Tag Archives: Tory

Cost-of-living crisis: Tories demand clampdown on people who steal to eat

Tory Kit Malthouse: his party has inflicted poverty on millions and now he is determined that if anybody is driven to steal food, just so they can eat, police should prosecute them with the full force of the law rather than exercise their discretion to deliver justice.

The Tory government has opened up a rift with the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary over people who steal to eat because of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The impact of poverty, and the impact of lack of opportunity for people, does lead to an increase in crime. There’s no two ways about that,” Andy Cooke, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said.

He said officers should use their “discretion” when deciding whether to prosecute people who steal in order to eat: “What they’ve got to bear in mind is what is the best thing for the community, and that individual, in the way they deal with those issues.”

But he insisted he was not advocating an amnesty for people who commit crimes of poverty, nor “giving a carte blanche for people to go out shoplifting”. Instead, he advised officers to make sure such matters of law enforcement are “dealt with in the best way possible”.

The Guardian found at least one police representative who agreed with this approach:

One chief constable whose area includes pockets of poverty agreed with Cooke. “There is a difference between a first-time offender who steals bread, cheese or milk to eat, and someone stealing to feed an addiction,” they said. “Police are there to help people in extreme need, that’s why we joined. We can signpost them to a food bank or help like that.”

But the Tory government takes a different view – Policing Minister Kit Malthouse wants to crack down hard on the people his party’s policies have driven into poverty.

On Thursday’s (May 19) morning interview round, he told LBC: “I wrote to chief constables just a year or so ago saying they should not be ignoring those seemingly small crimes.

“We first of all believe the law should be blind and police officers should operate without fear or favour in prosecution of the law.”

What did you expect? Tory policy has been to privatise the prison service, remember.

Perhaps they want to fill those prisons for their private business cronies.

And one more thing:

Isn’t it hypocritical for the Tories to want harsh action against people suffering as a result of their policies – but think it is hardly worth mentioning when their own leader ignores their policies in order to have a big party?

Source: Officers should use discretion over stealing to eat, says police watchdog | Police | The Guardian

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ANOTHER Conservative MP has been arrested for sex crimes

Police have arrested yet another Conservative MP for sex crimes.

The Tory Parliamentarian, who has not been named, had his collar felt by the long arm of the law after an investigation lasting no fewer than two years.

As a result, he now stands accused of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office – all between 2002 and 2009.

The latter two accusations suggest that this is someone who may have used his position as a member of Parliament in order to commit the crimes.

The arrest follows the resignation of another Tory MP, Neil Parish, after he admitted having watched pornography in the Commons chamber.

And that came after yet another Conservative MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, resigned after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. His victim said that he had alerted the Conservative Party before Khan had been elected – but his warnings had fallen on deaf ears.

Prior to that, three cabinet ministers were among 56 MPs said to have been accused of sexual misconduct and referred to Parliamentary watchdog the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

On This Site, I questioned whether those 56 names included some of those on a list known to the Tory whips during Theresa May’s leadership – and asked why these people, if they were known to have committed offences, had been allowed to continue as MPs for years when they should have been arrested.

Leaving sexual offences behind, Conservative MPs have been at the centre of a string of corruption allegations. Remember Owen Paterson?

Guilty or not, this accusation leaves another grubby mark on the Conservative Party’s reputation.

This is an organisation that claims to be fit to run the United Kingdom, for the benefit of everybody, yet its members – possibly including people in the highest offices in the land – seem determined to act on their own basest instincts to harm others.

And the party’s leaders seem completely unconcerned.

Why do we let these creatures govern the country when experience shows they can’t even govern themselves?

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The Tory Bill for workers’ rights – just another Boris Johnson lie?

The Tory two-fingered salute: this time it’s for working people across the UK who thought the lying Boris Johnson was ever going to offer them a fair deal.

Simple answer: it’s what they do.

Unions and industry groups were incensed earlier this week when they discovered that the Tory government has not included an Employment Bill to protect workers’ rights in plans for the new Parliamentary session.

Why were they so upset?

Because the Tories had promised it, that’s why!

Boris Johnson had responded to concerns that workers’ rights could be watered down after the UK left the EU, and worries about treatment of employees in the gig economy with a pledge to enshrine rights in law. That was in 2019.

Since then, nothing.

According to the BBC,

When first announced, the bill had promised:

  • the creation of a single enforcement body, offering greater protections for workers
  • making sure that tips left for workers go to them in full
  • all workers would have the right to ask for a more predictable contract
  • redundancy protections would be extended to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • parents allowed to take extended leave for neonatal care
  • entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers
  • subject to consultation, the bill also proposed making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the lack of the Employment Bill in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech meant “vital rights that ministers had promised – like default flexible working, fair tips and protection from pregnancy discrimination – risk being ditched for good”.

She claimed ministers had “sent a signal that they are happy for rogue employers to ride roughshod over workers’ rights,” adding it would see “bad bosses celebrating”.

She’s not wrong!

But then, working people and their representatives were wrong ever to believe that Boris Johnson and his gang of asset-strippers and exploiters would ever legislate to ensure proper treatment for them.

In short, it seems clear that the promise of an Employment Bill was another Boris Johnson lie. We should have treated it as such from the start.

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The elephant in the room: why are the Tories trying to sideline Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland: most people here aren’t bothered about the protocol that puts a trade border between the Province and the rest of the UK. Are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s block to the restoration of the Stormont assembly because it aligns with their own differences with the European Union?

Isn’t it strange that the Queen’s Speech made no mention of the Northern Ireland Protocol that is currently the greatest threat to peace in the United Kingdom?

Prince Charles, standing in for Her Majesty, announced no fewer than 38 planned new laws – and not one of them explained how Boris Johnson’s government plans to tackle the constitutional crisis that has flared up in the Province.

I think it’s because Johnson doesn’t know what to do. He has painted himself into this corner with his silly rushed Brexit and now he can’t get out of it.

For those who don’t know: the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit agreement keeps open the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by creating a hard trade border between the Province and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Last week’s local elections returned a majority of members to the Stormont assembly who approve of that agreement – but Stormont is run on a power-sharing basis, and the second-largest party, the Democratic Unionist Party, is refusing to nominate any of its members to the new administration until a deal is struck that dismantles the border with the rest of the UK.

Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Fein, who is set to be the new First Minister, has said it is the responsibility of Boris Johnson and his government to resolve the problems over the protocol – by negotiation with the European Union. This has created something of a domino effect.

The EU itself has acknowledged that the Protocol has created difficulties – and offered proposals last October to ease the burden of checks and paperwork.

The EU said it would mean inspections of food products would be reduced far below what is usually required at single-market borders, but the plan came with caveats and the UK said the EU needed to do more.

Now, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has said the UK may decide to scrap the protocol altogether – and a source close to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was considering legislation to scrap parts of the Brexit treaty unilaterally – without seeking agreement from the EU.

In turn, the EU’s chief negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, has said that the EU had already “shown a lot of flexibility by proposing impactful, durable solutions and we stand ready to continue discussions. We need the UK government to dial down the rhetoric, be honest about the deal they signed and agree to find solutions within its framework”.

This has been interpreted as a threat of a possible trade war if Truss goes ahead and trashes the protocol.

It’s a big mess – of Boris Johnson’s making. But some have suggested that the only people with whom the UK government should be negotiating are the DUP.

The majority of people in Northern Ireland support the protocol as it stands – or at least, they have voted a majority of representatives into Stormont who support it – and some say this means the DUP should accept it as it is, and not use it to disrupt the power-sharing agreement that helps to maintain the fragile peace the Province has enjoyed since 1998.

It seems only six per cent of the NI electorate see the protocol as a major issue, which suggests that the problem lies only with the DUP.

This Site has previously mentioned rumours that the DUP is only using the protocol as a means of ensuring that the unionist party will not take a position subordinate to nationalists – even though the titles of First Minister and Deputy First Minister are practically meaningless; power is shared between the two major parties.

The possible consequences for Northern Ireland could be catastrophic. But surely, nobody wants a return to the situation before the Good Friday Agreement, do they?

So perhaps NI Secretary Brandon Lewis simply needs to take a robust stance and present it to the DUP. Or are the Tories entertaining the DUP’s rebellion because it suits them to?

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Terrible things the Tories did while Parliament was in recess

As Boris Johnson prepares to drag us all through another diabolical Parliamentary session, let’s just remember some rotten things they’ve done while Parliament was in recess, courtesy of Indy100:

1. Tory party chairman hypocritically moans about electoral pacts

Oliver Dowden complained about a suspected electoral pact between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

…Except in 2019 Nigel Farage stood down 317 Brexit Party candidates ahead of the general election to help the Conservatives deliver Brexit. He called it a “Leave alliance” but Johnson said they hadn’t made a pact. A more official pact, then, was when the Tories went into coalition with the Lib Dems in 2010.

2. The spectre of Right to Buy returns

Johnson wants to give housing association tenants the right to purchase their homes at a massive discount.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter, has labelled the plan a “hare-brained idea” that is “the opposite of what the country needs”.

3. Nadine Dorries’ attacks on Keir Starmer backfire, twice

When the Mail ran stories about Starmer having a beer and a curry while campaigning during lockdown last year… Dorries… met backlash for being misleading when she shared a Mail story [that] used a stock image of Starmer eating a curry that was taken in 2015. Then she told Starmer that those wishing to be PM should be honest with the public, and people found it very ironic indeed.

4. Boris Johnson has ridiculous response to pensioner facing cost of living crisis

[When Johnson was interviewed on GMB] Susanna Reid spoke about a 77-year old widow named Elsie whose energy bills have increased from £17 a month to £85 meaning she will pay £816 more a year.

To cut costs, she has “resorted to eating one meal a day” and is “losing weight”. “She goes to the supermarket at the end of the day to buy yellow stickered discounted items, she gets up early in the morning to use her freedom bus pass to stay on buses all day to avoid energy at home,” Reid said.

Reid asked Johnson want Elsie should do and after saying he didn’t want her to cut back on anything, he said:

“Just to remind you, the 24-hour freedom bus pass was something that I actually introduced.”

“Marvellous so Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass,” Reid quipped back

5. He also made false claims during the interview

Johnson’s claims about free bus passes, the Conservative’s record on cutting council taxes and the UK’s economic growth weren’t exactly true. Someone tell Dorries…

6. Minister suggests people buy value brands to cope with soaring prices

Asked about what families could do to cut costs if they want to cook a Sunday roast, George Eustice told Sky News: “Generally what people find is going for some of the value brands, rather than own-branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”

7. ‘Local’ Tories accused of misleading voters

In the lead-up to the local elections, people noticed that some Tories had splatted “local Conservatives” all over their posters to distance themselves from the national party and their mistakes.

Areas including Birmingham and St Albans listed people running for council as “local Conservatives” and in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Conservative leaflets said: “this election is about local issues, not national issues”.

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said: “It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes.

Source: 9 of the worst things the Tories have done this week

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Tory Britain: we can’t afford to eat every day and we’re setting fire to our homes, trying to keep warm

Secret smile: Boris Johnson probably thinks it is very funny that his policies have made more than two million people unable to afford to eat every day, and that some people have set fire to their homes while trying to heat them by burning timber indoors.

You may wish to bookmark this article so you can send it to anyone who tries to tell you voting Conservative is a good idea.

Because more than 12 years of Conservative government has laid the once-great United Kingdom lower than it has been in decades – possibly more than a century.

More than two million people – one in every seven adults – can no longer afford to eat food every day:

More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat

The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.

And fire brigades are now overworked dealing with blazes in houses where people started burning timber in open fires because they could not afford the cost of central heating any more:

A man in south-west London set fire to his property by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.

The man was trying to avoid putting on the central heating in his home, fire investigators said.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the incident – one of at least 100 involving open fires, log burners and heaters in the capital in the last few months – laid bare “the harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

Some might say that they don’t care; these incidents involve other people. It’s very easy to throw shade on others by saying they are unable to keep their finances in order.

But the Tory cost-of-living crisis affects us all.

Food costs more because of Brexit-related supply issues; housing costs more because the banks have increased interest rates, meaning mortgages and rents are going up; heating costs more because of the shortage of gas created last winter and accelerated by the Russia-Ukraine war; we are paying more tax to the Tory government than any UK population in more than 40 years.

Only people who are extremely rich can afford to blame others for being unable to stay warm or feed themselves in these circumstances. If you’re on a normal wage, you’ll feel the pinch soon enough.

And it’s all due to Conservative economic incompetence – sold to you with a lie that they knew what they were doing.

Or was it a lie? How much worse would you find it if this enforced starvation and these house fires were intended to happen by Boris Johnson and his party?

Source: More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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Top TV writer makes ‘perfect’ dig at government’s privatisation plans

Cash cow: campaigning organisation We Own It created this banner, with a highly-relevant message. And why DO the Tories want to privatise Channel 4 so much? For their own profit?

Russell T Davies has scored another hit – this time with a single sentence rather than a TV series.

The It’s a Sin creator and returning Doctor Who showrunner was speaking on the red carpet at the BAFTA Awards ceremony.

Asked if he had expected It’s a Sin to have the impact it did – raising money for HIV and AIDS charities and being nominated for 11 BAFTAs – Mr Davies responded as follows:

Of course, it was made on a channel that the government’s going to sell off while they’re also planning to get rid of the BBC licence fee so if you like shows like this, go and vote differently, that’s what I say.

He’s absolutely right!

If This Writer had time right now, I’d be making infographics with that quote all over it, using an image from shows like It’s a Sin, Doctor Who… Peaky Blinders would be another good one… with a tagline saying something like “Conservatives want to kill the best of British TV”.

Because they do.

Source: Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies praised for ‘perfect’ dig at government at BAFTA Awards – Birmingham Live

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Donors who gave Tories £1m between them are handed public health jobs

Sajid Javid: smug Sajid has been challenged to explain what guarantees he has secured to ensure that the new appointees will not use their positions to put private profit over public health.

Look out – the Tories are handing public health jobs to cronies with links to private health investment in their latest lurch towards NHS privatisation.

In March, Oluwole Kolade, a managing partner of Livingbridge, a private equity firm with extensive investments in private healthcare, was made a non-executive director and deputy chair of NHS England for three years.

And Simon Blagden, a chairman of Fujitsu UK, which sued the NHS over a failed IT project, was made a member of the UK Health Security Agency advisory board in April.

How can these be appropriate appointments? They will not support public health because their financial interests lie in the exploitation of health care as a market for making a grubby profit.

Here are some more details:

In just over a decade, Kolade has donated £859,342 to Conservative party headquarters; the party’s London mayoral candidate in 2021, Shaun Bailey; and the party’s branch in Hitchin and Harpenden. About a third of the donations – £300,000 – have been made since Boris Johnson became prime minister.

Kolade is a managing partner of Livingbridge, a private equity firm with extensive investments in private healthcare. Livingbridge’s portfolio includes multiple NHS suppliers, and private dental companies, care providers and fertility firms.

Since 2005, Blagden and companies he is associated with have donated £376,000 to the Conservatives. These include Pietas Ltd, a firm he was director of from 2000 to 2020, and Avre Partnership Limited, which he has been director of since 2014.

He was also a chairman of Fujitsu UK, which sued the NHS over a failed IT project. A parliamentary committee’s inquiry into the debacle in 2013 cited reports that a sum of £700m was sought from the Department of Health.

The government says political activity is not a bar to holding a public appointment and any such activity, including donations, is declared when such an appointment is made.

That’s all very well, but it seems to This Writer that shareholding in private health companies – or in companies that have tried to get contracts in the public health system – indicate a conflict of interest that should indeed bar the candidate (or should I say condidate) from the role.

Source: Two donors who gave Tories £1m between them handed public health jobs

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After the elections: should both Boris Johnson AND Keir Starmer lose their jobs?

All in it together: neither Boris Johnson nor Keir Starmer fared well in the local government elections, and both may have broken Covid-19 lockdown laws. So it may be appropriate for both their jobs to be in danger.

There’s no doubt about it: the local elections have been a disaster for the Conservatives – and far from a victory for the Labour Party.

The Tories have lost 490 council seats in England, Wales and Scotland, with blame being placed squarely on the shoulders of Boris Johnson for his Partygate scandal and his failure to keep the cost of living within reasonable levels.

Conservative MPs are certain to be discussing whether Johnson has a future as prime minister over the next few days, before starting to make decisions about it after the new Parliamentary session begins.

They will also discuss the policy direction of Johnson’s government, with Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh quoted by the BBC as saying, “I do think radical change in the policy is required and, if it doesn’t happen, there really isn’t an electoral future for the party, because I think it will get crucified at the next election having bombed the economy.

“And if the team [running the government] is not able to adapt to reality, then the team needs to make way for someone else.”

But Labour – or at least Keir Starmer’s side of it – is in an equally precarious situation after voters gave a lukewarm response to his offer.

His party made some gains in London – and crowed about taking over Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet councils from the Tories – but lost Harrow council to the Tories, while the mayoralties of Croydon and Tower Hamlets also went to a Tory and to Lutfur Rahman and his Aspire organisation respectively.

Labour gains outside London were hardly worth mentioning. It took the new Cumberland unitary authority, and Southampton – but failed to take authorities where it had been expected to make gains, including Hartlepool, Peterborough, Redditch and Ipswich.

While the Tories have lost support in the south of England, Labour lost more in the north. It seems to have drained from both parties to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Of all Labour’s net gains – 137 seats, 65 of them were in Wales where the party is led by “continuity Corbyn” First Minister Mark Drakeford. The contrast is made more clear if we compare Labour’s gains with those of the Greens.

In England, Labour gained 52 seats while the Greens gained 60.

In Scotland, Labour won 20 seats with the Greens close behind on 16.

But in Wales, Labour was boosted by 65 seats, while the Greens could only muster up an extra eight.

The message is clear: the voting public doesn’t want Starmer’s tepid Tory policies; we want a genuine alternative to the Conservative nightmare that has engulfed the UK for more than 12 years, and we won’t be told his party of empty suits is the only alternative.

Indeed, as Skwawkbox quoted a left-winger in Harrow: “Despite expelling their best activists, despite purging all the left who wanted to stand despite disenfranchising in a most brutal persistent fashion, [Labour has] shown a talent for catastrophe with all [its] handpicked candidates.”

But you won’t hear that from Starmer himself! He’s living in a fantasy England where Labour is on the crest of a wave: “From the depths in 2019 we are back on track now for the general election, showing what the change that we’ve done, the hard change that we’ve done in the last two years, what a difference it has made.”

He actually claimed the results marked a “massive turning-point for the Labour Party”.

So perhaps it is just as well that he is about to have his attention occupied by a police investigation into whether he broke the law by having a beer in a Labour MP’s office during Covid-19 lockdown.

Durham Police had said it would not re-open an investigation into the incident in April last year, when Starmer was taking part in an online event ahead of a by-election in neighbouring Hartlepool.

But immediately after the local elections took place, the service changed its story, saying it had received “significant new information” but had delayed an announcement until after the vote.

If the finding is that the Labour leader did break the law, he will face calls from Tory MPs demanding that he resign. Sauce for the goose; he has demanded Boris Johnson’s resignation after the prime minister was fined for the same offence, after all. And if Starmer is fined, both leaders will be said to have lied about it.

But there is a significant difference between them: Johnson drew up the rules by which he demanded the rest of us should live, and it was on his behalf that police forces across the UK enforced those rules. He then deliberately broke those rules. And then he lied about having broken them to Parliament, which is an offence for which an MP may be expelled.

Starmer may have merely broken the rules while believing he was following them.

Ultimately, the difference may be irrelevant; Starmer has failed to win convincingly in a midterm election and is therefore unlikely to win a general election, so his party’s “grey suits” may use the so-called “BeerGate” affair as an excuse to remove him.

Either way, it seems clear that neither the Tory nor Labour leader should feel secure in their jobs.

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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Tories deny knowing MP in panel advising on grooming gangs was accused of molesting boy

Khan and can’t: Imran Ahmad Khan with Boris Johnson. The former committed a sex crime against a minor and, because the latter’s party couldn’t be bothered to record a complaint about him, he ended up on a Home Office panel advising the government on ways to stop the sexual exploitation of children. Think about that before voting Tory on May 5.

The Tories have said they did not know Imran Ahmad Khan had been accused of sexually assaulting an under-age boy – even though he had told their press office.

That’s the reason they’re using for giving him a position on a Home Office panel that advised the government about child sexual exploitation by grooming gangs, while his crime was being investigated by police.

Do you believe that?

Boris Johnson was cagey about the subject when he was challenged about it in Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (April 27, 2022):

 

“I believe the Home Office has already made a statement about it,” he said.

Yes – as follows:

The Home Office was not aware of the allegations against him at the time and he no longer has any involvement with the department.”

This is very odd, because the MP’s victim told a court that he had made a complaint to the Conservatives’ press office days before Imran Ahmad Khan was elected as MP for Wakefield in November 2019.

The Tory Party line?

“We have found no record of this complaint.”

That could be because, as the victim stated to the court,

“I wasn’t taken very seriously.”

He said the woman he spoke to sounded “shocked” and passed him on to someone else who sounded more “stern” and asked if he had any “proof”.

“I said, ‘Yes, there’s a police report’ and she said, ‘Well …’, and that was it.

“I said, ‘I’m going to the police’, and she said, ‘Well, you do that’.”

It seems the Tories didn’t even bother making a record of the conversation and passing it on to the Whips’ office.

And it says much about the quality of Conservative MPs that Imran Ahmad Khan never bothered to mention that he was under investigation by the police and might not be an appropriate choice – or simply recused himself.

Considering the recent revelations that a Tory MP smeared Angela Rayner leading to the ‘Basic Instinct’ Mail story, that 56 MPs are accused of sexual misconduct including three Tory Cabinet ministers, and that a Tory frontbencher was caught watching pornography in the Commons chamber, we should not be surprised.

It seems the Conservative Parliamentary benches are full of sexual deviants.

And it seems they know they can get away with their perversions because nobody in their party ever takes complaints about them seriously. Am I right?

Source: Ex-Tory MP guilty of molesting boy was on panel advising on grooming gangs | Politics | 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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