Posts Tagged ‘Lord Falconer’

‘I’ Newspaper: Rachel Riley to Sue Corbyn Aide for Libel

March 5, 2019

According to today’s I for 5th March 2019, Z-list celeb and social media bully Rachel Riley is to sue Laura Murray, a Corbyn aide, for libel. Because Murray said that Riley believed Corbyn should have been attacked yesterday because he was a Nazi.

The article by Padraic Flanagan runs

Rachel Riley is reported to have instructed a high-profile lawyer to pursue libel claims against a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s staff over a Twitter outburst.

The Countdown presenter has instructed Mark Lewis, who came to prominence representing victims of phone-hacking, to pursue a claim against Laura Murray, “stakeholder manager to the Leader of the Opposition”, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

In a tweet made in response to the alleged assault of Mr Corbyn during a mosque visit at the weekend, Ms Murray claimed that Riley had said Mr Corbyn “deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi”.

Riley called the claim an “appalling distortion of the truth”.

It came as several Jewish Labour MPs reacted angrily to the appointment of Ms Murray, the daughter of Corbyn aide Andrew Murray, to the party unit dealing with the anti-Semitism complaints. (p.5).

This is standard operating procedure, whose immediate response when anyone calls out her bullying and bigotry on social media is to reach for Lewis and threaten them with a writ. She tried to do this to Shaun Lawson and everyone, who repeated his blog post about how Riley and her mate Tracy-Ann Oberman bullied a sixteen year old girl with anxiety and then the girl’s father, smearing her as an anti-Semite. One of those, who was threatened with legal action by Lewis was Mike, who, along with many others, got a message from Lawson advising him to ignore it. Lewis had threatened Mike and the others over Twitter, which is strictly forbidden under the rules of the Solicitors Regulatory Association, and Lewis had already been censured and fined for doing this previously. And thanks to Lewis trying it again, more complaints of his conduct were duly lodged.

And there’s no question that Riley did call Corbyn a Nazi. Another of her besties, the bit-actress Frances Barber, had tweeted that she wanted to buy Corbyn’s attacker a full English breakfast. Riley herself tweeted an earlier comment from Owen Jones that if you didn’t want to be egged as a Nazi, don’t be a Nazi. Jones in this case was referring to Nick Griffin being egged. Others on Twitter strongly criticised Riley for applying this to Corbyn, which she strongly denied. But the evidence is there. Zelo Street covered the incident yesterday, remarking that Riley’s reputation is now in the gutter. Quite. See http://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/03/rachel-riley-reputation-in-gutter.html

You can also expect Riley to perform another characteristic maneouvre soon. The moment people stand up to Lewis and it starts to look like all this will backfire, she and her besties will step away from him.

As for the Jewish Chronicle, well, as Mike’s case shows, it’s nothing but a lying rag with all moral integrity of the denizens of tabloid journalism, as you’d expect from its squalid editor, Stephen Pollard, who used to work for the vitriolically racist Express. And the Jewish Labour MPs, who don’t want Murray in the Compliance Unit are just going to be more Blairites and members of the Israel lobby, who can’t stand any criticism of their favourite colonialist apartheid state. They really shouldn’t complain about Murray’s appointment anyone, because they have had a concession in that Lord Falconer, one of Blair’s lawyer cronies, has been put in charge of the Compliance Unit’s oversight for the anti-Semitism cases. This is clearly a case of bias towards them, but I don’t see them complaining about it. So more democrapic from the Labour Israel lobby.

In my considered opinion, Riley’s reputation really is in the gutter, and Lewis stands no chance of retrieving it, as he should soon, we hope, get a visit from Mr Struckoff.

 

‘I’ Newspaper: Lord Falconer to Check Anti-Semitism Complaints

February 26, 2019

Yesterday’s I newspaper, for Monday, 25th February 2019, also reported that John McDonnell, Corbyn’s right-hand man, was also talking to Blair’s old chum Lord Falconer, about appointing him to oversee how the party handles complaints of anti-Semitism. The piece by Cahal Milmo, on page 9, read

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has confirmed that discussions are ongoing with Lord Falconer to appoint him to oversee labour’s handling of anti-Semitism cases. As Labour grapples with the complaint that it has allowed the problem to fester, Mr McDonnell said he accepted there was a need to be more “ruthless”.

The shadow chancellor was this week reported to be the prime mover behind proposals to put Lord Falconer, a former Lord Chancellor under his one-time flatmate and friend Tony Blair, in charge of assessing how effectively Labour was dealing with anti-Semitism complaints.

Mr McDonnell said yesterday talks were being held with Lord Falconer, who reportedly could meet Jeremy Corbyn today.

In my view, this is another mistake. The people making the anti-Semitism accusations are Blairites, trying to use them to purge the party of Corbyn’s supporters and critics of Israel and the poisonous Israel lobby. As the article said, Falconer was a crony of Blair. And remember when he, and other friends of Blair, were in their term an object of criticism, because of the cronyism that led to their appointment to important government posts. I assume that McDonnell hopes that this concession to the Blairites will satisfy them that everything is clean and above board by involving them. But it won’t. I don’t trust Falconer will be impartial, for the same reason it’s manifestly clear that the kangaroo courts from Labour’s compliance unit, that automatically finds those accused guilty if they’re a threat to the Blairites and the Israel lobby, aren’t impartial. And Tony Greenstein has also made the point that the more concessions you give to the Blairites and the Israel lobby, the more they will demand. Until they get their way, and enough of Corbyn’s supporters are purged for them to mount another coup.

The only way I would trust Falconer in this position is if he was also assisted by two other members of a tribunal who support Corbyn. Anything else is conceding too much power to a deeply compromised and prejudiced individual.

Private Eye from 2006 on the Failure and Dysfunction of the Freedom of Information Act

February 28, 2016

Private Eye in its issue for the 6th to 19th January 2006 published a long article on how the Blair government’s Freedom of Information Act actually didn’t do what everyone expected, and lead to great openness and freedom of information from government. I’m posting it up here as it shows how there’s always been a problem using the Act to get information, as Mike and so many of the other disability activists have found out for themselves, trying to get information out of Ian Duncan Smith’s DWP. Here’s the article:

How FOI Doesn’t Work

“The culture of secrecy in Whitehall, and beyond, is cracking open,” announced Lord Falconer in the Guardian last week, reflecting on the first anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act.

“We have seen real change … We seek to achieve across the whole public sector a new culture of openness, fully embedded in each and every public authority, where information is made available to the widest possible audience at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Oh yeah? This has hardly been the experience of Private Eye and its readers of the last 12 months.

The law allows the government 20 working days (about a month) to respond to a request under the act, but it may judge that one of 24 exemptions (including some very broad let-outs such as the potential to harm “policy development” and the country’s “economic interests”) allows it to withhold the information.

Most exemptions only apply if disclosure would not be “in the public interest”, and once a suitable exemption has been found the government has another month to ponder this question. If the request is for something it doesn’t want to give up, after a couple of months (or longer: delays are common as there is no penalty for missing the deadlines) it will conclude that the public is better off remaining ignorant.

Anything but the most uncontroversial request can be rejected on these grounds and as a result many Whitehall departments refuse more than half the requests they receive. The Treasury is the most secretive, coughing up what it’s asked in just 26 per cent of cases.

To challenge a rejection you first have to ask for an “internal review” by the department that has just turned you down, which is when the snail-like pace decelerates. When the Eye recently complained to the Information Commissioner that a review by HM Revenue and Customs had taken almost three months before reaching the predictable conclusion that the reviewer’s colleagues had been right to block the request, the commissioner’s office replied that “there is no statutory time within which a public authority must complete a review. There is therefore no further action we can take…”

After several months, if you’re lucky you’ll reach the stage where the commissioner can consider your case. The Eye’s latest referral was met with the response that a “case resolution team” will be in touch “to explain how the refusal to disclose information … will be progressed”. Action at last? Not quite. “Due to the volume of complaints we are receiving [the backlog is over 1,200] at present it may be up to two months before you hear from us.” And that’s before the “case resolution team” even starts to think about it.

When the act came into force last year, the Department for Constitutional Affairs set up a “Freedom of Information Users group” for those such as journalists, academics and other researchers to comment on how the government answers requests. But when author and FoI campaigner Heather Brooke, one of the runners-up in last year’s inaugural Paul Foot Awards – asked the DCA for a list of members of the group, she was told the list was secret – as are the criteria on which members are selected.

There is no application process, so those picked get on only at the behest of civil servants and special advisers – the very people most opposed to FoI in the first place. “We have identified those contacts we deem most appropriate whom we believe will make a significant contribution,” said Rob Murphy, of the DCA’s Information Rights Division.

So who are these “contacts”? Even the chosen ones cannot be named, says Murphy, because they must first be cleared with ministers. How rigorous such an FoI “users group” can be, when it is micromanaged at every level by civil servants, is unclear. But at least the DCA was able to tell Brooke, who has written a book on FoI and makes frequent requests for information to government departments, one genuine nugget about the list. She isn’t on it!

Twelve months ago Lord Falconer wrote of his new act: “The real test is whether there is a change in attitude across the public sector during the next few years, and whether communication between the state and its citizens is strengthened.” So far the test has been dismally flunked.

So the Freedom of Information Act was always half-hearted. Nevertheless, it was a genuine achievement of Blair’s period in power, and did a little to attack the endemic culture of secrecy around British government. Now Cameron wants to end even that. According to the Conservatives, you should only use the Freedom of Information Act to understand how a decision has been made, not to question the decision itself, or the process by which it has been reached. Blair’s government was profoundly authoritarian, but it made a gesture of opening up government. This government is merely authoritarian, and while it still wants to retain a façade of openness, is determined to close even the minuscule crack in the edifice Blair and co opened.