Tag Archives: The Sunday Times

A general election is in the offing – time for another anti-Semitism smear against Jeremy Corbyn

This is an absolute disgrace:

It’s the latest anti-Jeremy Corbyn piece by the Sunday Times reporter responsible for manufacturing such nonsense, Gabriel Pogrund.

You may remember that Mr Pogrund included a series of – let’s call them what they are – lies about This Writer in an article published on February 4 last year. If you need to refresh your memory, you can read my response to that piece here.

The Sunday Times was forced to publish a correction on January 13, when the press regulator IPSO ruled against the newspaper after I complained in the strongest terms possible. Here‘s my account of that.

Mr Pogrund based his allegations about me on a leaked Labour Party report to the party’s National Executive Committee. I had a chance to read that report as it was included in the charge sheet sent to me in advance of my disciplinary hearing before the party’s National Kangaroo Court National Constitutional Committee and it would be fair to say not only that the information it contained was wildly inaccurate in many parts but also that Mr Pogrund took liberties with it.

So I would strongly advise that anybody reading his current article should treat the allegations therein with extreme caution.

Don’t get me wrong – if any of the allegations against Labour Party members that are featured in the article are accurate, they are deplorable and those responsible deserve to be drummed out of the party at the very least. However:

At no point in what is visible of the article on the Sunday Times front – which is all that is available to me at this point, and I’m damned if I’ll spend another penny on that hack-rag – is there any confirmation of its information from a Labour Party representative who would know about it.

No evidence is given to show whether the claims about particular individuals are accurate or merely allegations.

And nothing in the visible part of the article directly connects the claims it makes about alleged interference in Labour anti-Semitism investigations with Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Yet the headline clearly refers to the individuals listed in the piece as “Corbyn’s anti-Semite army”.

The piece carries comments from Tom Watson, of whom current opinion among Labour Party members can be summed up as follows –

– and from Margaret Hodge, who has become a “rent-a-quote” for people writing smear stories about Mr Corbyn.

I think the Labour leader has very strong grounds to take Mr Pogrund and his newspaper to court for defamation.

This is a critical time for the people of the United Kingdom.

Hysteria over Brexit is at fever pitch, with Theresa May in negotiations with a Labour team on a way to save the process from the disaster she has made of it.

If the talks fall apart, it is possible that Mrs May will trigger a general election in the hope that a new Parliament may be able to support one of the options available.

And in this context, The Sunday Times publishes a piece smearing the leader of the Opposition.

Fortunately for sanity, it is also published in the context of a long line of smear pieces against Mr Corbyn that means it is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone other than the Tory-supporting media who have a vested interest in repeating its claims until people who are easily-led start believing them. Expect a segment on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr ShowSunday Politics and possibly even Politics Live on Monday (April 8).

The rest of us are more likely to agree with this:

Still, there is enough in the article to demonstrate an intent to lower Mr Corbyn’s standing in the opinion of right-thinking people generally – damaging his reputation at a time when he may be about to lead the Labour Party into a general election. And I see no proof that the allegations in the article are accurate, or that Mr Corbyn has been involved in what it claims.

When Conservative MP Ben Bradley tweeted a false allegation that Mr Corbyn sold national secrets to Communist spies, Mr Corbyn pursued him with a threat of legal action if he did not apologise – and so he (eventually) did.

Let’s look forward to similar action from Mr Corbyn over this.


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

At long last, the voices of OPPONENTS of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt are being heard

Witch-hunters: I still like this image because it paints the Labour Party anti-Semitism fakers as cartoon characters.

As a victim of the witch-hunt, I am delighted to see that people aren’t meekly accepting the mainstream interpretation of it any more.

We’re currently seeing a backlash against the ‘establishment’ view that anybody accused of anti-Semitism must be guilty, with three notable contributions in the last few days:

More than 200 Jewish women, incensed by The Guardian‘s insistence on assuming that MPs like Margaret Hodge must be telling the whole truth about the situation, wrote to the newspaper to point out that this Dame’s claims fall far short of journalistic standards of accuracy.

They pointed out that Margaret Hodge had claimed to have submitted 200 complaints of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to general secretary Jennie Formby – but on investigation, those complaints concerned 111 individuals of whom only 20 were party members. Those involving the other 91 people were nothing to do with the Labour Party’s disciplinary procedure and her submission of those complaints was a waste of the party’s time.

Having established that Margaret Hodge’s grasp of the facts is not what it should be, the letter’s signatories went on to suggest that her latest claims – that Labour branches should be shut down, for supporting Chris Williamson against those who want him removed from the party over his own stance on the issue, or for refusing to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition and examples of anti-Semitism over Labour’s own version – should be treated as similarly suspect.

The Guardian refused to publish the letter on the grounds that it said nothing new, which is bitterly funny in hindsight as the criticism is more appropriately attached to the words of the MP than to her critics.

The ensuing coverage of the letter in the social media has made fools of Margaret Hodge and The Guardian – and may have reached more people as a result of the newspaper’s decision not to publish it.

Not only that, but 12 Holocaust survivors wrote a letter, published by The Sunday Times, stating that they “do not believe that any prejudice against or hostility towards Jews is being perpetrated by Labour; and if any exists within the party, it is minimal and no more prevalent than in any other political party… Jeremy Corbyn has in fact bent over backwards to help Jewish people”.

The letter continued: “Media attention on the Labour Party in general, and on Corbyn in particular, is being generated by anti-Labour and anti-Corbyn mischief makers, who unfortunately are over-represented within the so-called Anglo-Jewish leadership — a leadership whose legitimacy is not recognised by the mainstream Haredi (strictly Orthodox) Jews.”

The letter has been criticised by the Jewish Chronicle – but readers of This Site will know that the JC has a distant relationship with the facts, as far as the anti-Semitism row is concerned, and it has been suggested that it used false information – fake news – to trash the claims of these Holocaust survivors. Just read this Skwawkbox article for an explanation.

Finally, we have seen the online launch of the documentary film WitchHunt, by John Pullman, which examines the attack on innocent Labour Party members by those who corruptly accuse them of anti-Semitism.

I haven’t seen it yet. I wonder how closely it will mirror my own experiences. But I would certainly encourage you to watch it.

The mainstream – the ‘establishment’ – will try hard to regain the initiative; we have seen one attempt already in the response of the Jewish Chronicle. The best advice you can take is to use your own intelligence and make up your own mind, based on the evidence available and the reliability of those providing it.


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

At last: The Sunday Times admits anti-Semitism allegations against Vox Political writer were FALSE

Victory: Vox Political‘s Mike Sivier with the correction in The Sunday Times.

It took nearly a year, but The Sunday Times has at last admitted that it was wrong to characterise me as an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier in an article last February.

It was the publication that launched a wave of similar stories in the mainstream media – the origin of the claims – and it is the last such publication to publish a correction.

The Mail, the Jewish Chronicle, The Express and The Sun have all admitted inaccuracies in their own versions of the story.

In its current edition (dated Sunday, January 13, 2019), under Corrections & Clarifications, the newspaper published the following [boldings mine]:

“The following correction is published after an upheld ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

“In an article (“Labour welcomes back banned activists and Holocaust denier”, News, February 4, 2018) we misinterpreted Mike Sivier as having said he was not pretending the omission of Jews from a list of Holocaust survivors was a big problem, when what he had said was not a big problem was anti-semitism in the Labour Party. What he had said about Jews being omitted from the list was that this may have been “political correctness”.

“We also reported him as having said, in a discussion about a leaflet which described the Holocaust as having thousands not millions of victims and which did not mention Jews at all, that he was not going to comment on whether thousands or millions of Jews had died in the Holocaust as he didn’t know, when in fact what he had said was “I’m not going to comment on ‘thousands’ instead of ‘millions’ because I don’t know.” We are happy to make clear Mr Sivier’s position that what he meant was that he did not know why the leaflet had used those numbers, not that he didn’t know how many Jews had died in the Holocaust..

“These claims formed the basis for the headline’s suggestion that Mr Sivier was a “Holocaust denier” and we are happy to put on record his position that this is not the case.

For clarity, I think you deserve to see the relevant parts of the IPSO ruling on this case – and I have a few observations of my own about parts of this story as well. Here’s IPSO [again, boldings mine]:

“The complainant had not directly said that he was “’not going to comment’ on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust as ‘I don’t know’”. There was no reference in the discussion surrounding the leaflet to “whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust”, because the leaflet had explicitly not referred to Jews among the victims of the Holocaust; the discussion had centred on the reasons for the omission of Jews from the list, which the complainant had said may have been for ‘politically correct’ reasons, but there was no discussion of the number of Jews who had died. The publication was entitled to give its own interpretation of what the complainant had meant by his comments. However, the article did not make clear that it was reporting the publication’s interpretation of the complainant’s comments – they were presented as direct comments in relation to specific claims, when in fact separate comments had been juxtaposed. Because the comment thread was publicly available, this represented a failure to take care… The article gave the impression that the complainant had said something which he had not, on a subject liable to cause widespread offence.

“The complainant had suggested that omitting Jews from a list of Holocaust survivors in a leaflet may have been for “’politically correct’” reasons. However, he had not explicitly stated that he was “‘not pretending it was a big problem’ if Jews were omitted from a list of Holocaust survivors”, as the article said. Claiming that the complainant had said this, when his comments were publicly available, represented a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article.

“The Committee considered that the question of whether the complainant was a “Holocaust denier” had formed part of his complaint, as set out in his correspondence with the publication prior to contacting IPSO, where he questioned whether he was the “Holocaust denier” the article had referred to… It was clear that this characterisation referred to the complainant: the headline had referred to “banned activists and [a] Holocaust denier” being welcomed back into the Labour Party, and it was clear that the other individuals referred to were members of “’proscribed’” groups. The complainant was the only individual named in reference to any claims around the Holocaust. The publication claimed that this characterisation was not misleading based on the complainant’s expressed views and actions. However, the sole basis provided for this characterisation within the article itself was the complainant’s comments on his website. The Committee found, above, that the publication had failed to take care over the presentation of these comments, creating the misleading impression that the complainant had made statements which he had not. The Committee considered that there was a consequent failure to take care over the basis provided for the claim that the complainant was a “Holocaust denier”… The Committee did not consider that the publication had provided a sufficient basis for asserting that the complainant was a “Holocaust denier”, either in the article, or in the evidence subsequently submitted for the Committee’s consideration… It did not consider that the publication had provided a basis for this characterisation, and… a clarification was required to indicate that the basis provided for the characterisation in the article had been presented in a misleading manner, and to put on record the complainant’s position that he did not deny the Holocaust.”

I should clarify the point I was making when I wrote, “I’m not going to comment on ‘thousands’ instead of ‘millions’ because I don’t know.” I had been asked why the creators of a leaflet discussing the Holocaust had stated that thousands of people had died, rather than millions. My statement was that I didn’t know why those people had done that. How could I? I had nothing to do with it.

My comment about them being “politically correct” when omitting Jews from the list of Holocaust victims was prompted by the fact that the leaflet listed people of other ethnicities that had also been victims of the Nazi Holocaust. There were 17 million victims in total, of which six million were Jewish, according to the most widely-accepted figures (with which I agree). I was speculating – because that’s all I could do, not having had anything to do with the creation of the leaflet – that those who were responsible may have wanted to raise awareness of groups whose persecution at Nazi hands doesn’t get as much attention.

The simple fact was that the commenter to This Site who had challenged me about it had not provided enough information for me to offer a stronger opinion. This is also relevant to another aspect of the original story in The Sunday Times that it did not correct.

Here’s the IPSO ruling again:

“In response to a commenter referring to comments by a Labour politician stating that Tony Blair was “unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers”, the complainant had written “(without further information) concerns that Tony Blair was being ‘unduly influenced’ by ‘a cabal of Jewish advisors’ may have been entirely justified.” The article did not give a misleading impression of the substance of this comment, and the publication was entitled to rely on the words the complainant had used, which it had not presented in a misleading manner.”

It should be clear that I was saying anyone hearing that assertion would be justified in feeling concerned about it, in the absence of further information to confirm or deny it. But my words, quoted accurately by IPSO, were perverted by the newspaper. It stated that I had said it “may be entirely justified” to say that Tony Blair was controlled by a “cabal of Jewish activists”. If I had intended that, I would have said it.

A better explanation for IPSO’s decision on this aspect of the matter is actually elsewhere in its ruling, where it stated, “The publication was entitled to give its own interpretation of what the complainant had meant by his comments.” IPSO reckons the Sunday Times’ interpretation of this point is reasonable; I do not.

This is a huge victory for the fight against false allegations of anti-Semitism.

But that struggle continues. The Sunday Times published its story after a member or officer of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee leaked a confidential report about me to one of the newspaper’s reporters. The paper published what it would have considered to be the strongest evidence against me that had been included in that report – and now it has had to admit that they were false.

But Labour still expelled me from the party, at a hearing before members of its National Constitutional Committee last November. The evidence against me – in total – was that “someone said they were upset” by articles I had written.

And the original allegations had been sent to Labour by an extremist fringe group that masquerades as a charity, called the Campaign Against Antisemitism. It had made its false claims just days before local elections at which I was campaigning to become a county councillor, and I believe the intention was to corruptly influence the result of that election to stop me taking a council seat.

This is what we must resist – false claims against innocent people, made to create political advantage. That is what this is about – not anti-Semitism, but power.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cameron’s smear attempt on Labour is laughed off the page

camerondoh2

Another day, another blunder: David Cameron can’t say anything right, it seems.

David Cameron is to be congratulated. Just as the furore over his ‘Road to Tory Ruin’ election poster might be expected to die down, he has thrown more fuel on the fire of public discontent with a series of false claims prior to a TV appearance.

He told The Guardian that the Labour Party’s plans, if it wins the election in May, would cost £13.5 billion in extra interest payments on the country’s debts.

The report also quoted his interview in The Sunday Times, in which he stated: “Money that should be used for schools and hospitals will be effectively poured down the drain.”

Some might point out that the Conservative Party is doing quite enough already to drain away money that could be used for schools and hospitals – into Tory donors’ bank accounts – but Labour responded in a tweet: “Problems with Tories’ latest attack on ‘Labour’s policy’: 1) not Labour’s policy 2) based on outdated forecasts.” It added, mockingly: “Apart from that, not bad.”

The Conservatives’ electioneering blunders have provoked a storm of protest on the social media, and Cameron’s silly claim has now prompted even those who are usually silent to comment. Here’s ‘Wez’, responding to the Guardian article: “I’m not usually a follower of politics but I definitely feel this party has turned this country into a shambles.”

And Richard Murphy, of Tax Research UK fame, tweeted: “If the Conservative election campaign goes as well in the rest of 2015 as it’s gone so far they might just make quite a lot of people happy.”

  • After the Guardian report was published, Cameron tweeted: “I’ll be talking about why in election year it’s vital we stay on the road to recovery with [The Andrew Marr Show] on BBC1.”

This prompted the following response from DJ Tony Blackburn: “Did you enjoy your coffee in Starbucks this morning? My producer Dan Roberts spotted you.”

Of course, Starbucks caused heated controversy over tax avoidance. The fact that Cameron was seen there is yet another public relations mistake, as many will consider this to be tacit support for the company’s strategy of not paying HM Revenue & Customs what it owes.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
pointing out the improper behaviour of senior politicians.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Bad apples?

Meet the new boss: Richard Caseby - no connection with any 'bad apples' at News UK or the DWP. Let's hope it stays that way.

Meet the new boss: Richard Caseby – no connection with any ‘bad apples’ at News UK or the government. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The highly confrontational former managing editor of both The Sunday Times and The Sun has been named as the new director of communications at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Richard Caseby takes over after former comms boss John Shield was hired by the BBC last September.

Gosh, what an incestuous world we live in! The BBC, now confirmed as little more than a mouthpiece for the Conservative Party in its political news content, hires the former press officer for the Tory-run DWP. The DWP then hires an executive from Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, previous home of – oh, yes – former Number 10 press supremo Andy Coulson, currently on trial for criminal offences allegedly committed while he was employed by the same firm!

Murdoch, the government, the BBC – these people like to stick together, and they like to put their people in positions of influence.

There is no evidence – to my knowledge – that could link Mr Caseby to any criminal behaviour at News UK. It is to be hoped that any ‘bad apples’ who worked there did not manage to spoil the whole bunch. It would be wrong to consider him guilty of any wrongdoing merely by association with his previous employer.

And we should not automatically consider him to have been elevated to this position – in which, as a government employee, he should be impartial and not partisan – because he may be ideologically aligned with the Conservatives.

That being said, I shall certainly be watching this character like a hawk.

It seems he has gained a reputation for being “outspoken” and “forthright” – Roy Greenslade in The Guardian recounts an occasion when a columnist for that paper had mistakenly reported that The Sun had doorstepped a Leveson Inquiry lawyer, writing that such activities were equal to “casually defecating on his lordship’s desk while doing a thumbs-up sign”.

In response, Mr Caseby sent a toilet roll to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger along with a note saying: “I hear Marina Hyde’s turd landed on your desk.”

Of his new roll – sorry, role – at the DWP, Mr Caseby said: “Welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit represent the biggest transformation programme in the UK. It is fundamentally about changing culture and behaviour to make sure there is always an incentive to work.

“This is a huge and inspiring communications challenge and I’m delighted to be joining the DWP team to help in the task.”

Clearly he is already getting the hang of the lingo: “tranformation”, “changing culture and behaviour”, and “always an incentive to work” are all DWP catchphrases – probably because they don’t mean anything.

A “transformation” programme can turn a good system into the substance he mentioned in his Guardian note.

“Changing culture and behaviour” does not mean improving standards of living – in fact the evidence shows the exact opposite.

And the idea that DWP cuts mean there is “always an incentive to work” has been disproved to the point of ridicule. Iain Duncan Smith’s changes have hit low-paid workers more than anybody else and wages have been dropping continuously since the Secretary-in-a-State slithered into the job back in 2010.

Universal Credit has been the subject of so many expensive write-offs and relaunches that a campaign was launched earlier this week, called ‘Rip It Up And Start Again’, seeking an end to the fiasco.

This is the arena into which Mr Caseby has stepped.

He’d better tread carefully.

If he puts just one foot wrong, he might just get his head bitten off.