The Conservative party are refusing to say which vital protections they would scrap if they win the election and abolish the Human Rights Act (HRA).The party’s manifesto says a Conservative government would replace the act – introduced by a Labour government in 1998 – with a British bill of rights, which it claims would “restore common sense to the application of human rights in the UK”.But although the manifesto promises that such a bill of rights would “protect basic rights”, such as the right to a fair trial, and the right to life, which are “an essential part of a modern democratic society”, it does not say which other existing rights might be at risk.And this week the party (led by prime minister David Cameron, pictured) has made it clear to Disability News Service that it will provide no information about what rights might be scrapped until after the election.A party spokesman said: “You are going to have to find that out when we publish our draft UK bill of rights.”But he confirmed that the bill of rights would not provide “an exact replica” of the rights included in the HRA.Among the articles included in the Human Rights Act, many of which have been used to secure vital improvements to the lives of disabled people, are the rights to: freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment; freedom from slavery and forced labour; respect for private and family life; the right to marry and start a family; the right to education; and the right to participate in free elections.Last July, the government was forced to back down in a legal dispute with the disabled owners of two small businesses, over whether they had to file their VAT returns online.A judge had found that mandatory online filing was a breach of the right to privacy, the right to be free from discrimination, and the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions.The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) has compiled a series of cases in which the HRA has helped people in practice.It tells of Balbir, a disabled woman who, with the help of an advocate, persuaded her local council to build her an accessible downstairs bathroom after she was no longer able to access her upstairs bathroom.The advocate had warned the council that, under the HRA, it was in danger of breaching Balbir’s right to be free from degrading treatment.BIHR also describes the case of Peter, whose advocate used the right to liberty, under article five of the act, to persuade the mental health hospital where he was an informal patient to back down after staff refused him permission to visit his sister and friends.In another series of case studies, BIHR describes how the parents of a man with mental health problems, who had been placed in short-term residential care, noticed unexplained bruising on his body.After the home’s managers dismissed the couple’s concerns and banned them from visiting, they took part in a BIHR training session and used their son’s right not to be treated in an inhuman and degrading way, and their right to respect for family life, to force the home to revoke the ban and investigate the bruising.Meanwhile, an audit of the effect of the main political parties’ manifesto policies* has concluded that neither the Conservatives nor Labour are offering a “robust strategy to address poverty”.The Greens score consistently the highest (with an average of 3.9 out of five) across 12 policy areas, followed by the Liberal Democrats, with 3.2, and Labour with 2.6. The Tories score just 1.7, while UKIP trail in last with 1.4 out of five.On disability, the Greens and Lib Dems both score five, Labour four, UKIP three and the Conservatives two out of five.The report by Academics Stand Against Poverty UK was put together by academics from 21 UK universities, as well as peer reviewers, students, and communications and policy experts, and provides “an audit of the main political parties’ manifestos, measuring their policies’ impact on UK and global poverty”.It concludes that a common theme of the Green manifesto was that “unlike other parties – their policies were more far-sighted, addressed the structural causes of problems (like housing) and looked systematically at the impact on different parts of UK society”.On disability, the Lib Dems and Greens score very highly “because of their comprehensive response to disability and explicit commitment to disability rights, followed closely by Labour”, while UKIP “scores moderately”, followed by the Conservatives, who score poorly.The authors of the report include two prominent disabled academics, Tom Shakespeare, of the University of East Anglia, and Nick Watson, of the University of Glasgow, who co-wrote the chapter on disability.They conclude that “overall, the Liberal Democrats have the most comprehensive response to disability of all the parties”.*The SNP manifesto was published too late to allow it to be analysed
A disabled campaigner is accusing his council of years of neglect and discrimination, after its failure to provide him with a support package left his home so full of rubbish that firefighters said it was too dangerous to enter.Mark White says he was told by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service in September that it will not allow any of its firefighters into his home for safety reasons.He is terrified that he will not be able to escape if the bags of rubbish stacked around his home (pictured) catch fire.He lives in a three-bedroom terraced house which he said was supposed to be “temporary, emergency accommodation”, but he cannot leave the house because he would need an electric wheelchair or scooter and cannot get one into the building.White, from Hayle, Cornwall, has spent years advocating for other disabled people in Cornwall, and across the country, and believes he is being punished for that work by his local authority, which he accuses of being “incompetent”, “intransigent” and “abusive”.Cornwall County Council insists that White has been unwilling to “engage” with its services, and that it is trying, alongside other agencies, to persuade him to do so.White told Disability News Service (DNS) that he has been asking the council to assess his needs for four years, but that it refuses to provide him with the necessary forms in an accessible format.He has several impairments, including diabetes and mobility and sight impairments, and has asked the council to provide him with the assessment forms on a CD or a USB stick.But he says the council has refused to do so, and instead sent him a 150-page document in a huge font (72 point) and demanded that he read it with a magnifying glass, something he would be unable to do because of the size of the stack of paper.He says the council even refuses to send him the form in normal 12-point print so that he can scan and view it with the electronic equipment he has had installed, which magnifies text to a size he can read comfortably.He also says that he is unable to pick his post off the floor, and so cannot respond to the council’s letters, has no money or food because his benefits have been stopped since March, and has had no access to a bath or shower for more than three years.He said: “It seems that Cornwall council hate those who advocate for disabled people and seek to punish them in any way they can.“I’m now so desperate I have nothing to lose and no shame left.”White believes the way he has been treated by the council amounts to serious criminal neglect, and he has accused it of disability hate crime, lodging a complaint with the police through the anti-hate crime organisation Stop Hate UK.A spokeswoman for the council, which also runs the county’s fire and rescue service, said in a statement: “The council and its partners take their responsibilities very seriously. “Where a person has complex needs and is not willing to engage with services that have been offered, a multi-disciplinary group, which includes social workers, housing officers, representatives from the fire service, the police, health professionals and voluntary organisations will work together and with the resident to try and offer alternatives and solutions. “In this case, many services are involved in attempting to engage with him and have been for some time.”She said the council had “tried to engage in undertaking an assessment and support plan but have been unable to do so despite numerous attempts”, and was “happy to discuss with him other forms of technology”.She said: “With regard to the property itself, it has been adapted for the needs of the resident and the structural element of the property and internal fire safety detection system meet requirements, however we continue to work with the resident to ensure his safety and security at the property.”When asked about concerns raised by the fire and rescue service, she said later that “services continue to try to work with him to address issues with the property”.She also said that the council was “unaware of any history of his work as an advocate.“As we have said, many professionals continue to try and engage with him in challenging circumstances.”A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police received a complaint from Stop Hate UK on behalf of Mr White, and enquiries were made into this matter.“Mr White has been informed that this does not appear to be a criminal matter.“His complaints in relation to a number of public bodies and their perceived withdrawal of services needs to be raised directly with them, through their appropriate complaint channels.”White insisted that he had not been contacted by the police since he lodged the complaint through Stop Hate UK.
After the programme aired, a Labour spokesperson issued a full response, which read: “We completely reject any claim that Labour is antisemitic. We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we’re taking decisive action to root out antisemitism from our movement and society. “The Panorama programme was not a fair or balanced investigation. It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning. It was an overtly biased intervention by the BBC in party political controversy.“An honest investigation into antisemitism in Labour and wider society is in the public interest. The Panorama team instead pre-determined an answer to the question posed by the programme’s title. No proper and serious attempt was made to understand our current procedures for dealing with antisemitism, which is clearly essential to reach a fair and balanced judgement. And Panorama distorted and manipulated the truth and misrepresented evidence to present a biased and selective account. “We complained in advance to the BBC over the way the programme was put together and its choice of a presenter who has expressed overt personal and political hostility to Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. We will be pursuing complaints at every level.“The Labour Party will fully investigate any complaints concerning the antisemitic incidents reported by party members in interviews in the programme. Labour stands in solidarity with Jewish people and is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.“Despite claims made in the programme, Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism. Since Jennie Formby became general secretary the rate at which antisemitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold. We will build on the improvements to our procedures made under Jennie Formby, and continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.”Tags:Jeremy Corbyn /Antisemitism /BBC Panorama / The Panorama episode titled ‘Is Labour antisemitic?’ aired tonight on BBC One. It chronicled incidents relating to antisemitism within the Labour Party since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader in 2015, covering both previously reported news stories – such as the Kayla Bibby case – and new claims by members and former staffers, covered in detail on LabourList earlier.The claimsThe programme focussed on Corbyn’s communications director Seamus Milne, who was quoted as writing in an email to HQ that “something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism… I think going forward we need to review where and how we’re drawing the line”.However, a Labour spokesperson said Panorama had “deliberately misrepresented this correspondence” as the full sentence read: “But if we’re more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism.”The email was interpreted as “an instruction” and “the leader’s office requesting to be involved directly in the disciplinary process”, according to Sam Matthews, who was head of disputes at the time. Matthews also told Panorama that he had considered attempting suicide at Southside HQ as a result of the working environment.Particular attention was also paid to the role of Thomas Gardiner, the head of Labour’s governance and legal unit. It was claimed in the film that he was given a veto over which antisemitism complaints were investigated, and former staffer Dan Hogan described him as a “representative” of the leader’s office in Labour HQ. But Labour strongly denied any suggestion that he was a ‘political overseeer’.The contributorsJeremy Corbyn did not contribute to the programme himself. Instead, frontbencher Andrew Gwynne – often seen as one of the more ‘centrist’ shadow cabinet members (in Labour terms) – was sent as a representative of the party. When asked whether 15 expulsions of antisemites over three years was sufficient evidence of Labour having “dealt with this crisis”, Gwynne explained that many cases are still ongoing and that some members going through the disciplinary process leave the party before their case is concluded. “15 fewer racists and people who hold obnoxious views, I think, is important,” he said. “We are serious about getting shot of this problem.”On the subject of whether the Labour leader is personally antisemitic, the frontbencher said: “I don’t believe that Jeremy is antisemitic… He is a passionate believer in equality, in ensuring that hatred and intolerance is tackled.” Gwynne was criticised by a Labour councillor on Twitter for his contribution to the episode. He replied to the tweet with an extract of the interview transcript, but this only attracted further reproval.The programme also featured Louise Ellman MP and author Dave Rich, as well as Labour activists including Izzy Lenga, Rachel Megan Barker, Joshua Garfield, Rebecca Filer and Phil Rosenberg, who spoke about antisemitic behaviour at local party meetings such as Holocaust denial. Some Corbynites such as Umaar Kazmi commented that these contributors were not on the left of the party, while many other members and MPs including Stella Creasy praised them for speaking out.The reactionsEarlier on Wednesday evening, Huffington Post UK’s Paul Waugh revealed a memo apparently sent to the Labour leadership’s media ‘outriders’, which included a recommendation to “Amplify. Amplify. Amplify.” the Channel 4 Dispatches on Tory Islamophobia also airing tonight. It also advised recipients to refrain from criticising “the Labour right or [Tom] Watson”.A number of Corbyn supporters doubted the authenticity of the briefing, but Waugh reported that it was “sent to ‘digital outriders’, who are a network of… Corbyn’s most loyal and active ‘grassroots’ supporters online” and not to journalists or commentators such as Owen Jones.High-profile Corbynites such as Matt Zarb-Cousin dismissed the claims made in the programme, accusing it of misrepresenting facts and doctoring leaked emails. In contrast, deputy leader Tom Watson reacting to the episode saying he was “shocked, chilled and appalled” and stated that there were “very serious questions to be answered urgently”.Watson tweeted: “Hearing the testimony of party members and former staff was harrowing. They are not “disaffected”, they have been incredibly brave. Very serious questions now have to be answered.”Similarly referring to the Labour spokesperson quotes issued in response to the programme, ‘soft left’ backbench MP Lisa Nandy tweeted: “I know some of the staffers on tonight’s Panorama. They joined the Labour Party, like me and most party members, because they hate racism as much as they hate poverty. A statement accusing them of having “political axes to grind” is deeply wrong and indefensible.”Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, sent an email to all members of the organisation with the subject line ‘Panorama: racism laid bare’. He wrote: “After seeing tonight’s programme, no one can doubt that Labour is institutionally racist against Jews… We must see action – sackings, suspensions and CLPs put in special measures.”During the programme, Labour Press Team tweeted: “We completely reject any claim that Labour is antisemitic. We stand in solidarity with Jewish people…” and added: “Allegations of interference in Jackie Walker case are entirely untrue. Former staffer delayed, Jennie Formby urged speed.”As it came to an end, the same official account also tweeted that the programme was “proof… that the Labour Party IS institutionally racist”. The tweet was soon deleted and another was posted saying that the account had been hacked.
ST.HELENS have sold more than 15000 tickets for the Official Opening Game at Langtree Park.As it is expected that the attendance limit will be 17000 – as it is the first competitive game at Langtree Park – fans are urged to secure their tickets as soon as possible.The entire East Stand has been reserved for St.Helens fans, in addition to the West Stand which is sold out, to accommodate demand.The match kicks off at 8pm on Friday February 10 and you can secure your ticket by calling into the ticket office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 050 or by logging on to www.saintssuperstore.comYou can save £1.50 by buying in advance.The game is ALL TICKET.
A Super League Press Conference today unveiled Robert Elstone as the newly appointed CEO of Super League.Saints Chairman, Eamonn McManus participated in the press conference in his capacity as a director of Super League. He commented as follows.“Super League is thrilled to announce the appointment of Robert Elstone as our new CEO. His proven professional background at the highest levels of sport, the media and commerce is complemented by a burning passion for, and deep knowledge of, our sport. I have never known Super League clubs to be more unified and to have such a sense of purpose to improve the quality, performance and value of Super League.“To achieve this we must have a dedicated senior professional staff whose only focus is to improve Super League in every respect, and also to work with our governing body, the RFL, in ensuring that the wider game benefits consequently.“The vast majority of Super League clubs strongly believe that the previous singular and overreaching management of the RFL of all aspects and all components of rugby league, including Super League, resulted in too many serious conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency and adequate accountability. This has resulted in a consequent commercial underperformance of the principal commercial driver of our sport, namely Super League.“Very constructive discussions have taken place between the boards Super League and of the RFL in recent months. The RFL recognises that a new and more focused approach will be adopted by Super League and that a new direction of travel has justifiable merit. We continue our collaborative approach with the RFL in the interests of both Super League and rugby league.“The appointment of a new, highly capable, respected and experienced senior executive in Robert Elstone represents a first and critical step to produce a bigger, better and brighter future for Super League. He and his team will be dedicated to improving every aspect of Super League including higher playing standards, a better spectacle, more spectators, more and better commercial partners and a higher media valuation. He has the full support of the board of Super League who appointed him, and who are absolutely confident in him and in the dedicated focus which he will bring to our business.“Our vision and strategy will be unashamedly Super League led, as it is by far the principal commercial driver and funder of our sport: it needs to be strengthened and maximised. A dedicated management, led by Robert, is critical to the delivery of a thriving and more strongly funded Super League which in turn will benefit the wider game.”
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Bitty and Beau’s Coffee opened its doors less than two years ago. Amy Wright and her husband opened it to honor and empower people like their kids who both have Down Syndrome. Tonight, their effort to empower those with disabilities earned her the CNN Hero of the Year award.Wright was named the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year for her efforts as an advocate for disabled people. Bitty and Beau’s employs upwards to 40 people, most with some form of disability. Amy Wright has just been named CNN Hero of the Year. She’s a mom to two kids with Down syndrome who employs 40 people with disabilities at her coffee shop https://t.co/42oklxZYQb #CNNHeroes pic.twitter.com/ZNPofr467l— CNN Heroes (@CNNHeroes) December 18, 2017“People with disabilities have been in the shadow for too long. But no more. Thank you CNN for this incredible honor,” Wright said.She will receive $100,000 to grow her cause. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2017 will receive a $10,000 cash award. Donations made to nonprofit organizations designated by each Hero are also being matched up to $50,000. Many people from the community came out to congratulate the shop.“It was unbelievable. Everyone came in. It was really packed. Everyone was congratulating us. And it was just really, really awesome,” Christina Dinardo, a barista, said.“My employees are not broken; 200 million people across the world living with an intellectual or developmental disability are not broken,” Wright said Sunday night as she was accepting her top 10 CNN Hero award.
Hill has struggled with eating disorders herself and she wanted to bring awareness to the issue in her hometown.She says about 150 people showed up and she saw a lot of emotion on their faces as she told her story.“I think it helps for people to see somebody who’s been through it and gotten to the other side and seeing that there is hope,” Hill said. “Also for family members, to see my mom up there talking about her experience, it can give them some hope for their child as well.”As a ceremonial end to the walk, attendees were invited to grab a baseball bat and smash body weight scales.Hill says she plans to make the NEDA Walk an annual event. NEDA Walk coordinator Lauren Hill leads attendees around Wrightsville Beach Park (Photo: Justin McKee/WWAY) WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — People braved the cool and windy weather Saturday morning at Wrightsville Beach Park to go for a walk, all in support of the National Eating Disorders Association.This was the first walk of its kind in the Wilmington area and it was organized by Port City native Lauren Hill.- Advertisement –
LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Hundreds came out for the 15th annual Leland Under the Lights car show Saturday at Brunswick Forest.There were more than 200 cars at the event. Some for show. Some for sale.- Advertisement – Organizers gave out 14 awards all sponsored by local business.The event is sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.
Kevin Costner (left) and Woody Harrelson star as detectives hunting down Bonnie and Clyde in “The Highwaymen.” (Photo: Netflix) WILMINGTON, NC (StarNews) — Netflix is making a big push for its film “The Highwaymen,” which stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as 1934 lawmen hunting down the notorious robbers and killers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.While the big-name actors command the lion’s share of the screen time, a couple of Wilmington actors landed prominent roles, and multiple lines, in the film as well. “The Highwaymen” shot about a year ago, largely outside New Orleans.- Advertisement – Longtime Wilmington actor and director Steve Vernon plays a bemused gun shop owner who must assemble a comically massive order for Costner’s character, a retired Texas lawman pressed back into service to hunt down the outlaws. Vernon, who’s also the artistic director for Big Dawg Productions, recently hosted the StarNews Wilmington Theater Awards with Randy Davis.And Wilmington actor and restaurateur Justin Smith, who’s also the artistic director of Opera House Theatre Co., scores a prominent role as a rural gas station attendant roughed up by Costner and Harrelson.Read more here.
Kelly Dwayne Hamilton (Photo: District Attorney’s Office) BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Bladen County man will spend up to 26 years in prison for shooting and killing a woman inside his home in Bladenboro.According to a news release from the Bladen County District Attorney’s Office, Kelly Dwayne Hamilton, 47, pleaded guilty to second degree murder on Wednesday. He received his sentence following a hearing that lasted more than three hours and featured emotional testimony.- Advertisement – The case stemmed from a 2016 shooting. Investigators say at 3:00 a.m. on February 11, Hamilton called 911 and said his friend, Crystal McLamb, had been accidentally shot.Authorities arrived and found McLamb dead on the couch with a gunshot wound to the face. Hamilton maintained that he had left a loaded Taurus Judge revolver on the coffee table and that McLamb accidentally shot herself while picking up the gun.However, a crime scene investigation revealed that two shots had been fired within the living room. Evidence collected from the scene indicated that Hamilton had replaced one of the two spent shell casings with an unfired round.Related Article: WikiLeaks’ Assange arrested in London; US charge unveiledA spent shell casing was later found hidden underneath a mattress in Hamilton’s bedroom. Ballistic testing confirmed that the hidden shell casing had been fired from the murder weapon.Hamilton was taken in for questioning regarding the shooting and gave statements to law enforcement that conflicted with the physical evidence found at the home. Following further investigation, Hamilton was arrested and taken into custody for McLamb’s murder.