Meet the Founders

Tim Llewellyn

Tim worked as BBC Middle East Affairs Correspondent in Beirut and later Nicosia between 1976 and 1980, and 1987 and 1992. Thereafter he wrote and broadcast as a freelancer for the BBC and other organisations and publications on Middle East matters, especially Palestine, Israel and Lebanon.

 

Tim is also the author of Spirit of the Phoenix: Beirut and the Story of Lebanon, published by I.B.Tauris.   He is a leading critic of the British media and particularly broadcasting coverage of the Israel/Palestine question over the past 40 years, and important contributor to the Balfour Project - see HERE.

 

Tim has been a member of the Labour Party for around 50 years.

Tim Llewellyn, former BBC Middle East Affairs Correspondent

Miranda Pinch 

Miranda's mother was a secular Jewish refugee from the Sudetenland, who was horrified at what was being done to the native Palestinians in her name as a Jew. It was because of her mother that Miranda developed her interest in, and later passion for, human rights.

In 2009 Miranda spent 3 months in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills as part of an international monitoring team. He role included accompanying Palestinians, especially children, through checkpoints. She worked alongside Jewish human rights groups, as well as with Christians and Muslims, all of whom were seeking an end to the Israeli occupation and the application of human rights, equality and international law for all.

Miranda returns to Israel/Palestine almost every year, and between 2017 and 2019 produced the film 'From Balfour to Banksy - Divisions and Visions in Palestine' . She works closely with several human rights organisations including The Balfour Project, and edits a page for its website on the British Government's position.

As a Liberal Democrat, Miranda attended the Home Affairs Committee enquiry of 2016 into antisemitism, along with representatives from Labour and SNP, but was shocked to find that their testimonies were not included in the final report.

 

Miranda believes that public debate based on education, the sharing of facts and free speech are essential to counter misrepresentation, propaganda and even lies that are being fed to the public. Indeed, she sees this behaviour as achieving short-term ends and military advantage at the expense of the Law, humanity and the environment.

Miranda Pinch, human rights campaigner & daughter of a Holocaust survivor

Rodney Watts ​

With a Ph.D. in Medical Biochemistry from Birmingham University, Rodney held several research fellowships and was honorary NHS senior biochemist.  He made a landmark contribution to public health, influencing Bibby to supply farmers with rape seed of low toxicity, and consulted on European food safety regulations. His training led to an everyday ethic of evidence-based reporting and conclusions.
 

His lifelong interest in human rights and international relations started in 1954 when, aged 14, he took part in an Anglo-German reconciliation exchange. He combatted racial prejudice in Birmingham, and representing the United Nations Association, successfully lobbied the Labour Party to bring forward the Race Relations Act of 1965.  He moreover struck a strong rapport with the Birmingham Evening Mail to counteract the effects of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech of 1968.

 

As a result of this work, particularly among youth, he switched career to school and college teaching, becoming active with the teachers’ union (NASUWT), where he was effective in lobbying for changes in Health and Safety (H&S) legislation regarding bullying and interpersonal relationships.


For about 39 years, Rodney was active with the Liberals and then the Lib Dems, serving as a parish councillor and branch chairman in Devon. However, he twice discontinued membership over the last decade, firstly over student fees, and more recently due to the party leadership’s statements about ‘antisemitism’.  Here he found them denigrating Labour and Corbyn with evidence-lite accusations, and censoring debate about this topic on the party’s discussion forums. 

 

Rodney is partly Jewish and is appalled by the weaponisation of antisemitism accusations for political purposes. Prior to leaving the Liberal Democrats he worked alongside Jonathan and others to hold the party to higher standards of integrity in this domain. They now recognise this problem as too large to be dealt with internally within the Liberal Democrats and have joined with people of other political persuasions to address it as a national problem through the work of CAMPAIN.

Dr Rodney Watts

Jonathan Coulter

Jonathan is retired after a career as an economist in overseas development, involving much travel. Since 1998 he has grown increasingly concerned about Middle Eastern affairs and the way these are being reported in the UK. In 2016, he led a group complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) about Murdoch newspapers’ misreporting about a meeting in the House of Lords, and then lodged a Judicial Review (JR) against IPSO with the support of the Hacked-Off Campaign. While the JR proved unsuccessful, it turned Jonathan into an advocate for independent regulation of the British press, to ensure newspapers stick more closely to the facts and reduce editors’ and reporters’ scope for pushing preferred narratives to the point that they crowd out alternative views.

From 2016 to 2018, Jonathan was Newsletter Editor for ‘Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine’, and since then has campaigned for freedom of expression within the Liberal Democrats party and the country. Read more in Jonathan’s blog, and watch his speech of 12 December 2020 at the Launch Rally of the Campaign for Free Speech.

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Nigel Scott

Nigel Scott has been a Liberal and Liberal Democrat for over fifty years. His interest in civil liberties was kindled by the life and death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Until his recent retirement he was Head of Information for a sexual health charity. He has been involved in numerous campaigns, as varied as securing a new secondary school in Haringey (where he is still a governor), and successfully fighting to keep a tube station open for the use of a local disabled population during refurbishment - the first time that TfL has been forced to rethink a temporary closure..

 

He became aware of the online fake news phenomenon when fighting the Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito miscarriage of justice, writing articles for a transnational innocence group. Using this experience he co-wrote "Three False Convictions, Many Lessons: The Psychopathology of Unjust Prosecutions" with Dr David C. Anderson (Waterside Press, 2016). The book advocates for judicial reform and explains how dishonest reporting prejudices trials.

He is currently supporting gender critical feminists in the Liberal Democrats who are defending women's sex based rights as set out in the 2010 Equality Act.

 

He lives in London and is married, with two adult sons.  Blog: nigelscott.co.uk

Nigel Scott