This is not an appeal on my behalf. I’m writing to ask you to support an important legal battle between BBC Panorama reporter John Ware and the retired ITV current affairs producer and investigative journalist, Paddy French, for criticisms he made of the July 2019 Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?
Paddy French is an investigative journalist with more than four decades experience. He founded and edited the Welsh magazine Rebecca (known for its uncompromising Corruption Supplement) in the 1970s. He then went on to become an independent TV producer making programme for Channel 4, the BBC and ITV before joining ITV Wales as a staff producer.
The case is John Ware v Paddy French, QB-2020-002233.
Ware is suing Paddy for £50,000 over criticisms he made of the July 2019 Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?”
I am sure you will remember this BBC propaganda programme. You can refresh your memory with the two blog posts I did here and here.
Ware is a former Sun journalist, a racist and Islamaphobe, who is on the record as saying in the Jewish Chronicle of 26.7.13. (where else!) that whereas anti-Semitism is ‘entirely irrational’ Islamaphobia, if it exists, is ‘reactive’. It is no wonder that Ware won the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s Islamaphobe of the Year award in 2005.
Is Labour Anti-Semitic opened with an Oscar winning performance by Ella Rose, Director of the Jewish Labour Movement and former employee at the Israeli Embassy. Of course the programme mentioned none of this. I don’t know how many takes Rose took but her performance demonstrated that she has chosen the wrong career. Not mentioned in Ware’s propaganda programme was the fact that every witness to ‘anti-Semitism’ that appeared just happened to be officers of the Jewish Labour Movement, who openly describe themselves as the ‘sister party’ of the racist Israeli Labor Party, that is present in a coalition with the far-Right in Israel.
After retiring, Paddy launched Press Gang [press-gang.org], a website which “exposes rogue journalism”. And there is no bigger rogue that John Ware, a man who makes Keir Starmer seem like a model of truthfulness.
Paddy carried out the investigation which proved that News of the World investigations editor Mazher “Fake Sheik” Mahmood lied to the Leveson Inquiry about the number of convictions he’d achieved. He also published a long exposé of Piers Morgan.
Just before the 2019 general election, Paddy — at the time a Labour Party member and a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn — published a Press Gang pamphlet called “Is The BBC Anti-Labour?”
This was a broad critique of Ware’s Panorama programme and how it failed to meet the standards required by the BBC’s own editorial standards. You can read it here:
The case, already a year old, is now moving to trial.
Ware v French presents a unique opportunity to correct the historical record, as well as a risk – however small – that Ware will be able to bully Paddy’s legal team into submission. It is imperative that Paddy is not at any point pressured into an unfavourable settlement solely because his legal team are unable to bear mounting costs.
Paddy is determined to defend himself all the way and willing to risk both his property and livelihood in doing so. But if his legal team were at any point to advise entering into an unfavourable settlement, it will be difficult for Paddy to resist on a No Win No Fee arrangement. Such an outcome will then of course be used as ‘vindication’ by Ware and the BBC, with damaging consequences for wider efforts to correct the historical record. If, on the other hand, Paddy has the opportunity to mount his truth defence – or if Ware was to withdraw from the action – this case could potentially be a powerful check against on-going attacks on progressive left politics.
The case will be the only chance we get to have a forensic examination of how John Ware, Panorama and the BBC came to make a programme that was so outrageously biased. Although titled ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ the only concession that the BBC made to me during a lengthy complaint was to admit that the question mark in the title was unnecessary. The programme had formed an opinion from the outset and that was that Labour was anti-Semitic.
This programme was a classic example of how, when a radical leader is under attack, you can count on the BBC to represent the Britain’s racist establishment. It did this with a reporter who is an open Islamaphobe.
Paddy is represented by the experienced solicitors Bindmans and the barristers Hugh Tomlinson QC and Darryl Hutcheon.
He needs at least £200,000 to be able to bring the case to trial.
His crowdfunder has raised nearly £30,000 from more than a thousand supporters.
In addition, private donors are putting up a further £60-70,000.
Before turning his attention to Ware, Paddy, together with Professor Brian Cathcart, one of the founders of Hacked Off , produced a devastating report on the unscrupulous anti-Muslim reporting of the Times’ journalist Andrew Norfolk. The Times was so stung that it took the highly unusual step of attacking Paddy and Brian in an editorial.
Paddy then began a long series of articles about John Ware’s Panorama programme. One of these articles led to Ware issuing his writ demanding £50,000 damages.
If you want to find out more, here’s a link to get started: