Disgraced hyper-local party mired in yet more controversy

Failsworth-Independent-Party-Launch-1

Scandal-hit Failsworth Independent Party, never far from headlines in the local, regional and national press, face more controversy as two of their more recent bids to silence their opponents and critics appear set not only to fail, but backfire spectacularly.

The thrust of much of the press coverage, and several articles elsewhere on this website, is that a lengthy, escalating, deeply unpleasant smear campaign against both the local Labour Party and Sean Fielding, the Leader of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, saw the latter narrowly lose his Failsworth West seat at the local elections in May, 2021.

The FIPs also displaced Liz Jacques, previously the Labour Party’s elected representative in Failsworth East.

The successful candidates at the Failsworth polls were Mark Wilkinson and Neil Hindle respectively. The former is the wife of Kathleen Wilkinson, the FIPs Chairwoman and directing mind. They joined Brian Hobin, who was elected to the Council in May 2019. He later teamed up with the FIPs at their launch in February, 2020 to become their first councillor.

Cllr Hobin is a convicted fraudster, robbing vulnerable old ladies to feed a gambling habit. The conviction is spent and would not normally re-surface in an article such as this, except that the public interest in his own notably vile and reckless conduct towards others, as a local councillor, simply invites, by way of balance, attention to matters in his own past.

A Party without policies

Almost since the inception of their Party, there has not been, apart from ‘We hate Labour and especially Sean Fielding’, much more in the way of policy other than this single thrust to their campaigning: Promotion of a narrative that has little basis in facts or evidence and, in short, alleges that almost the entire Oldham Council, including paid officers as well as elected Members, together with partner agencies and the entire Q Division of Greater Manchester Police force, covered up child sex abuse for over two decades in Oldham.

A parallel allegation is that the ‘cover-up’ enabled Labour councillors to win seats in Oldham wards where Asian votes were concentrated. Accompanied by other lurid, and again evidence-free, tales of gangsters, mobsters, vigilantes, bribed journalists, ‘Pakistani goons’, ‘Asian cartels’, ‘no-go’ areas for whites, and mass postal vote fraud in the same wards where the child grooming was allegedly taking place. Many Muslims in the town were, rightly, incensed that an entire community could be so recklessly smeared in this way.

Get The White Vote Angry

A series of highly emotive, grotesque notions that were unpicked in November, 2020, in an extensive, forensic piece published elsewhere on this website headlined ‘Get The White Vote Angry‘ (read in full here).

It is not irrelevant to point out that the Failsworth ward, at the last census, had a population that was 95% white and has a small but angry, deeply unpleasant and vociferous caucus of white middle aged men, led by two convicted criminals and a group of their far-right associates, relentlessly pushing the CSE ‘cover-up’ narrative and other tropes standard to those of that political orientation. They appear to have found a natural home in the Failsworth Independent Party and its associated social media platforms.

Just two weeks before the ‘Get The White Vote Angry’ article appeared, Brian Hobin had made the first of his two appearances on the now infamous Recusant Nine podcasts operated on Facebook by the thoroughly disgraced, self-styled Tameside political activist, Raja Miah, who is the originator and principal propagandist of the hateful, divisive and false claims about the Asian communities in Oldham.

Miah is presently on extended bail over suspicions of racially aggravated public order and malicious communications offences. He is also subject to an overnight curfew. A ‘dawn raid’ arrest was executed on 23rd July, 2021 as part of Operation Hexagon, an investigation into child sex abuse allegations. All his electronic devices were seized in a search of his home following the arrest. Raja Miah strongly denies any wrongdoing and claims his arrest was ‘politically motivated’ (read more here).

Repeatedly asked to produce his evidence, or take his claimed ‘dossier’ to the police or other appropriate authorities such as the Operation Hexagon detectives, or independent Child Sexual Exploitation Assurance Review that took place between November 2019 and July 2021 and was led by two of the leading specialist investigators in the country, the highly acclaimed Malcolm Newsam and Gary Ridgeway, Miah refuses point blank. Claiming that he doesn’t trust any of them and that Hexagon and the Assurance Review are set up to fail and will be a ‘whitewash’ of his CSE ‘cover-up’ allegations.

The first Hobin/Miah podcast was taken down as a result of at least two defamation complaints against Miah’s Recusant Nine platform, but the two shameless propagandists repeated the dose in April, 2021 in a special programme arranged for the single purpose of promoting the CSE ‘cover-up’ narrative. That broadcast is still accessible, even though Miah’s Facebook platform is presently suspended, following the latest in a lengthening series of bans by the giant social media operator.

The previous ban ran from 7th May, 2021 for five weeks, following a complaint made by the author of this article, Neil Wilby, against what was one of a prior and lengthy series of defamatory, harassing posts.

Both Mark and Kath Wilkinson, whom have, along with the latter’s elder daughter, Rachel Brotherton, subscription-funded Raja Miah, also appeared on Recusant Nine podcasts as star guests in the latter months of 2020. Those payments to Miah, along with around a hundred other subscribers, funded Facebook advertisements which promoted the far-right tropes upon which the entire Recusant Nine narrative is grounded.

Perversely, and conversely, the Wilkinsons claim that they have no far-right associations.

Careful and specialist analysis by Foreign Office diplomat, Hamish Falconer, working on secondment with the highly respected Valent Projects, concluded that those highly controversial Recusant Nine adverts were, setting aside any other influencing factor, more than likely to have been the difference between success and failure for Mark Wilkinson in the Failsworth West election. The margin was just 191 votes (read the article in full here).

Miah and Recusant Nine, subsequently, and between more general bans from the platform, had their facilities for monetising content and circulating ads withdrawn by Facebook over concerns regarding the persistent and mendacious lies that were routinely posted on the page. Including, as a notable example, one prominent, long-serving Labour councillor, and former Mayor, being repeatedly reported as behaving improperly towards a minor. An entirely false, vicious, hugely damaging smear for which Miah was forced to apologise, withdraw the offending articles, post a further apology under a podcast during which the claims were repeated and pay an undisclosed sum to charity as a compromise, following legal action alleging defamation.

But none of all this truly shocking conduct has deterred the Failsworth Independent Party from affirming their support for Raja Miah. As recently as 22nd August, 2021 Mark Wilkinson stated on Twitter (corrected for syntax errors): “I still believe that a full investigation regarding CSE should have taken place, not a Review, for many reasons. Raja Miah is seeking to find out the truth, what’s the problem with that”.

He was asked this question, immediately afterwards, by another Twitter user, Dan Cheetham, “Hi, Mark Wilkinson. Can I press you on this? Do you support Raja Miah’s repeated claim that Oldham Labour politicians and/or GMP covered up CSE in exchange for ‘block votes’ from the Asian Community”. But, as happens on almost every occasion when Cllr Wilkinson is asked an awkward question, there follows only silence.

Sean Fielding did, however, contribute at this point with an enlightening post: “He [Mark Wilkinson] can’t comment because he allowed said person [Raja Miah] in to his Facebook group expressly to spread the rumour and poison the debate in Failsworth, such that Labour canvassers couldn’t campaign without being verbally abused and physically threatened”.

There was no answer to that post either from Mark Wilkinson, although he was ‘tagged’ in it.

Another Twitter user posited in the same thread: “Cllr Wilkinson has already given a definitive view, in his own words: Raja Miah won’t show his evidence, won’t go to the police (even with Mark). FIPs haven’t seen enough evidence to support Miah’s claims. Neither has anyone else for that matter”.

Interview with The Mill

But in an interview with Joshi Hermann (of on-line newspaper The Mill), on 22nd June, 2021, this was said, by Mark Wilkinson, on the topic of Raja Miah’s allegations about the council turning a blind eye to grooming gangs, ”To be honest, I don’t know a lot about that, so I think it would be unfair to comment”. Joshi did not press Mark (or Kath Wilkinson) as to why they allowed Miah’s evidence-free claims to be first posted in their Facebook page as far back as September, 2019. Or why neither of them, each giving the impression of being both highly inquisitive on other matters or people, never sought to make further enquiries. Or, alternatively, if such enquiries were made where was the published outcome?

This chimes, regrettably, with the fact that, during four lengthy podcasts, not one single question was asked of Miah, by any of the three FIP representatives, regarding grotesque failings at the Collective Free Spirit and Manchester Studio free schools where he was the founder, chief executive and directing mind – and over which he first came to widespread and adverse media attention.

The Wilkinsons cannot claim to ‘not know very much’ about those issues. Not least, because of the ugly and persistent vendetta waged by their friend, and political ally, against those whom he believes are involved in a widespread conspiracy, including headteachers, many former schoolteachers, teaching assistants (Kath Wilkinson’s younger daughter, Sarah Radcliffe, holds such a role in a Manchester school), parents, children, service providers, journalists, the newspapers or magazines that deploy them, civil servants, forensic accountants and two high profile MPs, that led to exposure of the reasons behind the schools firstly being placed in special measures and then collapsing.

The complaints relating to the schools are broadly in two areas; firstly, safeguarding and child protection failures, and secondly allegations of financial misconduct, including VAT fraud, with, in total, around £2.8 million of ‘missing’ funds still requiring a full explanation as to how they were extracted from the schools’ accounts. The safeguarding failures make very uncomfortable reading, as do the allegations of child sex abuse actually being perpetrated on school premises.

Miah, as ever, denies any wrongdoing, whatsoever, but the evidence against him, set out in a lengthy, detailed, appropriately referenced and unarguable public statement by Jim McMahon MP, in November, 2020, appears compelling (read in full here). But in a now well-developed style on virtually every topic he touches, only Raja can possibly be right; everyone else, therefore, must be both wrong and conspiring against him in full concert with one another. Jim is, and has been for two years, the main target of the Miah vendetta.

Equally compelling is the fact that Raja Miah was not challenged once, by either of the Wilkinsons, or Cllr Hobin, during those transmissions, over the probity of the evidence upon which not only was Miah’s own ‘cover-up CSE for votes’ smear campaign grounded, it was the core policy of their own Party and regularly deployed by the FIPs, and their supporters, to besmirch Mark Wilkinson’s election opponent, Sean Fielding, and the local Labour Party.

Neither, it seems, has Miah been challenged in any way since over the complete absence of evidence supporting their collective child sex abuse claims.

Bizarrely, and completely at odds with everything else uttered (or not uttered) publicly, Cllr Wilkinson also told the The Mill, in the June interview referred to earlier in this piece, that he was ‘perturbed by the lack of evidence’ supporting the grooming gang conspiracy theory, and, as a former police officer, he says he knew what he was looking for. He and wife Kathleen, they say, used to watch Miah’s podcasts on a laptop in their living room, and Mark, it is further claimed, was ‘always the voice of reason’ cautioning others not to believe claims that didn’t have proof attached.

An extensive search of the internet has not found a single post made publicly that supports that assertion.

It, also, didn’t stop them being one of the first people of any significance to re-post Miah’s incendiary, defamatory and almost entirely false claims in the Failsworth community forum they controlled. Or seek to curate the outrageous comments that flowed from it.

The focus, as always, was on removing any critical thinking within that group. It is the archetypical echo chamber dominated by rabidly anti-Labour members where racism and far right tropes are often not far from the surface.

The Wilkinsons also told The Mill that they wondered why Miah wasn’t working with law enforcement. At one point, Mark Wilkinson claims, he told Raja to take his file of evidence into the police: “I specifically wanted him to go into the police. I even said I’ll come with you.”

Miah refused. “When he wouldn’t do it, I felt let down to be honest,” says Mark.

Kathleen says she and her fellow members of the Failsworth Independent Party were also disappointed. “After offering all this support, we all sat in here (the Wilkinson’s living room is Party HQ) and said: ‘Why?’ If you’ve got proof, if you’ve got evidence, my God, you’ve got to go to the police and say”.

When asked again by Joshi Hermann if, as a former police officer and, presumably, part of the alleged force-wide GMP ‘cover-up’ of CSE, Mark Wilkinson had seen enough evidence to support the Miah claims about grooming gangs and block votes, he said “No”.

In one of a number of glaring interview omissions, Joshi fails to establish the dates of when this alleged questioning of Miah, by Mark Wilkinson, occurred – and the subsequent FIPs meeting took place. Timeline is always fundamental in a matrix as complex as this journalistic investigation throws up.

But, again, very little or none of this stacks up with materials and events that can be unearthed in the public domain. As set out earlier in this piece, the Wilkinsons and Brian Hobin were, between them, regulars on the infamous Recusant Nine podcasts between October, 2020 and April, 2021. The last one specially arranged, outwith the normal Sunday night pattern of broadcasting, and specifically covered the topic of the child sex abuse for votes conspiracy theory.

An independent observer can, therefore, readily deduce the importance of knowing when Raja Miah was allegedly questioned about the evidence behind the grooming gangs claims, by Mark Wilkinson, and when the subsequent meeting of the FIPs hierarchy took place, whom was present and were notes taken and action points developed. Such as withdrawing their association with Raja Miah and Recusant Nine until such times as evidence was produced and/or he co-operated with the relevant authorities.

That, very many people would argue, would have been an obvious and sensible precaution to take. Yet, as outlined earlier in this piece, as recently as late August, 2021, Mark Wilkinson is stating plainly on social media that he continues to support what he characterises, in plain terms, as ‘a search for the truth’ by Miah. That does not sit at all well with what he told The Mill.

Yet another embarrassing episode

In the same month, August 2021, Cllr Hobin again demonstrated his almost boundless capacity to embarrass both himself and his Party with a futile appeal for an ’emergency recall of Full Council’ (read more here). Interestingly, it followed almost exactly the lines of dissent that had been pushed in the preceding weeks by Raja Miah, before and after his arrest. To the extent that it gave the appearance that the FIPs were, in fact, in the control of this despicable individual.

Or, at the very least, repaying a debt of gratitude over his pivotal role in the winning of the two FIPs seats, and claiming the prize scalp of Sean Fielding, at the May elections.

Central to the Hobin (or Miah proxy) call for the ’emergency meeting’ was, of course, the alleged grooming gang ‘cover-up’.

For his trouble, a forensic, excoriating take-down of Cllr Hobin ‘s ludicrous appeal, highlighting its bizarre nature and, more pertinently, an alarming, embarrassing lack of knowledge of police protocol and relevant Council procedures and constitution, put the FIPs Council Group Leader firmly in his place (read Cllr Shah’s letter in full here).

Angry scenes in the Council Chamber

Brian Hobin does have history on this class of conduct, of course: He brought a badly-drafted motion to the Council in November last year which, effectively, accused everyone else in the Chamber of covering up child sex abuse, notably the Leader at the time, Cllr Sean Fielding.

There were, very understandably, angry scenes amongst his fellow councillors at the Zoom-facilitated meeting and the motion was heavily, and unsurprisingly, crushed. This ill-starred venture, again, gave very much an appearance of Brian Hobin, and the FIPs, being lame proxies, fronting for Raja Miah, occurring just two weeks after their first Recusant Nine co-venture.

It was, on any independent view, an ugly, contemptible episode and a further indication of just how murky the Oldham political landscape had become.

Another proxy exercise?

Not to be outdone, and over and above his own limpet-like attachment to the thoroughly disgraced Raja Miah, Cllr Wilkinson has also very quickly demonstrated a similar capacity for, variously, embarrassing and offensive behaviour since his election to Oldham Council, a few short months ago: Following a truncated attempt to present what would have been his maiden speech (he attempted to hi-jack a section of the Agenda reserved for Cabinet Member questions) at the Full Council meeting on 14th July, 2021, in breach of protocol and in a misuse of the Council’s internal mail systems, he circulated the text of that intended oratory to all the other fifty-nine Oldham Councillors the following day.

It was nothing less than a sustained, spiteful, unvarnished attack on Sean Fielding. Completely absent of documents, or any other evidence, to support a series of astounding and, very arguably, defamatory allegations.

Yet again, it had the appearance of another proxy exercise (read his email in full here).

The Oldham Labour Group was, understandably, both disgusted and incensed. Its Council Members were immediately ‘whipped’ not to respond to the Wilkinson email in any way at all, either directly or via any other commentary.

The errant councillor claims he did receive some replies to the email, but, in some childish responses to questions on Twitter, refused to confirm how many. Asked if it was more than one or two, he said: “Wouldn’t you like to know?”. In answer to another question he responded, “I’m not telling you, you’re irrelevant’.

Well, yes, of course. It’s a public interest matter and you, Mark Wilkinson, are an elected representative – even though you don’t behave like one.

The Wilkinson email, widely believed to be the work of Kathleen, rather than Mark, has backfired on them and is now the subject of at least two Standards complaints to the Council. But, in reality, it should be a resignation and by-election issue. There is no place in society, let alone a Council chamber, for the class of behaviour and moral turpitude, that the Failsworth Independent Party, and a vociferous section of its supporters, bring to both their own town and the wider Borough.

Not least because the Wilkinsons and Brian Hobin have ‘previous’ for falsely, oppressively and publicly smearing the local Labour Party and Sean Fielding in particular.

The Cease and Desist fiascos

In another crudely put together communication, just two weeks before the local elections in May, purporting to be a legal ‘cease and desist’ letter, they made another series of crude, unsubstantiated, evidence-free allegations.

The missive was taken, dramatically, to the Fielding home by taxi, driven by Cllr Hobin, and its handing over noted in an equally damaging post on the Failsworth Matters Facebook page almost simultaneously. Within minutes, the same post appeared on the Recusant Nine platform. Once more, giving the appearance and, indeed, likelihood that it was a Raja Miah originated or, at the very least, co-ordinated plot.

Sean Fielding had the good sense to take the letter to a solicitor, who took it apart, forensically, paragraph by paragraph (read in full here). Albeit, in a very lawyerly manner, it mocked and humiliated the FIPs pretence that their communication had any legal effect, whatsoever. It also pointed out the seriousness, and consequences, of making grave allegations without an evidential foundation. A habit, it seems, deeply ingrained in the Party’s DNA.

Unremarkably, those same FIPs declined to post the Fielding response on in their Facebook forum and their ‘cease and desist’ concept was quietly dropped, for that moment at least. It was never mentioned again on Recusant Nine, either.

But, even after those repeated and shameful episodes, the Wilkinsons, and their increasingly isolated political party, decided to chance their arm, again, with another hopelessly misconceived venture into ‘cease and desist’ territory. This time with a poorly drafted, and error-riddled, solicitor’s letter to Neil Wilby, reputedly costing them just £400.

As with anything to do with the FIPs (and Raja Miah), it was well fed on self-righteousness and sententious piety but, most definitely, skinny on facts and evidence. Central to the various, and ludicrous, claims was that Neil Wilby is not an accredited journalist and that his reporting is not qualified on matters such as the FIPs clear breach(es) of the Data Protection Act, clear breach of at least one election pledge, clear breach of the Localism Act, false claims on their website, election expenses irregularities, and an alleged ‘long firm fraud’.

A subsidiary claim was that ‘a smear campaign’ was being run on this website, and on social media, grounded in an alleged friendship with Sean Fielding. The plain fact is there is no such association.

The letter did not make clear whether their solicitor, Darren McGuinness of Harold Stock and Co, was instructed by Mark Wilkinson as an elected representative of the Failsworth Independent Party or a private individual. It later purported to seek an undertaking on behalf of Kathleen Wilkinson, even though there was no evidence that the law firm had instructions from her.

As ever, and given the relevant history, the cease and desist letter is strongly suspected to be an ill thought out enterprise schemed up by Kath, with Mark adopting his familiar role as limp ‘front man’.

There also appeared to be a tension between what Harold Stock and Co claim on their  website and the position Mark Wilkinson presently finds himself in:

This is what Mr McGuinness’s firm says, boldly: “We seek to achieve the best possible results and ensure that our clients understand the commercial reality of their situation, whatever that may be”.

It was politely, and respectfully, pointed out that the commercial reality here is that Harold Stock and Co has encouraged their client to embark on a course that could be, potentially, very expensive for him in terms of adverse costs (upwards of £40,000 could be in issue if a non-complex harassment claim went to a final hearing) and, almost certainly, a further depletion of his fading reputation. To the extent, it was respectfully submitted, that both Mr McGuinness, and his firm, may well have over-reached in terms of their professional obligations to him.

Careful consideration was given to ignoring the Wilkinsons’ purported ‘cease and desist’ letter completely. But, having weighed matters in the balance, the scales were tipped in favour of public interest in a story about a disgraced councillor, and an even more damaged hyper-local party, using a local lawyer in a cut-price attempt to silence an accredited journalist.

As for accreditation, insofar as it was necessary to disavow both Mr McGuinness and Mark Wilkinson of the perception that what is written is not informed, or qualified, opinion, they were supplied with images of:

(i) Neil Wilby’s National Union of Journalists‘ press card. On the rear it carries the legend: ‘The holder is a newsgatherer authorised by the National Police Chiefs Council‘. It was pointed out that as a former police officer, Mark Wilkinson should, with average intelligence, understand the significance of that. He should also understand the gravity of further accreditation by HMCTS, CPS, and the MoJ (to cover sensitive criminal or civil trials). The NUJ is also the relevant professional body and trade union

(ii) Neil Wilby’s International Federation of Journalists‘ press card. At the risk of stating the obvious, it was pointed out that this credential is highly coveted, as any reasonably informed observer may know, or appreciate. Instead of Failsworth, next week the holder could be working in other war zones such as the Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Gaza. On the rear of the card it carries the legend: ‘The holder is a professional journalist and the IFJ request all authorities and affiliated organisations to extend courtesy and assistance in the performance of his or her mission’.

In that light, it is more than fair to class the holder of such credentials as an investigative journalist. It was pointed that if either Harold Stock and Co, or the Wilkinsons, wished to mount an appropriate legal challenge to that status then they were most welcome to do so.

It was also drawn to their attention that whether they care for, or agree with, what is written on this website, or on social media, is another matter entirely. The ancient test is, of course, ‘legal, decent and honest’. The more modern test is one of defamation, or engaging in a course of conduct that could be deemed harassing, either by way of civil tort or criminal offence.

In the Wilkinsons’ purported cease and desist letter, no issue of defamation or criminal allegations are raised. There is a speculative reference to a ‘campaign of harassment’ that is almost entirely absent of specification. There is, further, a reference to ‘seek restitution via the courts’. But, rather obliquely, no distinction is made between criminal or civil court.

Detailed responses were provided by Neil Wilby, on 8th September, 2021, to each and every allegation that was capable of being distilled from what was, at best, a muddled composition. They remain, for now, privileged until the matter is compromised, or until after a final hearing if the matter proceeds that far.

Mr McGuinness was, however, taken to a highly relevant and very recent legal authority and it was pointed out to him that, as an experienced litigator, he would know that successful ‘publication only’ claims of harassment are rare and exceptional, if they involve a journalist.

The case involved can be viewed in full at this link: McNally v Saunders [2021] EWHC 2012 (QB).

Briefly, Mr Julian Saunders, a retired solicitor turned citizen journalist (as opposed to a highly accredited journalist) successfully defended a claim brought by a Council monitoring officer earlier this year. Costs in this particular case topped £100,000. Mr Saunders obtained summary judgment, meaning the claimant had little or no possibility of succeeding at trial. Costs were awarded against Lisa McNally.

With regards to future articles on this website, and particularly those involving the Failsworth Independent Party, it was pointed out to Mr McGuinness that his client(s) will, as before, be offered right of reply. It is entirely a matter for them whether they ignore such an offer, as they have done on every occasion in the past. But he was invited to explain to them, as an experienced lawyer, that any future litigation grounded on such articles, in the light of such refusals, would be a perilous course, thereafter.

Conclusion

Finally, no apology is made for borrowing, and slightly adapting, these words of Jim McMcMahon MP:

In taking on this journalistic investigation in Oldham, no one could, reasonably, have foreseen the vengeance that would follow from Raja Miah and his associates. Which, of course, include, to a notable extent, the Failsworth Independent Party. It is well known that many decent people have been attacked, had their character dragged through the mud, and felt threatened and deeply affected by their actions. Particularly the vile, anonymous trolls that either gravitate to, or are closely associated with, the Recusant Nine and Failsworth Matters on-line platforms (and the other Raja Miah spin-off, the Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth Party or POOS as they are now widely known).

The author of this piece knows only too well the impact this can have, and the toll it can take, particularly on his family, close friends and colleagues, from being falsely and repeatedly called a nonce, paedophile, paedophile protector, cocksucker, arselicker, or falsely accused of being a convicted criminal, including committing offences with a minor or taking bribes from Oldham Council, its paid officials or elected Members, or associating with mobsters and gangsters.

Journalism is about a search for the truth. In this case it began with repeated and earnest requests by a retired senior police officer, Peter Jackson, to investigative what he perceived was industrial scale wrongdoing in Oldham. A town in which he served as a sergeant in the late 1990’s.

The claim, as rehearsed earlier in this piece, was that his own former police force, the town Council and their partner agencies had covered up child sex abuse in return for Asian block votes.

Like his former GMP colleague, Mark Wilkinson, Jacko has never produced a shred of evidence to support the claims, but still happily repeats the Raja Miah fact-free versions of ‘the truth’.

But the truth, when it was unearthed, was very different. The Get The White Vote Angry article, and the compelling evidence underpinning it, didn’t suit either his own axe-grinding or rabidly anti-Labour, anti-Andy Burnham political views.

Thus Jacko became seriously abusive towards those defending that truth – and continues to be one of Raja Miah’s biggest proponents.

But, even though this journalistic investigation should have ended months ago, the battleground became one of good against evil – and there is no intention, whatsoever, of letting down those who stand on the right side of this argument. Hate and division, as peddled relentlessly by Miah and his attendant Rabble has no place in a free, peaceful, democratic, diverse, integrated society.

Of course, what follows is now for the authorities to pursue and make their findings. It is sincerely hoped that they do so without fear or favour. Or bowing to the cranks that have brought wide-scale shame and ridicule to Oldham.

The Wilkinsons, Darren McGuinness of Harold Stock and Co and Sean Fielding were all offered right of reply to this article.

The latter responded promptly and indicated he was content to rely on the quote already attributed to him, via Twitter.

The emails offering right of reply to the Wilkinsons, and their lawyer, did not even receive an acknowledgement. There has also been no response to Neil Wilby’s email to Harold Stock and Co of 8th September, 2021. This follows the pattern of their previous ill-starred ‘cease and desist’ enterprise – when faced with push-back they cannot back up their evidence-free assertions.

A follow-up to this article, headlined ‘As Clear As Mud’, will be published on Monday 20th September, 2021. It will explore in considerable detail how, in the twenty one words contained in this website puff, the Failsworth Independent Party manages to tell five lies.

screenshot-2021-04-27-at-17.43.22-1

Page last updated at 1345hrs on Friday 17th September, 2021

Corrections: Please let me know if there is a mistake in this article. I will endeavour to correct it as soon as possible.

Right of reply: If you are mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let me have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory it will be added to the article.

Photo credit: Facebook – Failsworth First

© Neil Wilby 2015-2021. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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