Friday, 31 July 2020

Thank God We didn't Elect Jeremy Corbyn!

Statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who you can follow on Twitter here.

Good afternoon, Britain, I, Prime Minister Boris, um, Johnson, am proud to be addressing you on this fine day in my usual erratic style of placing emphasis on random words in a failed attempt to display gravitas.

Today is a proud day indeed, for my leading scientific adviser (Dominic Cummings) says we have finally succeeded in getting the "R" number back to one. While many of you may be concerned about the coming death toll, I would like to assure you, our measures are protecting the profits of Wetherspoons and other companies. This is one of the reasons the people of Manchester are not allowed to invite friends to their gardens, but are absolutely welcome to meet them in the local pub. In difficult times, we need a leader who can make tough decisions like sacrificing the plebs to safeguard corporations. My only regret is that we locked down at all.

Many of you have pointed out the disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths among BAME communities, so I must clarify this is entirely their fault. If the letterboxes and piccaninnies followed my government guidelines (which were ignored by Dominic Cummings), they would all be alive today, probably. Remember, the next time you see a brown person, yell: "The pandemic's all your fault, you foreign bastard!" 

Please don't consider for a second, the enormous contribution BAME people have made to the NHS and care services. It's like World War 2 all over again - we will demand they make sacrifices and give them no credit whatsoever.

During the pandemic, Britain has unfortunately experienced the worst excess death toll in Europe at around 80,000 so far. Now remember, as leader of this country, I bear absolutely no responsibility for this catastrophe. None whatsoever. No one could have seen this coming, not even the scientists who repeatedly warned us to stock up on PPE and lockdown earlier. 

It is an unfortunate circumstance that Britain was one of the last countries hit by Covid and had one of the longest periods in which to prepare, especially when you consider the pandemic interrupted my holiday in Mustique and the birth of my fake baby.

Imagine someone fucked up so badly at work they killed 80,000 people and almost died themselves from their own carelessness. Now imagine they were greeted as a hero for surviving and the dead were barely mentioned. That's what happened to me and it's why I love this brilliant country. 
Posh, Eton-educated idiots can get away with anything, even genocide, but a leftie can't say the word "peace" without being denounced as a traitor. And rightfully so.
Now if you are one of the few people unhappy with my government's response, just look at New Zealand which is led by loony leftie Jacinda Ardern. They've only had about 12 deaths and all of those unfortunate people could still be alive today, if they never elected a bloody socialist. It's a disgrace. If Britain elected Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, I have absolutely no doubt he would've prioritised science in the same irresponsible way Jacinda Ardern did. Perish the thought.

And let's not forget Jeremy Corbyn is a terrible racist. A racist who's never said anything racist in his whole life, but a racist nonetheless. Fortunately, Britain is led by a man who uses racial slurs like "piccaninnie" and "coon" and leads a party which gave us Windrush and Grenfell. That party leader would be me, of course. Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, did unforgivable things like get arrested protesting apartheid.

Please remember, any racism which affects real people in real life is not actual racism. The only racism that counts is the made up kind which we can use to attack the left. And I'm proud to say, we've made up a lot of racism for the Labour Party. Don't dare point this out though, because we'll find one of the real incidents of racism and then call you a racism denier.

Jeremy Corbyn really should've taken a leaf out of my book - instead of introducing tough rules to tackle antisemitism, he should've dismissed the problem like I did with Islamophobia. This is a perfectly acceptable response when a tiny minority of your party (60%) is Islamophobic. Might have been more difficult for Labour though, what with their antisemitic 0.05% of their party.

Labour antisemitism was quite rightly a national scandal, whereas Tory racism doesn't even happen, apart from every single day from our MPs on TV who blame foreigners for everything that we don't blame poor people for.
If Labour were in government now, they would've already bankrupted the country with their crazy spending plans which were actually about 1/10th of my government's current spending plans. Don't worry though, Britain can't go bankrupt on our watch because our billionaire friends are keeping our money safe in Panama. 

This is why it was perfectly fine for the Tories to borrow more since 2010 than every Labour government combined. That's more than all Labour governments in history put together. This is really true according to those lefties at the Office of National Statistics.

If ever there is a major national crisis, I'm absolutely certain the generous billionaires will bail us out. They would never, for example, ask the tax payer to bail them out and then sack their workers anyway. Billionaires are the moral arbiters of our society and that's the way it should stay. 

Thank goodness we have philanthropist Rupert Murdoch to choose our Prime Ministers on our behalf. I dread to think what would happen if the mindless plebs were allowed to make their own decisions. They might start demanding silly things like equality. And remember equality would be completely unaffordable - unlike the £900,000 paint job which made my plane my favourite colours. Jeremy Corbyn would've probably used that money to feed the school kids who raid bins for scraps of food. Bloody idiot.

And let's not forget Corbyn wanted to end homelessness. Just think about that for a moment. If we ended homelessness, the working class plebs would have no one to look down on, apart from foreigners, and they wouldn't have people to fear becoming like, apart from foreigners. 

How would we keep the plebs in their place without the constant fear they might lose their homes? We temporarily ended homelessness during the pandemic, overnight, just like that, and it was horrible. Let's never go back to ending homeless again.

Now I have a vision for Britain. And it's a grand vision. A vision which includes an incredible post-Brexit trade deal with the US to unleash Britain's world beating potential. We just need to get Brexit done and then we can get on with the job of importing chlorinated chicken, which I can assure you is definitely not going to happen. We are not going to lower food standards (just quietly abolish them without telling you). 

I can also assure you the NHS is definitely not for sale. With that in mind, my party voted down a measure to protect the NHS from the US trade deal and negotiations are well under way to sell it off. If anyone talks about this, just denounce them as a traitor who is siding with Russia. (Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, which is a fancy way of calling you puppets.)

Siding with Russia is what Jeremy Corbyn did. The man is a threat to national security, whereas I only went and culled 80,000 of you because I couldn't be bothered to do my job. It's absolutely treasonous to share genuine documents which proved my government were doing bad things which we promised we weren't doing. I might bring back hanging to stop lefties talking about this. 
My government should be free to receive bribes from Russian oligarchs and sell the NHS without your consent because we're better than you. We went to Eton after all.
Our sense of superiority and entitlement is one of the key reasons you live in a country where children are making soup from stolen tomato sauce sachets. Remember, child hunger is great for generating entrepreneurial spirit. My government has taken the impressive step of housing homeless families in shipping containers which are scorching in summer and freezing in winter. This is a real thing. Google it, if you don't believe me.

Ten thousand children a year are being treated for malnutrition but we simply don't think this figure is high enough. This is why we wanted to starve kids during the summer holidays, but then some footballer called Marcus Rashford went and generated public sympathy for the little scamps. Good grief. We're not supposed to be a caring nation, unless we're lecturing oil-rich countries on human rights and making plans to bomb decency into them.

Clearly, the Tory way is the right way. 

Just think how terrible Britain would be today if you lot defied Rupert Murdoch and thought for yourselves in December 2019. You could've elected a Prime Minister who adopted a scientific approach to Covid-19, reducing deaths by up to 99%. This in turn would've meant all the money we spent on correcting our Covid catastrofuck could've been spent on the Labour manifesto. This would've meant you would've personally benefited, rather than rich people like my friend Tim Martin. 

It gets worse, remember when we ended homelessness overnight? That could have been made permanent. And food could've been made a human right, ending foodbank use and child hunger. Britain could've even focused on saving the world from the climate catastrophe. 

Instead, you can expect to be eating chlorinated chicken in 2021 and paying a very high hospital bill when it poisons you. If you think that sounds bad, just wait until 2022 when you're trapping rats and catching rain water in the post-Brexit apocalypse. If you are fortunate enough to live that long, please remember to tell the last of humanity, it could have been so much worse. We could have elected Jeremy Corbyn.

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Thursday, 30 July 2020

The Weaponisation of Antisemitism

Today, I'm going to discuss the topic few on the left dare discuss for fear of being branded antisemitic themselves: antisemitism.

First, a bit of history. Antisemitism is unquestionably one of the great evils of the world. The Jewish people have faced persecution for centuries and were the main victims of one of the worst genocides of the last 100 years: the holocaust. Even today Jews face horrific abuse, threats and violence. Antisemitism is real, it's found across the world and it's completely unacceptable.

Here's a statement equally as true: in recent years antisemitism has been weaponised by the media and politicians to attack the left. But this is a fact you are not allowed to point out, because if you do, you will immediately get branded an antisemite. It's a new form of McCarthyism.

That's not to say left wing antisemitism isn't a thing, of course. A vocal minority among the left are unquestionably antisemitic. I sometimes see them pop up on my Twitter feed or in a Facebook group, regurgitating the same ridiculous tropes which frankly make them look unhinged. I block and report these idiots on sight, but I suspect they reemerge with aliases whenever their accounts are suspended.

Now if you are one of these people, let's point out a few things: Zionists don't control the world or the banks and when you bring Jews up in every online exchange, it not only makes you look racist, it suggests you need mental help. You're embarrassing yourself and you're embarrassing the left.

Antisemitic tropes are a real and dangerous phenomenon. But a big problem is emerging: the right wing are now overusing the term "antisemitic trope," along with other terms like "Jew baiting". Every time someone criticises Israel or defends Palestine or calls out antisemitism smears, this terminology is used as though it makes the alleged antisemitism a reality. 

The Tory government is even talking of criminalising those who boycott Israel in solidarity with Palestine. Imagine criminalising those who boycotted apartheid South Africa and you can see the problem here. Even more disturbingly, right wing antisemitism is almost completely overlooked, despite making up 70% of all antisemitism, according to the Home Affairs Committee.

I've seen people raise genuine concerns about video footage which apparently shows an Israeli official attempting to bribe UK officials. I've heard no one dispute the footage is genuine and I understand the official in question was subsequently fired. However, people who've raised concerns about whether this means Israel is interfering in our democracy are supposedly "antisemitic conspiracy theorists" and are guilty of the "antisemitic trope" that Jews run the world. That's one hell of a stretch.

No one would call you Russophobic for suggesting Russia might be interfering in our democracy. Well, we have documented evidence Israel might be doing the same. I don't know whether the alleged incident was a one-off or part of a pattern, but sadly we have no way of finding out. The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for an investigation but frustratingly nothing happened. Why do we investigate Russia but not Israel? Is that not a double standard?

The IHRA guidelines on antisemitism state you can criticise Israel as you would criticise another country. Yet in reality you can't criticise Israel without the right screaming "Antisemitic conspiracy theorist!" and the accusation becomes a reality in many people's eyes. Others become terrified of defending you in case they get branded antisemitic too. Indeed, the Board of Deputies demanded Labour members be suspended for showing solidarity with others disciplined for antisemitism - that would be a thought crime.

How is any of this logical? How does any of the above mean you hate Jews for being Jews? Or that you are discriminating against all Jews? Or that by criticising Israel, you are attacking all Jews? Is treating Jews as a monolith not antisemitism itself?

I remember 2016 when Jeremy Corbyn was facing one ridiculous smear attempt after another. You remember - Russian spy, terrorist sympathiser, man who doesn't bow low enough and wears wrong kind of coat. The Labour antisemitism scandal just fell out of the sky with absolutely no build up. Overnight, British newspapers decided Labour was institutionally antisemitic in what looked a very coordinated move, but of course, this must be an "antisemitic conspiracy theory" too.

Suddenly every incident of antisemitism attributed to Labour was Jeremy Corbyn's fault. It didn't matter that many complaints were not about Labour members, or that they dated back to Ed Miliband's time as leader, or that it was not the Labour leader's job to resolve complaints, or that Corbyn inherited a complaints process which he later overhauled. All that mattered was they had a stick to beat socialism with, an excuse to demand the expulsions of anyone they accused. It was that cynical.

Suddenly it was impossible for the left to engage on social media without being called antisemitic. You did not have to make any comment, other than you were left wing and supported Labour or Corbyn. I went through thirty-odd years of my life without ever being called antisemitic, but now it was happening to me several times a day. Bizarrely, Israel, Palestine and Judaism were subjects I rarely, if ever, discussed, and I've actually learnt far more about these subjects since the smears began.

What I found particularly hurtful was I've always felt a strong empathy towards the Jewish people. As a child, I would see the terror attacks in Israel on news reports and my heart would break. I knew virtually nothing of the political situation - I just knew I wanted peace and for the Israelis to live safely. Those were my only thoughts on the matter for most of my life, yet suddenly I was an "antisemite". An antisemite who loves the Jewish people and wants them to be safe.

In recent years I've learnt to feel the same empathy for the Palestinians as I've become educated about their plight. I've discovered the Israeli state has been guilty of human rights abuses, according to the United Nations, and I must as a person of good conscience call this out. This does not make me antisemitic. I condemn violence towards Israelis and Jews just as strongly as I condemn violence towards Palestinians. I get there are no easy solutions, but I just want peace in the middle east and around the world.

I am convinced Jeremy Corbyn feels the same way I do. I am convinced he is a good man who just wants peace and gets vilified for being a socialist and speaking up for Palestinians. If I thought otherwise, I would drop him like a stone.

I note how the good people at Jewish Voice for Labour, an exclusively Jewish organisation for who I have recently written, are often labelled antisemites! They are Jews, but they are the wrong kind of Jews, it would seem. Left wing Jews. This of course is an antisemitic trope. But apparently it's perfectly fine for conservatives to be guilty of those. Indeed, we've seen prominent Tory MPs using antisemitic tropes in Parliament in recent years.

If you are left wing, however, you can't stand in the same room as an alleged antisemite without being guilty of everything they have allegedly said or done. And if you dare suggest an accused person might not be antisemitic, you are now an antisemite. It does not matter that you've never had an antisemitic thought or committed an antisemitic act. Your character is now forever stained because you made a principled stand. A difference of opinion = racism.

People on the left are even facing vexatious litigation when they call out antisemitism smears. I can't discuss individual cases for legal reasons, but you probably know which cases I'm talking about. The ones the media are terrified of touching with any honesty, enabling cynical lawyers to operate with impunity. Lawfare.

No doubt, some conservatives and Labour centrists will use this article as absolute proof I am an antisemite. Indeed, if I was still a Labour member I would probably be suspended for writing it. And yet here I am, still having nothing but love for Jews and all good people on this Earth.

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Twitter Libel Laws must be Changed

Did you know that at present you can be sued, simply for retweeting someone on Twitter or sharing their post on Facebook? Did you know there are now lawyers specialising in doing just that? Lawyers who will trawl the internet looking for any content which is arguably defamatory and then issue legal threats?

At present, you could innocuously retweet a blog post, and if someone feels it contains a single defamatory line, you can be held responsible, even though you never wrote the blog yourself. Even though you may have missed the line entirely, or just had no way of knowing it was defamatory. At present, you can be held responsible for anything you share, even a newspaper article, meaning you are not safe to share without fact checking every element first. Utterly ridiculous.

It gets worse. Celebrities are now apparently using libel as a tactic to silence their critics. They can hire a social media lawyer on a No Win, No Fee basis and take out liability insurance on the off-chance they might lose. The next step is simple: issue legal threats to everyone who has shared the content you disapprove of. Your lawyer can issue an ultimatum: pay us XXX amount of money or risk going to court and losing everything you have.

Libel cases can last well over a year and the legal bills can come to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Unlike the celebrities who are suing on a No Win, No Fee basis, you as the defendant have to raise every penny yourself. If you can't afford to defend the case, you lose by default and any assets you own can go to the other side to compensate them and cover their costs. 

If like me, you have nothing to your name and live on a council estate, the case will dropped due to your lack of means, but if you own something of value, you are in trouble. You might have done nothing wrong. The content you shared might not even be libellous. It doesn't matter. You are now destitute.

Just think of the enormous implications for freedom of speech, freedom to share information, even freedom of thought. The content you wish to share might have enormous public interest, but you currently take a huge risk, just by letting people know. 
Imagine Jimmy Saville were still alive and you wanted to share the details of his unproven crimes. Saville could potentially issue legal threats and stop you in your tracks. 
Our libel laws are designed to protect the powerful and they are among the most regressive in the world. But obviously not every libel lawyer is acting in such a vexatious manner. Sometimes lawyers are arguably correct in pursuing a case, but this leads to the next problem: in law there is the principle the punishment should fit the crime.

Let's say someone wrongly called me a racist or bully and I wanted to sue (not that I would). I may be perfectly justified in doing so, but do the other side deserve to lose their home and car? I would not want to put them through that, when a retraction and apology would suffice. Even if they refused to retract and apologise, I don't feel they should be out of pocket by more than a few hundred quid. 
I get libelled on Twitter almost every day and I wouldn't dream of suing because I have integrity, and I recognise my detractors can make careless comments without being bad people. We all occasionally speak in anger.
My take on social media libel is as follows: No Share or Retweet should ever be considered libellous. Only the original author should be responsible for their words. A retweet to me is no different from handing a newspaper to someone and then being accused of defamation. It's simply not reasonable.

There should be recognition in law that a regular person is not a huge corporation or newspaper with deep pockets. There should be a cap on what an individual is forced to pay out, both in compensation and legal fees. Let's say you make the maximum figure £10,000. That's still a huge amount of money, but it would stop vexatious litigation in its tracks and end disproportionate punishment.

It's worth pointing out vexatious litigation is currently illegal, it's just that if you are a victim, it's almost impossible to defend yourself without very deep pockets or generous friends. This is not justice and it's not democratic. As a result, I've started a petition to change UK libel laws which you can sign here.

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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Jane Heybroek Defeats Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman in Court

In a widely publicised court case, TV presenter Rachel Riley and actress Tracy-Ann Oberman were suing barrister Jane Heybroek for libel. The pair were represented by libel and privacy lawyer Mark Lewis of Patron Law.

The case centred around Jane retweeting a blog post on Twitter which Riley and Oberman claimed contained seriously defamatory content. I understand Riley and Oberman have withdrawn the case and agreed to contribute towards Jane's costs. 

Such are the enormous costs involved in defending libel action, Jane had been raising funds on CrowdJustice and received widespread support on social media, raising an impressive £45,100. I know that Jane was incredibly moved by the support.

I am fortunate enough to know Jane through social media (although not personally) and she comes across as one of the nicest people I have engaged with, so I am thrilled to hear this news. It is just unfortunate the matter went so far and caused distress for all parties involved. Riley had recently been asking her Twitter followers to send her details of actionable libel and I personally hope lessons can be learnt from this unfortunate situation.

For those who want more details about the case, here is a quote from Jane's fundraiser:

"On 14th November 2019 I was served with a High Court defamation claim by television presenter Rachel Riley and actress Tracy-Ann Oberman.

"The Claimants are seeking damages and costs in respect of a retweet containing a link to an article (which I subsequently deleted). The article, by blogger Shaun Lawson (which concerned the Claimants’ alleged behaviour towards a teenage Labour supporter on Twitter in January 2019), was re-tweeted by hundreds of other people, but for reasons best known to the Claimants, I am the only person being sued for a retweet.

"PLEASE NOTE: it is very important that, if you are aware of the subject-matter of the article, you do not comment about it, as it may leave you exposed to legal action yourself."

I must emphasise the last part of this quote. While Jane was successful in court, you could still risk leaving yourself open to court action if you comment on the details of the blog so please show restraint.

Jane Heybroek has issued the following statement. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Statement by Jane Heybroek 

"I am Jane Heybroek, a barrister specialising in immigration work. I was the subject of discourse on Twitter, and reports in the mainstream media, earlier this year, as a result of a libel claim being brought against me by the television presenter Rachel Riley, and the actress Tracy Ann Oberman. I am now able to report that the claim against me has been withdrawn and that Ms Riley and Ms Oberman have agreed to make contributions towards my legal costs. I wish to thank everyone who has helped me in the last 18 months; it will not be forgotten. 

"Ms Riley and Ms Oberman are not personally known to me. Their claim saw them seeking damages and costs in respect of my re-tweet of a tweet by the blogger Shaun Lawson, which contained a link to a blog article he had written about them in January 2019. Mr Lawson’s article, which concerned the celebrities’ alleged behaviour towards a teenage Labour supporter on Twitter in January 2019, had been re-tweeted/shared by hundreds of people. Some of those people were threatened with legal action like me; others were not. Ultimately, despite press reports which suggested as many as 70 people might face legal action, I was the only person who was sued. This was despite the fact that I had deleted my re-tweet before I had even received Letters of Claim. I did not even know how long my re-tweet had been live for. Neither, it seems, did Ms Riley or Ms Oberman. There was no evidence, that I am aware of, to suggest that anyone had read the blog article as a result of clicking the link in my re-tweet. There were also various other ways in which the claim against me could have been (and would have been, had it proceeded) defended. 

"Ms Riley and Ms Oberman were being represented, from the very outset, on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, and had ‘after the event insurance’. This meant that there was almost no risk to them in bringing the claim. Many people would have felt forced to settle for reasons of pragmatism. Whilst I am in a more fortunate position than most, after having spent almost £30,000 by a very early stage, it was clear to me that I would have no prospect of funding my defence to trial without help. I therefore launched a fundraiser on the website, and was overwhelmed by the response which I received. Due to the support of a great many people, I was able to continue to retain leading defamation lawyers, and properly contest the case. 

"I am making this statement for the benefit of those who have supported me emotionally and financially, and to address one other issue. Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s vocal stance against antisemitism (and perceived antisemitism) has been widely documented, as has their involvement in other legal cases. This claim, however, did not actually involve any allegations of antisemitism against me or indeed Mr Lawson. I understand that Mr Lawson is himself Jewish and that his grandmother was a holocaust survivor. For my part, I abhor all forms of racism. Unfortunately, as a result of the litigation, I was subject of a number of nasty comments from a small minority of people who simply presumed to know what the case was about and what the outcome would be. They were wrong on both counts. 

"Finally, as I have said throughout to those who have supported me, I ask people, for their own sakes, not to discuss the content of Mr Lawson’s article, nor to comment on Ms Riley or Ms Oberman on social media more generally. Notwithstanding the fact that I am a lawyer by profession, this has been a long, and at times, exhausting experience and I would not wish anyone to find themselves on the receiving end of legal action!"

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Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Let's make Jeremy Corbyn MP of the Year!

No MP in living memory has done more to fight for the most vulnerable in society and no man has been more vilified as a result. From the anti-Corbyn TV programmes to the newspaper smears to the Labour party "infighting", it's clear the establishment closed ranks to stop Jeremy Corbyn. To stop the transformative Labour manifesto. To stop us from having a kinder and more caring society. But what really galls the establishment is how they failed to defeat both the man and the movement. 

They failed to understand this was always about so much more than one man. It was about fixing a broken society which left people behind and is leading to climate catastrophe. Proof of Corbyn's overwhelming support comes from the recent GoFundMe to help him defend possible legal action. The fundraiser reached £300,000 in just a couple of days. 

The desperate right wing are so afraid of justice, they are trying to get the fundraiser stopped as reported by Skwawkbox. These people need to understand this movement is not going anywhere. Jeremy Corbyn might not be the establishment's Prime Minister, but he is certainly our Prime Minister, so let's make the loudest possible statement by voting for him to become the Patchwork Foundation's MP of the Year.

You can vote by clicking here. Please share this article so we can get as many people involved as possible.

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Tone Deaf Blue Labour MP wants People to Fear Police

During a period where trust in police has fallen to an all-time low among many communities, Blue Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds shows he is in touch with his Tory base by calling for police to be even scarier! That's how you rebuild trust with the community, he claims in an interview with The Daily Mirror. Worryingly, this Tory in Labour clothing is somehow shadow home secretary.

It doesn't occur to Nick the rise in violent crime by 42,000 incidents in red wall seats since 2010 might be due to the Tory approach that Nick wants to double-down on. It would seem Nick plans to be a better Tory than the Tories. Good grief. Perhaps Nick might want to ask himself why countries with a gentler community-led approach to policing have lower crime rates. It's almost as if there's a connection.

By all means lock up the hardened criminals - you don't need to use words like "fear" to achieve that. You just focus on investigating the worst offenders. We would all welcome that. But make them fear you? The problem with Nick's logic is hardened criminals will never fear the police. That's why they are hardened criminals. Nothing you can do will change that. And I should know, I grew up around such people.  

In fact, a more aggressive approach to policing would likely place officers more at risk, not less. And the other problem with aggressive policing is that it does not just affect hardened criminals but everyone. My brother was pulled over by police in Florida once and described the officers as complete psychos. Thankfully my brother is white though. You can imagine how intimidating it must be for the black community who fear every traffic stop could be their last. We do not want Britain to go in that direction. No thank you.

Nick says he wants people to feel safe in their communities. The problem is many communities fear the police more than anyone else. Nick's use of the word "fear" is hardly going to instil confidence in them. This kind of language comes at a time we have seen worldwide Black Lives Matter protests over the behaviour of police. The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described protesters as "Totally wrong" for throwing a slaver statue into the river Avon and said he has "No truck whatsoever" with Black Lives Matter. This also comes at a time when Covid-19 fines have been issued disproportionately to the black community - people who've been disproportionately stopped and searched for years. People who are more likely to face prison sentences than their white counterparts for the same crimes.

The mood in Britain right now is for the relationship between the police and communities to be restored, for bridges to be built, not for them to act as terrifying enforcers. That approach has been used across the Atlantic with America's militarised police force and we know where it leads - to mass incarceration and police brutality. While we certainly have those problems in Britain, they are thankfully on a smaller scale. And let's be clear: the language politicians use in so important. When you tell police that people should fear you, that's a step on the road to fascism. 

In Trump's America we are seeing police beat up young women and old men. We are seeing them shoot rubber bullets into the eyes of wheelchair users. We are seeing them execute black men with impunity. We are seeing secret police kidnap peaceful protesters in unmarked vans. Why the hell would Labour even hint at going down that path?

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Monday, 27 July 2020

Elon Musk Expresses Support for Bolivian Coup

In a recent Twitter exchange, Elon Musk replied that "We will coup whoever we want," in response to a comment on the overthrow of Evo Morales. This expectedly sent Twitter users into overdrive with many speculating the US-backed military coup took place to allow Tesla access to Bolivia's lithium reserves.

Here is Musk's Tweet which could, of course, be dismissed as a joke, but what is not so easily dismissed is Tesla looks set to profit from the coup. Musk has not helped himself by further mocking the left on Twitter.

The Bolivia coup was justified by accusations of voting irregularities, but researchers at MIT commissioned by the Center for Economic and Policy Research have cast doubt on those claims. “The statistical evidence does not support the claim of fraud,” wrote the researchers, John Curiel and Jack R. Williams.

If the researchers are correct, then Evo Morales may well be the legitimate democratically-elected leader of Bolivia. Certainly, he maintains widespread support and could plausibly win again if he was allowed to stand in future elections, which is obviously doubtful.

Many believe the real reason for the coup is that Bolivia may hold nearly half the world's lithium supply, estimated by some at up to 45 million tons. The value of lithium looks set to skyrocket as demand for batteries and computer components rises. Tesla's electric car plants need a steady supply of the precious metal.

US mining companies have attempted to gain access to Bolivia's lithium for years but have been met with refusal. Morales instead struck better deals with Germany and China, in effect, looking out for his people's best interests - something which inevitably met with US disapproval. Unsurprisingly, the coup administration immediately invited multinationals like Tesla to start mining Bolivia's lithium reserves.

Morales called the coup an “act of revenge by the United States, which never accepted the loss of control of the Bolivian lithium market in favour of Chinese and German companies.”

The interim President only received 4% of the popular vote at the last general election and has postponed elections three times since seizing power, leading to calls for mass demonstrations. It would certainly appear Jeanine Áñez has no legitimacy, but as she is friendly with US mining companies, you can expect a double-standard from western leaders. Dictators are considered fine if the west can loot their country's resources.

Evo Morales' Movement Towards Socialism party is expected to win the coming November elections, if they are allowed to go ahead this time, but there are fears the party could be disbanded by the interim government. They have already barred Morales from standing and he is currently in exile in Argentina.

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