Tag Archives: Panorama

Honeyball’s weekly round-up

The general election campaign is now in full swing and yesterday Labour announced plans to double the number of childcare places provided at Sure Start centres to more than 118,000.

The shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt promised to ‘save’ the Sure Start scheme. This would reverse a decision by the government in 2010 when they were freed from previous requirements to provide childcare, meaning that hundreds of the centres face the threat of closure and have had their funding cut. Indeed, Labour revealed that hundreds of centres were forced to close and others have reduced services as a result of the cuts.

In addition there are 720 fewer Sure Start centres than in 2010 and if it continues to fall at the current rate by the end of the next parliament, Labour warns that 38,000 fewer places will be available by the end of the next parliament.

Last week marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance on FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). The theme for day was “Mobilisation and Involvement of Health Personnel to Accelerate Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation”. Essentially this means stressing the importance health care professionals play in fighting this terrible and barbaric crime.

They have a duty to adopt and promote a zero tolerance attitude to FGM. This is of course just one part of the strategy. Urgent, but well thought out action has to be taken to stop the cycle being promoted from generation to generation, something Tanya Barron, chief executive of Plan UK has written about and stated before.

With the dedicated effort of all stakeholders, charities, governments, health care professionals and prosecutors the cycle can be broken. There is some hope, work carried out by charities such as Plan UK, have resulted in 60 communities declaring themselves free of FGM.

An investigation carried out by the BBC’s Panorama which will be broadcast tonight has found that the UK’s biggest bank, HSBC, helped and allowed its richest customers to dodge paying tax by allowing them to set up secret accounts in Switzerland.
HSBC, the UK’s biggest bank, helped rich customers to dodge paying tax by allowing them to set up secret accounts in Switzerland, according to a report last night. Following the investigation some £135m of unpaid tax and penalties have been handed over by those British citizens involved. You can see the film on BBC 1 tonight.  More exclusive details have been revealed on the front page of today’s Guardian.

Comments Off on Honeyball’s weekly round-up

Filed under Labour Party

England is the best country to host the World Cup

 

I have been following with interest the recent Panorama investigation in to leading figures within FIFA and the allegations of bribery.  It seems uncertain now whether or not this story will impact our bid for the 2018 World Cup, I hope it doesn’t and Michel Platini doesn’t think it will, but we have to maintain the BBC’s right to journalistic independence and if the allegations are true then they should certainly be exposed.  I think it would be wonderful for England to host the World Cup, just as it is such a boon for London to host the 2012 Olympics, but we can’t suppress the reporting of corruption just for the sake of this opportunity.

FIFA is obviously a very powerful, supranational organisation that maintains a massive amount of independence from governments around the world.  This is probably for the best, but looking at this situation made me think of the work that bodies such as the EU can do in terms making sport fairer and more accountable.  Within the next month or two the commission will be releasing a communication on sport that will put forward a number of proposals that will hopefully go some way to dealing with some of the major issues facing sport in Europe.  The first of these is player’s agents, which is something that has marred the reputation of some sports (I’m thinking of football in particular here) in recent years.  Due to the many levels of authority that exist in the sport world at the local, national and international level, you can see why there is so much confusion in the regulations surrounding the representation of athletes.  I think what we have to bear in mind is that people usually enter sport at a very young age and they need to be protected.  Hopefully their families can offer them support, but sometimes this is not enough.  Agents must be held to account and I think they should be required to pass exams and gain licences, which could be revoked for misconduct.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a licensing system run by FIFA or UEFA, or other relevant sporting bodies, but for it to be effective it would have to be mandatory.

I hope that we can introduce some legislation that will properly protect professional athletes across Europe.  Sport is such an important part of all our lives, whether we are professional athletes, amateur enthusiasts or just keen observers, so I think we should be making sure that the sports men and women who we look up to and inspire us are properly protected and represented.  I am very much looking forward to the Commission communication on this and hope to work closely with them to see that we achieve the best result possible.

Comments Off on England is the best country to host the World Cup

Filed under Labour Party