Today, on the International Day for Street Children, we in Europe must acknowledge that we have a problem - a known unknown - of a rising number of young and vulnerable people who need protection. The vast majority of Europeans see street children as a faraway problem that they hear about on the news or witness for themselves on holidays to nations in the developing world. The EU's political impotence in the face of the migration emergency means that this is no longer the case: thousands of street children are now sleeping rough on doorsteps from Athens to Paris.
Britain's refusal to shut its tax havens also makes possible tax avoidance by global corporations and global leaders. This is a stitch up. Meaningful reform of the tax system in the interest of the public is being prevented due to the interests of the world's rich and powerful, who are making a killing. Those literally being killed from this cosy deal are the world's poor. An estimated 1,000 children die each day across the developing world because illicit and untaxed income is spirited away from developed countries into tax havens.
The camp is a fragile and desperate place. There are thousands of people, including babies and very young children, living in freezing conditions with no education, limited food and healthcare. The efforts of the volunteers and agencies responding to the crisis are remarkable, but it is quite clear that much more needs to be done.
I agree with Mark Goldring of Oxfam GB that a crackdown on global tax havens is a necessary step towards ending this rampant global inequality. Indeed, it is also a necessary step towards international development more broadly... A Labour Government will genuinely tackle tax avoidance and work for ambitious global agreements on international development that seek to tackle inequality and its drivers.
Prime Minister Questions last week saw Conservative MP Philip Davies argue (sadly echoing the comments of an MP from our own benches over the Christmas break) that money should be taken from the international development budget to pay for the much needed extra resources to deal with the consequences of the recent flooding. This is a false choice - however, it is not the only threat to Britain's international development budget.
When Charles Kennedy passed away last year, he was universally and rightly praised for devoting his life to politics. The phrase "career politician" never came up. Is it so reprehensible to make sure a minister hits all his marks compared to being an MP in your 20s? Or a councillor, or any political job?
My constituents and Britain as a whole needs a Labour Party that together takes the opposition to the Tories and deliver a Labour government the country so desperately needs; an equal and fair society with housing for all, a world class national health system, plus well-paid and high-skilled jobs. Let's make it happen.
Two months on - and despite much media coverage being relentlessly anti-Jeremy - we can see that the new way of doing politics Jeremy stands for is starting to shift the political landscape in Britain, shaking the Government on key issues (most notably cuts to working families' tax credits) and bringing new support to the Labour Party.
The truth is, I don't know what the hell to think. I don't want to drop bombs that kill innocent civilians. At the moment I can't see how more bombs upon bombs would help. But I also think sitting doing nothing is not an option either. I've spoken to Syrian constituents of mine who think the UK should take military action. I've also read accounts of Syrian children scared of the sky. For every action a perfect and equal opposite reaction. What galls me about this more than anything, is that my role in this, my vote, my shuffle through the lobby is so widely discussed and dissected in the media, by my party, by their party by people in the country and it is all still speculation. No vote has been called. No discussion has been had.