The INTERNATIONAL news that caught my eye this week was the US political debate that had a British guy on the moderating team. This caused quite a stir on Twitter. Hopefully he understands more about the US political system than I do!
The LOCAL news item I’ve included is all about benefits and in particular how David Cameron is trying to negotiate reforms with the European Union. I don’t actually advocate reading the article, the main point of which seems to be highlighting that under new proposals people would be better off not working. It’s a bit long and a lot complicated.
Complicated just about sums our benefits system up. Here’s a thought. Wouldn’t it be easier if we had a minimum wage that actually allowed people to manage on it? Wouldn’t it help if private rents were capped at the same levels as social housing? What about if people are out of work just providing them with an amount that would enable them to live in a basic way, i.e. put a roof over their heads, food on the table, clothes on their backs and provide basic necessities? This might then encourage those who want extras to find jobs that give them the extra money needed for these.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m in favour of the welfare state and the National Health Service. But it’s too complicated at present and who can blame people for not trying to find work if it pays less than benefits?
Moving on to SPORT: This was dominated this week by the report on doping in Athletics where Russia has been highlighted for allowing athletes to slip through the testing regime and compete “unclean”.
Again it’s a long article amongst many others on the subject. The decision on whether or not to ban Russia from future events is due to be made public some time today.
This is another hard topic to agree or disagree with. I think it is totally wrong for athletes to take drugs to enhance their performances. I know it can’t be as simple as doing tests just before an event to weed out those at fault so that no-one has to be stripped of medals afterwards, robbing the true victors of their victory at the time.
However, a blanket ban on a country risks those “clean” individuals from being able to take part in events because of the mistakes of their country’s governing bodies. Should they be penalised in this way? One could argue that it would be hard for athletes to be part of this system and not know what was going on and that by doing nothing they are as guilty as those who took the drugs. I’m not sure I would want to be a whistle-blower in Russia though so perhaps clean athletes can be forgiven for not taking a stand while trying to avoid being pressured into taking drugs (which I believe they are) and just getting on with trying to do their best.
In ENTERTAINMENT the news today was that Terry Wogan will not be presenting the annual Children in Need show tonight due to health issues. He has been an anchor of this programme for many years and it will be hard to step into his shoes. I usually watch the programme which is an annual charity appeal with funds going to support projects in the UK that help Children in Need. The programme is usually entertaining but it is also very poignant with highlights of where the money is spent and stories of children that are in need and how projects etc are helping them.
All links are courtesy of the BBC website. Opinions are my own.