Will new law provide welcome relief for Oldham Council?

Screenshot 2022-08-08 at 10.37.13

After a sustained, vitriolic, highly personalised campaign of abuse against a large number of their elected Members and paid officers, some relief for Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council may soon be in sight.

Former journalist and Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett (pictured above), who now sits as Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle recently asked this written question of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that the Online Safety Bill will protect local councillors and council employees at all levels of local government from online abuse”.

The response came from Stephen Parkinson, a former Political Secretary to the Prime Minister of the day, Theresa May (2016-19) and more latterly known as Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay

“The Online Safety Bill will protect all users, including local councillors and council employees, from abuse online.

“Services in scope of the Bill will need to ensure that illegal content in scope is removed swiftly and that the risk of it appearing and spreading is minimised by effective systems. Category one services must be clear how they address priority content that is harmful to adults, and enforce their terms of service consistently. Priority categories of content which are harmful to adults and children will be set out in secondary legislation and are likely to include some types of online abuse and harassment.

“Ofcom will have a suite of enforcement powers available to use against companies [social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook] who fail their duties. These powers include fines for companies of up to £18 million or 10% of qualifying annual global turnover, and business disruption measures”.

For Oldham Council, whose politicians and employees have suffered greatly at the hands of a small but deeply unpleasant group known widely as Raja’s Rabble, or The Rabble as they prefer to self-style, and their eponymous leader, an unemployed and disgraced conspiracy theorist from neighbouring Tameside, Raja Miah, aided by an ‘anything goes’ social media ‘free for all’ permitted by their USA based operators.

Although Miah’s infamous Recusant Nine platform has been frequently banned, and for periods up to five weeks, he is allowed to return time and again to continue his accusations and his very largely evidence-free allegations of corruption, cover-up and paedophile protection. Accompanied by lurid, but as yet unsubstantiated, tales of Asian cartels, mobsters, gangsters and goons involved in covering up child sex abuse, election rigging, attempted murder, kidnap and punishment beatings.

Miah faces a criminal trial at Manchester Magistrates’ Court next week, but this action concerns the alleged harassment of a 39 year old lawyer from Salford, who is unconnected to OMBC. The Malicious Beggar, as he is known on social media (read more here), has pleaded not guilty. He also claims that his arrest, during a dawn raid in July, 2021, was ‘politically motivated’ (read more here).

The Rabble have indicated on the R9 Facebook page that they are attending court in force ‘in a show of solidarity’. The police and court staff have both been alerted to this eventuality following disgraceful scenes of public disorder caused by them at two recent Oldham Council meetings (read more here). Any attempt to disrupt a criminal trial is likely to have dire consequences. Three of the Rabble harassed a witness in the same trial before an earlier hearing in the same proceedings at Tameside Magistrates’ Court (read more here).

Page last updated Monday 8th August, 2022 at 1345hrs

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Picture credits: Oldham Council/MEN

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. 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 Media, 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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