The principle of open justice, in one form or another, has rarely been out of the news recently. Although the first few televised Court of Appeal cases have been aired, the introduction of legislation to permit the filming and broadcasting of court proceedings has been the subject of much debate.
The recent case of match fixing in football is nothing new. There have been a number of cases throughout the years in British football but few to mention. The problem is really spot fixing. This is a problem for all sport not only football. We blame wayward individuals and/or ‘foreign’ organised criminal elements or the gambling industry.
Earlier this month saw the publication of University Challenge 2013, a report into access to higher education for disabled students, commissioned by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Human rights and the empowerment of women who sleep rough in the EU.
The cure for poverty has a name in fact, it is called the empowerment of women– Christopher Hitchens.
It may seem strange, but I, like most South Africans who grew up under the Apartheid regime, only became aware of Nelson Mandela’s signifcance once I’d left the country. I was too young to follow the Rivonia Treason trial and by the time I was reading newspapers, all mention of him and the ANC was banned from the South African press. In those pre-internet, pre-budget travel days, South Africans had little exposure to international pressure groups such as the Free Nelson Mandela movement.
How about this, then? Richard Cairns, Head of Brighton College, wants it made compulsory for school pupils to assess the performance of teachers (http://yhoo.it/16rwEiz) Mr Cairns is certainly sincere - he claims to use this system in his own school already.
A recent study has shown that listening to music can help to alleviate physical pain. Four out of ten people who suffered persistent pain said listening to music helped relieve their symptoms, a figure which rose to 66% for young people aged between 16-24.
A recent Contact a Family survey of more than 400 families with disabled children provided disturbing results which highlights the lack of support inside schools.
The number of rough sleeping children across Europe is on the rise. These are young people who have mostly run away either from home or from sheltered accommodation. They may also include minors who have made border crossings in search of a better life and improved opportunities or for any number of other reasons.
As has been noted by Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, we live in a country committed to the rule of law and central to that commitment is the principle that justice should not only be done, but also seen to be done. That is, court proceedings and a court’s decision should be open to public scrutiny wherever possible.
In 1977 the first national fire fighters’ strike took place over pay and conditions. After a bitter few weeks the settlement included a system whereby pay was index linked to the pay movement among other similar groups. This meant that there was no need for national pay strikes until 2002, when the system broke down.
On a Euston-bound train to the BERA (British Educational Research Association) conference that took place in the first week of September, I fell into conversation with three other passengers. Two were retired, one was close to retirement. The conversation began with stories about them looking after and reading to grandchildren and helping with homework.
Seamus Heaney, who died last week, is perhaps the only poet for whom a minute's silence will ever be held at a major sporting event: 80,000 Gaelic football fans paid their tribute to him before the Kerry-Dublin semi-final in Croke Park. Their response marks Heaney as a special cultural figure, in Ireland but also elsewhere. Before him, poets were often English and upper class: after him, most of them seemed to be from Northern Ireland.
Cyber bullying is a recent phenomenon, with health impacts. Recent postings on Twitter have contained threats of rape and murder, Facebook messages have been linked to suicides. Both can be anonymous. What is the link between anonymity and bullying?
The appalling murder of Daniel Pelka by his mother, Magdelena Luczak, and her partner, Mariusz Krezolek, has yet again been followed by soul-searching and a storm of criticism directed at ‘the authorities’ for their failure to protect Daniel from the child abuse that eventually led to his death.
I was way too young to watch Enter the Dragon (1973) when it was first available on video. but that didn’t matter because I watched it at my Uncle’s house (on his old ‘piano keys’ video recorder) and it was deemed infinitely more suitable than the ‘video nasties’ prevalent around that time.
The cast were joined on stage by two former Spice Girls who were “devastated” and “gutted” that the show announced its closure after a brief six month run in the West End. Producer Judy Craymer (famous for hit musical Mamma Mia) and writer Jennifer Saunders admitted that despite standing ovations from wonderful audiences, they just “couldn’t make it work”. They stand resolute in their assertion that the “legacy of the Spice Girls will never fade.”
Nick Drake was one of several wonderful musicians to emerge from the fertile folk and folk-rock scenes of the 1960s and early 1970s. While always a solo artist he worked with some of the great musicians of the time; Richard Thompson played on his first album, and John Martyn’s Solid Air was written for and about Drake. Nick Drake’s work is intimate, intricate and highly personal; the themes are universal and the performances captivating.
I was born in 1959, and, like most people of my age group, can remember watching the big Royal media events of the 1960s and 70s: the “Royal Family” documentary of 1969, followed by the Investiture of Prince Charles (clustered round the school TV set at St Michael’s Primary in Tettenhall). Then came the wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips in 1973, and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. But I was always conscious of having missed The Big One: the Queen’s Coronation of 1953.
Around this time of the sporting calendar, talk invariably comes round to the issue of what makes a winning team. Pundits start picking their dream teams. Various combinations of players are suggested but being individually brilliant is only part of what matters. “We all dream of a team of Carraghers” is a song lovingly sang by the Liverpool fans; a song that pays testament to the fighting spirit of Jamie Carragher. Would this team be successful?
In the next few weeks trials will be taking place with trained contractors attempting to cull badgers (largely by shooting) to wipe out TB in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire. TB is endemic in some local populations of badgers and is also present in some cattle and it is thought (though the link is as yet wholly unproven) that TB is transmitted from wild badgers to individual cattle resulting in the need to destroy entire herds...
Better This Time? Afghanistan as the 'Graveyard of Empires' 1979-2014
The 25th anniversary of the Afghanistan withdrawal announcement by the Soviet Union
In February 2013, President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of major United States combat units from Afghanistan by the end of next year. It is impossible not to hear the historical echoes.
The 16th/17th May 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of RAF Bomber Command’s iconic raid on dams in the German Ruhr valley. New books, magazines, memorabilia are being marketed and the BBC has commissioned various radio and television programmes to commemorate this event.
Olivia Colman was the undoubted star of the 2013 BAFTA Television awards. Colman triumphed for her work in the serious drama ‘Accused (Mo’s Story)’ and the sitcom ‘Twenty Twelve’, and both gongs were well deserved. While it is easy to be blasé and pretend that award ceremonies don’t matter, Colman accepted her two awards with enthusiasm and excitement, and it’s clear that recognition from peers is still a big thing for actors and actresses.
"So Sir Alex Ferguson has retired. We’ve had “Fergie time", “hairdryers", the “Beckham’s boot”, and rows with other managers – Kevin Keegan and Rafa Benitez being the most memorable spats. When it’s all said and done however he leaves Manchester United as champions for a record 20th time. So what comes next?
Memories of the MMR scare of about a decade ago had all but faded until news came of an outbreak of measles in Swansea. To prevent measles epidemics in other parts of the country, Public Health England has launched a vaccination catch-up campaign. They estimate that up to a million children aged 10 to 14 are at risk of catching measles because many of them were not vaccinated as babies owing to widespread fears that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) could cause autism.
Among the many assessments of the Thatcher legacy, relatively little has been said about her role as a political communicator. In the understandable focus on her role in the Falklands War, the Miners’ Strike, the Poll Tax, the economy, Europe, and a host of other policy areas, there hasn’t been a huge amount on how she went about securing the three election victories without which none of it would have been possible.