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Joy for Mike as he wins libel appeal against Rachel Riley

This is not the first time Vox Political’s Mike Sivier has had to fight allegations against him: in 2019 The Sunday Times had to publish a lengthy correction after it falsely accused Mike of being a Holocaust denier.

The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment on my appeal against the striking-out of my “public interest” defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim against me – and I have won.

You may recall that I appealed after a High Court judge struck out my defence without testing it in any meaningful way. Riley’s legal team responded to my appeal with an entirely new set of arguments which the Court of Appeal ruled were not only impermissible – they should not have been introduced at appeal – but were also wrong.

My article, over which Riley launched her libel case against me, alleged that she was a hypocrite because she complained about social media abuse against her, while her own tweets had led to abuse and threats against a teenage girl with mental health issues.

The judgment by Lord Justice Warby (and agreed by Lord Justice Henderson and Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court), included some very sharp comments [boldings mine], and let’s start with the big one:

In my judgment, it is plainly arguable, at the very least, that the Article was about matters of public interest. Indeed, it seems to me to be barely arguable that it was not.

This statement alone – it seems to me – will make it very difficult for Riley to prove that my article was not in the public interest when the case finally comes to trial.

Lord Justice Warby stated:

“[Two] of the grounds relied on in the Respondent’s Notice are entirely new points. So too is the additional contention that we should reject Mr Sivier’s pleaded case that he believed publication to be in the public interest. I would decline Mr Stables’ [Rachel Riley’s barrister] invitation to uphold the Judge’s decision on any of these additional or alternative grounds. These are not just points on which the Judge did not rely. None of them were argued before the Judge, in any form. We do not usually allow entirely new points to be taken on appeal. It is often procedurally unfair to do so, and normally wrong because appeals are by way of review not re-hearing. Ordinarily the place for arguments to be given their first run-out is the court of first instance. Any appeal would then be a first appeal. For those reasons I would be averse to upholding the Judge’s decision on any of these additional or alternative bases. But I would also reject these points on their merits. The Defence pleads all three of the essential ingredients of the public interest defence. Although it is imperfect in some respects it is not so deficient as to justify its summary striking out on any of these grounds.”

On the imperfections of my defence: this was a strike-out application, for which legal teams are discouraged from providing every aspect of their evidence in meticulous detail. The fact that my team have been criticised because they didn’t provide enough suggests that this is a matter for debate among those who work in the court system.

Lord Justice Warby continued:

“A major theme of the Article was the charge of hypocrisy. Mr Sivier was contrasting what Ms Riley had said to millions via the news media (Channel 4 News, The Times, and The Guardian) with her own public behaviour in front of hundreds of thousands on Twitter. Mr Sivier was suggesting that her public statements deprecating online abuse were at odds with her own conduct.”

He said:

“As for Mr Sivier’s pleaded contention that he believed that publication was in the public interest, I am not persuaded that we should take the exceptional course of rejecting it on the papers. It is a rare case in which it is possible to find, on an interim application, that a party cannot have held a state of mind which they have asserted. The Court will be very cautious before rejecting such an assertion without hearing or even reading evidence on the point. Particular caution is required in this Court, when there is no first instance decision on the issue, and the reason for that is that the Court of first instance was not invited to make such a decision.”

And he concluded:

The appropriate time and place for an evaluation of these issues is at a trial.”

The judgment as a whole appears to be highly critical of Riley’s Counsel, Mr Stables. It also points out errors by the High Court judge, Mrs Justice Collins Rice.

So, you may ask: what’s next?

The simple answer is: the trial (at long last).

My legal team and I will have to do a bit of work to ensure that the areas in which the Court of Appeal found my defence lacking are strengthened; I do not expect this to be particularly difficult.

I am also – again – calling for donations. While there is likely to be a costs order against Riley for the money I had to spend on my appeal, it is true that she won several aspects of her strike-out application, and it is likely that those amounts will cancel each other out – so I cannot rely on receiving a cheque from her to help me carry on, pleasant though such an outcome would be.

After more than two years of this, I’m sure you all know the drill:

Please – and only if you can afford it:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

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

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

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

I could not have taken the case this far without your help. You have been utterly invaluable and I cannot overstress my gratitude.

I’m seeing a huge amount of congratulations for me on Twitter and it is a joy to behold – but I would not be getting any of it without you.

Now let’s see this through to the end. A job part-done isn’t done at all, so let’s get on and win this at trial!

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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Israeli government continues persecution of Palestinians with ground assault in Gaza

Israel rains destruction on Gaza: at the time of writing, Palestinian casualties include 103 deaths, of which 27 were children and 11 women, while 580 have been wounded as a result of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza strip. Seven Israelis have also died as a result of the violence initiated by their own government.

Sky News nailed the current behaviour of Israel towards the people of Palestine in this clip:

And the commentary could have gone further.

This escalating persecution began when Israeli forces started invading the homes of people in the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem, intending to force people out of homes they have had for many hundreds of years.

It intensified with the invasion of the Al Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third most holy site – by troops who shot worshippers with rubber bullets and let off stun grenades.

These atrocities provoked Palestinians to take to the streets in (admittedly) violent protests. What were they supposed to do? Lie down and wait for the Israelis to evict them or shoot them?

And now the Israeli government is playing its usual game – playing the victim in order to justify further atrocities. It has invaded Gaza again.

Here’s a quick reminder of what happened the last time an Israeli government sent ground forces into Gaza:

There were also Israeli casualties but they were minimal in comparison: 67 soldiers and six civilians killed; 469 soldiers and 87 civilians wounded.

Now Israel is back in Gaza again.

Expect many, many Palestinian deaths, caused by Israeli “victims”. Who do you think are the real victims?

The perversion of language by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an abomination. Look at this:

Israel’s political leaders said on Thursday that violent street clashes between Jews and Arabs inside the country pose a bigger threat.

Netanyahu visited the town of Lod, where there has been rioting, burning of cars, destruction of property and violent attacks on individuals.

“We have no bigger threat now than these pogroms, and we have no choice but to restore law and order via determined use of force,” he said.

He was accusing Palestinians of launching pogroms – organised massacres – against Jews. This is gaslighting on an epic scale. It should be clear to anybody that he is the aggressor.

He went further:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, tweeted: “The last word was not said and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

“The last word” seems unpleasantly close to “the final solution”. Doesn’t it?

Source: Israel ground troops begin attack on Gaza Strip, military says | Gaza | 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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Humiliation for Patel as crowds block immigration officials from removing Muslim immigrants

If anybody was still in doubt that Priti Patel is an insensitive bully, then those doubts should be dispelled now.

She has just tried to detain – in order to deport – two Muslim immigrants who had settled in Scotland, during a Muslim Festival: Eid al Fitr.

Some on the social media consider it an attempt to bully the Scottish people after they returned another SNP government to the Scottish Parliament and leader Nicola Sturgeon immediately announced that there will be another referendum on Scottish independence from the UK:

If it was, then it has backfired badly because Patel’s immigration officials were forced to release the men after hundreds of residents of Pollokshields in Glasgow surrounded the Border Agency van in Kenmure Street and refused to let it leave.

Officers said they were freeing the men for the safety of everyone involved following a stand-off in Glasgow that lasted for nearly eight hours.

The pair, both Indians, [had been] detained on suspicion of immigration offences and were released on bail pending further investigation.

Video clips on the social media show how public feeling against Priti Patel’s heavy-handed bullying grew, from this…

… to this, as the men were released:

And opponents of Patel and her continuation of the Tory government’s illegal “hostile environment” policy have made their feelings clear:

Sadly, we know Patel will not learn from her mistake. This message strikes as being all-too-accurate:

One other person will be regretting the incident, despite the fact that his heart was in the right place: Howard Beckett, candidate for leadership of the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite.

Mr Beckett tweeted in anger when the situation in Glasgow became clear, and his words were ill-chosen, for the reasons described in Owen Jones’s tweet:

But the Unite leadership candidate recognised this, acknowledged it, deleted his tweet and apologised:

He then (rightly) published further messages attacking Patel’s shockingly inappropriate and oppressive behaviour:

While his initial message was wrong in the language and concepts it used, it would have been equally wrong for him to back away from the issue after realising his mistake.

By the same token, it would also be wrong for anybody watching and commenting on what happened (Owen Jones take notice) to side with Patel against Beckett because of it:

If either of them is a racist, it could only be Priti Patel.

Source: Immigration officials release two men after crowds block van | The Independent

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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Court of Appeal to hand down judgment in Riley v Sivier: 2pm, May 14

The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on my appeal against the striking out of my “public interest” defence against Rachel Riley’s libel accusation at 2pm on May 14.

At the time of writing, that’s tomorrow. By the time you read this, it may be today.

This is extremely short notice. At the time of writing (again), I do not know whether the Court of Appeal wishes my legal team to attend the hearing. I won’t be able to, in any event.

Usually, a hearing like this is simply a mention whereby the Court of Appeal says that it has handed down its judgment.

But it is sometimes necessary to give further directions – for example, the court might find in my favour on the basis that the High Court did not address the strike out application correctly and send it back to the High Court to re-hear the application.

I hope that is reasonably unlikely – either the court will decide that my public interest defence is too weak and no amount of re-hearing will make any difference, or that it is so fact-specific that we need to get on with the trial.

I will be hoping for the latter.

Alternatively, if I win, there might then be a debate about how the High Court’s costs order should reflect the fact that both I and Riley won certain aspects.

The timing of this is interesting. It is happening right after the hearing of Riley’s case against Laura Murray came to an end?

I wonder what Riley will do if she loses both this appeal and that other case.

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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Boris Johnson failed to pay £535 County Court-defined damages. Is he broke or not?

Wishful thinking: Boris Johnson won’t end up behind bars for failing to pay a County Court-ordered sum. But why does he think he can cancel it?

Confused? You should be.

Boris Johnson’s finances would befuddle even the most experienced double-entry jockey.

First we heard that being prime minister had made him so poor he couldn’t afford to feed himself and his many (known) children, and had appealed to Tory donors for help.

Then we discovered that this was against the rules, and suddenly Johnson announced that he had paid for everything after all.

But how can this be true, if he couldn’t even stump up £535 in accordance with a court order, back in October last year?

(By a curious coincidence, This Writer had to find exactly the same amount today – for repairs to my car. I managed it – and I earn a lot less than Boris Johnson, even though some – thanks, Mrs Mike – might say I’m worth a lot more.)

According to the BBC, the money is supposed to pay off libel damages – but I find that highly suspicious. Libel isn’t tried in the county court – cases only appear before High Court judges (I should know!) and they cost a lot more than £535!

Downing Street has said the court ruling is “without merit” (whatever that’s supposed to mean – if Johnson didn’t pay a court-ordered fine, then the facts seem fairly clear).

A spokesperson said,

“An application will be made for an order to set aside the default judgement, to strike out the claim and for a declaration that the claim is totally without merit.”

There was a time for that, and it was October last year. Now is too late.

It will be interesting to see what excuse is put forward for failing to challenge the judgement at the time.

I doubt any court will accept “The prime minister is above the law,” even if that is what Johnson genuinely believes.

Source: No 10 seeks to cancel county court debt judgement against Boris Johnson – BBC News

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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Online Harms Bill could be Johnson government’s only USEFUL new law

Social media trolls could be neutered by incoming Online Harms legislation by the Tory government. It could be the most useful thing Boris Johnson ever does.

I’m not just publishing the above headline because, if the Online Harms Bill had been an active law in 2019, Rachel Riley’s followers – and allegedly Riley herself – would have been prevented from abusing a teenage girl with mental health issues who supported Jeremy Corbyn.

There are some very good ideas in here, including a demand that political content must be policed impartially, which is startling.

Consider:

All social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online will have a duty of care towards their users so that what is unacceptable offline will also be unacceptable online.

They will need to consider the risks their sites may pose to the youngest and most vulnerable people and act to protect children from inappropriate content and harmful activity.

They will need to take robust action to tackle illegal abuse, including swift and effective action against hate crimes, harassment and threats directed at individuals and keep their promises to users about their standards.

The largest and most popular social media sites will need to act on content that is lawful but still harmful such as abuse that falls below the threshold of a criminal offence, encouragement of self-harm and mis/disinformation.

The final legislation… will contain provisions that require companies to report child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) content identified on their services.

That takes care of the kind of abuse received by the teenage girl in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me (from Riley’s supporters), and also of the gaslighting (allegedly) carried out against her by Riley herself.

All in-scope companies will need to consider and put in place safeguards for freedom of expression when fulfilling their duties.

People using their services will need to have access to effective routes of appeal for content removed without good reason and companies must reinstate that content if it has been removed unfairly. Users will also be able to appeal to Ofcom.

Category 1 services [the largest and most popular social media sites] will need to conduct and publish up-to-date assessments of their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate they have taken steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

These measures remove the risk that online companies adopt restrictive measures or over-remove content in their efforts to meet their new online safety duties. An example of this could be AI moderation technologies falsely flagging innocuous content as harmful, such as satire.

Content on news publishers’ websites is not in scope. This includes both their own articles and user comments on these articles.

Articles by recognised news publishers shared on in-scope services will be exempted and Category 1 companies will now have a statutory duty to safeguard UK users’ access to journalistic content shared on their platforms.

This means they will have to consider the importance of journalism when undertaking content moderation, have a fast-track appeals process for journalists’ removed content, and will be held to account by Ofcom for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content. Citizen journalists’ content will have the same protections as professional journalists’ content.

This is handy for people like This Writer, who have had our accounts on Twitter (for example) suspended because of vexatious complaints by (in my case) people who described themselves as supporters of Riley.

Ministers have added new and specific duties to the Bill for Category 1 services to protect content defined as ‘democratically important’. This will include content promoting or opposing government policy or a political party ahead of a vote in Parliament, election or referendum, or campaigning on a live political issue.

Companies will also be forbidden from discriminating against particular political viewpoints and will need to apply protections equally to a range of political opinions, no matter their affiliation. Policies to protect such content will need to be set out in clear and accessible terms and conditions and firms will need to stick to them or face enforcement action from Ofcom.

When moderating content, companies will need to take into account the political context around why the content is being shared and give it a high level of protection if it is democratically important.

For example, a major social media company may choose to prohibit all deadly or graphic violence. A campaign group could release violent footage to raise awareness about violence against a specific group. Given its importance to democratic debate, the company might choose to keep that content up, subject to warnings, but it would need to be upfront about the policy and ensure it is applied consistently.

This is the part that amazes me, coming as it does from a right-wing – fascist – government.

As with everything in politics, the proof of its usefulness is in practice, so I can’t give it my unqualified support.

On paper, it means the court case currently taking up a certain unwanted amount of my time won’t happen again, because the abuse caused to the teenager at its centre would break the law.

Whether the activities provoking that abuse would also be against the new law is an element that may have to be tested, though.

I think we can all look forward to some interesting debates on this in the Commons, where I hope MPs will examine how the new legislation would relate to some of the more infamous online incidents in recent history…

Including those involving me.

Source: Landmark laws to protect children and stop abuse online published – GOV.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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Was Riley ‘deliberately provocative’ in tweeting about Nazis and eggs on day of Corbyn egg attack?

The Royal Court of Justice: because This Writer can’t be bothered to put an image of Rachel Riley on This Site.

Well, what do you think?

It seems only reasonable that after plastering Rachel Riley’s point of view all over the news media on Monday, the woman she’s suing for libel – Laura Murray – should have her side of the story published to the same audience.

I found a story in The Sun. What happened to everybody else? Why did the so-called “reputable” media force me to get my details from that rag?

Still, I guess now Ms Murray knows how This Writer has felt for the last two years of my own court case involving Riley. At least these media creeps are consistent with their favouritism…

As we all learned earlier this week, Riley said it was libellous for Ms Murray to say she had implied that Jeremy Corbyn was a Nazi when, on the day Corbyn was attacked by a man wielding an egg, Riley posted a retweet of a message saying that, if people don’t want to be hit with eggs, they shouldn’t be Nazis, along with the words, “Good advice”.

Ms Murray had also written that nobody should ever engage with Riley, and it was on this that much of the Sun report concentrated:

Ms Murray told the court Ms Riley was being “deliberately provocative” by tweeting “good advice” on the day that Mr Corbyn was egged.

Giving evidence, Ms Murray said: “All the tweets that I saw were saying ‘how can you call Jeremy Corbyn a Nazi?’

“I didn’t see any saying: ‘This is a comment on hypocrisy, this is a tweet on double standards’.”

‘The way it looked to be was that it was deliberately provocative and designed to provoke a reaction from the left.

“And it was getting that reaction, lots of people were saying ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s not a Nazi, that’s not a fair comparison to make’.

“Given that many, many people were criticising Rachel Riley like this, the purpose of my tweet was to advise people, as many as would listen, ‘don’t engage with this, it’s a waste of time, no one gets anything from it, it’s a huge waste of emotional resources’.

“Owen’s [Jones] tweet had always meant to me that Nazi’s deserve to get attacked, and she repurposed that advice and applied it to Jeremy Corbyn that was most obviously the language.”

In response to claims that Riley had been exposed to a Twitter “pile-on” (they meant a dogpile but Riley’s legal team seems to have difficulty using the correct language for these things; it’s as though they don’t understand what they’re talking about), Ms Murray said she was also subjected to an “explosion of abuse and hatred”.

So Ms Murray’s side is that, seeing Riley receiving a huge amount of criticism over her ‘Nazi’ tweet, she had tried to stop people from posting such material to the celebrity game-show host.

That’s a huge contrast with Riley’s claim that Ms Murray had triggered a dogpile against her. It seems more likely that she attracted her own criticism, in This Writer’s opinion.

And it seems that if Ms Murray triggered any adverse reactions, they were directed at her, not Riley.

But then, it’s up to the judge to decide.

The report also featured comments by Riley that she had feared for the future of her TV work as a result of Ms Murray’s tweet.

That’s all interesting background but it has nothing to do with whether Riley was libelled.

That can only be decided by Mr Justice Nicklin, on the basis of what Riley tweeted, what an ordinary, right-thinking, person might be reasonably expected to have thought she meant, and whether what Ms Murray tweeted in response corresponded with that.

I’ll provide further commentary next time I see a report on this.

Source: Ex-Corbyn aide who branded Rachel Riley ‘stupid’ claims star’s tweets were ‘deliberately provocative’ in court showdown

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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Queen’s Speech confirms it: Boris Johnson is renewing his attack on your freedom – because it’s what Britain wanted

Manifesto commitment: the Conservatives made their plan to end democracy clear in their 2019 election manifesto. Every Conservative voter demanded an end to democracy and a slide into dictatorship.

Boris Johnson is getting back to business after the Covid crisis – and his business is stripping you of the liberties and freedoms your ancestors fought hard to win over the last several hundred years.

Be in no doubt: you will have lost most of your rights by the end of this Parliamentary term, and you can thank your Tory-voting neighbour for making it happen.

Included in the Queen’s Speech were announcements that all three main planks of the attack on democracy – listed on Page 48 of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, so everybody who voted Tory absolutely supported them – are still going forward. They are:

  • Removing your right to protest so they can use the police and armed forces to put down any dissent.

  • Imposing dictatorship by ensuring that the courts cannot stop the Tories from breaking the law.

  • Imposing indefinite Conservative government.

The only one of these that has been given prominence by the mainstream media is the last – the planned repeal of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. This has been reported as meaning that Johnson would be able to call elections before his Parliament has served its full five-year term.

But it could also mean that he will allow himself to delay elections indefinitely.

The FTP Act repealed the previous electoral law that allowed prime ministers to call elections at any time during their five-year term, but demanded that they must call an election to be held after five years, no matter what.

So repealing the FTP Act means that unscrupulous prime ministers like Johnson would be able to call elections whenever they liked – or simply neglect to call them at all and remain in power indefinitely.

This is what will happen unless he specifically writes new limitations on Parliamentary terms into his new law. And why would a corrupt liar like Johnson do that when he has a majority of 80 seats in the Commons and can currently do whatever he likes without fear of punishment?

Worse still, the new legislative programme includes more attacks on democracy, the most important being the planned limitation of the right to vote to those who can afford to show the proper photographic identification.

This, Johnson claims, is to stop electoral fraud. You may assume that this is a rampant problem across the UK, but in fact it is practically nonexistent. His plan will strip the vote from around two million people:

Here’s a graph showing the scale of voter fraud as a percentage of all votes cast:

You see the picture?

Further information is available below:

The plan will strip votes from people who are poor and young – in other words, people who will not vote for the Conservatives at the next election. It is corrupt Tory gerrymandering to prevent the voice of the people from being heard at elections.

Typically of the current Tory government, its MPs tried to justify the planned law by lying to us about it. Gillian Keegan, whoever she is, claimed you need photo ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office – and was put straight in no uncertain terms by fact-checking site Full Fact:

Many of us think valuable Parliamentary time would be better spent preventing the kind of corruption that allowed Tory cronies to gain multi-million pound contracts to provide vital supplies in the fight against Covid-19, that they were totally unable to fulfil. What happened to all that money?

Finally, shall we consider the misplaced priorities of these entitled Tories who have spent more than a decade manslaughtering benefit claimants without feeling any need to reform the system?

Come to that, why isn’t the government introducing plans to end tax evasion? I mention this because the deaths of disabled benefit claimants are linked to the Tory clampdown on claims – the so-called “magic cures” that claimed hundreds of thousands of people were not disabled at all, despite volumes of medical evidence showing they were. These people were unceremoniously stripped of their benefits and many of them subsequently died. The figure of 120,000, quoted above, is a very low estimate.

The Tories spend huge amounts of money every year on their campaign to strip disabled people of their ability to survive. It is a campaign of persecution that has been more successful in eliminating the disabled than the infamous Nazi “Aktion T4” in 1930s and 1940s Germany. In comparison, they spend hardly anything on tracking the rich Tories – let’s not deny it – who have evaded their tax responsibilities in order to squirrel away trillions of pounds in tax havens abroad.

Absent from the new legislative programme are any plans to support the rights of workers with promised reforms to zero-hours contracts and the gig economy, and an end to the practice of “fire and rehire” – terminating workers’ contracts and then demanding they take new contracts with lower pay and fewer privileges:

“Fire and rehire” is a key element of Howard Beckett’s campaign to lead the UK’s largest union, Unite. He was in London to campaign about it while the Queen was delivering her speech:

He has also made the very obvious point that the currrent Labour leadership has no interest in looking after the interests of British workers – because Keir Starmer actually refused to oppose “fire and rehire”.

The oppression goes on and on:

Long-awaited plans for reform of social care – promised by the Tories years ago – went undiscussed. There is no plan for such reforms in the current Parliamentary term.

Admittedly, Andy Burnham is right to say all parties are responsible for allowing social care to fall into the disrepair we have today; New Labour failed to do anything about it too.

And Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed the government is committed to social care reforms this year – 2021:

He spent the whole of 2020 lying about the severity of Covid-19 and justifying his decisions to award government contracts worth billions of pounds to Tory cronies who couldn’t fulfil them. What are his words worth?

Oh, and before anyone suggests that plans to address the climate crisis show at least some hope for the Tories, they don’t:

For a more detailed attack on the new legislative programme, take a look at Unite’s response (under current leader Len McCluskey). I’m sure other critiques are also available.

Last word can go to Smokey, below, who makes an excellent point despite their inability to spell the word “speech”:

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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Read this and weep:

Last Saturday, May 8, This Writer put out a request on This Site for supporters of Israel – the people who set out to justify the atrocities committed by the government of that country – to explain why armed Israeli forces had invaded the Al Aqsa Mosque and were shooting worshippers there with rubber bullets and letting off stun grenades on this holy ground.

I received very few responses from such people, which is uncharacteristic for people who usually cannot be prevented from spouting their propaganda as often and widely as possible.

The best any of them could manage was a bit of whataboutery – an attempt to say that it was reasonable because of Palestinian rocket attacks and why wasn’t I bothered about them?

am bothered about them; these screamers always miss the point that none of the violence between Israel and Palestine is acceptable.

There’s also this argument, made by a commenter on Twitter:

Furthermore, it is entirely disproportionate for Israel to use the rocket retaliations against the attack on Al Aqsa, and the forcible emptying of the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem, as a justification for this:

The result:

And what happened next?

Instead of apologising for murdering civilians, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he is escalating attacks on residential areas:

And he meant it:

The result:

It seems the weapons used on these residential areas of Palestine were manufactured in the United States, whose industrialists and government may be deemed to support the murder of civilians by their provision of weapons used to kill them.

It was during the attacks on Gaza that six-year-old Rahaf al Masry was killed by a US missile, aimed by a member of Israel’s armed forces. She was one of many…

… and this murder of children prompted Unicef to make an appeal for sanity – which fell on deaf ears.

The Israeli Defence force has attempted to justify these murders – but the statement would have been laughable if it had not been about the deliberate killing of children. As it is, I think the comment on the statement that I’m publishing here is remarkably restrained:

The only sentence in the IDF statement that strikes This Writer as in any way likely to be true is the last: “Our goal is only to strike terror.”

They’ve certainly done that. They’ve struck terror into the hearts of every Palestinian (yet again), and they have struck terror into everybody watching the development of this atrocity, who has a heart.

Condemnation has come thick and fast:

Those were mild words from Jeremy Corbyn who, despite the sustained and vicious accusations of anti-Semitism against him, continues to be the peacemaker. His hope here was forlorn.

The quote tweet from Haaretz refers to two Israeli deaths, caused by a Palestinian rocket that, it seems, got through Netanyahu’s “Iron Wall”. These deaths are just as deplorable as those of the many more Palestinians who have lost their lives. But who should take responsibility for them? Whoever let off the rocket, certainly. But what about the Israeli prime minister who provoked those people into doing it?

And when is the cycle of violence ever going to end?

Will it only end when Israel has used its overwhelming military superiority to destroy Palestine altogether – wipe its people off the face of the Earth – in the full view of the world and protesting that it is Israelis who are the victims all the way through?

Will it really have to go that far before the other nations of the world publicly acknowledge what is happening there and condemn it? Will they really wait until it is too late?

It seems so.

Look at Emily Maitlis on the BBC’s Newsnight, pushing the Establishment line that the violence is all the fault of the Palestinians for all she was worth, and getting very short shrift from Palestine’s ambassador to the UK, Husam Zumlot. Labour MP Clive Lewis’s choice of words to quote is right on the button:

Yesterday, in the Queen’s Speech opening the new Parliamentary session, Boris Johnson’s government announced a plan to deny UK citizens the right to protest against Israeli atrocities via BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) in what This Writer can only see as wholehearted support for the murder of Palestinian children:

The alternative, of course, is to be labelled anti-Semitic:

It’s a false accusation; Israel is not the Jewish people, nor has it ever been representative of them all. No doubt there are many Jews across the world who deplore the atrocities committed by the government of that country – including among those in Israel itself.

Taking that as true, then I agree with John Smith, son of the late Labour legend Harry Leslie Smith:

Sadly, if such people exist in Israel, their voices are being suppressed just as much as ours will be if Johnson pushes through his ban on BDS. Instead we are shown Israelis backing the violence – including, remember, the murder of children – to the hilt:

I dare say it is – because those people should be offended, not elated. So should people here in the UK.

Their government is perpetuating a cycle of violence that – as Jeremy Corbyn pointed out – it could end at a moment’s notice.

And our government is implying that we all support these killings by suppressing our ability to protest against them.

How will we ever find peace with monsters like these in charge?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Johnson under investigation AGAIN – this time over funding for his Caribbean holiday in 2019

Boris Johnson: he spends lots of money, but he doesn’t seem to spend any of his own.

Has Boris Johnson paid for anything himself since he became prime minister?

How many more investigations into alleged financial improprieties by him are we going to see?

And how much public money are they going to cost?

This is ridiculous.

As UK citizens, we expect our representatives to behave with exemplary dignity, propriety and honesty – at all times.

If Johnson is found wanting, in any of the investigations currently racking themselves up around him, then we must demand his resignation – or removal – in disgrace.

And let’s not have the usual Tory whitewash because we will know if it’s a stitch-up.

We’re all watching very carefully now.

Boris Johnson is being investigated by the MPs’ standards watchdog over the funding of a Caribbean holiday [on Mustique, an island playground for the incredibly rich] in 2019.

Commons standards commissioner Kathryn Stone has confirmed she is looking into whether the prime minister correctly declared how the trip was paid for.

Mr Johnson has previously declared he received accommodation worth £15,000, covered by Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross.

Source: Boris Johnson facing probe over funding of 2019 holiday – BBC News

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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