Posts Tagged ‘racism’
I resigned from the Liberal Democrats just before the EU referendum because I believed the position the party adopted was a betrayal of fundamental values of liberalism and democracy. I think it was a perfectly respectable position to take to vote remain and there were questionable tactics on both sides during the campaign. However, the bitter, abusive response to the result by many people, particularly Liberal Democrats, has been quite terrible.
Ros Kayes’ behaviour has been shocking. Even worse, she has been dishonest and has tried to cover up her foolish remarks.
She published this comment on Facebook during 23rd June 2016, the day of the referendum:
I responded that this was an act of prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, totally against all Liberal Democrat values and was exactly the reason I had resigned. In return I received these responses:
I have written to Ros, politely asking her to clarify what “unsavoury posts in the last few weeks” and what “unpleasant email to a party member”? I have no idea what she is talking about and I fear she has invented these angry ripostes.
Anyway, I would have let it lie there until I received a phone call from Rachel Stretton a reporter from the Dorset Echo.
Rachel said she was calling me about a lot of complaints the newspaper had received about Ros Kayes’ Facebook posts concerning the referendum. I told her how shocked I was at what I’d seen and she told me about a post containing bad language which, at the time. I had not seen. We ended the conversation with me confirming that Ros Kayes’ behaviour had been the final straw in my resigning membership of the party.
I then discovered the very foolish, childish use of foul language that Roz Kayes had published.
I posted on Facebook about what had happened and there was quite a response. However, I thought it was probably time to let it go. A lot of people were very upset by the result of the referendum. I would have been if it had gone the other way. I think in such circumstances you do have to allow people some leeway. Many people had been up all night, most had probably been drinking as well. A few injudicious remarks are inevitable from tired, emotional and upset human beings!
But next thing I received a message from Rachel Stretton backpedalling as fast as she could about what she had asked when she called me. I was astonished at this! What had spooked the Dorset Echo? Rachel now said “We have not received any complaints about the behaviour of anyone in the run-up to the referendum. Apologies for any confusion.”
Well hang on a minute, why did she call me in the first place then? I didn’t even know about use of the ‘F’ word until she told me and she quite definitely approached me about comments related to the referendum.
Rachel then messaged me to say: “I do of course understand if you wish to change any comment you made in light of this. Again for clarification, Ros has made a statement saying her account was hacked and this, private post, was made public inadvertently.”
What?!! There’s no other way to put this, the Dorset Echo seemed to be involved in helping Ros Kayes to cover up her behaviour. And then I saw the ridiculous article published in the newspaper “Bridport mayor Ros Kayes responds to Facebook post criticism”.
This article is nothing less than insult to the readers of the Dorset Echo and it is a shameful attempt to deceive the electorate. Not only is Ros Kayes telling lies but the Dorset Echo is assisting her! This is a stitch up between a local politician and a local newspaper. There is only one word for it – corruption. In fact I think the greatest shame is on the newspaper. So much for a free, independent press. There are very grave questions to be answered by the editor and I cannot imagine that local businesses will want to be advertising in a paper that is involved in a shabby, corrupt cover-up of a politician’s misdeeds. he story about privacy settings is a story of Ros Kayes own incompetence but the story about her account being hacked is a brazen, bare-faced lie.
Nevertheless, my interest waned again. I was now beginning to learn that Ros Kayes does have an excellent reputation for good work in the community. I have myself been subject to online attack and trolling which caused me great distress and had a real effect on my mental health. There are some very cruel, very spiteful people who use social media to abuse and harass for no reason other than their own perverted self-gratification. The one comfort I had is that when I was under attack I knew it was all based on lies. In this instance, Ros Kayes was the one telling porkies, she was responsible for causing the furore and she is tee occupier of a significant public office, one that even comes with official regalia and privileges. There does have to be some accountability.
However, I really didn’t want to take it any further. This woman obviously does good work and if she’s made one bad mistake, I didn’t want to be vengeful or unkind about it.
Then Ros Kayes responded to my email about her claims of me making “unsavoury posts” and sending an “unpleasant email“. (She had by now already blocked me on Facebook and Twitter). Oh dear!
My “unsavoury post” (there was only one now apparently) was this one “Why I Am Resigning From the Liberal Democrats“. Judge for yourself whether there is anything unsavoury about it. My “unpleasant email” was an email about my change of address which I had already notified the party of, which I explained and wrote “So I don’t really know what else I could be expected to do!”. Not very unpleasant in my book.
Ros also wrote: “I certainly don’t think all Brexit voters are racist – many had perfectly sensible reasons for making the decision they did. And my post did not say that all Brexit voters were racist, simply raised fears about the ones that were.”.
So, once again I was ready to let it go. Perhaps it was one error and it could be overlooked. I was now firmly of the opinion that the more serious matter was the Dorset Echo’s corrupt involvement in a cover up.
And then today, I was provided with a copy of a letter Ros Kayes had published in the Bridport News.
“I fear this election [sic] will be won by those who revel in bigotry. I despair at the number of voters saying ‘I’m not racist but…’ then utter words from the lexicon of Adolf Hitler”
“Please don’t let our country’s future be decided by racist, liars and bigots.”
This is truly terrible. Absolutely unforgivable words from any public figure or politician, particularly one who has the audacity to call herself a ‘Liberal Democrat’.
Such ignorant generalisations from Ms Kayes are every bit as prejudiced and discriminatory as racism. She is a terrible, terrible hypocrite.
So, despite really trying very hard to pull back from this, in the end I decided that I had to publish this story in full.
I expect Ros Kayes to resign. There seems to be a valid case that perhaps she could stay on as a councillor but her position as Mayor is untenable.
As for the Dorset Echo, this is still the far more serious issue of a corrupt, underhand cover up of a politician’s dishonesty. It will almost certainly try to bury this story entirely now. Diarmuid Macdonagh, the editor, should do the honourable thing and explain himself. If he doesn’t, I shall be making a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
“In years to come, the attitudes that now prevail towards people that choose cannabis will be as politically incorrect as racism, homophobia or denying women the vote.
Cannabis is one of God’s greatest gifts with which mankind has had a symbiotic relationship since the dawn of time.
The prohibition experiment of the last 80 years has been a disaster. A rational approach will bring enormous benefits to our country, save billions in wasted expenditure, create thousands of new jobs, cut crime and disorder, provide tremendously safe and effective relief to millions in pain and disability.
It’s a crime to use racist or homophobic abuse. The concomitant of that should be that it is a crime falsely or maliciously to accuse someone of racism or homophobia.
I don’t know John Terry, and I have just about zero interest in football but I know what it’s like to be falsely accused of racism. The scum of the earth that indulge in such abuse are exactly the same as those who falsely cry rape. They should go to jail for just as long as the sentence for the crime they falsely allege.
I’ve had long term relationships with both black and asian women and I have lots of friends of all different races but it doesn’t matter what the facts are, if some oik chooses to endlessly repeat a false allegation of racism there is nothing you can do about it. This is unjust and unfair. If it’s a hate crime to be racist then it’s a hate crime falsely to accuse someone of racism.
Ask yourself, why would anyone go to such lengths to discredit me?
Why, at a time when the cannabis campaign is enjoying more success than ever with thousands of people joining together as never before, why do a few individuals go to such extraordinary lengths to smear my reputation.?
Out of 477 articles on my personal website, written over a period of three and a half years, two articles have been held up and misrepresented in the most despicable and dishonest way to accuse me of being a racist and a homophobe. Laughably I’ve also been accused of being a member of the EDL, attending an EDL demonstration in Weymouth and of selling Nazi memorabilia on a Swansea market stall! These are lies and nonsense.
Of course, in a civilised, adult world what people do in response to articles they disagree with is post comments and discuss – and some of those discussions become pretty heated. I’ve been accused of being anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish and for and against just about every issue you care to mention. My writing was intended to be provocative and controversial. Cannabis was only one of the subjects that I covered on my website and when I was elected leader of CLEAR I wrote:
My thoughts here will be few and far between now. My focus is on CLEAR and I am learning to moderate my opinion because I have chosen a single issue. If I strike out in a particular direction I divert my own and others’ energy from the cause.
The accusations of racisim and homophobia are entirely false. I could present a host of evidence to prove my “innocence” but the trolls and liars twist everything. My oldest and best friend IS a Jamaican. If Terry got his hands on some of the individuals that have been making foul slurs against me, they would not enjoy Jamaican justice. Two examples though – I used to live on a road called The Chase, just off Clapham Common. When the Gay Pride event was held there in, I think it was 95 or 96, I was a steward. When more recently I lived in Notting Hill and all my friends and neighbours were black, they used to call me a “wigga”, a “propa black white man”.
So, I say again, ask yourself why would anyone go to such lengths to discredit me at a time when under my leadership, CLEAR is achieving so much success? Why would they set up websites, multiple Facebook pages and groups and engage in hours and hours of trolling, abuse and misrepresentation?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because the individuals behind this are big time growers and dealers who rely on prohibition to maintain the ludicrously high price of cannabis and fill their own greedy pockets.
They pretend to be pro-cannabis because they seek to subvert, disrupt and undermine the cannabis campaign. They’ve been doing it for years.
Many believe that the main protagonist has an even more sinister role because he appears to be teflon coated when it comes to the criminal justice system. For all the times he has been arrested and charged, he has always walked away while others round him have been sent to prison.
He claims not to live in Britain anymore but the man is a liar and a fraud. He lives off his past reputation when he claims to have been growing and providing cannabis to medicinal users free of charge (a good cover story!). This is false. I have several emails from people who he used to supply who tell me that he used to charge them £5.00 per gram plus, believe it or not, next day delivery and packaging charges. At the time that price was top whack if not more.
It is extraordinary that over many years, every single time there has been disruption and conflict in the cannabis community he has been there, goading, provoking and fermenting divisiveness. Back in 2010 , when I managed to get MPs, members of the House of Lords and even the government’s chief drugs advisor to sign up to the BMCR medicinal cannabis initiative, he waded straight in and did all he could to destroy it by snide insinuation, bickering and negativity.
The man is a charlatan. Why would anyone go to such extraordinary efforts and lengths to disrupt the CLEAR campaign? Now you know. Grass is an old term for weed but perhaps one that is most appropriate in this case.
Tribalism Is the Enemy Of Reform
Some of the more gullible members of the cannabis community have been taken in by these attacks against me but I am greatly encouraged that by far the majority have not. The messages, emails and comments supporting me have far outweighed those against. Thank you to all. I WILL stay strong. I will stay focused. The idea is to distract and divert me from the campaign. That is not going to happen.
Being at at the centre of a trollstorm during the season of goodwill has not been pleasant. My mother and my sons have been very upset to see the abuse, lies and hate filled propaganda about me and my leadership of CLEAR posted on the internet.
These people aren’t engaged in campaigning for cannabis. They’re pursuing their own selfish, jealous and truly pitiful agendas by attacking the success that CLEAR has achieved under my leadership.
The cannabis campaign has failed to make any progress over the last 10 years. A lot of this is due to sheer incompetence and laziness. When I was elected leader I discovered that literally nothing was being done by the LCA and any initiative that was proposed was shut down by the “co-ordinator” he that “does not want to lead and does not want to be led”. The darker, subversive forces set out to fragment and cause conflict within the campaign and that suits their wallets very well indeed, thank you very much.
Most of all though it’s about tribalism. This is what has held us back for so long. The idea that if you’re in favour of cannabis being legally available then you must be on the left of politics, you must be anti-Thatcher and you must have at least three piercings – oh and you must not, under any circumstances, wear a tie – plus many other ridiculous prejudices. These people think they’re cool and hip and smart but they’re not, they’re dumb, bigoted and prejudiced, just like a Daily Mail journalist only they’ve got a joint hanging off their lip. Not so much Andy Capp, more Hopeless Hypocritical Hippy.
This is why so many were confused when back in Cardiff at the Million Marijuana march in May CLEAR launched the idea of “Hippies in suits”. These politically incompetent and naive people don’t really want you to be able to smoke a joint if you wear a suit. They are in fact as prejudiced and discriminatory as the attitudes they pretend to fight against. CLEAR welcomes members and supporters from all points on the political compass. We aim to be mainstream, not “alternative”.
All my life I have stood for liberty, truth and justice and against prejudice, discrimination and bigotry. Unlike the trolls I am a strong believer in freedom of speech and expression. However, the foul language that was posted on my and CLEAR’s Facebook page was horrifying. These are people who can’t express themselves without using disgusting swear words. They are as much victims of the mendacious individuals behind this hate campaign as anyone.
To those who feel offended by my opinions. I don’t mean to cause offence so I am sorry if I have. That doesn’t mean that I retract them though! I am entitled to my opinion as is everyone else.
There are of course many more honourable and decent people who have been involved in the campaign in the past rather than those who work against it but it is this tired, destructive tribalism that has ruined their efforts.
So tomorrow Britain returns to work and so do I. I shall not make any further comment on the dreadful events of the last few days and I advise all of you not to feed the trolls. That is the only thing that gives them any power. Ignore them. I will fight tirelessly to end the prohibition of cannabis, most particularly for those who need it as medicine.
Look at the chaos and evil that this country is causing our world!
From the most wicked international terrorism to the genteel sport of cricket, the pernicious and evil influence of Pakistan is everywhere.
It is a flaw in its culture and the character of its people. Not all Pakistanis are wicked but too many of them are and evil influence has been allowed to flourish in its society.
This is not racism. It’s not about the race of the Pakistanis. It’s about their nation.
Pakistan is a failed state and a pariah.
Its only hope is new and radical leadership.