When is one life more important than another? Or, to put more starkly, when is it permissible to risk people burning to death in their own homes, but others must be protected? According to this government the answer seems to be; We will protect MPs by installing sprinklers, but everyone else can take their chances.
Data protection laws going through Parliament this week propose to exempt individuals' data privacy rights for the 'maintenance of effective immigration control' or 'the investigation or detection of activities that would interfere with effective immigration control'. What is meant by 'effective immigration control' and 'interference' are undefined and therefore open ended.
Immigration detention and the abuses related to it get far less attention than they should. This is largely because it concerns immigrants and, in the current toxic state of the debate around immigration, it is hard to excite public and media concern. That makes it even more praiseworthy that the BBC devoted a whole <em>Panorama</em> programme to the shocking and brutal conditions in Brook House detention centre.
One thing that quickly became clear in the course of the meeting was that many of the things that government ministers claim are happening to help the survivors are not happening at all. My strongest impression is of continuing chaos. For some survivors English is not their first language but very little information or written advice appears to be in translation. There is still no central crisis centre where all who have been affected can go and get help... The media circus will move on from Grenfell. But we need to continue to focus, not only on the architectural and regulatory issues, but the human beings caught up in this tragedy and how they can get the help and support they will need far into the future.
Child refugees have been emphatically failed by the British government. Wanting to help children is a worthy impulse. But in the end we have to engage with, both the children and, their families. Waves of migrants are moving across Western Europe driven by war and famine. So far European governments have tried to deal with the problem with barbed wire, walls, bulldozing encampments and criminalising the migrants themselves. There has to be a better and more sustainable response. We need much more genuine co-operation between European governments, whether they are in Schengen or not. Sadly, with Britain leaving the EU, better co-operation seems further away than ever.
Without hyperbole, this really would be a threat to our way of life, replacing the current inadequate system of financial regulation and beleaguered public services with a Wild West of low regulation, low taxation, minimal public services and no questions asked for international finance. Labour will tackle this cancer, even if the Tories won't.
The Tory government is breaking one if its key manifesto pledges and is completely failing to increase support for victims of crime. Parliament is currently deliberating the Policing and Crime Bill. Colleagues in both the Lords and the Commons have put forward a series of amendments which would increase the rights of victims and make the public sector more responsive to their needs. The government rejected them all.
The current Home Secretary and her predecessor act as if international students are a drain on the British economy and British society. It has been argued that there were large numbers of international students who overstayed their visas and so contributed to the breach of their immigration target. Both these claims are false.
There are few things in politics that are truly shocking. But Home Secretary Amber Rudd's decision to deny any Inquiry at all into the incidents at the Orgreave coking plant in 1984 and subsequent events definitely falls into that category. There was widespread disbelief and anger on the Opposition benches following the announcement... This denial of truth and justice cannot stand. The OTJC will not simply go away. Trade unionists, the labour movement, and all those who believe the state should not be above the law will continue this fight. And Labour in Government will grant a full public Inquiry on day one in office.
Not only is this government responsible for these catastrophic economic outcomes and the plight of millions, but it also happens to be one of the most racist governments that I have experienced as a Member of Parliament in nearly 30 years.
The majority of this strategy is aimed at the Muslim community. It has an alienating effect of a community already experiencing discrimination and rising hate crime. In the past, it would have been others and who knows who it might be used against in future. It is all entirely counter-productive. There is no evidence that it has prevented anything. It is time for a major review of the strategy and a fundamental rethink by Government.
The Government has initiated 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for the NHS in England. Under this innocuous-sounding title lies a major threat the continued existence of the NHS... The effects will be equally devastating, with the closure of beds, of key units including paediatric, maternity and cardiovascular and of whole A&E departments which are now bearing the brunt of the cuts elsewhere in the NHS. Entire hospitals will close in The Black Country and in Leicestershire, while many others including Cheshire and Merseyside will have 'fewer beds'.
The plans are based on wilful self-delusion.
It is time that Olympics stopped giving one message about health and fitness through the games themselves, but a completely different message through the sponsors they choose. It is no wonder that the 2012 Olympics, although a wonderful spectacle, did not result in an improvement in health and fitness in the UK.Sadly the same will be true of Brazil. There needs to be an end of junk food sponsorship of the Olympics and Team GB should never again be sponsored by an alcohol company.
This National Convention is all about Hilary. But last night Barack Obama gave his last speech as President of the United States of America to a Democratic National Convention and, as he put it, "passed the baton on" to Hilary Clinton. It was a great speech.
29/07/2016 11:28 BST
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