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Zero Hours? Zero Credibility

Labour are being so contemptuous with the voters in this campaign that it really is time to call them out.

‘Zero Hours’ is the new ‘Bankers’ Bonuses’. Say it loudly enough and often enough and maybe you will fool people into thinking this is real economic policy for a nation.

Labour chose to dedicate April Fools’ Day to this policy. Let’s look at what they take us for.

As {scroll to 7:59}, Andrew Neill reminded Lucy Powell on her car crash interview, zero hours contracts form a tiny part of the UK economy – a tiny part of the working population.

ON TV, Lucy was trying to get out of admitting that Labour would borrow much more to fund their huge spending programme.

So she said ‘We will increase the tax base by getting people into higher wage jobs.’

‘How,’ asked Neill, reasonably enough.

‘Zero hours zero hours zero hours’ Lucy bleated on. ‘Huge rise in zero hours and…’

‘There are only 700,000 people on zero hours contracts in Britain,’ said Andrew Neill. ‘Of those, a third are students and another third don’t want to work any more hours. So that leaves 233,000 people in a country of sixty-five million. How are you going to enlarge the tax base on that?’

This is the key point on zero hours contracts; they are essentially the bogeyman name for ‘casual labour.’ And 2/3 of the small amount of folk using them don’t want, or can’t, work regular hours – because they’re in college, or have another reason.

Leave aside that 68 Labour MPs, including Ed Miliband’s PPS, employ staff on zero hours or casual contracts. ( I paid my interns the London living wage and paid them a full day every day they worked. And I advertised the place openly).

Leave aside that Ed Miliband is the local MP for Doncaster, and his Labour-run local council, that reports to him as the party leader, is the BIGGEST user of zero hours contracts in the country – Doncaster has {edit – 2,750} people employed on zero hours contracts. What has Ed done to stop that?

Leave aside that forcing employers to offer a structured contract will simply mean fewer of these jobs, which 2/3 work perfectly happily in.

Here’s the key point. The numbers on zero hours contracts who might prefer like a regular contract – even if you put EVERY ONE of them into Miliband’s camp without asking them – are LESS THAN 250K people in a nation of 65,000,000 people.

Stop taking us for fools, Labour. Just stop it.

‘What else will you do to balance the books?’ Andrew Neil asked Lucy Powell.

‘Well, we’re going to cut ministerial pay,’ she said.

Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. Give us costed policies that matter.

John_Bercow_full

John Bercow Can’t Avoid A Ballot

It should never have come to this – and the outcome is inevitable.

Momentary humiliation for the Government as they lose the Speaker vote – and indeed, it was a foolish piece of politics, because it was so unnecessary.

All that was required was for the PM to write to Bercow saying he had lost his confidence, and that, whether as PM or LOTO he would ask Conservative MP’s to shout “NO!” on Parliament’s return.

The sneaky vote was distasteful to many MPs.

That said, Labour cheers and Mr. Bercow’s silly “I’m not going anywhere” will, I fear, have finished him off.

The House rules are that a Speaker is normally acclaimed on any new Parliament, but it is open to the House to shout “NO!” and divide. If fifty or one hundred or two hundred Tories shout “NO!’ that is it – a ballot will happen, an election will take place, and it will be secret.

John Bercow’s best play was to have accepted the motion calmly and with grace. That would have shamed the government and neutrals would have voted for him. It is not very likely that neutrals will now vote for the man who is, sadly and self-evidently, the darling of the Labour party in the House.

Who will the SNP want? What if one of their own or a Plaid Cymru MP wants the chair? They would get broad support.

Speakers have been politicized of late. There is no doubt Bercow now faces a secret ballot on his return to Westminster, and neither he nor Labour can stop that. If a Speaker does not have the acceptance of BOTH SIDES of the House, he or she CANNOT survive.

I fear that John Bercow’s lasting legacy may be to abolish the position of Speaker. I can see a new Coalition govt legislating to make the Deputy Speakers of equal rank with a Speakers’ Office determining rules. One man, or one woman, has too much power over the business of Parliament. An overtly party political Speaker who one side is “For” and one side is “Against” has lost that battle.

The treatment of the Clerk of the House, Richard Rogers, will also not be forgotten.

John Bercow had many excellent qualities including Urgent Questions, backbench reforms, and others. His greatest strength was holding the government to account. With all his flaws I would still have voted for him if I had a vote. None of that matters now. His only hope of survival are written proposals to the Conservatives of how he will reform in the chair, as he literally cannot survive without the consent of both sides of the House. I hope for Parliament’s sake he does that, but I fear anger is just too high.

Today was “good political theatre” for the Labour party and John Bercow. Neither will enjoy the massed shout of “NO!” from one set of benches or the other, as soon as Parliament returns.

Secret ballot for Bercow? Yes there will be.

Cathy Newman

Cathy Newman vs Harvey Price: What Channel Four *Didn’t* Apologise For

Today Channel Four disgracefully apologized to Streatham Mosque for Cathy Newman’s correct reporting, proven on CCTV, that she was ushered out of a mosque she explained she had come to visit.

Newman received multiple death threats and organized hatred on Twitter from supporters of the mosque (though they are not to blame for that) calling her a “bitch” a “whore” a “ho” and saying “I hope you die” and “I hope you and your family are killed”.

Channel Four in no way defended their female journalist from these attacks but they did issue a fatuous apology for Newman’s wholly correct use of the word ‘usher’ meaning to show, guide, or point as well as to physically escort.

usher j

However, Channel Four’s willingness to overlook the vile threats given to its female anchor are wholly on a par for what they WON’T apologize for. David Abrahams refused to apologize for this “joke” about disabled Harvey Price by Frankie Boyle – even when OFCOM ruled against him. Not only that, Abrahams personally, himself, OKed the “joke” he refused to apologize for:

“I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter because she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her”.

So… debate over whether ‘usher’ means to show or point out = apology, demeaning an autistic and multiply disabled child with an incest “joke” for ratings = no apology.

Channel Four’s actions in the Newman matter are misogynist. They are a disgrace to broadcast journalism.

The reason I remember so clearly David Abrahams refusal to apologize to Harvey, even after the OFCOM ruling, is he refused to do so to me.

Channel Four is looking more and more like a space where it unsafe for women to work. The liberal veneer is instantly abandoned when it comes to the health, safety and journalistic integrity of women.

Read what was apparently much less bad than Newman’s grammatically correct use of “usher”:

Q69 Mrs Mensch: I have to say, Mr Abraham, I have been impressed by your evidence throughout the session. I was not aware of the specifics until I saw the evidence in front of me. The second joke, I do not know if I can repeat it. Can I repeat it in this context? Is it unparliamentary language?

Chair: I think most people are already aware of it.

David Abraham: I do not think there is any need to.

Mrs Mensch: I think there is, actually, because the second joke is, “I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter because she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her”

. This is a disabled little boy that we are talking about. I am bewildered that you can sit here and say that it is challenging political correctness and that you will not apologise to the little boy for having put him on a television programme in this context. Surely, no cultural remit could ever possibly justify such a joke. While Katie Price and her ex-husband may be absolutely fair game and I would be the first person to accept that, we are talking about a disabled child, and a joke about a disabled child raping his mother. Do you not wish to take this opportunity to apologise to the child, Mr Abraham?

David Abraham: As we have said, we absolutely regret the joke being distributed out of context and out of the-

Q70 Mrs Mensch: In what context, sir, could it possibly have been justified? What context would justify a joke about a little disabled boy “fucking his mother”? You say that it is out of context and that is the regrettable issue. I put it to you that there is no possible context that could ever have justified that joke and I would urge you-as I did with the BBC in the Fogel massacre-not just to reflexively defend, because you stick up for your channel, a clearly appalling decision. Will you not take this opportunity to apologise to the little boy?

David Abraham: As I say, we do regret and will learn from the experience of this satire being taken out of context.

Q71 Mrs Mensch: You are not answering my question, sir. What context would have justified it?

David Abraham: I am trying to argue in the context of the balance between delivering our remit and the context for this satire, which was against the context of Katie Price in her own television show in which her family was portrayed in certain ways that Frankie Boyle was seeking to satirise. I was convinced by the arguments of the commissioning team that the intention was to reflect on a media construct that had its own context, because there had been media discussions around Katie Price and how the family had been portrayed in the TV series that she appeared in over many years. There is no doubt about the fact that this was only ever intended to be humour in that context and satire in that context. I have made that very clear in my open letter to Katie Price.

Q72 Mrs Mensch: Your argument then is that in the context of satirising celebrity culture, had it been delivered within context, the joke would have been passable-a disabled little boy raping his mother. By name, he is named in this joke. He is named Harvey. A disabled boy raping his mother, you believe that context would have justified that joke then.

David Abraham: The evidence that was shared with me by the commissioning team went into a whole story in the media that had preceded and surrounded that joke, which I could certainly take you through after the session; I could share with you the context for it. The context was to satirise a certain story around Katie Price and her celebrity status and how the family had been debated in the media; the followers of Frank Boyle understood that context.

Mrs Mensch: I find that completely appalling.

Galvin Reardon

Updated: Did Police lie to Jasna Badzak’s lawyers?

Update Monday: I have added further evidence on the actions of a) the police officer who colluded with Gerard Batten MEP and threatened journalists, and on DC Galvin’s actions against Ms. Badzak and his statements to her lawyers in advance of her criminal trial. I can only suggest readers search for the word “Update”. It seems necessary to evidence at the point where it is referenced, rather than adding it separately.

This blog is a story of how two Met Police Officers conspired and colluded against a private citizen on behalf of a politician, Gerard Batten MEP,  falsely arresting her, falsely testifying against her, and framing her for a crime she did not commit.

It is a story of how they were assisted by another policeman who directly colluded with Mr. Batten to smear Jasna Badzak before her trial to journalists, and threaten them if they wrote negative stories on Batten; a fourth policeman corruptly claiming that they did not exist; and a fifth policeman who, I believe, falsely claimed that Officer 4 was uncontactable and could not be asked why he had lied about the existence of these first two officers.

Complaints of police corruption should, of course, normally be addressed through the proper police channels.

But I have hard evidence before me that complaints, repeatedly made through those proper channels, were corruptly dealt with (see the Met Officer in the Directorate of Professional Services lying about the policemen that were the subjects of so many complaints by saying they did not exist, so he would not take the complaint further). I have seen hard evidence that the IPCC referred the corruption case back to the same corrupt force that had lied to, forged evidence on, and threatened journalists over Ms. Badzak.

When the IPCC and the Met’s own DPS are refusing to investigate or actively lying (as I have proven the latter were), the only recourse to justice is the sunlight of public exposure. I put my faith in the public, and once I have blogged with redaction all the evidence I have, only then will I take it to the Met who conspired, and the IPCC who failed to investigate them – despite the clear evidence I put before you all, right now, in the open.

Jasna Badzak is a former member of UKIP.

She has a conviction for fraud (of a month’s salary and travel expenses) for the MEP for whom she used to work, Gerard Batten. She protests her innocence.  She had no prior criminal record, had a high-level security clearance and was of good character as determined in court.

So far, so clear.

Jasna Badzak is also, now, a cardiac patient.

She had her first cardiac arrest at the age of 39, due to stress from being pursued by corrupt officers of the Metropolitan Police force intervening improperly on behalf of an elected politician. She had no prior history of heart trouble of stress. She is now 41 years old and still a cardiac patient; the campaign by certain officers of the Met Police against her continues. I believe and hope that when charges of perverting the course of justice are eventually brought, that the CPS will add to them charges of Actual Bodily Harm – the police officers who did this to Jasna were well aware of her cardiac condition.

Mr. Lee Jasper has written a blog about Ms. Badzak’s various accusations against Batten and UKIP and how the police dealt with them. While I certainly cannot endorse all it contains (simply because I have no knowledge of various matters) Jasper is clear that he describes allegations, rather than facts. I read the blog carefully. It is more about alleged corruption in the Met than it is about Mr. Batten, whom it mentions in passing. Nowhere does the blog make threats towards Mr. Batten. Nowhere does it use racial or religious slurs against him. It is not in the league of actual online harassment against a politician such as that leveled against Stella Creasy MP or Luciana Berger MP.

I have obtained evidence of threats made by specific Metropolitan Police officers against other journalists – for clarity, not myself, Michael Crick, nor Lee Jasper (qua blogger), but two other separate journalists.

As I believe that a great abuse of power is being committed here, and that there is evidence of deeply troubling and improper collusion between some officers of the Metropolitan Police Force and politicians to act against a private citizen, I shall be submitting the evidence I hold to the following people and bodies:

The Home Affairs Select Committee

The IPCC

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

and the Electoral Commission.

However, as the emails I have obtained appear to involve improper actions by police officers, there must be transparency. Complaining to police officers about police officers does not always, alas, produce the results one would wish.

Here is the exact content of the email sent to a journalist, by a Met Police officer. I am leaving out everything that could identify the parties involved. The email was sent to a journalist at a national publication.

Dear Sirs

It has been brought to the attention of the Metropolitan Police, that in recent days journalist [sic] from [publication – redacted] and [publication – redacted] have been provided material by an unknown source about the political affairs of Mr. Gerard Batten MEP. An ex-employee of Mr. Batten’s  has recently been charged with numerous dishonesty offences [sic] and is currently awaiting trial at Southwark Crwon Court [sic]. Part of the bail conditions for this ex-employee is not to contact directly or indirectly Mr. Batten. This condition is in place to prevent any further publication of articles which the Courts have deemed to be untruthful and concerning to Mr. Batten.

Any articles published which are linked to the subject may result in further arrests being made. I request that while these ongoing Court proceedings are underway that you thoroughly check the sources of the information, prior to contacting either Mr. Batten or going to press.

regards

[signature of the officer. The officer lists themselves as being a “Financial Investigator”]

Police officer threatens journalist

The journalist replies:

I spoke to Gerard Batten about his alleged links to far-right groups such as the English Defence League.

I fail to see how this is relevant to a serving Met officer investigating financial crime. Why have you chosen to intervene in this matter on Batten’s behalf, copying him into our exchange on his private email address?

Most people would interpret it as an attempt to warn me off writing about Batten. This, I believe, is a potential abuse of office.

I’d be grateful if you could respond to the following questions by 7pm tonight:

Who asked you to contact me? Was it Batten or somebody else in your unit/team who knows Batten?

What is your relationship to Batten?

Are you a member or supporter of UKIP?

Are you a member or supporter of [redacted] or any other [redacted] organisation?

Many thanks for your time and attention.

Best wishes,

[name]

Journalist challenges police offier

The reporter also emailed Mr. Batten.

….but I wanted to know why you asked [name of officer] at the Met Police to get in touch with me about something to do with a fraud case when I spoke to you [redacted] about something completely different, i.e. your relationship with Alan Lake and the EDL?

You’ll be familiar with this exchange as [name of officer] copied you in and stated my recent contact with you had been “brought to the attention of the Metropolitan Police” – clearly by you or someone in your office – and then went on to allege that I had been “provided material by an unknown source” without any proof of this. [name of officer] – a financial investigator – said it was all to do with your “political affairs”. So what’s it got to do with him? He even suggested I could be arrested if I published an article about you.

I’d be grateful for your explanation as I have some concerns about such an intervention by the police on behalf of a politician.

Journalist challenges Batten

Now, not only did the police officer above copy in Gerard Batten MEP, on his private email address, to that officer’s threats to this journalist – but Gerard Batten MEP was also in direct contact with the same officer. This again is a typed out email from Mr. Batten to the officer threatening the journalist

Dear [Diminutive, familiar form of the first name of the officer, whose email to the journalist had used their formal first name],

Very sorry to bother you with this. Please see the exchange of messages below. I have only just been able to get into my office to email you, I didn’t have your email address to hand.

I got a text message from [name of journalist being threatened by the police officer] at about 9pm last night. I told him to email me any questions.

In my view he is just trying to draw me out, but we will find out tomorrow.

Regards,

Gerard.

Batten colludes with officer threats

Gerard Batten MEP then forwards on to the police officer the email of reply he sent to the journalist’s questions about his collusion with the police officer. As you will see, Mr. Batten refuses to answer the journalist’s questions about whether he, Batten, asked the officer to intervene with this journalist, threatening him on Batten’s behalf.

Dear [name of journalist],

I sent you an email last Friday with my comments. I have nothing further to add. If you have any questions regarding Mr.] [surname of officer]’s email, I can only suggest that you address them to him.

Regards

Gerard

You will note that an officer unconnected to the appropriate department appears to be taking unwarranted actions against Ms. Badzak, and in favour of Mr. Batten. The first officer, the one whose emails I posted above, is a Financial Investigator writing about “the political affairs of Mr. Gerard Batten MEP”.

UPDATE:  I have now been able to establish that the evidence against Jasna Badzak was so wafer-thin that she was re-bailed THIRTEEN TIMES before being charged. I have further established that the charging officer was THE VERY SAME OFFICER who had smeared her to the press before her trial, when she enjoyed the presumption of innocence, and colluded directly with Gerard Batten MEP – both this officer to Batten, and Batten to this officer – in threatening journalists and smearing Ms. Badzak to those same journalists. Below is the charging sheet. I have cut it off before the name of the charging officer can be read. It is the same officer. The top of the charge sheet is also missing as it gives Badzak’s address

Charge sheet

Lee Jasper’s blog is an extraordinary read. It is important to say that I have no idea what in it is truthful or not truthful, but there is one thing in his blog I do want to verify from evidence that I have in my own possession. Here I am quoting sections of his blog on the existence or otherwise (!) of two Metropolitan Police Officers. (I cannot verify that what he reports they did or didn’t do is accurate; he is reporting what Ms. Jadzak told him.)

All of her complaints were being handled by a Metropolitan Police Officer, one Detective Sargent Shaun Reardon. Despite repeated requests for updates on what was happening to her complaints she had no response from Reardon.

…..She reported this intimidation [LM- referred to earlier in LJ blog] to the Met and was surprised to find out that yet again these complaints were being refereed to a Detective Sargent Shaun Reardon, the very same officer who had failed to investigate her initial complaints of UKIP racism and EU fraud.

Worried about escalating violent intimidation and seeking to cope with her own failing health, Jasna then seeks a restraining order court injunction against Batten in Feb 2012.

Met officer supports UKIP. 

Here’s where the begins to get interesting, MPS Detective James Galvin turns up at court, embraces Gerard Batten proceeds to tell the court that the MPS has no record of any allegations against Batten nor were there any current, active police investigation into him. That was a lie and, as the MPS has now admitted Galvin, had no authority to represent the Met or attend court. Her case was eventually dismissed as a result.

I interrupt Lee Jasper’s blog at this point to introduce readers to what appears to be DS James Galvin. Sources say that this is James Galvin’s public Facebook profile

Galvin FB jpeg

This James Galvin has locked his Facebook profile so that his previous online comments and activism re UKIP cannot be seen. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to completely change his settings. The following are taken from “Photos James Galvin Likes” and “Pages James Galvin Likes.” And I have taken screenshots of a great, great many more. Enjoy – although I’m sure Jasna Badzak didn’t

GU 1jGalvin UKip 12jGU 5jGU 6jG U P 1jG U P 2j 

By Sunday, 9th November, DS Galvin had removed all the UKIP photos he liked and UKIP pages he liked from his Facebook, after I tweeted several examples. He had left up his pro-UKIP activism on “Posts James Galvin likes” and “Posts James Galvin has commented on.” DS Shaun Reardon had also deleted his LinkedIn profile. If indeed this is the same James Galvin, the conflict of interest with Galvin’s political activism online is obviously huge.

I have been able to verify, in a court statement provided in the civil case by DS James Galvin, that he intervened in a private citizen’s civil case on behalf of Gerard Batten MEP of UKIP.  I have this evidence in my possession.

Galvin civil statement

Furthermore, having intervened in a civil case on behalf of Gerard Batten MEP without any authorization to do so, James Galvin should not have been investigating Jasna Badzak for any alleged offence. He had a giant conflict of interest. Ms. Badzak filed a complaint against him as soon as he intervened in her civil case.

Update: I have now been able to verify that police documents exist, appearing to show that DC Galvin told Ms. Badzak’s lawyers saying he had NOT been a witness in the civil case.

Galvin civil

“Whilst investigating another matter a man called Goran from Hodge Jones and Allen who claimed to represent Ms. Badazk asked me if we were going to charge Ms Badzak, he also asked if I had given evidence in a civil matter. This took place in the custody suite of Charing Cross Police Station. When answerd [sic] that the CPS would be handed the file and I had not given evidence he said “He had concerns”. I invited him to make a formal allegations [sic] if he had concerns and upon showing him out of the Police station asked him to make his complaint to a senior officer via the station office if he had “Concerns”

Yet despite all these many, huge, irregular, politically motivated actions DC James Galvin took against Jasna Badzak, he was one-half of the investigating team and one-half of the arresting team.

My quotation from Lee Jasper’s blog resumes below

Gerard Batten, then formally wrote to the MPS on October 5th 2012 reporting his fraud allegations against Jasna. He actually wrote his allegation on UKIP letterhead, which must constitute and attempt to politically influence the investigation.  The Met having failed to investigate any of Jasna serious previous allegations, then acted immediately upon receipt of Battens complaints. .

Jasna was subsequently arrested on 29th November 2011, when surprise, surprise, Detectives Constable James Galvin and Detective Sargent Shaun Reardon both, attended her home. They wanted to arrest her there and then, but she Jasna was so ill, it was decided to take her to hospital instead.

The Met formally denies the existence of two serving police officers misleading the Prime Minister David Cameron. 

Subsequent to her eventual arrest and charging, Jasna wrote to the Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe asking, why her many complaints to the MPS had not been investigated? This she pointed out, was in total contrast to the Mets swift and immediate response to Battens complaint.

This lead to another key question, why had DC Galvin had turned up at the injunction hearing, defending Batten?

The answer, when it came, was as shocking as it was unexpected. The Mets Department of Professional Standards informed her that the Metropolitan Police Service employed no such named police officers. Shocked and alarmed she persisted and again she was told again that no such officers were employed by the Met.

She then wrote to the Independent Police Compliant Commission who after some time, wrote back, confirming, that after discussions with the Met, they too  confirmed that no such officers existed.

Jasna at this stage was completely frustrated and wrote to Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron. Both men wrote to the Met and both were told, in writing, that no such officers worked for the Met.

The fact is the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the IPCC, were mislead and possibly willfully mislead, by the Met DPS about the existence of these two officers.

This begs they very important questions as to precise circumstances that led to two of the most senior Tory politicians in the land were provided with inaccurate and misleading information?

I can confirm in this blog that I have, in my possession, the following evidence:

1. A letter to Jasna Badzak from a third officer at the Met Police’s Directorate for Professional Standards saying that they could not investigate a complaint against officers Galvin and Reardon because they did not exist “the officers you have named as being officers of the MPS are not officers with the MPS. I have throughly interrogated all MPS systems and cannot find any trace of those officers.”

DPS lies on headed paper 2j

2. An email  to Jasna Badzak from the same officer dated 10 Jan, 2013, again repeating that these two officers, do not exist (following her astonished protests of disbelief, since these officers had actually shown up at her house and arrested her).

Jasna Galvin 2

3. Firm evidence that, in a phone call to Ms. Badzak, a fourth officer – this time of the rank of Inspector, I think it is important to state that – spoke to her about this matter and stated

Insp: “In 2012, I understand you attempted to make a complaint about officers Fleming, Galvin and Reardon… you made a complaint.” Ms. Badzak said she had made a complaint to the Mayor of London and the Prime Minister, who, she said, wrote to Bernard Hogan-Howe, who, she said, passed it further down. The Inspector replied “Yes”. “And I got the reply which I got which said that these police officers do not exist,” Ms. Badzak responded. “Yes,” the Inspector replied. “We made an error, and I apologize for that error.” Ms Badzak exclaimed “You made an error!” The Inspector replied “Yes. They do exist. It wasn’t correct what we told you.” Ms B: “So why did you tell me that, then?” Insp “The officer who made that decision, and told you, is on a career break, he’s not in the country, I can’t ask him why. But it may be that he misread our database. You know – sometimes people make human errors. But the bottom line is we made a mistake, I apologize, we made a mistake.

Again – Ms Badzak was arrested, November 4th, by a DS in the Major Crimes Unit, Westminster, for “harassment” of Gerard Batten, MEP, for RTing a blog in which these allegations are detailed.

UPDATE: THU Nov 6, 2 of 2: I have now seen evidence that Ms. Badzak’s conviction for fraud was based in large part on an “expert witness statement” provided by DS Shaun Reardon. This is the same DS Reardon to whom she had addressed all her initial complaints about UKIP racism and Mr. Batten, complaints which had not been acted upon. This is the same DS Reardon whom she complained about to the IPCC. When Ms. Badzak was reporting extensive physical harassment at her home by members of the EDL, as noted in Lee Jasper’s blog, she was amazed to find that her complaints about that were being directed to…. DS Shaun Reardon, whose inaction was the subject of her IPCC complaint. Again, nothing was done. 

It was Officer Galvin whom, it is alleged, showed up, unauthorized, to court to defend Mr. Batten in her attempt to secure a restraining order against Batten (I am trying to verify this part of the story).

But it was then DS Reardon and Officer Galvin together who showed up at Ms. Badzak’s house to arrest her for fraud. She complained about both of them – clearly there was at this point a colossal conflict of interest in having either officer, both with pre-existing complaints about them to the police, arrest or investigate Ms. Badzak for anything. And then she was told, the Mayor of London was told, and the Prime Minister was told, falsely, that neither officer existed, see above.

This morning I must update and report that I now have further evidence in my possession that Ms. Badzak’s conviction for fraud was based in large part on the “expert forensic witness” of DS Shaun Reardon who claimed that she forged a bank statement. I have a copy of DS Reardon’s “expert witness” statement to the court, testifying against Ms. Badzak This is the same Reardon who was the subject of her complaints and who was “disappeared” by the Directorate of Professional Standards at the Met in a letter, on headed official paper, in my possession. 

As far as I can tell the only evidence against Ms. Badzak for fraud was this “altered statement” alleged to exist by…. Detective Sgt. Shaun Reardon

More later. 

Personally, I believe in transparency. I am absolutely confident of my evidence and I present it here in order that there be as little cover-up going forwards as possible. I am prepared to make my evidence available to the IPCC and other sources.

One officer threatening a journalist

A second officer from the Directorate of Professional Standards denying the existence of Met Police Officers (twice, and in detail, and emphatically) that Ms. Badzak claims harassed her

A third officer of the rank of Inspector telling Ms Badzak that the officer who denied their existence was “on a career break” “out of the country” “I can’t ask him why” “It may be that he misread our database”

And a fourth and fifth officer, Detectives Galvin and Reardon, who had vast conflicts of interest that should have barred their testimony at any trial of Jasna Badzak.

Clearly, this matter goes beyond any kind of politics to the very deepest, darkest abuses of our capital’s major police force against a private citizen. I am not an investigative journalist (thankfully, Mr Crick does have those credentials) but I recognize shocking abuse when I see it, and I hope I have enough of a sense of duty not to remain silent when I am confronted with hard evidence of injustice being done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can Scotland Solve England’s EU Migrant Problem?

Picture this: the SNP sweeps Labour in the general election, leading to a hung parliament. Nicola Sturgeon offers David Cameron to vote through English votes for English laws in exchange for Devo-Max, or devolution max. In such an arrangement, the SNP would govern Scotland and Cameron, plus probably a reduced LibDem and other coalition partners, would govern the rest of the UK. No “coalition” between the SNP and the Tories would happen, or even be possible – because after that first legislation, Scots MPs couldn’t vote on English matters anyway.

In this scenario, the financial settlement for Scotland would be part of the initial haggling, and the SNP would set Scots income tax and spending policies.

Reserved UK matters would be defence and foreign affairs.

There is, however, still one fly in the ointment. Different Scottish and rUK attitudes to immigration.

Scotland still constitutes only (approx) 1/10 of the UK’s population. The nation needs bodies. They want immigrants. Also, the SNP fears Brexit. If the UK leaves the EU, the SNP could feel stymied in its ongoing wish for Scotland to break from the UK. They would wish to join the EU – and in the indyref, Spain and others made it clear that wasn’t happening.

But allow me to propose a unique solution – and suggest a shift of attitudes to my Conservative party’s opponents, the SNP. What if London listened to Edinburgh on EU immigration – and vice-versa? The English and Welsh want fewer immigrants, Scots want more. What if David Cameron, in agreement with Nicola Sturgeon, passed laws stating that until the EU referendum happened in 2017, all or most EU migrants – Sturgeon could specify the proportion she wanted – would be required to live in Scotland? That they could not access any government services, or benefits, including the NHS and schooling, unless they were living in Scotland. (I have edited the post to remove a suggestion to criminalize moving elsewhere – it wouldn’t be necessary. We could simply limit our benefits, which is in our control, to make it clear that EU migrants can access them only in Scotland).

That would drive a large section of population north to Scotland, would fulfill the SNP’s more population wish, would cease to overload housing waiting lists in England, and would satisfy English and Scottish voters without necessarily flouting the EU too much. Being able to decide where in the UK migrants live and work might be much more palatable to Angela Merkel etc than asking to decide how many EU migrants come to the country. Of course, in the post GE15 Devo-Max Scotland I envision, the type and amounts of benefits EU migrants settling in Scotland receive would be none of David Cameron’s business, but would be set by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Further, if Sturgeon wants the UK to stay in the EU, fixing the vexed question of EU migration in this way would be a huge boost to her cause. It would also help Scotland’s economy as Scotland is clearly under-populated, whereas SE England is overloaded. Conversely, assuming that even in my scenario, Sturgeon and the SNP would still be agitating for full and total independence, she should consider that Brexit now will help Scottish independence chances. While Spain and others with separatist regions don’t want Scotland leaving the UK as an EU member, and therefore will throw up barriers to Scottish entry, if the UK has already voted to come OUT, and snubbed Brussels, an independent Scotland is likely to be welcomed IN with garlands of flowers and blue-and-white balloons.

Cameron needs to have the SNP front and centre in his mind. If Johann Lamont tells us Labour puts Scotland last, the Tories can’t make the same mistake. Ruth Davidson will see a small Tory revival as the Unionist party in NO heartlands repped by SNP at Westminster. That revival will increase if Cameron is the anti-Miliband and treats Scotland and the Scots with “parity of esteem”, as sovereign partners in a devolved UK. NIMBYism usually plagues politics. But for once, “Not In My Back Yard” might not describe just the problem of excessive EU migration to the UK, but the solution to it.

Whiplash-5547.cr2

Whiplash: the Film of the Year is a Hymn to Men

Whiplash is not a complicated film. That is not to say it is not brilliant. It is brilliant. Written and directed by the biggest young talent in film-making today, 29 year old Damian Chazelle, everything about Whiplash says genius. But, like men, to whom the film is a profound ode, Whiplash is uncomplicated and unpretentious. It has a clear storyline, compelling characters, a climb, a nadir, a resolution. It follows the classic three-act screenplay structure immortalized by Syd Field in his how-to book Screenplay. It employs no complicated structures, flashbacks, or other rhetorical devices. Rather, it is a classic, even predictable, story, told superbly.

I didn’t want to see it. I hate “art films” and I hate Jazz. My husband saying ‘let’s go see this film about a jazz drummer’ is not a winning lead-in. But it really isn’t about Jazz drumming. It’s about drive, ambition, fire, rivalry, and masculine approval. It’s the same essential story as ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ with Richard Gere, yet without the side characters, and imagine if Sergeant Foley was about a thousand times the badass and you would lay down your very life to win his approval.

Miles Teller is excellent as the lead, and up for an Oscar. His character is always there, driven, ambitious, isolated. He has a gift that is incomprehensible to those around him, and the movie plays nicely with these conventions; his character’s ordinary side struggling for release by getting up the courage to ask out a girl, his bemusement when, so unlike himself, that girl is not laser-focused on what she wants to do with her life. Teller has a loving father who, because he does not understand Jazz drumming, is unable to understand his son’s bitterly hard-won achievements. The genius is more or less alone, as talent often is. Teller carries off all these nuances extremely well; the resentment, the shame, the rivalries, the determination, the risks great people take when they put all their eggs in one basket.

On one level, discussed by most critics, the film is a meditation on achievement and mediocrity and how much of a price is worth paying to get it. But on another, one mostly missed, the film is in fact about men. Masculine men. Dominant men. Type A males and how men will do anything – literally anything – to obtain the good opinion of a man whose good opinion is worth having; of a man who will not compromise, will not accept anything less than perfection, and doesn’t give a fuck about you or your excuses or your feelings. The film is shocking because it breaches the same forbidden territory breached by Fifty Shades of Grey. I do not compare the artistic achievement of Whiplash to the schlock of Fifty Shades; rather I compare the essential premises. Fifty Shades broached the forbidden idea that women enjoy being sexually dominated by men they love, formerly a common assumption but today held to be misogynist, and that some men want to dominate women they love. Whiplash similarly posits that a talented, ambitious young man will do anything to win the praise of a superior male who gives it out sparingly if ever; and that the truly driven man will put achievement (conquering, winning, final victory) above all other things.

It is not Miles Teller, then, good though he is, who is the point of this movie. It is J.K. Simmons, a dead cert for Best Supporting Actor in a world where there is any justice. Simmons is a conductor. He is ruthless. He is brutal. He will shout and bawl and keep his players up until four in the morning if they get it wrong. He throws chairs at heads and he screams in the face of his players until they weep, then mocks them and throws them out. He is utterly uninterested in anything other than perfection and therefore, for him, the men under his command (they may as well be soldiers) would follow him into battle and die for him – literally.

So effective was Simmons in the part that I could not get him out of my own head after the film, and indeed, desperately wanted to collate the actor and the character (a reaction to a performance that makes you wish that the character existed). It was a joy, therefore, to find out that Simmons has a degree in music from the University of Montana, that when he conducts with icy precision, he is reprising a genuine skill (he conducted), and that in asking for the music in the film, when sent MP3s, he said ‘No – the music – give me the score.’ Simmons said that the character on the page felt like destiny to him, that he responded viscerally to it. In interviews I have read, he defends the actions of his character. Me too. Reviews that call Simmons’ conductor “the villain” are missing the point. “There are no two words in the English language so destructive as ‘good job’,” he says to the young hero.

SPOILERS FOR THE PLOT BELOW THIS LINE

And that is exactly what the reviewers miss. Simmons’ character isn’t a villain. He is a hero. He is not abusive. If you don’t like it, you can drop out, or be assigned another teacher; his students want to be in his band. Desperately. He is uncompromising and he is there to find genius and push it to its limits. On a very basic level, that means the character puts others in front of himself. He is selfless. He is not seeking his own genius; he is attempting to draw it from Teller’s character. As Jane Austen had Mr. Darcy say to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice “But your good opinion is rarely bestowed, and therefore, more worth the earning.” He and Teller both recognize something others cannot see; Teller has genius.

There is a scene in which Teller dumps his friendly, nice girlfriend because she will get in the way of his drumming and not understand his drive to be great. It’s a beautifully acted scene, but the genius here is the writer’s, because he poses an uncomfortable situation well. The girl is nice, the lead character is nice. The audience superficially is meant to think it is a mistake to dump the girl. But it is not a mistake. Teller’s character is absolutely right. He’s right not to lead a nice girl on, and he is right to dump her because he’s right that she can’t reach into his drive, and she will get in the way. Later, he tries to make up with her and she’s moved on. Some in my movie theatre were sighing in sympathy. I shook my head because, so what. It just doesn’t matter. She was wrong for him and at that point in his life, almost any girl was wrong for him.

The only dramatic false step for me came when Teller’s character is expelled from the Schaffer Conservatory for having assaulted Simmons’ character. Simmons would simply not have expelled Teller. He would have beaten him up, or imposed some other back-breaking punishment (as in An Officer and a Gentleman incidentally). Just as Teller’s raison d’être is his genius, Simmons’ is training and developing genius. For his character, Teller would have had to walk out voluntarily (thus showing himself unworthy, and not the genius Simmons was hunting).

But there are no other complaints, apart from a slowing of the momentum in the final act. The last scene is what you imagine it would be. It ends, and the film ends, at a particularly precise, dramatic instance, which mimics – no doubt intentionally – Simmons’ precision conducting. It is a triumph. It was shot on a shoestring of $3.3m dollars, with no acting rehearsals, in nineteen days. Start to finish, it is a triumph.

END OF SPOILERS – NO FURTHER SPOILERS BELOW

Whiplash is correctly described by Miles Teller as a psychological thriller. It has that pace, that plotting, that drama. It uses its setting as a foil to underline its dramatic point; e.g.; Teller is alone because his family and friends don’t understand his world. No more do we (unless we are classical musicians, I watched it at Lincoln Centre and there were some knowing laughs). This is emphasized in one intense scene where Simmons is saying “Not quite my tempo” in a tone that means “Cut his head off” and as the attempts to get it right proceed, we cannot hear the slightest difference between A and B. There’s humor, too, mostly in in-jokes. My husband, a rock manager, was almost beside himself listening to Simmons whip the musicians into shape. He manages Metallica, whose drummer Lars Ulrich has seen the film about six times. Lars probably really enjoyed the poster on Teller’s bedroom wall that says “If You Have No Talent, You’ll Wind Up in a Rock Band”.

But I found the film intense, inspirational and life-affirming because I am a huge tomboy, and the desire to be more than mediocre, to achieve at the highest level, to beat all comers, has been with me my whole life. I would follow Simmons’ character to the ends of the earth, and in real life, when I found a man as uncompromising and driven as that, I married him. The more ambitious we are, the more manly we are (both men and women), the more we will relate to Whiplash. See it. It will make you want to do, and be, better.

Sturgeon

Britain’s New Political Force Isn’t UKIP – It’s the SNP

As I write this Douglas Carswell hasn’t yet been elected in Clacton but he will be. He will be UKIP’s second MP (Bob Spink was the first) but first elected MP. But Clacton is a special case; Carswell has a big personal following. I have no time for him whatever and I can only help he has the integrity his friends claim he does. If that is true, he will not remain silent in a party that is racist, sexist and allows the condoning of child abuse, blaming the victims. We’ll see.

The real UKIP test comes in Rochester and Strood, where my friend Mark Reckless defected without the same personal following. I will always like Mark, having known him since we were at the same Oxford college together at the same time (OK OK he’s younger) and ran together on the same slate in the Union (roofing materials cough). But I fear Mark has made the mistake of his life. He is an able barrister and he has been a leading light on the best Select Committee in Parliament at the moment, the Home Affairs Select Committee. But UKIP help Labour and prevent the chance of any EU Referendum at all. I am so sorry that Mark was deceived into going with Farage, and I both hope, fear and believe he will lose his seat. I hope it politically because Ed Miliband must not be helped into power by UKIP voters – there will be no EU referendum and it will be  total disaster. I believe it because I can read the polls and the mood, I think (it’ll be close for sure), and I fear it, because ukip are a party without loyalty or principles. When Mark loses they will blame him, cast aspersions on his work as an MP, toss him to the wind and move on without looking back like they do to any candidate who gets in Nigel’s way.

But enough of Labour’s little helpers. Let’s look north, where I think the unnoticed revolution is going on. And it’s not purple – it’s plaid. In fact, it’s tartan.

The Scottish Referendum seems like yesterday north of the border and for us in rUK too it was the election of the year. Few nights will ever be as emotional. And yet a London-centric media has taken its eye off the Glasweigan ball. That’s a mistake.

The SNP have packed on tens of thousands of new members – that’s actual paying members who have gone so far as to sign up – imagine the latent support behind these numbers. I read somewhere that it might be a hundred thousand. Labour is in trouble in its Scottish heartlands. Real trouble, not just Holyrood trouble where they are used to getting their arses kicked, but Westminster trouble. John Curtice said they might pick up as many as 26 seats. I think they may also lose one or two to the Tories and LibDems – yes, you heard me correctly. Passions for YES and NO raged immensely, and where the SNP hold Westminster seats in areas that were strongly NO they are vulnerable. Ruth Davidson took back some of her ‘Tartan Tory’ mantle from the so-called Tartan Tories. There’s a long way to go to detoxify the Conservatives in Scotland but she gained wide respect in the IndyRef.

But let’s develop the idea of the SNP storming the Westminster elections. Every seat they gain will be a one for one loss to Labour.  Labour down 26 and the SNP up 26, for a max gain of 32 seats. That would give the SNP parity with the LibDems.

Semi-jokingly I suggested future SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as Deputy PM under Cameron. There was a lot of kicking the football around on Twitter from SNP members, but let me develop the idea.

I am NOT suggesting that the SNP go into coalition with the Conservatives – it would be toxic for both parties north of the border. Ruth Davidson needs those Unionist votes to start rebuilding in SNP WM areas. And SNP are banned from propping up the Tories, their left-wing support wouldn’t like it.

But I AM suggesting a scenario where Sturgeon can demand a DEAL with an rUK Conservative majority – after all the Referendum itself happened because Alec Salmond and David Cameron made a binding deal. A deal isn’t a coalition and the SNP wouldn’t need to prop up the Tories in this scenario – because devo-max and English votes for English laws would have meant that the SNP was “mainly governing” Scotland via Holyrood, and in rUK, the Tories would no longer need any Scottish votes (or even be able to use them) – on devolved matters for Eng Wales and NI. Cameron would still need other parties like the DUP and probably even the LibDems for comfort, but Sturgeon’s SNP would not be involved.

Scenario goes like this – Tories largest party, no majority. SNP offer a deal whereby Sturgeon becomes Deputy PM as being able to command the second party of United Kingdom government, with or without a WM seat of her own. She need not have one, and she can always take a peerage if she likes, a nice Scottish peerage obviously :). Sturgeon and Cameron horse-trade over devo-max and the financial settlement for Scotland in exchange for immediate, first-order-of-business “English votes for English laws” legislation. EVEL has been long planned by the Tories and has been in the last three Tory manifestos. This constitutional deal done, Sturgeon repairs to Scotland to govern. Ruth Davidson opposes her now on tax, spend and policy as well as Unionism (because we assume the SNP will still aim for full independence).

South of the border Cameron governs with a coalition but one where the Tories can set more favorable terms.

In defence and foreign affairs, areas that all agree would remain United Kingdom competencies, Sturgeon would have the right to be consulted first, to have SNP seats in the ministries and the SNP would have a direct voice at the global table, as the LibDems do now. I cannot frankly imagine that the SNP view would be more left-wing than the LibDem view on either area of policy. In this area, Cameron would have to seek to have Scotland on board respecting the SNP’s primacy in the country.

That, then, is my vision of a revolutionary government – not a coalition, no propping up needed – a government that represented a deal between independent actors, even political opponents, to make constitutional changes that the SNP and Conservatives both believe in for Scotland and also for England.

Labour is the enemy of the SNP when it comes to devo-max or any version of devo-max. The more autonomy Labour allows in Scotland, the greater the demand in England for English votes, which deprives Mili of his Scottish block vote. It says much for Labour’s weakness in England that Ed Miliband thinks he can’t govern England, Wales and Northern Ireland without the votes of Scots MPs on matters that will never affect their constituents. Put another way, Miliband doesn’t want to introduce laws for England he knows English voters will approve of.

Fair play to the 45, they have no objection to English voters getting our own devolution. The SNP don’t vote on English only laws unless it will affect Scotland – that’s to be decided in the initial horse-trading before EVEL passes. Sturgeon would be a conquering heroine in Scotland with the prestige of deputy PM of the UK and the delivery of the best possible deal for Scotland. Rather than ‘propping up’ Cameron or any coalition, she’d follow SNP creed of leaving the sassenachs to sort themselves out. And Labour’s offer to Scotland of tiny changes while chopping England up into already-rejected-in-a-referendum “regional assemblies” would get the contempt it deserved – north and south of the border.

WhoKip? The SNP is the real story this year – and they didn’t quit and go home when they lost that vote. Trust me, the 45 are just warming up.