestors having broken the law” when Tzipi Hotovely gave a speech there in November.

LSE staff members had petitioned for an announcement “immediately affirming our students’ right to protest on campus without fear of police investigation.”

The response was written last month but has only recently become public knowledge.

Isn’t this awkward for Priti Patel, who wrote the following:

There wasn’t any “intimidation, harrassment [sic – Patel can’t spell] & abuse” but Patel demanded a police investigation anyway.

The Metropolitan Police almost immediately responded by saying there would be “no investigation” – because no incident took place that required police involvement.

While we might object to some “no investigation” decisions by the Met (evening, prime minister!) I think most of us can agree that this was the right choice.

Starmer may not – he certainly didn’t at the time, when he tweeted the following:

This is a former Director of Public Prosecutions, remember.

It is not unreasonable to expect him to realise that there was no intimidation; there were no threats of violence.

It is reasonable to expect him to accept the decision of the police and that he was wrong.

But I haven’t seen any evidence of an apology to LSE students – from either Starmer or Patel.

So how about it, Sir Keir – and Priti? Which of you has the strength of character to admit you were wrong – and say sorry?

Source: Protesters against Israeli ambassador exonerated by university | The Electronic Intifada

Met police announces ‘no investigation’ into Hotovely protest. What was all the fuss about, then?

Anti-Hotovely, not anti-Semitic: British-Jewish people protesting against a previous Hotovely event last month.

Will supporters of Israel’s racist UK ambassador complain after the Metropolitan Police made nonsense of their accusations against students at LSE?

Tzipi Hotovely was invited to spout her vile extremism at a debate on the LSE campus on November 9 – to the disgust of around 18 student groups.

They organised a protest outside, that was highly visible and noisy – and also clearly non-violent. What would be the point of protesting against an advocate of violence with violence?

Hotovely was rushed into her waiting car by Israeli Embassy security staff but there is no evidence that she was ever in danger.

But the incident was criticised by politicians from both the Conservative government and the Labour Party.

Home Secretary Priti Patel pretended that the student protesters had subjected the genocidally violent Hotovely to “intimidation, harassment and abuse”. They didn’t. Isn’t that what she preaches, in any case?

And Labour busybody Lisa Nandy carped that “freedom of speech is a fundamental right and any attempt to silence or intimidate those we disagree with should never be tolerated”, without ever acknowledging that she was trying to silence and intimidate LSE students from exercising their own freedom of speech.

That’s typical of Labour’s current attitude, though: freedom of speech is only allowed if you’re wealthy and privileged. It’s a very Conservative way of thinking, isn’t it?

Both Patel and Nandy – and others – falsely characterised the students’ legitimate protest as a hate incident for their own right-wing political purposes.

This could not have been made more bluntly obvious than by the Metropolitan Police statement, which simply said there will be “no investigation” – because no incident took place that requires police involvement.

Now, all the politicians who screamed up a fuss about it need to take a good, hard look at themselves.

This Site has already highlighted the fact that Labour leader Keir Starmer, along with Nandy, shared a table with Hotovely at the Labour Friends of Israel annual dinner event earlier this week.

They were saying they shared this vile woman’s abhorrent views.

To This Writer, that means they are absolutely unfit to hold any position in the Labour Party whatsoever. They should not even be members.

The fact that they are squatting in offices that should be held by people who are worthy of those positions is an offence to Labour’s legacy, equivalent to defiling the graves of those who have gone before, in This Writer’s opinion.

Yet there they squat, still.

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This nurse’s vote won’t go to Boris Johnson again. She explained why in a note that’s going viral

Student nurse Jessica Collins wrote a note to Boris Johnson, explaining why she won’t support his Conservatives again.

She didn’t think he would see it – but plenty of other people have, and it’s easy to understand the reasons for that.

See for yourself [boldings mine]:

Your government absolutely do not have my vote in the next election. I say this with the [utmost] certainty and unlike past voting decisions, I am 100% sure it is the right one.

This isn’t just because your government removed the bursary alongside funding for tuition fees, leaving student nurse mums like me in £60000+ worth of debt upon leaving this physically and mentally draining degree and condemning the future workforce to the same struggles.

This isn’t just because the government found a loophole in our opt-in contracts to help during coronavirus, to enable them to stop paying students for risking their lives on the frontline at the earliest opportunity.

This isn’t just because your designated minister for care declared in a letter addressed directly to me, that every single one of the 2,300+ hours I’ve completed in NHS hospitals as not being offering of any form of service to my patients.

This isn’t just because I watched a video back whereby 313 out of 317 conservative MP’s voted against a nurse pay rise (amongst other public sector funding) and then unashamedly laughed when they found out they had the majority.

This isn’t just because your ‘sing happy birthday twice whilst washing your hands’ was never ever going to be enough to avoid the the tens of thousands of deaths that have happened due to COVID-19. Nor is it just because you were too late to lockdown this country for whatever excuse you declare, and subsequently we paid heavily with the lives of so many of our incredible people.

This isn’t just because you left nurses, carers and other key workers specifically, out of a public sector pay-rise for those who have fought so hard against COVID-19.

This isn’t just because every single conservative MP voted no against a new clause intended to protect our NHS from any form of control outside of the UK, then tried to cover it up with sharing a positive story about giving doctors a pay rise.

This isn’t just because it takes a famous footballer calling you out on his public platform, to ensure that the most vulnerable children in our society had food to eat over summer.

This isn’t because of the many, many other things that yourself, or certain members of your party have done wrong, many of which I probably don’t know about.

The main reason you don’t have my vote, is because every single time you have failed, you’ve not once turned around, held your hands up and said that you’ve made a mistake. It’s because I’ve not once heard you say sorry but that you’ve learned and you’ll do better next time.

It’s because every single time you or a member of your party are called out on your failings, you either lay the blame somewhere else, boycott those who dare to seek the truth or just release the same statement quoting the same generalised political jargon.

As a nurse if I was ever to make a mistake, I would hold my hands up and take responsibility for it. I would absolutely say sorry anyone it’s affected. I would reflect on it and learn what I did wrong and then I would plan what I could do from then on to ensure I never make the same mistake twice. Now I know being a nurse is very different to being the prime minister however honesty, trustworthiness and humility should be attributes carried through any job at all if you are to earn any form of respect. Even more so one like your own where your decisions affect millions of people like me.

When people like me desperately try and express the unjustness of your decisions, you choose to ignore it, every single time. Your people don’t have a voice unless the complaints come from people of higher status or world renowned footballers who have the platform to make you look bad.

You made such a fuss of clapping for the NHS and indicated more, only to put us straight back in our under-valued places the first chance you got, with no explanation or apology.

The saddest thing is, for so long you and many others have played a part in conditioning nurses like me alongside other health professionals to believe that they should never complain about how they deserve better pay. If we dare to feel under-valued or ask for more, it reflects badly on us because we should be doing this job out of the goodness of our hearts with a view to making a positive difference in people’s lives. Asking for more goes against our compassionate, selfless natures right?

Wrong. From the start of my degree I’ve been made to feel worthless and I’m absolutely done with that. Yes I’m kind and caring, yes I try to be selfless and I will always give everything I have to those I care for, but I’m not some muddy ground for you to walk all over in your quest for I don’t quite know what.

We work hard, we work tirelessly and unlike you we do it with honesty, humility and compassion, however you will be the only one out of us to get a pay rise this year. Can you see where this might be a little unfair? Or will you just release another statement saying how we are appreciated expecting that to make us all feel a little better?

Johnson is currently offering nurses like Jessica a one per cent pay rise (which is in fact a pay cut, once inflation is taken into account. Here’s how that compares with other nations:

You can understand why nurses like Jessica are angry; why they feel they have been taken for granted and are considered to be “muddy ground” for Johnson and his like to “walk all over”.

And you can understand her reasons for being furious at being denied a pay rise while Johnson rakes in the cash for himself.

If you can see all that, can you see a way to show your support for nurses like Jessica, so they can have the pay rise they deserve for keeping us, our friends, families and loved ones alive during the Covid-19 crisis when Johnson and his cronies were doing their best to make us die?

Source: This nurse’s note to Boris Johnson is going viral

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Johnson insults Turing with foreign education scheme on the cheap

Insult AND injury: if the injustice he suffered while he was alive wasn’t bad enough – and remember, it drove him to suicide – it seems Boris Johnson is trying to make it worse by linking one of the UK’s greatest minds with a scheme that will actually prevent students from achieving their potential.

We always knew the UK backed out of the ‘Erasmus’ scheme, for UK students to study in the EU, for only one reason: to save money.

Now the scale of Boris Johnson’s cheapness is becoming clear.

The new scheme, named after Bletchley Park code-cracker Alan Turing, will send students all over the world, rather than just into the EU.

But it will not pay for their tuition. Instead, universities are to be urged to agree tuition fee “waivers” with their counterparts abroad. Does anybody really think that’s going to happen?

Nor will the new scheme pay travel costs for UK students to study abroad – except in the case of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (but we know that the Tories are biased against such students from last year’s ‘A’ level results so it seems unlikely that any travel costs will be paid at all).

The European Commission had paid up to £1,315 for UK students to study in the EU, so this will seriously hinder the ability of poorer students to travel.

Oh, and just for good measure, the living allowance has been slashed – by a fifth, according to the Scottish National Party.

Originally, Johnson had promised that UK students would remain part of the far better-funded Erasmus.

But it seems clear that he changed his mind when he realised there was an opportunity to cut spending – and victimise poorer UK citizens at the same time.

(Rich students will still be able to study abroad if they want, because they can rely on the bank of mummy and daddy.)

Instead, he announced the new Turing scheme, doing his best to make it sound like a huge stride forward into a brighter, wider world:

In fact, Johnson is pushing us into darkness and isolation.

Source: New ‘Erasmus’ scheme will not pay tuition or travel costs and living allowance slashed | The Independent

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Thousands of disabled students could get Universal Credit after woman wins legal fight

Tactical cruelty: perhaps DWP bosses realised they were going to lose a court case so they changed the law in order to ensure that disabled students would continue to be unable to claim Universal Credit.

This is good news for many – but not for everybody:

Tens of thousands of disabled students could qualify for Universal Credit after 22-year-old mostly-blind Sidra Kauser won a legal victory over a loophole saying she could not claim Universal Credit.

To receive the benefit, she would have had to take a work capability assessment – but the DWP’s rules contained a bizarre ‘Catch-22’ that she could not take the test, because she is a student.

As a result, she could not be found to have limited capability for work, and therefore couldn’t receive the benefit.

The High Court has quashed the DWP’s decision, saying it breaches the Tory-run government department’s own regulations, dating back to 2013 – and ordered it to pay Ms Kauser’s legal fees.

But this fight is not over because the Tory government changed the law on August 5, ensuring that disabled students claiming Universal Credit after that date would not be invited to a work capability assessment and therefore would not be eligible for the benefit at all.

That will have to be challenged in a future court case.

But this is another victory for crusading lawyers Leigh Day, who explained the case:

Sidra Kauser, aged 22, from Halifax, is visually impaired and is currently studying for a masters degree at York University.

She received Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but that, combined with a student loan, was not enough to provide her with an acceptable standard of living. After payment of her rent, she had £120 a month to live on.

She applied for universal credit, but because she was a student, she was refused a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which meant she was effectively disentitled from claiming universal credit.

Sidra applied for a judicial review of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) policy (which stated that disabled students shouldn’t be invited to a WCA), arguing that the law required the DWP to conduct a WCA to determine whether she had limited capability for work, in which case she would be entitled to universal credit.

Now, after the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, told the court in July, 2020 that she would not be defending Sidra’s claim, a high court judge has ruled that the SSWP had acted unlawfully and has quashed the decision to refuse Sidra’s claim for universal credit.

Sidra will now be given a WCA, and if she is deemed to be unable to work, she will be entitled to make a claim for universal credit.

The court ruling also has an impact on those disabled students whose applications for universal credit had previously been unsuccessful because they had been refused a WCA.

However, on 5 August the DWP changed the law so that other disabled students who made a claim for universal credit after that date would not be invited  to a WCA and would not therefore be able to establish their limited capability for work.

Ms Kauser said: “I am glad I decided to take a stand and pursue my claim for judicial review of the DWP decision to refuse me a WCA. Hopefully other students will benefit from the court ruling.”

Leigh Day solicitor Lucy Cadd added: “Sidra made a brave stand against the decision to refuse her a WCA and it has proved successful. It has been estimated by the charity Disability Rights UK that the Secretary of State’s unlawful policy, which has been in operation since 2013, could have adversely affected 30,000 disabled students. Other disabled students who were refused a WCA prior to 5 August 2020 and therefore lost out on their claim for universal credit, should ask the Secretary of State to revise her decision.

“Although the DWP has callously changed the regulations to prevent more disabled students being entitled to a WCA, there may be scope for legal challenge to the new regulations.”

Source: Disabled student wins right to be considered for universal credit

Does Whately’s scorn for student nurses hide a deeper Tory agenda?

Airhead or conspirator? What did Helen Whately mean when she said student nurses were ‘not deemed to be providing a service’?

After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.

That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:

The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.

Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.

Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.

Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.

Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.

“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”

Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!

It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.

Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.

And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?

She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.

“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.

“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.

“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”

Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.

She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”

It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.

This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.

And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.

Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.

If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.

And now I must ask: is that the plan?

Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?

The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.

If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.

You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.

And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.

Are you looking forward to that?

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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