Tag Archives: Vox

Riley libel case: she responds to my appeal

That is to say that Rachel Riley’s lawyer, Mark Lewis, has responded. Whether Riley herself pays any attention to what’s going on or has anything to do with it is debatable.

Whoever turns out to be responsible, they are apparently trying to introduce new reasons why the judge should have struck out my public interest defence.

It seems her side is trying to argue that, given the truth defence has been struck out, I cannot rely on the facts in the truth defence as part of the public interest defence.

That would be to approach the issue backwards – I can continue to rely on the assertions I make in my defence, simply not that they are evidence of truth. And remember that the truth under discussion is a very narrow one.

Riley’s side did not make any of these points in the original strike out application and did not even target the public interest defence other than as part of a general effort to strike out the lot, so it will be interesting to see how far she gets with this.

Her legal team intends to provide a skeleton argument within the next 14 days and we will know more about the thinking behind this response then.

In the meantime, please continue to contribute to the CrowdJustice fund when you can the details are the same as always. 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 what skulduggery to expect, but experience tells me to expect it.

So please help me make sure I can afford to fight it when it comes.

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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Sick & disabled people to be subjected to same harm as Universal Credit claimants from April

The Department for Work and Pensions is to run trials on a new “integrated” assessment service, putting sick and disabled benefit claimants under the same conditions as Universal Credit claimants.

What a disaster for people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

Universal Credit is known to be harmful to its claimants. The five-week wait before anything is paid puts most people into debt and forces them to take out advance loans, meaning that the amount they receive – when they do get it – is much less than their government-assessed need, and continues to be so for many months.

This creates serious mental and emotional stress and otherwise fit and healthy UC claimants have done horrifying damage to their own health as a result.

People with illnesses and disabilities are already suffering damage to their own health. The current system already piles mental and emotional stress on them –

Only yesterday I wrote about “brown envelope anxiety”, that pushes sick and disabled people (especially) to avoid opening communications from the government, in the expectation that the message inside will inflict harm upon them.

– and putting them under Universal Credit conditions can only make matters worse.

I notice that the new trial is set to start in April, when the effects of Covid-19 are expected to be dying down.

Is it the Tory aim to immediately replace one fatal attack on sickness and disability with another?

Source: Justin Tomlinson confirms that the new DWP intergrated assessment service to be trialed in April. – The poor side of life

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Twitter admits it suspended @MidWalesMike account for no reason. Time to kick it into touch?

Take a look at the message immediately following, which raises serious concerns about a social media giant:

“Hello, After further review, we have unsuspended your account as it does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter Rules. Your account is now unsuspended. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience. Please note that it may take 24-48 hours for your follower and following numbers to return to normal. Thanks, Twitter.”

Thanks for nothing, Twitter!

This social media platform – that is supposed to act in a responsible way towards its users – arbitrarily removed my ability to communicate with my readers and customers for a day short of a whole month… for no reason.

It has admitted that I did nothing wrong, as I stated on February 2 when I discovered that my @MidWalesMike account had been suspended. I wasn’t notified officially. So why did it take 27 days for staff to check and find out that I was right?

This is not the first time that my account has been wrongly suspended, either. I was stopped from using it in December after a supporter of Rachel Riley sent false information to the platform’s bosses:

Identified? This person posted screenshots that appear to show they are responsible for the complaint that had Vox Political’s Mike Sivier suspended from Twitter. Mike has no idea who this person is and a Twitter search provides no evidence of any contact.

It’s apparently a fake account – I’m told the profile picture actually belongs to somebody in Russia. Stealing people’s images is a classic troll activity and it reflects extremely poorly on Riley that she is supported by such people.

Back in December it took just five days for me to get my account back – but that was five days too long.

I have written to the powers-that-be at Twitter, demanding a more detailed explanation of why my account was suspended without investigation. Am I to expect the same treatment at any time in the future, because this enormous multinational corporation is too cheap to employ anyone to check these accusations before taking action on them?

I do not expect any meaningful reply.

Is it time, then, to leave Twitter to the trolls?

How hard is it to start up a social media micro-blogging site? I’m not a coder so I don’t know. Is it really difficult or would it be simple? Does anybody know how?

I know Twitter is huge at the moment, and many people would hate to leave it because it has billions of users – but if it is unreliable (and it is), then it is time to let it go.

And it seems a bit of competition from an ethical organisation might be what’s needed to make Twitter clean up its act.

What do you think?

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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Lavery demands working-class Labour MPs – but what do we get?

Telling it like it is: Ian Lavery.

Here’s another split between Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership and senior party MPs.

Ian Lavery was party chairman under Jeremy Corbyn and is a member of the Socialist Group of Labour MPs. I’m sure that, once upon a time, every Labour MP was a socialist but now there’s only a rump of around 30.

He was replaced as chair by deputy leader Angela Rayner so you can tell which way the wind is blowing.

Lavery is putting forward a viewpoint that will be particularly unpopular with the Starmer faction that currently has control: he thinks the Party of the Workers should have working-class representatives.

We have seen from the treatment of Anna Rothery in Liverpool that Starmer doesn’t like any hint of socialism in his Labour Party and will take extraordinary steps to stamp on it (his behaviour towards her also suggests he doesn’t like anybody who isn’t white and male, but that’s another story).

Lavery says:

Labour representatives cannot focus group their way to a better society. We need people with the heart and instincts that can only come from the bitter sting of personal experience. Parliament is desperately short of people who have claimed benefits, gone through life with disabilities or struggled day in day out in bad employment. This past year we have seen key workers carry the country on their backs, yet the green benches are sadly lacking in them too. We desperately need people with this experience to rebuild our country.

Labour has a history of promoting positive discrimination and it has an even longer history of championing the cause of working people. It is time that we remember our roots and embrace protected places for working class candidates throughout of our movement. If we do not trust in the power of people from our heartlands, why should they ever again put their trust in us?

Excellent points – although I fear the ideal of protected places for working-class candidates may not weather the reality of Starmer’s leadership, as Anna Rothery was standing for election to be Liverpool’s executive mayor as part of a protected all-female list and Starmer scrapped that when he realised she was black, a socialist, and female.

And I fear that Lavery only gets to make these point because he has held a senior post in the Labour Party.

I recently heard about an MP in Bristol who has given up positions as a junior shadow minister and as Starmer’s PPS “to concentrate on constituency work”. Maybe that’s true. But generally they only take a reduction in pay grade if they have serious disagreements with the leader.

It occurs to me that this MP cannot say as much, though, due to a lack of seniority. At junior grade they can’t speak their mind because the leaders will eat them for breakfast.

That’s how it seems to me, anyway.

It is no way for the Labour Party to behave.

But that’s Keir Starmer and all his minions for you.

Source: Ian Lavery on the Need for Working Class Labour MPs | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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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It’s not the DWP’s envelopes that need changing, but the attitude behind them

Kiss of death: for benefit claimants, letters from the Department for Work and Pensions – no matter what colour the envelope in which they arrive, cause more problems than they solve. It isn’t the packaging of the letters that is the problem, it is the content – and the malice of the people writing it. [Image: www.disabledgo.com]

Can you believe the Department for Work and Pensions is planning to change the colour of its envelopes from brown to white, to encourage disabled people to open its letters?

Officials have apparently discovered the existence of “brown envelope anxiety”, which is a nervous condition triggered in some people whenever they receive an envelope of that colour – denoting a communication from an official source – through the letterbox.

They have wrongly deduced – probably from the name of the condition – that merely changing the colour of the envelope will magic away the anxiety.

How stupid can they be?

As a friend posted on Facebook,

It’s not the envelopes that need changing, DWP and Tory government, it’s your inhumane assessments processes that cause untold harm and distress to many.

I have a total fear of the postie coming to my house; that’s a huge trigger for me, let alone what’s put through the door.

[It’s about] living with never knowing when the review will come up and living with constant financial insecurity and the amount being taken away and leaving you destitute and probably homeless.

To add insult to injury, DWP officials think people with brown envelope anxiety will be more likely to read their white-envelope missives immediately if they print on the front: “IMPORTANT INFORMATION INSIDE. PLEASE OPEN.”

In fact – as they would know if they had asked any experts instead of listening to the tweeting birds inside their empty heads – this is more likely to trigger an anxiety (if not a heart) attack.

Rather than reading the contents of these white envelopes and responding to the Job Centres, it is more likely that overworked doctors will be examining the recipients’ vital signs – if they manage to get to a hospital in time.

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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If this doesn’t convince you the Tories are doing their best to kill us all, what will?

No face masks, no testing: school halls will soon be as packed as this, again. And with no demand for mandatory masks and testing, they’ll soon be chock-full of Covid-19 too.

Tory schools minister Nick Gibb has decided that face masks and asymptomatic Covid-19 testing with be optional in schools.

You know what this means. Face masks are supposed to protect other people if we have the virus – and the ones who refuse to wear them will be the contagious idiots.

The same applies to asymptomatic testing. They’ll say, “I don’t feel bad! Why should I have a swab up my nose?” And then they’ll infect your sons and daughters, you, and everyone you know.

Charming.

And all made possible by the damnfool Tories who’ve made such a pig’s ear of the Covid crisis so far.

We are saying it is not mandatory for schools to have masks in classrooms but it is highly recommended because we want to do everything we can to reduce the risk of transmission in the school

said Gibb.

Of course we can’t make it [asymptomatic testing] mandatory … but we just hope that most parents will see the wisdom of testing their children twice a week.

It is as though the Tories are trying to make it seem they are doing all they can to minimise the risk of infection – while actually doing all they can to increase it.

Isn’t it?

Source: Face coverings in secondary schools will not be compulsory, says minister | The Canary

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Is Department for Transport planning ‘all-out assault on jobs, pay and pensions’?

Two-fingered salute: Boris Johnson’s message of thanks to transport workers who kept groceries, other goods and medical supplies moving during the Covid-19 crisis. His government is apparently planning to attack their jobs, pay and pensions as soon as it can.

The Tory government is planning to reward key transport workers who kept the UK running through the Covid crisis – with a kick in the teeth, it seems.

The Department for Transport is hoping to employ a “union-buster” to take on workers in an “all-out assault on jobs, pay and pensions”, according to the RMT union.

And where the DfT leads, will other government departments follow in a renewed effort to destroy workers’ representation once and for all and begin a new dark age for the people of the UK?

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Employees (RMT) reports that the DfT is recruiting for a Rail Pensions and Workforce Director who will be a member of a new-created team of 15 workers.

An advertisement in The Guardian states that the successful applicant “will shape and define the future of pensions and workforce in the rail sector”, operating in a “politically sensitive environment”.

Welfare Journal quotes RMT general secretary Mick Cash:

RMT has been warning that the Government and the employers would be gearing up for a post-COVID assault on our members across the transport sector and here they are headhunting a dedicated hitman or woman.

It would be a scandal if the essential transport workers who have kept key staff and freight moving throughout the pandemic were rewarded with a kick in the teeth on jobs, pay and pensions.

And why not?

Matt Hancock has already slapped NHS employees in the face with his refusal to reward doctors, nurses and support staff for all their dedication, working to keep thousands of people alive in the face of indifference from their political employers who failed to source appropriate equipment.

So why shouldn’t the government tell the people who transported all the supplies – including, no doubt, the medical gear that we all needed (when it finally turned up) – that their contribution is not appreciated at all and that they will be punished rather than rewarded for it?

What did these people expect from selfish, ignorant, entitled toffs?

And what can you expect in the future? You know the Tories will get around to attacking you as soon as they’re able – don’t you?

Source: Government ‘gearing up for an all-out assault on jobs, pay and pensions’ | Welfare Journal

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Supreme Court got it wrong, say voters: Shamima Begum SHOULD come to the UK [POLL RESULT]

Justice: before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes – although it sesems people believe the courts now exist to give ordinary people a hammering.

Voters in a Vox Political poll have overwhelmingly condemned a Supreme Court decision to deny Shamima Begum entry to the UK to defend her citizenship, quoting national security concerns.

At the time of writing, 64 per cent of voters (583 votes) said the Supreme Court has not treated Ms Begum fairly. Just 36 per cent (329 votes) supported the decision.

The issue has provoked huge debate on the social media, with more than 440 comments on This Site’s Facebook page alone.

Many commenters on Facebook have suggested that, as she was 15 when she left the UK to join the so-called IS caliphate, Ms Begum was not old enough to be considered responsible (although others have pointed out that environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg was the same age when she started campaigning publicly, and nobody says the same about her).

Many commenters have suggested that Ms Begum was “groomed” by adult male supporters of IS – manipulated into travelling to the Middle East to become a child bride and bear children for a terrorist – and that this should be discussed in court, in order to root out any terrorist supporters who remain here in the UK.

Others have stated that the authorities let her down by allowing her to leave the UK unaccompanied by an adult.

It had been argued that Ms Begum’s right to a fair hearing, in her bid to have her revoked UK citizenship restored, would be harmed if she was forced to conduct her case from the north Syria camp where she is currently living.

But the Supreme Court said this right does not overrule the government’s obligation to national security. Its judges accepted that she is a threat to national security and that she should not be allowed back into the UK.

The result of the Vox Political vote – which is admittedly unscientific – suggests a groundswell of distrust in the courts by the people of the UK.

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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The Tories promised to reform benefits long ago so why do 10 terminally ill people die every day, waiting for their first payment?

Christine McCluskey: when she died, after your Tory government cut her benefits, she weighed just three stone.

The life expectancy of people with terminal illnesses has plummeted because they are being denied end-of-life state benefits.

The system is supposed to support people who are expected to live less than six months – but doesn’t.

The Tories demand that doctors provide a note predicting when their patient is likely to die.

But many physicians have been reluctant to make such predictions, or feared their patients’ health could deteriorate more rapidly if they learned they were not expected to survive very long.

The Tory government of the day promised to change the system in 2019, saying it would bring in modifications that would make it easier for people with terminal illnesses to claim their due.

And nothing has happened.

DWP minister Justin Tomlinson has apologised for the delay – which is a fat lot of good for people who could starve to death before their health condition kills them.

He blamed the delay on the Covid-19 crisis – and warned that it is likely to run on for many more months yet.

Let’s just remember what this means:

The image at the top of this article depicts Christine McCluskey, who died in a humiliating way, weighing just three stone, after Tomlinson’s department wrongly ended her benefit claim.

The 61-year-old grandmother had suffered long-term health problems most of her adult life including Crohn’s disease – which left her with a colostomy bag – osteoporosis, arthritis, a stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This housebound lady had a feeding tube and a painful fistula that leaked through her abdominal wall, she was severely malnourished and was being investigated for a worrying cough at the time the Department for Work and Pensions assessed her for Personal Independence Payment.

The decision: her payments of £117.85 per week were removed and her mobility car was taken away from her.

Weeks later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer but her payments were not restored. She died four months after her benefits were stopped, weighing just three stone.

She was unable to receive fast-track access to PIP that is available for people with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live, because she was unable to show when she was likely to die.

Recent estimates obtained by Labour MP Jessica Morden have revealed that 7,260 people died as they were waiting for a verdict on their claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or 10 people per day.

Yes, these people were going to die soon anyway.

But the manner of their death tells us whether the United Kingdom under the Conservatives is a civilised country or primitive and barbaric.

And the UK under the Conservatives clearly falls into the latter category: primitive and barbaric.

Source: DWP shamed as 10 terminally ill people die every day waiting on a benefits decision | Welfare Journal

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Is Starmer right to oppose tax rises on businesses and wealth?

Labour leader Keir Starmer seems to have provoked another attack on his tattered left-wing credentials, after he opposed plans to levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals who have made a fortune from the Covid-19 pandemic, when Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his spring Budget.

But is he right?

On corporation taxes, it seems he isn’t. Here’s Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, speaking last year but applying his words to this year too:

Okay, but how about wealth taxes?

The argument on taxing businesses is clear – it would discourage them from taking on (or retaining) staff at a time when we need people to keep their jobs, and it would take money out of the economy.

But wealth is kept in (very large) bank accounts and is not attached to employment.

So why not tax the people who have made (or increased) fortunes from the suffering of the rest of us?

At the very least, it might blunt the (fake) Tory argument that we all need to pay back the cost of the Covid crisis (that they’ve already paid anyway, by creating money).

This Writer would therefore tend to support it – but I’m ready to be corrected if you have a better argument.

Starmer’s alternative to taxing the rich is – as perhaps we should have expected – a neoliberal nightmare: he wants ordinary people to give any money we’ve managed to save during the Covid crisis to a new national investment bank. Why should we? If we back businesses, who would get the profit? And what if those businesses failed?

No Holding Back, a campaign group of socialist MPs, has said that Starmer seems to have his priorities wrong and Labour “needs a partnership with society, paid for by taxation,” not a “partnership with business, paid for by society”.

So it’s looking bad for Starmer.

But the outlook for the nation is looking worse. With no direction from either main political party, it seems the UK is drifting into economic shipwreck.

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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