Sunday, October 30, 2016

Refugees - open Letter to Julian Sturdy MP

Dear Mr Sturdy,

I am writing to ask you to press Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, to restart the rescue of refugees.

Refugees, including children, have been evicted from the "Jungle Camp" at Calais. A large number of children have had no provision made for them. Some of the children have been rounded up by the French riot police during the day and then let go at night with nowhere to sleep except in the "Jungle Camp" which is even more dangerous than it was before the demolition.

We have a legal duty to admit all the children with a connection to the UK, and a moral duty to admit many more. The actions of the UK in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries (including armed intervention and the sales of arms to parties to the conflicts) are partly responsible for the creation of the refugees. We cannot create the problem and then walk away from it - which is what this government (and to be honest many previous governments) have been doing.

The UK has taken far fewer refugees than most countries, and being the fifth largest economy in the world (according to the government) we are clearly in a position to do much more.

We have also made it nigh on impossible for refugees to come to the UK by pushing for and supporting EU Directive 2001/51/EC which effectively makes airlines the frontline preventing refugees flying safely to the UK (see for a short 3 minute video explaining this).

Please, as a matter of urgency, press Amber Rudd to admit many more refugees. The UK has the resources to take tens of thousands and York City Council has agreed to accept and support some, as have many other Councils so there is nothing to prevent the country from accepting them and sending a message of hope to the world.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Franklin

Judicial Review - to be heard some time

Well, the High Court has now decided, in its wisdom, that there are grounds for hearing the judicial review. There is no timescale for the hearing at this stage, but something will happen at some time....

This is what they said:

In the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court
co Ref: 00/3570/2015
in the matter of an application for Judicial Review
The Queen on the application of DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS 
NOTIFICATION of the Judge's decision (CPR Part 54.11, 54.12)
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and the Acknowledgement(s) of Service filed by the Defendant and interested Parties
Order by The Honourable Mrs Justice Jefford 
Permission is hereby granted 
1. The interested Parties were charged with offences of wilfuily obstructing the highway contrary to s. 137 of the Highways Act 1980 in trying to obstruct vehicles headed to the Defence Security Exhibition. Their defence was that they were using reasonable force to prevent illegal arms sales and/or crimes committed overseas.
2. Having regard to the authorities relied on in the Claimant's application tor permission, in particular, R v Jones. Birch v DPP and Barkshire. it is reasonably arguable that the learned District Judge was wrong in law in finding that a defence under 5.3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 was available to the Interested Parties in the circumstances of this case and in acquitting them. The issue is also one of general public importance.

3. Further or alternatively, it is reasonably arguable that the learned District Judge was wrong in law in refusing to state a case on the grounds that the Claimant grounds of appeal were frivolous. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bias in the BBC - follow up

The BBC has responded to my compaint about bias in the Bottom Line as follows:

Reference CAS-4031583-87CDXY

Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC One’s ‘The Bottom Line’ broadcast on 1 October.
I understand you felt there was not enough union representation and workers during a discussion on Theresa May’s business plans.

While the programme discusses business matters and hears from ‘people at the top’, it’s not always possible or practical to include all viewpoints within a particular programme. Contributors to our programmes are appointed on the basis of their experience and talent, but judgements are often subjective and we would never expect everyone to agree with every choice we make.

We have circulated your complaint to senior management and ‘The Bottom Line’ programme in this overnight report.

These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes.

Thanks once again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind regards
Neil Salt

BBC Complaints Team

so I have followed up the original complaint with the following:

The response addresses neither the specific nor the general complaint,

you say ", it’s not always possible or practical to include all viewpoints within a particular programme" which is true, but there is never a trade union voice in the bottom line.  This was a progamme specifically about workers, but no ordinary worker was heard.  That it was not deemed necessary to provide such input shown just how ingrained the bias is that it has become normal.

Nor is there an equivalent programme to the Bottom Line where trade union voices are heard.  Therefore there is systematic bias; both within the Bottom Line and generally across, at least, Radio 4 where it is extremely rare for a trade unionist to be heard without a response from management, but very common to hear managers without any response from trade unions.

We need to hear from trade unionists more often, perhaps a new programme? Workers united?

Saturday, October 01, 2016

BBC Bias

Having just listened to The Bottom Line on Radio 4 I was struck once again by the degree of bias in the BBC.  Can you imagine the BBC having a series where only trade unionists were panel members? Where the business community did not get a right of reply? Where trades unionists were supposed to speak for bosses?

I suspect that it makes your mind boggle.  But here was a programme where bosses were saying what workers need.  Four bosses, and their representatives.  No workers, no trade unionists; not even representatives of civil society.

Anyhow I have put a complaint into the BBC as follows:

"The Bottom line only represents one view of business, which is normally bad enough anyhow (how about a discussion programme with unions members every week?).  This week the discussion included workers rights, business ethics etc. but we only got the view of business owners we did not see hear the views of workers or wider society.

This is actually an issue that goes wider than The Bottom Line, and affects most reporting on the BBC, where it is very rare to hear a union spokesperson without a view from a business representative, but we very frequently hear from business spokespeople without any workers' voice."

Let's see how they respond.