The image above wasn’t made by blogger and Green party member Michael Abberton. He simply checked the claims and annotated it, with links where he could find them, and with a not that admitted he couldn’t find a source when UKIP had erased the information from their website. He then posted it on Twitter. Even so, Ukip’s local Government spokesman and national nominating officer, Cllr Peter Reeve, complained to the police, and two officers called on Abberton as a result. I cannot see a good reason for the police, who readily admitted that Abberton had not committed an offence, to call on him at all, as they could have just looked at the picture online and decided that no further action was required of them. That they did visit, and that they asked him to remove the tweets containing the image (or even just suggested it) is extremely worrying. They even asked Abberton not to mention their visit! Surely they were guilty of interfering with the political process. Maybe that’s why they didn’t want anyone else to know what they were up to. Reeve claims to have reported Abberton for electoral fraud, rather than for abuse,because his post did not contain an official declaration that it was Green Party material, as required by the Electoral Commission. As usual with UKIP, this is nonsense. For one thing, as far as I know, Abberton isn’t an official spokesman for the Green Party, and his Twitter account is a private one, representing only his own views. He is not a candidate for office either, nor an agent for a candidate. Secondly, his profile picture on Twitter clearly shows his political allegiance, so even if he was obliged to make such a declaration, he already had! What connection is there between Reeve, or UKIP generally, and the police that persuades the cops that they should waste their valuable time pandering the the hurt feelings of a politician? Are secret handshakes involved? Or does UKIP’s membership boast several police officers? Whatever the reason, this development is sinister, and comparisons with the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany are inevitable, and should have been foreseen by whoever sent the two police officers to call on Michael Abberton.
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I’ve mentioned before that, though I don’t respect religion, I have a great deal of respect for some religious people. The Trussell Trust is a Christian organisation that battles poverty and injustice, best known for running food banks. There is no religious test to receive their help, however, so I can happily endorse them, even though I’m an atheist.
Some Christians are less sympathetic. Iain Duncan Smith has accused the Trussell Trust of having a “political agenda”, and his DWP lackeys regularly brief against them. The Trust’s crime? Telling people facts about their work. There are more food banks than ever before, and they are used more and more.
Now the Mail on Sunday has joined the fray, sending a reporter to a Citizens Advice Bureau office to obtain a voucher by misrepresentation. That he succeeded is not an indictment of the Trussell Trust, nor even of the CAB really, though they could beef up their procedures a little.
It is an indictment of the Mail and its staff. Just because they are dishonest, and because they can find a few other people who are, doesn’t mean everyone who uses food banks is a crook.
There has been one positive note following this story. The backlash against the Mail has encouraged more people to donate to the Trussell Trust. If you’d like to add your donation, click here.
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David Cameron has resurrected his “Big Society” idea, long after it was discredited the first time. It was widely mocked, and quietly dropped from any Tory publicity. Until now.
Now Cameron has claimed divine inspiration, despite his government’s various attacks on the very people Jesus was supposed to have been most concerned about; the poor, homeless, the hungry, the sick and disabled.
The only fundamentalist position he hasn’t adopted seems to be homophobia.
He also wants people to think of him as “a giant Dyno-Rod”, but if there’s a Biblical reference to professional drain-cleaners, it’s passed me by.