Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

More than a million better-off families will lose some or all of their child benefit, under changes which came into force at midnight.

Over a million UK families are set to be hit by one of the most significant changes to the amount of child benefit they will receive. The new rules, introduced by the coalition government mean that where one parent earns more than £50,000 per year they will lose part of their child benefit with incremental reductions up to those who earn £60,000 when it will be completely cut.

Quite rightly Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the government should tax the richest, rather than make changes that affect those on middle incomes, and described the changes as a “complete shambles”. Families where both parents earn £49,000 a year will be completely unaffected by the cut and will be able to keep their benefit.

You can read more on this here.

Tory Prime Minister David Cameron appeared on the Andrew Marr show yesterday. Questioned on relation to Europe he agreed that being in the single market gives us ‘a seat at the table’ and means we have far greater negotiating powers.

But Marr masterfully tackled Cameron further and suggested he wished to cherry pick certain things that Britain could be part of, and repatriate powers over the things he didn’t. “The problem” Marr said, “is that you need every other member of the EU to agree, and that’s not going to happen is it?” Showing he has still failed to understand properly how the EU works, Cameron responded; “it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible.”

Marr insisted that any form of repatriation or re negotiation of powers would be an extremely difficult and long process. Cameron refused to be drawn on the specifics and simply said he’ll reveal further details during his ‘big Europe speech’ which he will deliver later in the month. So watch this space for his big plan…

You can watch his interview in full here for the next six days.

Hilary Clinton has left hospital having suffered a cranial blood clot. The next presidential election will not be held until 2016, by which time she will be fully recovered, of course.

Yet commentators are already raising questions-as she left hospital-regarding her ability to stand as the Democratic Presidential candidate for the 2016 election, even though her doctors confirmed she will make a full recovery.

She has consistently denied that she intends to stand but that hasn’t stopped speculation. The Daily Mail reported that at “67, detractors have claimed Clinton’s advancing age and health make her too old to realistically serve as a two-term president were she elected in 2016.” You can read this here.

I don’t recall such intense scrutiny over the age of John McCain who was a Republican Presidential nominee for the 2008 Presidential election at the age of 71, or Ronald Regan who was 70 years of age when he first took office.

Women of Cairo take to the streets

Labour Party

Thousands of women took to the streets in Cairo yesterday to protest their treatment at the hands of the security forces.

The protests were in part a reaction to horrific images of a woman being beaten and stripped during clashes in Tahrir Square.  There have also been reports of virginity tests being given to female protestors who have been detained in the last few months, as well as sexual harassment and intimidation.

This is at a time when as many as 13 protestors have been killed in clashes with the armed forces.

It is very sad that the promise that was given earlier this year for a free and democratic Egypt is now under threat from a military that don’t seem to understand the feelings of the Egyptian people.  From the footage of yesterday’s march it seems that women from all walks of life were involved, and they were accompanied by a large contingent of men.

The events in Egypt recently are very sad but the sight of women who refuse to be cowed by the oppressive methods used by the military is very heartening.  During the Arab Spring it was always interesting to see the involvement of women in the uprisings, with some of the most prominent figures being female.

In fact, one of the recent recipients of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize was an Egyptian woman, Asmaa Mahfouz, who helped organise protests earlier this year.

Hilary Clinton spoke on this issue recently during a lecture to Georgetown University. She said:

“This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonours the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people”.

I couldn’t agree more.  The only way the dream of freedom and democracy will be fully realised anywhere in the world is with men and women standing side by side as equals.  This is something that the protestors yesterday clearly understood and I can only hope that the current military regime will listen.