Saturday, 19 May 2018

Take Back The City

With Sakina Sheikh out of the race for Lewisham East because of her ties to Take Back The City, Claudia Webbe it is, then. Failing that, Marc Wadsworth, who should have been ennobled yesterday, should put up as an Independent, right there on the South East London home turf of the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

Take Back The City? Is that all? On being welcomed into the Parliamentary Labour Party, Peter Temple-Morris, who died recently, had been elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament on no fewer than seven occasions. Robert Jackson had been so five times, Quentin Davies five times (including at all three of the General Elections at which Labour had been led by Tony Blair), and Alan Howarth three times. Shaun Woodward had managed it only once, but he had managed it. In view of the ennoblements of Temple-Morris and Davies upon their retirements, has either of them ever voted Labour at a parliamentary election? If so, then when, exactly?

Davies abruptly decided that "my party had left me" on 26th June 2007, the night before Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. He was rapidly rewarded, and he has continued to be so. He remains in receipt of the Labour Whip in the House of Lords, having served under Brown as a Minister in the House of Commons. He had been elected as a Conservative MP at all five of the 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2005 General Elections. He had served in the Shadow Cabinets of Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard.

Yet people are making a fuss about Take Back The City. In reality, we need supporters of economic equality to be elected to the City of London Corporation, as well as to the States of Jersey, to the States of Guernsey, to Tynwald, and to the legislatures of the British Overseas Territories. Labour has had some success in the City in the recent past, despite the jaw-dropping electoral system. And candidates for Mayor of London have to be nominated by at least 10 local government electors in each of the 32 Boroughs and in the City. Sadiq Khan, Siân Berry and George Galloway all managed that last year. Those 30 people are there.

David Aaronovitch Stinks

Miles Gosslet writes:

I’ve been watching with interest the debate on this website between Peter Oborne and David Aaronovitch on the subject of my recently published book about the David Kelly affair. I had not expected that An Inconvenient Death was going to generate this sort of discussion but, now that these two writers have had their say, I have been invited to add some thoughts on the matter. I was flattered that The Times devoted a page to Aaronovitch’s review of my book on 7 April – just two days after it was published (the review is quoted in full in Aaronovitch’s response to Oborne on this site).

As I read Aaronovitch’s 1,200 words, however, I became increasingly puzzled. The first 40 per cent was a self-defensive commentary about Kelly’s death and the Blair government’s management of it. Then, when Aaronovitch concluded: “It stinks, really, does this waste of publisher’s, purchaser’s and reviewer’s time and money,” I couldn’t help wondering why he had bothered to read and then write about the book in the first place. Why did he waste his time – and the highly prized space on the pages of The Times – on what he considers to be worthless material? Why not ignore it? 

One thing is clear to me: the fact that Aaronovitch has now devoted yet more time to this concern by responding to Oborne’s deconstruction of his Times review indicates that he feels very strongly about the Kelly case. He is, contrary to his suggestion that my book “stinks”, quite willing to pledge many hours to it. Indeed, his review followed a 1,200-word comment piece in The Times in October 2007 lambasting the former MP Norman Baker’s book on the same subject. 

He returned to the Kelly episode – again in The Times – in a critical 1,000-word comment piece in August 2010. And – again in The Times – in June 2013 he reviewed a book by Robert Lewis about Kelly’s life and work, also negatively. From this I deduce that Aaronovitch thinks it’s OK for him to write about the Kelly case; it’s just that he doesn’t want people like Baker, Lewis and me doing the same thing. 

Had Aaronovitch written a straight review of my book, saying that it was rubbish because it was badly written, poorly structured and full of sloppy research, I would have been stung, but I would have accepted it as his considered opinion. Certainly, I would have said nothing about it publicly, because doing so would trigger justifiable accusations of sour grapes. 

But what Oborne appears to think, and what I also think, is that without critical observations of this type, but instead presenting a caricature of the book to Times readers, Aaronovitch’s review was an attack launched at the earliest opportunity that may have damaged its prospects – intentionally or otherwise. 

As Oborne has demonstrated, Aaronovitch misrepresented my book and portrayed me as an unhinged conspiracy theorist. In fact, the book is intended to be a careful analysis of the Hutton Inquiry into Kelly’s death and the ramifications of that process. Its aim is to show how Tony Blair’s desperate government rode roughshod over the long-established method of inquiry into this event – a coroner's inquest – and installed its own, less rigorous investigation. As a result key witnesses were excluded, evidence was concealed and loose ends allowed to remain untied. 

I believe, though I accept I may be wrong, that Aaronovitch began his review with a firmly closed mind. Let me explain why I have arrived at this interpretation.

Ad hominems

In his Times review, Aaronovitch presented himself as something of an expert on the subject. He reminded readers of a book he wrote on conspiracy theories which was published in 2009, a chapter of which is devoted to examining sceptically any sense of mystery surrounding Kelly’s death. He may think his 25 pages on this topic makes him a specialist in the field, but I would suggest it means simply that he has a position to defend.

Certainly, it would be understandable if Aaronovitch feels somewhat exposed when it comes to this period of British politics. In April 2003 he wrote regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: “If nothing is eventually found, I – as a supporter of the war – will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again. And, more to the point, neither will anyone else. Those weapons had better be there somewhere.” 

I have recently read the aforementioned chapter of Aaronovitch’s book. It is titled “Mr Pooter Forms a Theory” and largely focuses on criticising Norman Baker’s 2007 book about Kelly’s death. It begins by criticising Baker on a personal level. Charges against him include his having a “receded chin”, a “receding hairline”, not having a “distinguished dress sense” and being “exceptionally ordinary”.

Aaronovitch’s perceptions of Baker have nothing to do with the matter at hand, of course. They are an attempt to belittle Baker and, by extension, his endeavour. Aaronovitch obviously thinks he is witty and clever for ridiculing Baker in this way. But don’t these unpleasant and irrelevant words merely reinforce the possibility that Aaronovitch boils so furiously at anybody questioning the official David Kelly story that he feels the need to spend his precious time thinking up ways to humiliate them publicly? Well, to borrow a term, I think this stinks. 

The errors of Aaronovitch

Aaronovitch will not welcome this, but I have noticed that his Kelly thesis appears to contain a number of errors which suggest that he is not as familiar with the issue as he wishes Times readers to believe. These are some problems I can find in his book:

1. Page 262, paragraph 1: Aaronovitch writes that “it was probably inevitable” that Kelly's contact with the journalist Andrew Gilligan would become public and “the government took no very stringent steps to ensure that it didn’t”. This is at best a limited interpretation of what actually happened, which is that Blair chaired a meeting in Downing Street on 8 July 2003 at which it was actively decided that Kelly's name could be given by the Ministry of Defence press office to any journalist who guessed it. Even if his “probably inevitable” remark is not a deliberate understatement by Aaronovitch, it certainly isn’t a fair reflection of the facts either.

2. Page 262, paragraph 1: he writes of a “besieged Kelly… giving evidence to the televised committees...”. Note the plural “committees”. The clear inference is that this level of public exposure on two occasions helped tip him over the edge. In fact, Kelly gave evidence at only one televised select committee hearing. The second was held in private. This is a small error, but an error nonetheless.

3. Page 264, paragraph 3, last sentence: Aaronovitch says Kelly “had at least one characteristic which, in statistical terms, probably made him an enhanced suicide risk”. This is wrong. See next point.

4. Page 266, paragraph 2: Aaronovitch says: “David Kelly's own mother committed suicide.” He says this makes it more likely that Kelly would have done the same thing and quotes psychiatric research from 2002 to support his point. But at the coroner's inquest into Margaret Kelly's death in 1964 , the coroner recorded an open verdict. He did not determine that David Kelly’s mother had taken her own life. This point feeds into the key consideration any coroner must make when dealing with an apparent suicide, and one which I write about in my book: intent. 

Specifically, a coroner must ask himself or herself: “Did the person whose death I am considering intend to take their own life?” Very often, the coroner will record an open verdict because they cannot satisfy themself “beyond reasonable doubt” that the deceased really did intend to do so. Furthermore, as I say in my own book (page 284), when Professor Keith Hawton – an expert witness who appeared at the Hutton Inquiry – was required to judge whether Margaret Kelly's death influenced her son’s, he dismissed this possibility. Aaronovitch was apparently unaware of this when he published his book six years later in 2009.

5. Page 266: Aaronovitch makes great play of evidence given by a former British diplomat, David Broucher, to the Hutton Inquiry. Broucher said that Kelly once told him that if an invasion of Iraq went ahead, he, Kelly, would “probably be found dead in the woods”. Aaronovitch says this comment was akin to Kelly sharing what amounts to a mental dress rehearsal of his suicide with Broucher, and may prove Kelly had the idea of ending his life in his mind long before he did so. This is surely an amateur interpretation which Aaronovitch, who is not a psychiatrist, has no right to make. 

More importantly, why should Broucher be believed? By his own admission, he couldn’t recall the details of his contact with Kelly. He couldn’t remember whether they had met once or twice; he couldn’t remember when their meeting or meetings took place; and he couldn’t remember where they had met – not even in which country. I would say Broucher was not a reliable witness; Aaronovitch, apparently, would say he was. Even if Broucher’s memory was accurate, one chance remark cannot prove that Kelly intended to kill himself and then did so. No coroner would use this as evidence of intent, but Aaronovitch is happy to accept it as gospel.

6. Pages 269-71: Aaronovitch writes of the 29 co-proxamol tablets that Kelly allegedly swallowed. In fact there is doubt as to how many pills he did swallow, as Alex Allan, the toxicologist who gave evidence to the Hutton Inquiry, explained. He told the inquiry that the drug levels in his system were “somewhat lower than what I would normally expect to encounter in cases of death due to an overdose of co-proxamol.” (see pages 272-3 of my book). There is also the point that Kelly’s friend, Mai Pederson, said Kelly had an aversion to swallowing pills – one of many key points not raised at the Hutton Inquiry but which his widow, Janice Kelly, has acknowledged. 

7. Page 271: Aaronovitch speaks in terms of Kelly being “intent” on suicide – yet, as discussed, intent was not ever discussed at Hutton, though it should have been. (See pages 281-2 of my book.) It is worth saying again that a coroner must satisfy himself or herself “beyond reasonable doubt” that someone intended to kill themself and then did so. This bar is set deliberately high at coroners’ inquests. I am not even sure that this bar existed at the Hutton Inquiry.

8. Page 272: Aaronovitch endorses the forensic pathologist Nicholas Hunt, who investigated Kelly’s death. In so doing, he tries to undermine legitimate queries which Baker made in his book and which I have also made. As it happens, in my book, I take the opposite view about Hunt. Perhaps Aaronovitch should have looked at Hunt’s record more closely as well. At the time Aaronovitch published his book in 2009, Hunt was under a five-year warning for breaching General Medical Council guidelines. His misdemeanour was to have shown to members of the public photographs of the mutilated bodies of three Royal Military Police officers killed in Iraq in 2003.

Regarding his inquiry into Kelly’s death, many medical professionals have criticised Hunt for waiting seven hours before taking Kelly’s body temperature at the location where it was found, complicating the process of establishing what time he died. In his autopsy Hunt recorded Kelly’s height and weight incorrectly (he recorded that Kelly was more than two stones lighter than he was) and also recorded the weight of his liver incorrectly. Incidentally, Hunt has said repeatedly that he thinks there ought to be a coroner's inquest into David Kelly’s death – something which Aaronovitch obviously does not want.

A Kelly monopoly 

The evidence indicates that Aaronovitch objects passionately to anybody asking searching questions about Kelly’s death. This is a surprising response for a journalist, given that the matter falls squarely into the public interest. But in his world, he – and nobody else – decides what is a legitimate journalistic inquiry and what is a conspiracy theory.

For having written my book, I have been branded a money-grabbing “conspiracy theorist”. In fact, anybody who, like me, believes there ought to be a full coroner’s inquest into Kelly’s death is also a “conspiracy theorist”. This includes, presumably, the two coroners whom I met earlier this year at separate social occasions, both of whom called Hutton’s finding “unsafe”. 

It’s not obvious to me why Aaronovitch should feel he has a monopoly on this situation. Neither is it apparent why he slavishly follows the official version of events about Kelly’s death without considering the many unanswered questions surrounding it, or wanting others to do so. But it does seem unusual that one journalist would actively want to prevent the excavations of another journalist from being read as widely as possible.

Luckily, for me, Aaronovitch is not in charge of deciding whether journalists are allowed to probe this business, and I intend to carry on doing so. Even more luckily for me, the two newspaper reviews of my book (only one online) published after his were both objective. This is all any author should be able to expect having pulled off the notoriously tricky task of getting a book published. And, as it happens, both were very supportive of the book.

A Chambers and Partners Band 1 legal practice is now on standby to pursue an action to bring about a Coroner's Inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, an action before the International Criminal Court against those who had brought slavery back to Libya, and an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland inviting it to exercise its declaratory power against Tony Blair and his accomplices in the aggression against Iraq in 2003. We are of course also keeping a very close eye on the situation in Syria.

All of these actions are to begin immediately upon my election to the House of Commons. My crowdfunding page has been taken down without my knowledge or consent. But you can still email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com instead, and that address accepts PayPal.

Trial Date Watch: Day 26

More than five weeks after I had again been due to stand trial, I now no longer have a trial date, even though it is rightly a criminal offence to fail to attend one's trial.

Had I been tried, as expected, on 6th December, then, even had I been convicted, I would already have been released, since I would by now have served three months even of a wildly improbable six month sentence.

The legal persecution of me, which has been going on for over a year, was initiated only in order to deter me from seeking public office or to prevent my election to it, and its continuation is only to one or both of those ends. Amnesty International is on the case.

Until there is anything to add to it, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Libel Watch: Day 81

The Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig, was so afraid that I was going to be elected to that authority, that he faked a death threat against himself and dozens of other Councillors.

Despite the complete lack of evidence, that matter is still being pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service as part of the attempt by the sacked Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to secure a Labour seat in one or other House of Parliament.

If I am wrong, then let Henig and Saunders sue me. Until they do, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Out Of The Bag

I am very glad that Sergei Skripal has been discharged from hospital. The human fatalities of the "deadly" attack in Salisbury, not so very long ago the biggest story in the world, have turned out to number precisely zero. But who killed the two guinea pigs and the cat? This is Britain, after all.

Porc Normande

Whatever Prince Harry is getting up to tonight, consider that, like Henry VIII before him and Prince Hal before that, he will always be an amateur compared to their ancestor and namesake, Henry I.

William the Conqueror’s youngest son probably became King of England by having one his own brothers murdered, certainly became Duke of Normandy by defeating another brother in battle, had at least 29 children by at least eight (and possibly 19) different women, and literally ate himself to death on the night of 1st and 2nd December 1135, aged 67.

Not The Great Game

No more British troops to Afghanistan.

Pull out the ones who are already there.

And never, ever, ever go back.

Peering Into The Future

At 2:20 here, George Galloway promises live on air to take a seat in the House of Lords if I do. That was on 21st December 2016, but I assume that it still stands.

Yet no ermine for either of us this time, it seems. Even though Guido Fawkes has been reduced to tarring the soon-to-be-ennobled Martha Osamor with the worn out brush of anti-Semitism.

Another election of some kind must be on its way if he has been told to dig this one out again, and there is only one kind that the Prime Minister can call when she pleases.

All in all, Jeremy Corbyn might be left wishing that he had indeed raised George, Neil Clark and me to the peerage when he had the chance.

The Style To Which They Are Accustomed

And so the Government simply gives up on trying to stay out of the Customs Union, at least in fact rather than merely in name. Its own party's right wing, perhaps 20 mostly rather eccentric MPs but certainly not 30, will um and ah. But they cannot do any more than that, and of course they can be asked whether they wanted to add the dissolution of the Union with Northern Ireland to their already stated aim of the abolition of the House of Lords. Not that that question is now rhetorical. How very, very far Brexit has moved them.

The idea that the United Kingdom has a land border at all, never mind one that is more than 300 miles long and which has more than 200 crossing points, has shaken the Right's own sense of national identity to its core. But there are more crossing points on the Irish Border than there are on the entire eastern border of the EU. Some of them are streams so small that they have no names, and so shallow that they have no bridges; you just have to wade. Yet such is the land frontier of the United Kingdom, a frontier the very existence of which entirely blows the minds of the Our Island Story brigade.

Nor does the Right really have any argument against the Customs Union, as such. For that, you need the Left, which has been working on this for 60 years and which could do so for 60 more if it had to. Although key points of the last Labour manifesto were dependent on leaving both the Customs Union and the Single Market, as key points of the next Labour manifesto will be. By contrast, Brexit itself was the only point in the last Conservative manifesto to have been in any way dependent on Brexit.

Speak As I Find

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to whom I am not related to the best of my knowledge, would make an excellent Speaker of the House of Commons. Harriet Harman, on the other hand, would not.

I have spent more than 20 years, since I was (just) still in my teens and had never seen the Internet, trying to get the story out about Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange. I have paid a terrible journalistic and political price for it, but I have no regrets. Media that always knew about it simply ignored the whole thing, banning me from their websites and what have you, until a period of no more than two weeks when they needed to distract attention from Patrick Rock. Normal service was rapidly resumed, and it has continued ever since.

And now, the plan is advancing to make Harman the next Speaker. The only outside chance of stopping that is to put the only person who would dare to mention her past, me, into the House of Commons. Am I serious about this? Utterly. To the marrow of my bones. No one has done more on this issue than I have. No one. Not only would I oppose her election, but, were she already in post, then I would oppose her re-election at the start of the next Parliament.

My crowdfunding page has been taken down without my knowledge or consent. But you can still email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com instead, and that address accepts PayPal.

Trial Date Watch: Day 25

More than five weeks after I had again been due to stand trial, I now no longer have a trial date, even though it is rightly a criminal offence to fail to attend one's trial.

Had I been tried, as expected, on 6th December, then, even had I been convicted, I would already have been released, since I would by now have served three months even of a wildly improbable six month sentence.

The legal persecution of me, which has been going on for over a year, was initiated only in order to deter me from seeking public office or to prevent my election to it, and its continuation is only to one or both of those ends. Amnesty International is on the case.

Until there is anything to add to it, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Libel Watch: Day 80

The Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig, was so afraid that I was going to be elected to that authority, that he faked a death threat against himself and dozens of other Councillors.

Despite the complete lack of evidence, that matter is still being pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service as part of the attempt by the sacked Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to secure a Labour seat in one or other House of Parliament.

If I am wrong, then let Henig and Saunders sue me. Until they do, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

This Need Is Urgent


Imagine if, at birth, newborns were divided into five groups. The five groups are allotted varying time-spans on the planet, with the bottom fifth having the shortest lives, the next fifth longer life, and so on, with the top fifth living longest. 

The upshot is that that the top fifth of newborns have lives ten years longer than the bottom fifth. Real disparities in life expectancy in the 21st century UK are as glaring as this. Residents of the most affluent communities live almost a decade more than those of the most deprived.

For decades, the links between health, poverty and inequality have been securely established, with perhaps the most renowned work on it – by Professor Michael Marmot – revealing how mortality and morbidity are linked to ‘social determinants’ of health. Chief among them these social determinants are class, ethnicity, gender, disability, relative wealth and poverty, the characteristics of neighbourhoods, quality of environment, and housing. 

Yet poor lifestyle choices in deprived communities continue to be blamed for health inequities. New analysis reveals how that view is wrong. Professor Marmot writes in the foreword to a forthcoming report by the Human City Institute (HCI): 

There is a rumour going around that poor people are unhealthy because they make unhealthy choices. This rumour is a myth. It has the causal connection backwards…It is not poor choices that lead to poverty, but poverty that leads to poor choices. Change circumstances and people on low incomes are more likely to adopt the choices that are good for health.

This need is urgent. HCI’s research shows that significant health inequalities exist at all geographical levels, and are on the rise. Major disparities in life expectancy exist between the countries and regions of the UK, between local councils within regions, and most starkly, between neighbourhoods within local authorities.

The most deprived neighbourhoods include larger concentrations of poor and overcrowded housing, which poses major risks to health – including poor mental health, respiratory disease, long-term health and disability and the delayed physical and cognitive development of children. Cold housing is especially damaging for health, and causes an estimated fifth of excess winter deaths. Insecure and short-term tenure housing is especially damaging for physical and mental health. 

Levels of poor, hazardous and overcrowded housing are also on the rise. It is estimated that such housing costs the NHS £1.4bn annually. Austerity and welfare reform introduced in 2010, are factors in widening health inequalities. As the BMA says in a recent report:

Austerity is the central public health issue of our time. From A&E departments to mental health to child health, austerity hampers the ability of the NHS to respond to the needs of the British population…and austerity falls hardest on the poorest in society, the most vulnerable, the voiceless.” 

The Tories’ record on health is weak and worsening – spending on the NHS has fallen as a proportion of GDP and now lags behind the EU average; public satisfaction with the NHS plummets as crisis after crisis hits the NHS; and public health has been reorganised, reduced and rendered less effective. Alongside this, we see cuts to services from Sure Start to welfare benefits, coupled with stagnating earnings at the bottom of the income scale.

All this exacerbates inequality – which in turn is feeding into low life expectancy for the poor. That this is not a national scandal in the 70th anniversary year of the NHS says an awful lot about the priorities of politicians, the media and the British people.

Read the Human City Institute report here.

Cross Words

Craig Murray writes:

133,612 edits to Wikpedia have been made in the name of “Philip Cross” over 14 years. That’s over 30 edits per day, seven days a week. And I do not use that figuratively: Wikipedia edits are timed, and if you plot them, the timecard for “Philip Cross’s” Wikipedia activity is astonishing is astonishing if it is one individual:

The operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation. If Philip Cross genuinely is an individual, there is no denying he is morbidly obsessed. I am no psychiatrist, but to my entirely inexpert eyes this looks like the behaviour of a deranged psychotic with no regular social activities outside the home, no job (or an incredibly tolerant boss), living his life through a screen.

I run what is arguably the most widely read single person political blog in the UK, and I do not spend nearly as much time on the internet as “Philip Cross”. My “timecard” would show where I watch football on Saturdays, go drinking on Fridays, go to the supermarket and for a walk or out with the family on Sundays, and generally relax much more and read books in the evenings. Cross does not have the patterns of activity of a normal and properly rounded human being.

There are three options here. “Philip Cross” is either a very strange person indeed, or is a false persona disguising a paid operation to control Wikipedia content, or is a real front person for such an operation in his name. Why does this – to take the official explanation – sad obsessive no friends nutter, matter? Because the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is systematically to attack and undermine the reputations of those who are prominent in challenging the dominant corporate and state media narrative, particularly in foreign affairs.

“Philip Cross” also systematically seeks to burnish the reputations of mainstream media journalists and other figures who are particularly prominent in pushing neo-con propaganda and in promoting the interests of Israel. This matters because, an ordinary reader who comes across an article questioning (say) the official narrative on the Skripals, is very likely to turn to Wikipedia to get information on the author of the article.

Simply put, the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is to make certain that if that reader looks up an anti-war person such as John Pilger, they will conclude they are thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy, whereas if they look up a right-wing MSM journalist, they will conclude they are a paragon of virtue and entirely to be trusted.

The “Philip Cross” treatment is meted out not just to left wingers, but to all sceptical of neo-conservatism and who oppose “wars of intervention”. A list of Cross’s victims includes Alex Salmond, Peter Oborne, John Pilger, Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Hayward, Diane Abbott, Neil Clark, Lindsey German, Vanessa Beeley, and George Galloway.

As you would expect “Philip Cross” is particularly active in making amendments to the Wikipedia articles of alternative media, and of MSM critique sites. “Philip Cross” has made 36 edits to the Wikipedia entry of The Canary and, staggeringly, over 800 edits on Media Lens. George Galloway remains the “Philip Cross” operation’s favourite target with a quite incredible 1,800 edits.

Just as revealing are the people who “Philip Cross” seeks to protect and promote. Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland’s uber-unionist, has had “Philip Cross” kindly delete references from her Wikipedia entry to family ties that (ahem) may have helped her career. Labour Friends of Israel’s Ruth Smeeth MP has had reference to the Wikileaks released US diplomatic cable that showed she was an informer to the US Embassy on the secrets of the Labour Party, deleted by “Philip Cross”. Right-wing columnist Melanie Phillips had her embarrassing climate change denial excised by Cross.

“Philip Cross” not only carefully tends and protects the Wikipedia entry of Guardian editor Katherine Viner, who has taken the paper four square into the neo-con camp, Philip Cross actually wrote the original hagiographic entry. The Guardian’s MI6 contact, Luke Harding, is particularly looked after by Cross, as are their anti-Corbyn obsessives Nick Cohen and Jonathan Freedland. So are Murdoch hacks David Aaronovitch and Oliver Kamm.

There is no doubt that Kamm, leader writer of Murdoch’s Times, is close the the “Philip Cross” operation. Many people believe that Kamm and Cross are the same person, or that Kamm is part of a multiple persona. Six times I have personally had hostile edits to my Wikipedia page by “Philip Cross” made in precise conjunction with attacks on me by Kamm, either on Twitter, in a Times editorial or in Prospect magazine.

Altogether “Philip Cross” has made 275 edits to my Wikipedia page. These include calling my wife a stripper, deleting my photo, removing my reply to attacks made on me by Kamm and Harding among others, and deleting my refusal of all honours while a British diplomat. Neil Clark and Peter Oborne are among many others who have suffered attacks on them by Philip Cross on Wikipedia simultaneously with attacks by Kamm on other media. Clark is taking Kamm to court for stalking – and “Philip Cross” has deleted all reference to that fact from Kamm’s Wikipedia page.

What is plain is that Kamm and Cross have extremely similar political views, and that the dividing line of those they attack and those they defend is based squarely on the principles of the Euston Manifesto. This may be obscure, but is in fact an important Blairite declaration of support for Israel and for neo-con wars of intervention, and was linked to the foundation of the Henry Jackson Society. Who do we find editing the Wikipedia entry for the Euston Manifesto? “Philip Cross”.

What is particularly interesting is that “Philip Cross”‘s views happen to be precisely the same political views as those of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales has been on Twitter the last three days being actively rude and unpleasant to anybody questioning the activities of Philip Cross.

His commitment to Cross’s freedom to operate on Wikipedia would be rather more impressive if the Cross operation were not promoting Wales’ own opinions. Jimmy Wales has actively spoken against Jeremy Corbyn, supports the bombing of Syria, supports Israel, is so much of a Blairite that he married Blair’s secretary, and sits on the board of Guardian Media Group Ltd alongside Katherine Viner.

The extreme defensiveness and surliness of Wales’ twitter responses on the “Philip Cross” operation is very revealing. Why do you think he reacts like this? Interestingly enough. Wikipedia’s UK begging arm, Wikimedia UK, joined in with equal hostile responses to anyone questioning Cross.

In response many people sent Jimmy Wales evidence, which he ignored, while his “charity” got very upset with those questioning the Philip Cross operation.

Wikimedia had arrived uninvited into a Twitter thread discussing the “Philip Cross” operation and had immediately started attacking people questioning Cross’s legitimacy. Can anybody else see anything “insulting” in my tweet? I repeat, the coincidence of Philip Cross’s political views with those of Jimmy Wales, allied to Wales’ and Wikimedia’s immediate hostility to anybody questioning the Cross operation – without needing to look at any evidence – raises a large number of questions.

“Philip Cross” does not attempt to hide his motive or his hatred of those whose Wikipedia entries he attacks. He openly taunts them on Twitter. The obvious unbalance of his edits is plain for anybody to see. I have in the past exchanged messages with “Philip Cross”. He says he is a person, and that he edits in conjunction with Oliver Kamm tweets because he follows Kamm and his tweets inspire him to edit. He says he has met Kamm and admits to being in electronic communication with him. That exchange I had with Cross was some years ago. More recent communication with Cross (who has now changed his twitter ID to “Julian”) has been less forthcoming and he has not replied:

George Galloway has offered a reward of £1,000 for the name and address of “Cross” so he may also take legal action. My view is that Philip Cross probably is a real person, but that he fronts for a group acting under his name.

It is undeniably true, in fact the government has boasted, that both the MOD and GCHQ have “cyber-war” ops aiming to defend the “official” narrative against alternative news media, and that is precisely the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation on Wikipedia. The extreme regularity of output argues against “Philip Cross” being either a one man or volunteer operation. I do not rule out however the possibility he genuinely is just a single, extremely obsessed right-wing fanatic.

Finally, it is worth noting that on Wikipedia, an operation to boost the mainstream media narrative and denigrate alternative sources, has the massive advantage that only information from mainstream media sources is permitted in political articles. In conclusion, some images from the edit pages of Wikipedia articles to give just a little flavour of what I am talking about:

I am slightly concerned lest I am myself getting obsessed. Do you find this as fascinating as I do?

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Absolute Boy

Why was the focus on David Miliband?

Nicky Morgan was in the Cabinet more recently than Nick Clegg, who was in it more recently than Miliband. Clegg was more senior. Morgan is a sitting MP. Morgan and Clegg still live in this country. When Miliband was in British politics, then he was a joke. Just why are the media so obsessed with him? 

Well, they have doubts about aspects of Morgan's social policy record, and about one rather large aspect of Clegg's foreign policy record, as well as about his party's defence of civil liberties in the Blair years. But Miliband is the full package.

He is an uncompromising neoliberal global capitalist like the other two, he is a liberal fundamentalist socially, and he is a merciless hawk on foreign policy and on the related civil liberties issues, complete with the complicity in torture to prove it.

The complicity in torture, and the not unconnected record on Chagos as shameful as anything to do with Windrush or with Grenfell Tower.

Cross Out?

Wikipedia has banned "Philip Cross", and his previous Twitter account, @PhilipCross63, has been deleted. But @Wikipedianhidin bears more than a passing resemblance to him.

Oliver Kamm was born in 1963.

Burn For Justice

In the words of David Lammy, "This review is a betrayal and a whitewash. It is unthinkable and unacceptable that so many people can die in a disaster like Grenfell and one year on flammable cladding has not been banned."

To which I can only add that a Member of Parliament is in a position to bring such a ban to the floor of the House of Commons, whatever the Hackitt Review or anything else might have said on the subject.

I fully expect that Lammy will do that, and I wish him every success in doing so. At the same time, my crowdfunding page has been taken down without my knowledge or consent. But you can still email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com instead, and that address accepts PayPal.

Dues Long Overdue

Recognise the union for parliamentary staff. It is jaw-dropping, and yet not, that that never happened in 13 years of Labour Government.

Fix It Properly

Fixed-odds betting terminals are very recent innovation, so it is rubbish that the betting shops would go bust without them. Just ban them outright.

We also need the empowerment of local authorities to limit the number of gambling venues, the use of that power, an end to gambling on television, an end to the advertising of gambling other than at venues such as casinos and betting shops, and the writing into the Statute Law of the rules introduced last month by the Competitions and Markets Authority against the sharp practices of the gambling industry.

My crowdfunding page has been taken down without my knowledge or consent. But you can still email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com instead, and that address accepts PayPal.

Account For This

Break up the Big Four, says the report into Carillion. We have been waiting for this more than 20 years.

There is nothing quite like the accountancy racket as New Labour set it up. For it was Patricia Hewitt who told speakers at Labour Conferences, "Do not use the word "equality"; the preferred term is "fairness"." She it was, a mere Press Officer, who, in a sign of things to come, was not told where to get off for having presumed so to instruct her betters.

She went on to help found the Institute for Public Policy Research, and then, soon after Tony Blair became Leader, to become Head of Research at Andersen Consulting. That was a position for which she had no apparent qualification beyond her closeness to the Prime Minister in Waiting. In 1997, she entered Parliament, he entered Downing Street, and the Labour commitment to regulate such companies was dropped.

As was the previous Conservative Government's absolute ban on all work for Andersen in view of its role in the DeLorean fraud. Andersen paid just over £21 million of the £200 million that Thatcher and Major had demanded, barely covering the Government's legal costs. It went on to write, among other things, a report claiming that the Private Finance Initiative was good value for money. That was the only report on the subject that the Blair Government ever cited, since it was the only one to say that ridiculous thing. 

As Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Hewitt tried to give auditors limited liability. It took the Conservative Opposition and the Bush Administration to see her off. But the Conservative Opposition is the Government now. And the Official Opposition is very long way indeed from the world of Patricia Hewitt and Tony Blair.

Trial Date Watch: Day 24

More than five weeks after I had again been due to stand trial, I now no longer have a trial date, even though it is rightly a criminal offence to fail to attend one's trial.

Had I been tried, as expected, on 6th December, then, even had I been convicted, I would already have been released, since I would by now have served three months even of a wildly improbable six month sentence.

The legal persecution of me, which has been going on for over a year, was initiated only in order to deter me from seeking public office or to prevent my election to it, and its continuation is only to one or both of those ends. Amnesty International is on the case.

Until there is anything to add to it, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Libel Watch: Day 79

The Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig, was so afraid that I was going to be elected to that authority, that he faked a death threat against himself and dozens of other Councillors.

Despite the complete lack of evidence, that matter is still being pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service as part of the attempt by the sacked Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to secure a Labour seat in one or other House of Parliament.

If I am wrong, then let Henig and Saunders sue me. Until they do, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

On The Right Track?

Who, exactly, is going to be on the Board of the new East Coast Main Line company? And on what basis, exactly?

Pressure Needs To Be Mounted

Prem Sikka writes: 

The latest 100-page joint report by the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Work and Pensions committees on the collapse of Carillion is a damning indictment of crony capitalism dominating the UK. 

Carillion was an avoidable bankruptcy. In the absence of a central enforcer of company law, Carillion directors treated the company as a private fiefdom, giving themselves massive pay, shares, share options, bonuses, pensions and perks. Shareholders happily went along with it as they got excessive dividends, funded by higher borrowing. Non-executive directors received about £60,000 a year for one day a month’s work and did little to check any of the abuses. 

The company showed over a billion pound of worthless contracts in its balance sheet and inflated its profits through what its finance director called “aggressive accounting” practices. Auditors KPMG did not notice anything and happily gave the company a clean bill of health, while collecting £29m million in fees, of course. 

Deloitte ran the internal audit department but Carillion had glaring control problems. Ernst & Young collected mega bucks for restructuring the company which turned out to be a mirage. As for the accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), it had been aware of the problems at Carillion, but did nothing. 

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) knew that Carillion was not making the desired payments to the employee pension scheme, but also did little to address the issues. Carillion left a pension liability of around £2.6bn billion. Pension scheme ranks, as unsecured creditors, will receive little from the liquidation of Carillion. 

A bailout from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) can only be for a maximum of 90% of the loss. Some 27,000 members of the Carillion pension, many into their retirement age, will now be paid reduced pensions. The PPF faces its largest ever hit. 

It is the same story for Carillion’s 30,000 suppliers, many of which are small and medium-size businesses. They were owed around £2bn but, as unsecured creditors, will receive little. The parliamentary report shows that the whole edifice of corporate governance is rotten to the core. 

Executive directors, non-executive directors, auditors, internal auditors, audit committee, executive committee, external advisors, the TPR, the FRC and supposed invigilation by investors, audited accounts and stock markets – all failed. The committees are right to call for major reforms. 

But we have heard it all before. The damning parliamentary report on the collapse of BHS reported the same state of affairs. The FRC promised investigation of the BHS audits and two years later there is no report. We all remember the 2007-08 banking crash which was going to lead to major change the face of capitalism, corporate governance, director duties, accounting and auditing, amongst other things. 

Yes, the regulatory deckchairs have been rearranged as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) was replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but there is little meaningful change and all the predatory practices. These problems were again highlighted by the Carillion collapse. 

 The report says that the government has “lacked the decisiveness or bravery” to address the failures in corporate regulation that allowed Carillion to become a “giant and unsustainable corporate time bomb”. There lies the biggest problem: our political system, which is responsible for creating toothless and ineffective regulators. 

Corporations and wealthy elites fund the political parties, give jobs to former and potential ministers, and get the laws that serve their interests. A few crumbs are occasionally thrown to the rest of us. Plenty of politicians are filling the airwaves talking about the plight of pension scheme members and supply chain creditors, who as unsecured creditors will receive little from the Carillion liquidation. Yet they are the architects of this dire state of affairs. 

There is no immutable law which says that pension schemes have to be unsecured creditors, or that secured creditors (lenders) must walk away with most of the proceeds from the liquidation. From a social perspective, we all know that as we get older our capacity to rebuild the pension pot is diminished. The loss of pension rights means poverty in retirement or reliance on social security benefits. 

In sharp contrast, banks hold diversified portfolios to manage risks and can absorb losses. So a social perspective would suggest that pension schemes should be priority creditors rather than unsecured creditors i.e. they should be paid first. 

Supply chain creditors are innocent bystanders. These include many small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) who are unable to impose covenants on big customers. Due to their age and size, SMEs do not have a diversified business base. The loss of a major customer like Carillion plays havoc with their cash flows and survival. Many SMEs become insolvent because of the knock-on effect of a major customer like Carillion. 

These considerations demand that a substantial portion of the proceeds of liquidation of a company, such as Carillion, should be set aside for unsecured creditors. This would help to cushion the blow for them and also ensure that there is a more equitable sharing of the losses arising from liquidations.

But legislators will not make radical reforms and seem only too content to introduce laws from the prism of banks and wealthy elites. Pressure needs to be mounted on the political system for meaningful reform of corporate governance. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time until we see another Carillion.

Trial Date Watch: Day 23

Five weeks after I had again been due to stand trial, I now no longer have a trial date, even though it is rightly a criminal offence to fail to attend one's trial.

Had I been tried, as expected, on 6th December, then, even had I been convicted, I would already have been released, since I would by now have served three months even of a wildly improbable six month sentence.

The legal persecution of me, which has been going on for over a year, was initiated only in order to deter me from seeking public office or to prevent my election to it, and its continuation is only to one or both of those ends. Amnesty International is on the case.

Until there is anything to add to it, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Libel Watch: Day 78

The Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig, was so afraid that I was going to be elected to that authority, that he faked a death threat against himself and dozens of other Councillors.

Despite the complete lack of evidence, that matter is still being pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service as part of the attempt by the sacked Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to secure a Labour seat in one or other House of Parliament.

If I am wrong, then let Henig and Saunders sue me. Until they do, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

63 Reasons To Go

At least 63 British Citizens have been unlawfully deported. There needs to be a public inquiry into the Windrush scandal. With no messing around, such as there has been over Grenfell Tower, about whether or not to have a broadly based panel. Of course there has to be one.

In the meantime, though, this Government has got to go. And we may expect to hear no more from Yvette Cooper, either. Having abolished Income Support and imposed the Work Capability Assessment when she was in office, Cooper used so-called Opposition to welcome Theresa May's Immigration Bill.

Broadly based inquiries into Grenfell and Windrush would be going on right now, inside the Palace of Westminster, if I were a Member of Parliament. My crowdfunding page has been taken down without my knowledge or consent. But you can still email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com instead, and that address accepts PayPal.

Forsaking All Other?

The decision to invite Michael Curry to preach at the Royal Wedding, and the enthusiastic welcome that it has been given by Justin Welby, demonstrate that the connection to the Royal Family has been liberalising the Church of England from day one.

There is a reason why Luther and Tyndale supported Catherine of Aragon against Henry VIII. There is a reason why Tyndale went to his death rather than return to the England that Henry was by then creating. There is a reason why the robustly Protestant supporters of Lady Jane Grey sought to write Elizabeth as well as Mary ought of the Succession. 

And there is a reason why, once anyone started to check in the middle of the nineteenth century, 50 per cent of Protestant churchgoers in England were found to be attending churches other than that Established by law, as everyone already knew, anyway. That proportion would be even higher now, although of course the absolute figure would be far lower.

An Archbishop of Canterbury will perform a same-sex marriage in this generation, because a member of the Royal Family will want one. In, of course, the unmistakable cadences of the Book of Common Prayer, since the Royal Family will have nothing else. It was written to give the Royal Family whatever marital arrangements they happened to want. All else, however real, is fundamentally incidental.

Of Dropped Charges, And Not

There has been an 11 per cent drop in charges for robbery, burglary and domestic violence, even though crime itself has gone up.

Yet, despite the total lack of evidence, I have been charged, and I remain so. I have been charged, in fact, for 13 months and counting. But I no longer have a trial date.

Perhaps I should have been a burglar?

A Rotten Corporate Culture

And not only at Carillion, chaired as it was by David Cameron's and Theresa May's adviser on corporate responsibility.

On the day that the East Coast Main Line has had to be taken back into public control again, and on the day that two Select Committees have lacerated such energy strategy as the Government has ever had, the case is now well and truly unanswerable for a Prime Minister who saw through privatisation and PFI from the start.

Don't Limit Your Thinking

Although they could still be wrong, RTÉ and the BBC have already announced the result of the Irish referendum on abortion.

Tragic stuff, although of course nowhere near conformity to the Anglo-American model of abortion absolutely on demand up to and including partial birth. In Britain, that is perhaps the most abiding legacy of Margaret Thatcher, whose name is abominated within the pro-life movement in terms otherwise reserved for Tony Blair.

In America, that movement is scarcely worth mentioning, having told its supporters to vote for Ronald Reagan (who had legalised abortion in California, and who went on to appoint no fewer that three supporters of abortion to the Supreme Court), for George Bush, for Bob Dole, for George W. Bush, for John McCain, for Mitt Romney (who derived an income from the public funding that he introduced for abortion in Massachusetts), and for Planned Parenthood's very own major donor, Donald Trump.

By contrast, the recent prosecution of a German gynaecologist for advertising abortion is a reminder that, far from being eccentric, the abortion laws in the two parts of Ireland are well within the European mainstream. It is, I say again, the American-style free-for-all bequeathed to Great Britain by Margaret Thatcher that is odd.

Although there is a longstanding policy of turning a blind eye during the first trimester, abortion is illegal in Europe's most populous country and largest economy. After the first trimester, that law is very much enforced.

Countries that manage with a 12-week limit include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France and Italy. The Czech Republic is probably the most secular country in the world. Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and France are all less religious than the United Kingdom is. As is Slovenia, with a 10-week limit. 

Moreover, most, if not all, of those countries are also rather less belligerent. Abortion more-or-less on demand is a neoliberal concept, so to speak, and it is thus a feature of the American Empire as surely as it was not a feature of the old American Republic. 

That is why we have it here. It is part and parcel of that which is "neo" in everything that neoconservatives seek, not merely to conserve, but to spread across the whole wide earth by the force of arms.

But as for "the end of Catholic Ireland", how do you end something that never existed? Well into the 1960s, more than 40 years after Irish independence, Guinness refused to employ Catholics in any managerial capacity, and it was owned by the dynasty that provided four successive Conservative Members of Parliament for Southend, a town a mere 40 miles from the centre of London. The last one, a former Cabinet Minister under Thatcher, did not retire until 1997 and did not die until 2007. 

Everything that you probably think that you know about Ireland is wrong. There is much emphasis on land reform as having allegedly broken the power of the Ascendancy. But in fact the Anglo-Irish Protestants continued to own everything from the breweries, to the banks, to things such as Merville Dairy, all of which practised frank anti-Catholic discrimination in employment for many decades after independence, as in a different way the great concerns of the present day still do.

No even nominal Catholic was made Editor of The Irish Times until as recently as 1986, 64 years after independence. The Church vigorously, but unsuccessfully, opposed the adoption of the Constitution under de Valera in 1937. Everything in that last sentence tells you something important.

The country that once discriminated against Catholics in favour of Protestants now discriminates against such practising Catholics as there still are, a far lower proportion of the Catholic population than in England and quite possibly a lower absolute number, in favour of wallowers in each others' published and unpublished, spoken and written misery memoirs of embittered ex-Catholicism.

They know their own to be packs of lies, and sometimes utterly preposterous, such as the supposed persistence of corporal punishment in schools decades after it had been abolished. But they assume everyone else's to be genuine. They therefore see themselves as somehow expressing a broader truth. In any case, it is the only way to get on.

Far from there having been some taboo against criticising the Church until Mary Robinson became President in 1990, this sort of thing goes back at least to George Moore, and it has made the fame and fortune of many a mediocre to downright abysmal writer, with Frank McCourt only the latest in a very long line.

Moreover, being able to produce this drivel to interviewers is now the only way to become any sort of public or responsible figure in the Irish Republic, in the way that being a posh Protestant remained long, long, long after independence.

Very soon, however, it will become impossible to pull off the "I was beaten by the nuns" trick. People will no longer even pretend to fall for it. In which case, and I mean this as an absolutely serious question, what will the people who want to get on in Irish public life have to talk about?

The Guardian Rejoices in The Silencing of Assange

Craig Murray writes: 

The Guardian has today published a whole series of attack piece articles on Julian Assange which plainly exult in the fact he has now been silenced by the cutting of his communication with the outside world. They also include outright lies such as this one by Dan Collyns:
In fact Julian Assange was questioned for two days solid in the Embassy by Swedish procurators and police in November 2016. The statement he gave to them at that time I published in full. Following that questioning it was plain that there was no hope of a successful prosecution, particularly as the only physical evidence Swedish Police had was a condom Anna Ardin claimed he had worn but which had no trace of his DNA – a physical impossibility. Dan Collyns is a freelance based in Peru, but The Guardian’s editors certainly know it is blatantly untrue that the investigation into Assange was dropped because he could not be questioned. They have knowingly published a lie. “Facts are sacred” there, apparently.

The Guardian article gives another complete lie, this time in the Harding penned section, where it says that “sources” reveal that Assange had hacked into the Embassy’s communications. That is completely untrue as are the “facts” given about Julian’s relationship with the Embassy staff, whom I know well.

It is plain that these “sources” are separate from the Ecuadorean security dossier published in Focus Ecuador by the CIA. I would bet any money that these anonymous “sources” are as always Harding’s mates in the UK security services. That The Guardian should allow itself to be used in a security service disinformation campaign designed to provoke distrust between Assange and Embassy staff, is appalling. 

I had a front row seat in 2010 when The Guardian suddenly switched from championing Assange to attacking him, in a deeply unedifying row about the rights and money from a projected autobiography. But they have sunk to a new low today in a collaboration between long term MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding and the CIA financed neo-con propagandists of Focus Ecuador.

The Guardian pieces are full of truly startling revelations. Would you ever have guessed, for example, that Julian Assange was visited by his Wikileaks colleague Sarah Harrison, his friends Vaughn Smith and, err, me, and his lawyer Gareth Peirce?! This great scandal, Harding states in an assertion as evidence-free as his entire “Russia hacked the elections” book, “will interest Mueller”. Despite the fact none of these visits was secret and mine was broadcast live to the world by Wikileaks on Brexit referendum night. 

The aim of the “Guardian” piece is of course to help urge Ecuador to expel Julian from the Embassy. There is no doubt that the actions of Lenin Moreno, under extreme pressure from the USA, have been severely disappointing, though I am more inclined to praise Ecuador for its courageous defiance of the US than blame it for eventually caving in to the vast resources the CIA is spending on undermining it. It is also worth noting that, post the Francoist human rights abuses in Catalonia, it was Spain and the EU joining in US pressure which tipped the balance.

Julian’s principled refusal to abandon the Catalan cause, against direct Ecuadorean threats to do precisely what they have now done, has not received the credit it deserves. The same Blairites who supported the latest Israeli massacre will this morning be revelling in The Guardian’s celebration of the silencing of a key dissident voice. I have no wish to try and understand these people.

The comments on all of these Guardian articles are closed.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Dispense With The Niceties

Today, the Editor the Jewish Chronicle did more for the people of Gaza than could be mustered by the crowned heads of the Gulf and by "Labour Friends of Israel" put together. And no one was remotely surprised.

Emily Thornberry's fulsome condemnation of Israel over recent and ongoing events needs to be tabled as a motion before the House of Commons, and put to the vote. That would smoke them all out. Hamas, by the way, is a Frankenstein's monster, initially created by Shin Bet in order to provide a rival to Fatah. Yet another Islamist organisation created to destroy secular nationalism. How has that ever worked out? Yet we are still at it, notably in Syria.

Dispensationalism is a recent and unlettered form of Evangelical Protestantism, popular in the United States but of Irish origin, which identifies the State of Israel as the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. It needs to be exposed as wanting all the Jews to move to Israel before they either converted or were killed as a prelude to the Second Coming. Such is the position of those who are cheering on Donald Trump this week.

And while the late Ian Paisley was deliberately vague on the End Times, so that both his church and his party could encompass the wide variety of beliefs on the subject among his target congregants and voters, nevertheless such is the position of some, though by no means all, members of the Democratic Unionist Party. Including in the House of Commons, where the Government depends upon them for confidence and supply.

Trial Date Watch: Day 22

More than four weeks after I had again been due to stand trial, I now no longer have a trial date, even though it is rightly a criminal offence to fail to attend one's trial.

Had I been tried, as expected, on 6th December, then, even had I been convicted, I would already have been released, since I would by now have served three months even of a wildly improbable six month sentence.

The legal persecution of me, which has been going on for over a year, was initiated only in order to deter me from seeking public office or to prevent my election to it, and its continuation is only to one or both of those ends. Amnesty International is on the case.

Until there is anything to add to it, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Libel Watch: Day 77

The Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig, was so afraid that I was going to be elected to that authority, that he faked a death threat against himself and dozens of other Councillors.

Despite the complete lack of evidence, that matter is still being pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service as part of the attempt by the sacked Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to secure a Labour seat in one or other House of Parliament.

If I am wrong, then let Henig and Saunders sue me. Until they do, then this post will appear here every day that the post is delivered.

Who Is Philip Cross?

Post your answers here:

A mystery online figure called Philip Cross is targeting anti-war and non-mainstream UK figures by prolifically editing their Wikipedia pages – to the point that George Galloway is offering a reward to see him unmasked. 

Active on Wikipedia since 2004, Philip Cross has been editing wiki entries for nearly 15 years. Recently, trouble has been brewing online, with Cross accused of paying special attention to a cluster of Wikipedia accounts, editing them or deleting chunks of information. 

Pundits like Galloway, academic Tim Hayward, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, and ex-UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray have fallen in the crosshairs of the editorial mystery man (or perhaps woman) who goes by the name of Philip Cross – and many of them are growing frustrated with the lack of action from Wikipedia to prevent malicious editing.


If you peruse the edit history on the Wikipedia page on Ken Livingstone you will also find the smudged fingerprints of that “Mr Cross”.

Journalist Neil Clark tweeted at Wikipedia on Thursday, calling for the online encyclopedia to investigate the editing of pages which he says is done to “harass anti-war dissidents.” Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales responded, dismissing the complaints made about Cross, to the frustration of many. 


When will you be dealing with @Wikipedia editor @philipcross63 Jimmy, who uses it as a platform to harass anti-war dissidents? Why no response to complaints from public figures about his activities? https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/993947281278865408 
Because as far as I can tell so far, those complaints are so wrong as to be risible. Look into it further. Or show me some diffs.

One of Cross’ most common Wikipedia pages to edit belongs to political firebrand George Galloway, who has become increasingly frustrated by Cross’ edits – a staggering 1,796 of them. The Scotsman has been frustrated to the point that on Twitter, he offered a reward of £1,000 to see Cross unmasked. 


People are having their lives' work edited out on Wikipedia, supplanted by smears and reports of smears. As one of those affected, I ask you to reconsider your dismissive stance regarding complaints about this editor. Does anyone even know who he is?

There has been some speculation that this could be a catfish account – a catfish being someone who pretends to be someone else through a false identity online.



Clearly if wikipedia allows a person who reveals their political agenda (see attached) to edit pages, there is a huge problem. This is clearly visible on my entry which has been overwhelmingly edited by Cross and which is clearly unbalanced.

RT reached out to a Twitter account that claims to be the same Philip Cross behind the digital trove of Wikipedia edits. When approached by an RT journalist, Cross was quick to launch into an attack against the same public figures associated with the accounts that Cross repeatedly edits.


I am impressed you have replied Jimmy but I think your dismissal is unfair. Is there any way to explain this to you on a medium other than twitter?

“Invite @NeilClark66 to give an in depth interview on this big story,” Cross said. “It should help his legal case no end. And Craig Murray, Piers Robinson & Tim Hayward. Oh, and @medialens too & @georgegalloway. And @leftwork1 can show his face instead.” 

Cross also repeatedly insisted that he was not Oliver Kamm, apparently referring to a Times columnist of the same name.