BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say

Archives for June 2010

Does the Jamie Oliver approach work?

13:39 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010


The Jamie Oliver approach will not work in tackling public health problems like obesity and smoking, the health secretary says. What approach does work?

Andrew Lansley told the British Medical Association conference in Brighton there must be an evidence-based approach to dealing with public health, with people taking responsibility for themselves.

"If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve," said the health secretary.

Is the lecturing approach counterproductive? Do people need to be told what to eat? What makes you take the healthy approach?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should the prison system be changed?

02:16 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010


The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has outlined plans to issue more community sentences, rather than send criminals to prison. Do prisons work?

Criticising what he called the remorseless rise in prison numbers, Mr Clarke said locking people up for the sake of it was a waste of public funds.

He said prison had too often proved "a costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens".

Ken Clarke's speech comes as Scotland MSPs are poised to pass major justice reforms aimed at cutting reoffending rates and boosting alternatives to jail sentences.

Do you work within the prison system? Are too many people being sent to prison? Should the private and voluntary sectors have a role in rehabilitating prisoners? What do you think of planned reforms in Scotland?

What are your memories of BBC Television Centre?

10:17 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010


It is 50 years since the BBC's Television Centre first opened for business on 29 June 1960. What are your memories of the building?

The studio complex in west London was one of the world's first purpose built television production buildings and has played host to some of the most famous moments in broadcasting.

With the future of Television Centre now in question as the BBC prepares to move much of its production to central London - and part of the building now Grade II listed based on its special architectural and cultural significance - TVC prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday.

What are your favourite broadcasting moments? Do you have a connection with Television Centre? Did you work there when it first opened? What was it like 50 years ago?

Send in your pictures and videos of Television Centre in its early days

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

How will the trade pact change China-Taiwan relations?

09:23 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010


China and Taiwan have signed a historic trade pact, seen as the most significant agreement since civil war split the two governments 60 years ago. Do you welcome it?

The Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA) removes tariffs on hundreds of products. It could boost bilateral trade that already totals $110bn (£73bn) a year.

Correspondents say that, economically, the deal favours Taiwan but that Beijing hopes for political gains in its long-standing unification campaign.

Do you live in China or Taiwan? Who stands to gain from the new trade pact? Do you have any concerns about the deal?

Should police numbers be cut?

06:16 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010


The home secretary has said that police "must do more" despite planned cuts. Is this reasonable?

Theresa May has told the Association of Chief Police Officers that she would be "ruthless" in cutting waste, but that the number of front-line police could increase.

The association's president Sir Hugh Orde had said it would be "misleading in the extreme" to claim police numbers were sustainable in the face of cuts.

Should the police force face cuts? Are you a police officer? How would you restructure the police force? Would removing certain standards free up police time?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Would technology improve football?

12:44 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010


Mistakes made by officials in Sunday's World Cup ties have sparked a renewed debate about goal-line technology (GLT). Could such technology help the game?

Makers of ball tracking systems say England's disallowed World Cup goal underlined the need technology in the game. Hawk-Eye and Cairos, who make rival GLT systems, say FIFA needs to rethink its current position.

Fifa has consistently refused to entertain the idea of using GLT saying the system is not accurate enough and is too expensive. Fifa also say this technology would impact on the "universality of the game" - i.e that the game played in the World Cup has the same rules as a Sunday League game in Bradford.

But not everyone agrees. There have been numerous calls from players, managers and coaches for a number of years, prompted by a number of controversial refereeing decisions.

Do you think that goal-line technology should be used in the game? Or would it detract from the universality of football? How do you think the use of technology affects other sports?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should there be a cap on skilled workers?

10:08 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010


A temporary limit on the number of non-EU migrants allowed into the UK has been announced by the home secretary. Should skilled worker numbers be limited?

Theresa May says she will limit worker numbers to 24,100 - down around 5% on last year - between now and April 2011. The government says these measures will eventually bring net migration down to the levels of the 1990s.

Business Secretary Vince Cable defends the cap but says it must be implemented flexibly, while Shadow Home Secretary Alan Johnson says it is a pointless "gimmick".

Ms May told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme there was "clear agreement" in the coalition government that a permanent cap would be set next April, but the temporary limit was needed to prevent a "rush of applications" before then.

Do you think the limitations are too tough? Is a permanent cap a good idea? Are you a business worried about losing skilled workers?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should jobless get help to move home?

08:51 UK time, Sunday, 27 June 2010


Unemployed people living in council homes could be offered incentives to move to areas where there are jobs, the work and pensions secretary has said. Is this a good idea?

Iain Duncan Smith said millions were "trapped in estates were there is no work", unable to move for fear of losing their right to a home.

He told the Sunday Telegraph the system must be more flexible, but did not give a clear commitment to rehouse workers.

Would this proposal help deal with unemployment? Do the jobless need more incentives to find work? Do you have a personal experience to share?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Is there enough support for the armed forces?

00:04 UK time, Saturday, 26 June 2010


Preparations are underway for Armed Forces Day, the annual event to show support for UK troops and those who lost their lives in battle. Do you think there is enough backing for UK soldiers?

Armed Forces Day is being hosted in Cardiff, but there are more than 350 other events planned across the UK.

The day takes place at the end of a week which saw the 300th British soldier die in Afghanistan.

Is Armed Forces Day a good opportunity to show support for UK troops? Will you be marking it? Have you served the military? Send us your views and experiences.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

What is your reaction to the G8 and G20 meetings?

13:12 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010


Leaders at the G20 summit in Canada have agreed to cut national budget deficits by 2013. What do you think about these cuts?

Representatives of the G8 industrialised nations meeting in and near Toronto, discussed security issues as well as plans to improve the health of women and children in poorer regions of the world.

Host Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, said at the G20 on Saturday, that despite cuts, short-term economic stimulus measures would still be needed. However, proposals for a global levy on banks have been dropped, Mr Harper said. Instead, that will be left to individual countries.

Have the G8 and G20 meetings made a difference? What should have been their main priorities? Has the worldwide economic crisis affected the provision of international aid? Are you in the region?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Should schools have rules on healthy lunch boxes?

11:02 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010


Many parents see schools as "bossy" or "interfering" when they tell them what they can and cannot put in their children's lunch box according to an Ofsted report. Do you agree?

Ofsted inspectors said parents wanted more advice on how to prepare healthier packed lunches and that schools' healthy eating policies could be undermined when pupils brought in unhealthy food.

While some schools brought in rules on lunch boxes, others were uncomfortable with this.

Are you a parent or a teacher? Do you welcome advice on what your children should eat? Should schools have stricter rules on healthy eating?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should the abortion limit be changed?

09:12 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010


There is no evidence to show foetuses feel pain in the womb before 24 weeks and therefore no reason to challenge the abortion limit, according to a new report. Do you agree?

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says foetuses are "undeveloped and sedated". Brain connections are not fully formed, and the environment of the womb creates a state of induced sleep, like unconsciousness.

An up-to-date analysis of evidence was recommended by MPs in a report from the Commons Science and Technology committee during the last parliament. They looked at the 1967 Abortion Act, which covers all parts of the UK apart from Northern Ireland.

Do you agree with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists? Should the time limit for abortions be changed? Are you a health worker?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your views on Question Time 24 June 2010

17:36 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010


Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from London on Thursday 24 June.

David Dimbleby will be joined by a panel of, the Business Secretary and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable, the shadow education secretary Ed Balls, the leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas MP, Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, and the founder of and Brent Hoberman.

The following questions were asked:

Is it right to describe the Budget as "fair" when it leaves universal benefits in place for the rich, while increasing VAT and imposing unprecedented cuts in public services?

If the severe budget cuts announced by the Chancellor are ratified by the whole coalition government, is this the beginning of the end of the Lib Dem party?

Will I have to work to 70 to pay for gold plated public sector pensions?

Is President Obama's ego now dictating ISAF military policy in Afghanistan?

In a week when government spending has been cut across the board, is Michael Gove's 'Free Schools' initiative a necessary and efficient use of public funds?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

How will the relationship between citizen and state change?

11:40 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010


The coalition government is asking nurses, police officers and other public sector workers to suggest ideas for "fair and responsible" savings. What impact will such changes have on UK society?

Ministers will determine the extent of the squeeze faced by individual departments in October's spending review but are asking workers to outline services they believe are non-essential.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg e-mailed or sent letters to workers about the scheme, in them the prime minister wrote: "We want you to help us find those savings so we can cut public spending in a way which is fair and responsible."

General secretary of the GMB union, Mr Kenny, said: "Cameron and Clegg have a damned cheek in asking public sector workers to co-operate in sacking thousands of them. It is an utter outrage."

Are you a public sector worker? Are you happy to suggest savings? Will the financial crisis mean that the relationship between citizen and state needs to be redefined? Should the private sector and voluntary sector become more closely involved?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Do big events sponsors have too much influence?

10:55 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010


Sports fans who want to buy tickets by card for the London 2012 Olympics will only be able to use the Visa payments system. Are such restrictions acceptable?

The restrictions are part of the sponsorship deal struck between Visa and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Visa cards will be the only ones accepted at shops and cash machines at Olympic venues. The Office of Fair Trading said it was looking into the matter.

It is the latest example of the tight control exerted by sponsors over events after paying for sponsorship rights, including the case of the young women in orange mini dresses who were accused of trying to promote a Dutch beer at the World Cup, breaking strict Fifa marketing rules.

How much power should sponsors have over event arrangements? Should there be more competition at events? Were you aware such agreements existed?

Was Obama right to fire Gen McChrystal?

18:27 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010


President Barack Obama has dismissed General Stanley McChrystal as US military commander in Afghanistan, after he criticised administration officials, including the President, during a magazine interview. Do you agree with the decision?

After a thirty minute meeting with the President at the White House, it was announced that General McChrystal would be standing down. His former boss General David Petraeus will replace him as commander of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. Barack Obama said he was sad to lose General McChrystal, but as Commander in Chief he "would not tolerate division" in his team.

Gen McChrystal has apologised for the interview, given to Rolling Stone Magazine, saying "it was a mistake reflecting poor judgement and should never have happened."

What do you think of Obama's actions? Should Gen McChrystal have given that interview? What does this mean for the US mission in Afghanistan?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Do we need a strategy to deal with gangs?

10:22 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Attempts to tackle teenage gangs have missed opportunities to rescue young people from a life of crime according to a report by the chief inspectors of prisons, police and probation. How should we deal with gangs?

Research indicates that some teenagers join gangs to protect themselves even though they know they run the risk of being seriously injured or even killed.

While the joint report warns against exaggerating the power of gangs, it calls for a new national strategy to help the police and other agencies prevent yongsters becoming gang members and to make it easier to rehabilitate those already involved in crime.

Do you agree with the findings of the report? What is the best way to tackle teenage gangs? Are the authorities doing enough? Has your area been affected?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

What is your reaction to the Budget?

11:14 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his first Budget to the House of Commons. Was it - as Osborne claimed - "tough but fair?"

Among the changes announced were a VAT rise to 20% and a two-year pay freeze for public servants paid over £21,000.

He said that the measures announced were designed to eliminate the deficit within five years and insisted that the Budget would lay the foundations for a more prosperous future.

You can find out how these changes will affect you with the BBC's Budget calculator.

What do you think of the measures announced in the Budget? Do you agree with George Osborne's proposals? How will you be affected?

Budget: documents in full


Should we change our eating habits?

09:11 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010


The NHS watchdog NICE is calling for trans-fats - which are often found in biscuits, cakes and fast food - to be eliminated from food in England. Would you welcome such a move?

The artificial fats prolong the shelf life of food - but they have no nutritional value and can damage health.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is also pressing for further reductions in salt and saturated fats. Its experts say 40,000 of the 150,000 annual deaths are "eminently preventable".

Should healthier foods be subsidised? Would you like to see colour coding on food products? Have you recently changed your diet and taken up more exercise?

From Radio 4's Today programme: Julian Hunt from the Food and Drink Federation gives his reaction.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should a team criticise its manager?

11:20 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010


Do you work in a team? How does your team spirit compare to that of the France and England teams at the World Cup?

On Sunday, France's players boycotted training in protest at the decision to send striker Nicolas Anelka home - an action some described as a "mutiny".

Meanwhile, there are rumours of disharmony within the England team dressing room following reports the players are unhappy with aspects of manager Fabio Capello's management style.

Contrast this with the glowing reports of team spirit within the USA squad after two dramatic fight backs. "This team understands how to fight for 90 minutes," said coach Bob Bradley, while captain Landon Donovan said: "I'm proud of our guys... there are not many teams in this tournament that could have done what we did."

Are you a member of a team? Or the manager of one? What do you find are the ingredients of good team spirit and harmony? Does a team member have the right to speak out and criticise their manager? At what point does healthy criticism become indiscipline?

From 606: Who is right in this France fiasco?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Are you worried about funding your degree?

10:57 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010


Many young people would be deterred from applying to university if fees reached £7,000 per year, a survey has found. Are you worried about funding your degree?

A record 80% of young people in England and Wales expect to apply for university, the Sutton Trust education charity has found. But it warns a steep rise in fees could mean two-thirds of students changing their minds.

Lord Browne's review of university funding in England, which is due to be published this autumn, could mean universities increasing tuition fees above the current maximum of £3,225 per year.

Are you planning to apply to university? Would an increase in tuition fees prevent you from doing so? Do you think universities should be funded differently?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Whaling: Compromise or outright ban?

10:00 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010


Attempts to agree a compromise between whaling nations and their opponents at the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) annual meeting have failed. What should happen now?

After two days of private discussions, delegates have reported they are been unable to reach agreement on major issues.

The deal being discussed would have put whaling by Iceland, Japan and Norway under international oversight for 10 years.

Many delegates are asking whether there is any point in further discussions, as if an agreement is impossible, they suggest it would be better to face up to the fact now.

Should scrutiny of whaling come under international control? Would a deal open the door to commercial whaling? Should talks continue?

Should UK troops leave Afghanistan?

10:00 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010


The number of UK service personnel killed as a result of the Afghanistan conflict since 2001 has hit 300. Has the time come for British troops to withdraw?

The Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a moment for the whole country to reflect on the sacrifices the armed forces make.

Mr Cameron, who recently warned the country to expect more casualties during the summer, acknowledged that many people questioned the UK's role. But he added that UK forces would withdraw as soon as Afghanistan could ensure its own security.

Do you think Britain's troops should leave Afghanistan? What do you think of the UK's role in Afghanistan? Are you a member of the armed forces? What is your view?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Have baby boomers had it too easy?

09:42 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010


On the eve of a budget widely expected to deliver harsh spending cuts and tax rises, Radio 4's Analysis programme considers whether the baby boomer generation has benefited from a system which will now penalise younger people. Have baby boomers had it too easy?

Conservative Minister David Willetts, author of The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Stole their Children's Future joins Radio 4's Analysis programme to discuss whether baby boomers should shoulder a greater share of expected cuts and tax rises.

Experts argue that the generation born after World War II have enjoyed a larger share of the nation's wealth while failing to invest for future generations.

Are you a baby boomer? Are you a young person who feels the baby boomers have had it too easy? Should the older generation bear the brunt of the government's proposed cuts? If so, how?

Radio 4's Analysis programme broadcasts at 2030 BST on Monday 21 June

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Are you ready for the Budget?

23:51 UK time, Saturday, 19 June 2010


The toughest package of tax increases and spending cuts in a generation is expected to be unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne in his first Budget. What should its priorities be?

He will say the measures - designed to tackle Britain's record deficit of £155bn - will be based on fairness, with the better-off paying more.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the budget deficit will not be dealt with by "just hitting either the rich or the welfare scrounger".

Are you worried about how the new budget might affect you? What would you include in the Budget? Are you ready to face, what many expect to be, an "age of austerity"?

Read more about the Budget

Budget calculator: What would you cut?

What is your favourite holiday destination?

10:50 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010


Blackpool is the UK's favourite seaside resort, according to research by consumer organisation Which?. Will you visit Blackpool this summer?

The Lancashire town, known for stag and hen parties as well as its Pleasure Beach, famous tower and illuminations, is the all-time favourite in the survey. Rochelle Turner, head of research for Which? Holiday, says: "Millions of Brits will be taking holidays at home this year".

However, in Florida the new Harry Potter theme park has opened its doors to fans giving them a chance to experience life in the village of Hogsmeade, with everything from butterbeer to ear wax-flavoured jelly beans.

Would you rather go to Blackpool or Florida? Will you visit the Harry Potter theme park? What is your all-time favourite holiday destination? Will you be taking a holiday in the UK this year?

Send us your holiday pictures!

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Will 'free schools' improve standards?

09:14 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010


The government in England is setting out how parents, teachers, charities and other groups can apply to set up their own "free school". Is this good for education?

Free schools will not have to follow the national curriculum but will need to provide an education that is "broad and balanced", in the same way as new academies. The schools will be independent but funded by central government.

Education Secretary Michael Gove says the schools are a way of raising achievement in areas where local authority-run schools are not providing a good quality education. But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) says the policy will create "chaos" at a local level.

Will free schools improve education standards? Will they create a two-tier system? Would you set up a free school?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your views on Question Time 17th June 2010

14:22 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010


Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Witney on Thursday 17th June.

The panel is Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, the shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain, the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson, William Hague's former press chief Amanda Platell and Baroness Helena Kennedy.

What are your thoughts about the programme and the panel? Let us know here on the Question Time debate page.

The debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Are we addicted to oil?

09:46 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010


Oil has been escaping into the Gulf of Mexico since a drilling rig leased by BP exploded on 20 April. Are we too dependent on it?

North America uses around one quarter of the world's oil but countries such as India and China are increasing their demand.

This has led to companies facing greater technical and cost challenges in order to access the product from risky environments such as the bottom of the sea bed.

As well fuelling cars and other motor vehicles, oil is used to heat buildings and produce electric power. It also contributes greatly to farming and food processing.

How can we tackle our reliance on oil? Should more money be spent on research and development into replacement products? What would you suggest?

What do you think of BP's action?

Watch some of the testimony of BP chief executive Tony Haywardhere as he appeared before a US Congress committee

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Israel eases Gaza blockade - what's your reaction?

09:22 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010


Israel has given details of its plan to ease the blockade of Gaza, with all civilian goods now expected to be let into the territory. What is your reaction?

Israel will allow items into Gaza unless they feature on a new list which specifies banned goods. The move will let in humanitarian aid, food and building supplies.

Israel tightened the Gaza blockade in 2005, but has faced heavy criticism since the recent killing of nine people on an aid flotilla heading to Gaza.

What is your reaction to Israel's plan? What impact will it have on the people in Gaza? What is the future of the blockade?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Is British TV too childish?

13:44 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Broadcaster Stephen Fry has criticised British TV saying it is "shocking" how "infantilised" adult programmes have become. What is your reaction?

Speaking at the annual Bafta Television Lecture in London, the comedian and writer said: "Merlin and Doctor Who are fine but they're children's programmes. It's children's television, it's entirely infantilised. It's not grown up."

He added: "If you are an adult you want something surprising, savoury, sharp, unusual, cosmopolitan, alien, challenging, complex, ambiguous, possibly even slightly disturbing and wrong," he said. "You want to try those things, because that's what being adult means."

What do you think of Stephen Fry's comments? Has British television become infantilised? Are there enough "complex" programmes on TV?


This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should there be a fixed age of retirement?

10:43 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010


France's retirement age will be raised from 60 to 62 over the next eight years. At what age do you want to retire?

French labour minister Eric Woerth says working longer is "inevitable" and necessary to balance the public finances.

The change is likely to be met with stiff resistance from labour unions, and has already sparked strikes and protests in France with more expected in the coming months.

In the UK the coalition government has also announced a review of the retirement age, they want to see the age in the UK rise from 65 to 66 from 2016.

Would you protest against a raised retirement age? Are you already retired but would prefer to work? Will working longer help balance public finances?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should drink driving be banned?

08:49 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Ministers have been urged to cut the drink-drive limit by nearly half in a government-commissioned report. What do you think?

The review, commissioned by the previous government, suggests cutting the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg. Combined with the current mandatory 12-month ban, this would give the UK one of the toughest regimes in Europe.

However, a limit set at the new proposed level would still allow most people to have a single drink before driving and the police argue that any amount of alcohol can affect a person's ability to drive. They suggest simply not drinking.

How should drink driving be tackled? Do you drink within the limits or abstain completely before driving? Would you welcome a zero tolerance approach?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

What do you think of BP's action?

17:44 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010


BP chief executive Tony Hayward has been accused by a US congressional panel of ignoring dangers when drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Are the claims justified?

House committee on energy and commerce chairman Henry Waxman said BP's "complacency" before the 20 April rig explosion had been "astonishing".

BP has agreed to place $20bn (£13.5bn) in a special fund to deal with compensation payouts for those affected by the oil spill.

Are you affected by the oil spill? What do you think of Obama's handling of the crisis so far? Are you a BP shareholder? Are you happy with BP's response?

Are we addicted to oil?

Find out how events unfolded during the US congressional hearing with BP chief executive Tony Hayward here as he appears before a US Congress committee.

Do the uplands of England need protection?

10:02 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010


The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) says a programme of policies is needed to protect hill communities and the landscape. Do you agree?

An inquiry found areas such as the Lake District, Dartmoor and the North Yorkshire Moors are impoverished.

The commission is calling for an approach which would see farmers being paid for looking after the countryside. It also wants changes in planning rules to make more affordable housing and says the national parks authorities should be given more powers.

How can we do more to protect England's upland areas? Do you live in a rural community? Do you welcome the proposals?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Is vetting and barring scheme needed?

09:17 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010


The vetting scheme for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is to be halted. What is your reaction?

Home Secretary Theresa May is to announce that registration, due to begin next month, is to be put on hold. There will be a review of the entire vetting and barring scheme, with a "scaling back" likely to follow.

Children's authors said the plans were an over-reaction to the murders of two schoolgirls by school caretaker Ian Huntley in Soham in 2002 and head teachers' leaders had complained the scheme would deter valuable volunteers from helping schools.

Are you affected by vetting and barring rules? Do you welcome a review? Should the scheme go ahead?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Bloody Sunday report: Your views

08:15 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Some of the paratroopers who served in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday have criticised the Saville Report. What are your views on the report?

Six soldiers, none of whom fired shots at the victims, rejected criticism of Lt Col Derek Wilford. They said he was criticised because the report's authors needed to place blame on a senior officer.

Following the publication of the Saville Report, Prime Minister David Cameron said what happened on Bloody Sunday was wrong and that he was "deeply sorry". He said the killings were unjustified and unjustifiable.

What do you think of the findings? What impact will the report have? Will it help people move on from the events of 1972? Are you in Northern Ireland? What are your memories of the time?

Read more of your views on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

What will Israel's Gaza flotilla inquiry achieve?

11:27 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010


Israel has set up an internal inquiry into its deadly raid last month on a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships. What is your reaction?

The three-man panel, all Israeli, is led by ex-Supreme Court judge Yaakov Tirkel. Israel rejected a UN proposal for an international probe, but has agreed to include two foreign observers - David Trimble of Northern Ireland and Ken Watkin of Canada.

The panel will consider how nine Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of six ships carrying aid towards Gaza on 31 May. They will also adjudge whether Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is allowed under international law.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says the blockade is a clear violation of humanitarian law, describing the situation in Gaza as "dire". But while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly promised peace envoy Tony Blair he will turn the list of items permitted into Gaza into a list of prohibited goods, there is no sign of an end to the blockade itself.

What is your reaction to Israel's inquiry? Are you satisfied with the make-up of the panel and the terms of the investigation? What is the future of the blockade of Gaza? What should the UN, Tony Blair and the international community do next?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Does health and safety need reviewing?

08:26 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010


The government is promising to check the "growth of compensation culture" by setting up a review of health and safety laws. What is your reaction?

Lord Young will investigate concerns over the "application and perception" of health and safety legislation and the "rise of the compensation culture over the last decade."He said he hopes his review will "reintroduce an element of common sense" to the rules.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was time for "a sensible new approach" which did not "overwhelm business with red tape". But unions have warned against attacks on rules that protect staff at work.

Have you been affected by health and safety rules at work? Have the rules encouraged compensation claims? How much do health and safety laws protect people?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should troop numbers be cut?

23:44 UK time, Sunday, 13 June 2010


Defence Secretary Liam Fox says the UK will not "lose our nerve" in Afghanistan despite refusing to rule out a cut in troop numbers after the upcoming strategic defence review. What is your reaction?

In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute, Dr Fox said the UK faces "daunting" challenges, some resulting from Labour's "mismanagement" of spending. He also promised to try to get "better value for money" when buying equipment.

Speaking earlier, the defence secretary told BBC One's The Politics Show that "we can't surely be saying that we keep the shape and size or our armed forces exactly the same forever. We have to change in the light of the threats the country faces".

Should defence spending be cut? What would you cut? Has the nature of the threats to the country changed?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

How would you change the banking system?

15:07 UK time, Sunday, 13 June 2010


Risk-free "safe haven" accounts guaranteed by the government should be set up as part of a "profound reform of the banking system", a report says. Do you agree?

The Future of Banking Commission wants improvements in saver protection and restructuring of banks, with recommendations that aim to put ordinary people at the heart of a reformed banking system.

Their reforms include changing the structure of banks so if they fail, depositors are protected, and the introduction of new competition and regulatory regimes that make bank boards responsible for both meeting customers' needs and for their own solvency.

Tory MP David Davis who chairs the commission, told the BBC that he also wants to see big banks broken up to prevent another financial crisis.

What changes would you like to see made to the banking system? Is there an alternative to using banks? Should banks be smaller?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Who would be in your honours list?

08:57 UK time, Saturday, 12 June 2010


Actress Catherine Zeta Jones and the Help for Heroes charity founders are recognised on the Queen's Birthday Honours list. What's your reaction to the list?

The list, drawn up independently of government, was seen in draft form by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and signed off by his successor David Cameron before being approved by the Queen.

As is customary, three-quarters of the awards in the honours list go to unsung local heroes. They include MBEs for Philip Kelsall, resident organist at Blackpool Tower, Susan Gibbs, an announcer at Fenchurch Street station in London, and James Fitchie, from Newtownards, County Down, who is honoured for services to ploughing in Northern Ireland.

Who would you like to see recognised in the honours list? What do you think of those who have been honoured this time around? Send us your suggestions and reaction.

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your views on Question Time 10th June 2010

16:16 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010


Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Plymouth on Thursday 10th June.

The panel is Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary Ben Bradshaw, the leader of the Respect Party, Salma Yaqoob, the businesswomen Katie Hopkins and the journalist and author Toby Young.

What are your thoughts about the programme and the panel? Let us know here on the Question Time debate page.

The debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following questions were asked:
Is the Coalition Government asking the public for suggestions for spending cuts simply a way of passing the buck or have they run out of ideas already?

What advice did Lady Thatcher gave to the Prime Minister during her visit to number 10 earlier this week?

Is the continuing oil leak in the Gulf a threat to US-British relations, and was Boris Johnson right to hit back at US politicians alleged 'anti-British rhetoric'?

Is Diane Abbott's nomination for the Labour leadership simply tokenism?

I graduated last year with student debts of £20,000. How much more debt do the panel suggest I should be burdened with in order to help reduce the national budget deficit?

Should the English flag fly over 10 Downing St during the football World Cup?

Has BP damaged Britain's reputation?

12:13 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010


President Obama's comments about the BP oil spill are not "anti-British", the American ambassador to London has said. Do you agree?

Mr Obama's blunt criticism of BP over the spill has prompted accusations of "anti-British" language. He has often referred to BP as "British Petroleum" when discussing the disastrous oil leak, even though the company has not used this name since 1998.

Although BP was founded as a British company and has a British boss in Tony Hayward, BP is very much a global company: it's 44% owned in the UK, split largely between 33 institutions and seven large individual investors. US investors own 39% of the company, including 25 institutional and 14 big individual investors.

Is the US using the British history of BP for political motives? Has the oil spill made you think differently about Britain? Does the history of a multi-national matter? How should Britain respond?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

How important is the World Cup for Africa?

11:48 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010


The 2010 World Cup has opened in South Africa. What will the world's biggest football tournament bring to the continent?

Thousands of fans gathered for the launch at Johannesburg's 94,000-capacity Soccer City and saw the first match between the host country and Mexico end in a 1-1 draw.

As well as a sporting tournament, the World Cup hopes to give the continent a chance to present a more positive image to the world. Vast amounts of money have been spent on constructing new stadiums and improving infrastructure in a bid to attract sports fans.

What impact will the World Cup have on Africa? Will ordinary Africans benefit? Are you based in the region? Will you be watching the matches? How will you celebrate?

BBC Newsnight is looking for a vuvuzela player to appear on the programme. Are you in or near London? Please send your contact details to

BBC Sport 2010 World Cup site

Read World Cup expectations from around the globe

How are you celebrating the World Cup?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

How should university funding be overhauled?

10:58 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010


The university system is in need of "radical change" to provide a better deal for taxpayers, the universities minister has said. What do you think?

David Willetts said universities in England had to find cheaper and more flexible ways to teach, such as distance learning at Further Education (FE) colleges. He told the BBC he did not want to prejudge the outcome of a pending review and was not "assuming that fees should rise".

Current fees in England are £3,225 a year and graduates pay the money back only when they earn a salary of £15,000 or more.

Are you a student or planning to go to university? Do you work at a university or FE college? What changes would you make to the university funding system?

Are Iran's nuclear sanctions fair?

15:33 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010


The UN Security Council has voted in favour of fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. Do you think these sanctions are necessary?

The Security Council has voted 12 to two, with one abstention, in favour of a fourth round of sanctions to tighten financial curbs on Iran, while expanding a limited arms embargo.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says they are "the most significant sanctions that Iran has ever faced".

Iran says its nuclear programme is aimed solely at peaceful energy use, and Iran's president has warned that his country will not agree to nuclear talks if the sanctions are imposed.

Are you in Iran? How will these new sanctions change life in Iran? What are your views on Iran's nuclear programme? Are tough sanctions necessary? Should nuclear talks go ahead?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Are immigration rules fair?

11:12 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Immigrants marrying UK citizens will be asked to prove they have a command of English under new rules. Should immigrants to any country have to prove they have a command of the language?

The measures will apply to partners coming to the UK from areas outside the EU, such as South Asia.

Home Secretary Theresa May wants to "help promote integration", but campaigners say the plans are discriminatory.

Will the rules promote integration and remove cultural barriers? Are they discriminatory? Will you be affected by the changes?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

What has Big Brother taught us about human nature?

22:34 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010


The last Big Brother housemates have entered the house as the show begins its final series in the UK. What has the show taught as about society?

The series, which is popular around the world, has seen its fair share of arguments over the years. In one US series, broadcast in 2001, a housemate was expelled from the show after threatening another with a knife.

In 2004, UK viewers complained following a violent drunken fight between two housemates and in 2007, the Australian version of the show was criticised for deciding not to tell a contestant that her father had died.

The UK celebrity version of the series has also seen its share of controversy, with the a heated race row involving Jade Goody and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in 2007.

Are you a fan of Big Brother? Do you think the series is a true reflection of society? Has the programme taught you anything about human nature? What have you learnt from the show?

Big Brother began on Channel 4 on Wednesday at 2100 BST.

Some of Big Brother's past controversies

Circus theme for last Big Brother

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


How has Obama handled the Gulf oil spillage?

11:58 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Seven weeks after the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank opinion polls suggest many Americans believe President Obama has handled the disaster poorly. Do you believe the president is doing enough?

Mr Obama has made three visits to the oil-hit coast since the disaster began in late April.

He has continued to defend his response to the spill from the BP-operated oil platform, strongly criticising BP's chief executive Tony Hayward.

How do you rate President Obama's handling of the oil spillage crisis? Do you think Mr Obama should do more? What further action would you like to see?

Your oil spill solutions

What services would you cut?

08:31 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Chancellor George Osborne has pledged a "fundamental reassessment" of the way government works as he outlined plans to involve the public in making cuts. What is your reaction?

He said he wanted the "best people in their fields" from inside and outside government involved and a "wider public engagement exercise" over the summer.

Labour has said the government is wrong to focus on cuts not growth. Shadow Chancellor Alastair Darling said it was thanks to Labour's actions that the government had inherited a growing economy, and the proposal for immediate cuts risked the prospect of recovery.

How should the government cut back? Would public services be more efficiently carried out by voluntary organisations? Should the government be concentrating on growth or cuts?

David Cameron warns on pay and benefits

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

How will spending cuts affect your way of life?

10:42 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010


Prime Minister David Cameron has said "painful" cuts to tackle the deficit would affect "our whole way of life" but also strengthen the country. What is your reaction?

The PM said the UK's economic problems are "even worse" than previously thought. He said figures which the Labour government refused to publish showed the UK would be paying £70bn in debt interest by 2015.

His Lib Dem deputy, Nick Clegg, told the Observer the cuts would not mean a "repeat of the 1980s", adding: "We're going to do this differently." But Labour has argued that cuts too soon could jeopardise the economic recovery.

How are you planning to cope with action to cut the deficit? Have you already made changes to your lifestyle? How will these cuts affect Britain's way of life?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Should recycling be rewarded?

08:52 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010


The government is dropping plans for a "bin tax" in favour of a points-for-prizes scheme. Is this a good move?

Labour had proposed fitting electronic weighing tags to bins, and fining people who threw away too much rubbish.

Now ministers are backing a scheme in Berkshire which awards points for the amount households recycle, which can be redeemed at shops, restaurants and leisure centres, or donated to schools.

Do you agree with this approach? Would a points incentive encourage you to recycle? Were you in favour of the bin tax? Are you signing up for the scheme?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

How should schools teach religion?

03:15 UK time, Sunday, 6 June 2010


Religious education is "inadequate" in one in five secondary schools in England, according to a report. How should religion be taught?

The study, by education watchdog Ofsted, found the quality of RE had declined since 2007. It suggested that many teachers are unsure of what they are trying to achieve in the subject.

The Church of England said the report was concerning but the National Secular Society said that RE should become optional.

Do you remember RE lessons at school? How should schools teach religion? Should RE be an optional subject? If you are an RE teacher, what do you think of the report?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Was Israel right to intercept the Rachel Corrie?

11:12 UK time, Saturday, 5 June 2010


Israel has deported seven activists who tried to sail an aid ship to Gaza in defiance of Israel's blockade. What is your reaction?

The Israeli military says soldiers boarded the Irish-owned MV Rachel Corrie from the sea and did not meet any resistance. Eleven campaigners and eight crew were detained.

The incident comes days after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Clashes on board left nine people dead, triggering international condemnation. Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement seized control of the territory.

France has urged Israel to accept an international probe into the deaths of nine activists.

What is your reaction to this incident? Should Israel have boarded the MV Rachel Corrie? How should the international community respond? What impact will this have on Israel's blockade of Gaza? Should there be an international enquiry?

Previous debate: Was Israel right to board the Gaza flotilla?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Is the price of insurance too high?

10:26 UK time, Saturday, 5 June 2010


Millions of parents are said to be breaking the law in order to save money on car insurance for their children. Should the cost of insurance be reduced?

Parents are claiming to be the main drivers on the policy, when in fact it is one of their children who is the main driver, or owner of the car. The practice, known as fronting, potentially offers large savings but could lead to prosecution.

Research by Co-operative Insurance found that 41% of parents are fronting policies at the moment. They said hard times may be forcing parents to try and save money on insurance but warned that if they do so illegally, the ultimate price could be prosecution.

Have you ever fronted an insurance policy for your child? Did you know it was illegal? Is the cost of insurance fair for young drivers? Should insurance costs reflect age, gender, occupation or other factors?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for sending your comments.

Your views on Question Time 3rd June 2010

15:59 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010


Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Brecon in Powys on Thursday 3 June.

David Dimbleby is joined by the Science Minister David Willetts, the Labour leadership candidate Diane Abbott, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood, the political commentator Matthew Parris and former newspaper editor Kelvin MacKenzie.

What are your thoughts about the programme and the panel? Let us know here on the Question Time debate page.

The debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The questions asked this week were:
Was David Laws right to resign?
Following the murders in Cumbria, should the laws on guns be changed?
Is piracy in international waters justifiable to sustain the security of Israel?
Should top civil servants be paid more than the Prime Minister?
Is Harriet Harman right to suggest that women should make up half of the shadow cabinet?

Are gun laws tough enough?

10:45 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010


The family of gunman Derrick Bird say they have no idea why he carried out the "horrific" shootings in Cumbria.

Two statements were read at St Michael's Church in Lamplugh, the village where one of Bird's brothers, his twin, was found dead.

Later hundreds of people gathered in Seascale, the village where Bird killed three people, for the first of two memorial services.

On Thursday Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs that lessons would be learnt in the wake of the shootings. She added that the British gun laws are already among the toughest in the world. Mr Cameron said there should not be a "knee-jerk reaction" to changing gun ownership laws.

Could tighter gun laws have prevented the Cumbria shootings? Do the reasons for gun ownership need to be revised? Should people be assessed before being permitted to own a gun? What needs to happen now?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Would you volunteer for a mission to Mars?

08:35 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010


Six men have agreed to be locked away for 18 months in a sealed container in a project that will try to simulate a mission to Mars. How important is an endeavour to the Red Planet?

The Mars500 study begins on Thursday at a medical institute in Moscow. It will help
scientists understand how humans would cope on a long journey to another world, in as realistic a way as possible.

The "spaceship" comprises a series of interconnected steel canisters. Four of the tubes provide the living and working environment on the "journey" to and from Mars. Their interior has been decorated with wood panelling to give the cylinders a more homely feel.

Could you live in a sealed container with no windows for 18 months? What would you do to entertain yourself? What would you take with you?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Did you watch PMQs?

13:05 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010


David Cameron has faced his first Prime Minister's questions since taking office. What is your reaction?

The new PM faced questions on the anonymity for rape defendants, the government's plans to recognise marriage in the tax system and regional development.

Mr Cameron began by expressing his shock at the events in Cumbria and confirmed at least five people had lost their lives and others had been injured.

What did you expect from PMQs? Were the right questions asked? Can the coalition convince other MPs about spending cuts?

PMQs as it happened

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

What would encourage sensible drinking?

09:41 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010


A health watchdog is calling for a minimum price per unit of alcohol in England. Would this make you a sensible drinker?

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says about one in four adults is drinking too much and damaging their health. Its guidance recommends banning advertising and making alcohol "less affordable".

These ideas have strong backing from doctors and health campaigners, and the Scottish government is already trying to introduce a minimum price. However, the coalition government agrees that alcohol misuse is a problem but does not support a minimum price.

Should there be a minimum price on alcohol? Should advertising be banned? What measures would be most effective in encouraging sensible drinking?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for sending your comments.

Is the Japanese prime minister right to resign?

05:51 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has resigned, after just eight months in office, for breaking an election promise. Do you think he made the right decision?

Mr Hatoyama was forced out after failing to move an unpopular US military base away from the southern island of Okinawa.

The move comes as his Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) struggles to revive its chances in an election due in July.

The centre-left DPJ's election landslide last year ended half a century of conservative rule in Japan. Mr Hatoyama, 63, was Japan's fourth prime minister in four years.

Was Mr Hatoyama right to leave office? Are you in Japan? How will this affect the outcome of the mid-term elections? Will his resignation make a difference in Japan's future? Who do you think will succeed him as leader of the DPJ?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Will transparency restore trust in government?

11:06 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010


David Cameron has announced more details of his plans to make more state data publicly available. What do you need to know?

The salaries of those earning more than £150,000 were revealed for the first time in a bid to aid transparency. More than 170 civil servants are paid more than Prime Minister David Cameron's £142,500-a-year salary, according to Cabinet Office figures. Business Secretary Vince Cable is urging "more discipline" in public sector pay.

Mr Cameron says that in the brief period since he became prime minister, he has noticed how much information is kept private for ministers and officials alone. The government says increased transparency on senior pay will "help win back people's trust".

Will greater transparency help you trust the government? What would win back your trust in politics? What data needs to be made publicly available?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

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