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Archives for December 2010

New Year Honours list: Your reaction

07:02 UK time, Friday, 31 December 2010


Ex-Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox is among stars recognised with a New Year Honour - appointed an OBE for work fighting Aids and poverty in Africa. What do you think of this year's Honours list?

Actors Sheila Hancock and David Suchet become CBEs, while stage star Harriet Walter has been appointed a dame.

Football's World Cup Final referee Howard Webb and US Open golf champion Graeme McDowell become MBEs.

MPs feature for the first time since the expenses scandal. Peter Bottomley is made a knight and Anne Begg a dame.

What is your reaction to the Honours list? Who are the stand-out names on the list, for you? Are there any surprise additions or omissions?

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

Would new bank cards make you donate more?

10:29 UK time, Wednesday, 29 December 2010


People could give to charity every time they use bank cards in shops or at cash machines, the government has said. What would make you more charitable?

The government's consultation, which runs until 9 March, calls on UK banks to look at copying a system used in Colombia which allows customers to make a donation each time they withdraw cash.

The proposals are set out in a government paper calling for charitable giving to become a "social norm".

Are you generous in charitable giving? Do the British need to donate more to charity? What else could be done to encourage giving to charity? What would you classify as a generous donation?

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

How was 2010 for you?

08:58 UK time, Wednesday, 29 December 2010


2010 is drawing to a close. What were the best things you did this year?

2010 has been an eventful year for the UK. We have seen a new government take over politics, Kate Middleton and Prince William announced their engagement, and England have retained the Ashes for the first time in 24 years.

But we want to know what 2010 meant to you. Please join in the debate to let us know how this year made you feel.

Personally and professionally, what have you achieved this year? What were your proudest moments? Was 2010 an important year for you?

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

Will online petitions help improve laws?

09:25 UK time, Tuesday, 28 December 2010


A plan to allow popular online petitions to be debated in Parliament within a year has been given the go ahead by the government. Should online petitions be given parliamentary time?

Ministers will seek agreement with the authorities, including the House of Commons Procedure Committee, to give the petitions parliamentary time.

Petitions receiving most support - probably over 100,000 signatures - would be debated, with some possibly becoming bills.

But Labour said the plans would mean "crazy ideas" being discussed by MPs.

Is it important to debate online petitions in Parliament? How else could laws be improved? Do you agree with Labour - would MPs end up debating "crazy ideas"? Will the plan improve our laws?

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

Should Haiti play bigger role in its own reconstruction?

10:20 UK time, Monday, 27 December 2010


The prime minister of Haiti, has criticised the international community for not allowing his country to play a bigger role in its own reconstruction, following an earthquake in January.

Jean-Max Bellerive told the BBC that his government had too little influence because aid money was channelled through outside agencies. He said much of the money promised by donors has failed to reach the country.

The earthquake in Haiti killed 230,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.

Do you agree with the prime minister's comments? Should the Haitian government be responsible for its own aid money? Or do the people of Haiti need to rely on outside agencies to survive?

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

Should airports be fined for bad weather disruptions?

10:25 UK time, Sunday, 26 December 2010


The government has said it wants to introduce new powers to fine airports for disruption. Should airports be fined for failure of service?

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has told the Sunday Times it was unacceptable that BAA won't be punished for failure to provide service.

BA cancelled 2,000 flights over a six-day period and Heathrow airport was almost totally closed due to snow and ice. For many air travellers, that meant not just ruined travel plans, but a ruined Christmas holiday.

Do you think airports should be punished for disruptions? Will economic sanctions make them better prepared in the future?

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

Are you shopping in the sales?

10:22 UK time, Sunday, 26 December 2010


Retailers are hoping sales before a VAT increase on 4 January will make up for the damage bad weather caused to trade.

This year, many retailers reduced their prices online on Christmas day and Boxing Day bargain hunters rushed to beat reduced trading hours in many stores.

Did you spend time on Christmas day doing online shopping? Are you buying expensive items before the VAT increase? Do you plan to reduce your spending once VAT goes up?

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

How did you celebrate Christmas?

07:47 UK time, Saturday, 25 December 2010


The Queen delivered her message while people celebrated Christmas around the world. What did the day mean to you?

She emphasised the role of sport in "bringing people together from all backgrounds, from all walks of life", building communities and creating harmony.

For many people across the world, Christmas is a day of giving and spending time with family.

What was Christmas like for you? Did you have a traditional celebration? Does your family have any unusual traditions? If you do not celebrate Christmas, how did you spend the public holiday?

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

The Pope's message: Your reaction

08:48 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010


Pope Benedict's Christmas message for the UK has been broadcast as Thought For The Day on the Today programme on Radio 4. Do you welcome the Pope's message?

It is the first time that the Pontiff has addressed a Christmas message especially for one of the countries he has visited during the year.

Gwyneth Williams, the controller of BBC Radio 4, has said she is "delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience".

However, the decision has been criticised by Terry Sanderson president of the UK's National Secular Society (NSS). "After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it," he said.

Did you listen to the Pope's message? Are you happy the Pope's message was broadcast on Thought for the Day? Do you think the nation is increasingly indifferent to religion?

Listen to the Pope's Thought For The Day

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

Is the coalition working?

09:32 UK time, Thursday, 23 December 2010


Undercover reporters for the Daily Telegraph have revealed further tensions between Liberal Democrat members of the coalition and their Conservative colleagues in government. Is the coalition still viable?

In the latest transcipts by the Daily Telegraph, Transport Minister Norman Baker and Deputy Leader of the House and David Heath say they voted in favour of tuition fees even though they opposed the policy and Mr Heath also suggested Chancellor George Osborne was out of touch with ordinary people.

Earlier this week, the prime minister David Cameron was forced to hit back at claims by Labour leader Ed Miliband that secretly taped comments by Vince Cable showed the coalition government was a "sham".

How do you think the coalition is working? Are journalists justified in using undercover methods to get a story? Have the recent revelations done the coalition harm?

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

How important is New Start treaty for Russia and US?

20:15 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Russia's lower house of parliament has given a preliminary approval to a US-Russian arms treaty.How important a move is this for US-Russia relations?

After months of wrangling in the US Senate, where it needed a two-thirds majority, the New Start treaty had won enough support before the voting ended on Wednesday.

The treaty requires the US and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear warheads by some 30%.

How significant is the US ratification of the treaty? What do you hope its implications will be? Do you think the treaty goes far enough?

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

Do power and prosperity make a nation optimistic?

12:05 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Power and prosperity are shifting to the east and to emerging economic nations according to a new global poll. Is this an accurate picture?

The survey, which measures levels of optimism about personal well-being and the state of the economy, suggests the biggest number of optimists live in countries like China, Brazil and India as the economies of emerging countries tend to enjoy rapid growth rates, while the developed economies have struggled economically, largely due to the credit crisis.

The BBC's Adam Mynott says there are marked differences between these emerging countries and the rich G7 of the US, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Italy and Japan, with the survey suggesting that the most downhearted country is the UK.

Does where you live affect your optimism? Are you an optimist? Does this survey reflect your own experience? Do people who live in richer countries have the right to be pessimistic? What are your hopes for 2011?

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

What's wrong with supermarkets?

11:37 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010


At least 577 new supermarkets were approved in the past two years in the UK, according to BBC research. Do you welcome the growth in supermarkets?

Campaigners have voiced concerns about the growth of the "big four" - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - saying the stores are putting independent traders out of business and destroying high streets.

Unions have welcomed the growth saying new stores have given people employment when they had all but given up hope of ever working again.

Has there been a rise in the number of supermarkets in your area? Have you noticed stores being built in unusual places? Do you work for one of the big four? Are you an independent retailer?

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

Vince Cable comments: Your reaction

19:05 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Vince Cable will remain in the cabinet despite "declaring war" on Rupert Murdoch, Downing Street says. What impact will this have on the coalition government?

Following his remarks, the business secretary was stripped of his powers to rule on the News International owner's bid to take control of BSkyB, which is to be handed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt

The comments came in unpublished parts of a Daily Telegraph probe, revealed by the BBC. David Cameron said Mr Cable's comments about Mr Murdoch were "totally unacceptable and inappropriate". Labour said Mr Cable was a "lame duck" with "no credibility".

Mr Cable has apologised. He had earlier revealed deep misgivings about a number of coalition policies in his secretly taped remarks - including bank bonuses, immigration, and the speed at which the coalition was trying to push through changes in the health service, local government and other areas.

Were Vince Cable's comments inappropriate? Should he have resigned? What are the implications for press freedom?

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

What will be on your plate at Christmas?

10:31 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010


Turkey, roast spuds, nut roast and stuffing are just some of the Christmas foods that will be adorning our tables. What will you be cooking?

Everyone has their own take on these festive staples and other Christmas recipes and we would like you to share your recipes with us and each other.

If you bring flavours from another country to your Christmas table, or cook something that is your own special but different meal, then get in touch.

What are your Christmas recipes? Do you have special recipe for stuffing? Do you have any tips for cooking the turkey? How do you make the perfect nut roast? Has turkey been banished in favour of something more exotic?

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

Should we spend more to stop snow disruption?

09:17 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010


Thousands of people face further disruption to their Christmas travel plans as cold weather conditions continue to grip much of the country. Should we have been more prepared?

Shadow chancellor Alan Johnson has criticised the transport secretary Philip Hammond for not implementing the recommendations of a report he commissioned by David Quarmby, chair of the RAC, which set out proposals to prevent major disruption from adverse weather conditions.

However, the transport secretary has asked the government's own chief scientific adviser for advice on whether the government should be planning for more severe weather in future.

Should we have been more prepared for severe weather conditions? Is travel disruption an inevitable consequence of winter weather? Should more money be spent on planning for severe weather conditions? Have your travel plans been disrupted?

This debate is closed. Thank you for your comments.

The Apprentice: an entertaining business?

22:02 UK time, Sunday, 19 December 2010


Stella English has won Series 6 of The Apprentice, beating Chris Bates in the final challenge. Did the right applicant get the job?

Series 6 started on 6th October 2010 and once again featured hopeful applicants vying for a job with Lord Sugar. During the course of the series applicants have faced business-based challenges ranging from selling British crisps in Germany to creating a new brand of household cleaning product.

Did the right applicant win? Was the series about business or entertainment? If you run a business, would you hire either of the two finalists?

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

Did the right person win Strictly Come Dancing?

21:37 UK time, Saturday, 18 December 2010


Kara Tointon, with her partner Artem Chigvintsev, has won the final of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing. Did the right person win?

Series 10 started on 11 September with 14 celebrities including Ann Widdecombe, Gavin Henson and Felicity Kendal. The dancers who made it to the final were: former Eastenders actor Kara Tointon; television presenter Matt Baker; and psychologist Pamela Stephenson.

Did you watch series 10? Did the right celebrity win? What have been your highlights of the series?

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

Christmas parties: Celebration or chaos?

15:13 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010


Nearly two-thirds of UK companies are expected to hold Christmas parties this year according to a survey by the Chartered Management Institute. Is your firm one of them? Send us your party stories.

Despite the difficult economic climate, the traditional office gathering continues although financial restraints mean that it may be more frugal.

However, the party season can also put extra pressure on the NHS as festive over-indulgence leads to the year's heaviest volume of emergency calls.

Is there still a place for office Christmas parties in the current economic climate? Has your company had one this year? Are you working at Christmas parties? Should we be concerned about the pressure on emergency workers?

Are health targets necessary?

09:46 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010


A target requiring ambulances in England to attend less urgent 999 calls within 19 minutes is expected to be scrapped by the government. Is this a good idea?

The steps are part of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's drive to move away from what he considers to be the blunt system of targets which have been used in recent years. In its place, a measure of the "time to treatment" is likely to be introduced.

However, Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said: "The announcement to scrap the 19-minute response time for ambulances is a shocking scaling back of the service currently provided to the public."

Is it a good idea to replace targets for non-urgent cases? Will the scrapping of targets affect the quality of care received? Are you a health service professional?

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

What is Larry King's legacy?

10:31 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010


American talk show host Larry King said an emotional "so long" as he concluded his final broadcast of "Larry King Live" on CNN. What influence will he leave on the media?

King wore his trademark red suspenders and was paid tribute by US president Barack Obama, rival news anchors and celebrities.

He became known for giving his interviewees an easy time and for that, some faulted him for blurring the line between hard news and sensationalism. But he was unapologetic about it, describing his show as "infotainment" rather than journalism.

What will Larry King's lasting impression be? What are your memories of his shows? Did you watch his last broadcast?

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

Should heroin and cocaine be legalised?

06:29 UK time, Thursday, 16 December 2010


A former government minister has called for all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, to be legally available. Do you agree with this approach?

Bob Ainsworth, who was responsible for the issue under Tony Blair, says successive governments have failed in their approach and the current policy has left the drugs trade in the hands of criminal gangs.

Mr Ainsworth has called for a strict system of legal regulation under which different drugs would either be prescribed by doctors or sold under licence.

Does the government's drug strategy need changing? Have you struggled with drug addiction? How can criminal drug gangs be stopped?

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

Is Facebook co-founder a worthy winner for person of the year 2010?

12:55 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg has been named as Time magazine's person of the year 2010.

The US publication awarded the accolade to the social networking site's chief executive for "changing how we all live our lives".

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange earlier won a Time readers' poll on 2010's most influential person. Other runners up included the Tea Party, Hamid Karzai and the Chilean Miners.

Does Mark Zuckerberg deserve to win? Has Facebook changed our lives for the better? What do you think about the awards?

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

Are plans to overhaul the NHS necessary?

08:29 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Government plans for a major restructure of the NHS in England have been announced. Where should priorities lie?

Primary Care Trusts are to be abolished and, from 2013, family GPs will plan hospital care and manage the budgets to pay for it.

Hospitals will also be warned their funding could be docked if patients are forced to share mixed-sex wards.

Do you work in the NHS? Are you worried about the proposed changes? Should fines be imposed for mixed-sex wards? Should family doctors be given more say?

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

What does the future hold for Berlusconi?

12:27 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived votes of confidence in the Italian Senate and lower house which had threatened to force him to step down. What does the future hold for Berlusconi?

He comfortably won the first round in the Senate, but the second vote in the lower house was extremely close.

Mr Berlusconi had urged MPs not to jeopardise the country's stability by ousting him.

What does the future hold for Berlusconi? Can his government survive its term or will it face renewed challenges from its rivals? Can Berlusconi continue to lead or has he been fatally undermined?

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

What is Richard Holbrooke's legacy?

10:45 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010


One of the United States' most experienced and respected international diplomats, Richard Holbrooke, has died at the age of 69. But how will Mr Holbrooke be remembered?

Mr Holbrooke was most recently known for his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he was President Obama's special envoy.

A career diplomat and a life-long Democrat, Mr Holbrooke will be best remembered for his role brokering the Dayton Peace Accord in 1995, which ended the Bosnian war.

Mr Obama called the 69-year-old, who was known for bringing warring leaders to the negotiating table, a "true giant of American foreign policy".

What will be his enduring legacy? What impact did he have on international peace and security? How will his passing affect the Obama administration?

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

What impact does X Factor have on the music industry?

13:35 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010


More than 17 million viewers tuned in to see Matt Cardle win this year's X Factor. But the show is not without its critics. How does it affect popular music?

The former painter-decorator is now practically guaranteed a number one single - the ITV1 show has produced 45 Top 40 singles over seven years.

Madness frontman Suggs says the show has filled the charts with "people who haven't really understood what it is to be an artist". He says it leaves less room for people trying to work their way up organically.

Paul Weller says there is a generation of musicians primed by the show who simply aren't prepared for the long slog of a career in music.

But Simon Cowell dismisses the idea that the show has a stranglehold on the industry, saying it pulls in 20 million viewers who are "getting interested in music again".

Do you watch The X Factor? Does the show leave less room for other artists? Is it leaving musicians unprepared for the realities of the business? Or does it actually stimulate interest in music?

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

How should local planning decisions be made?

10:22 UK time, Monday, 13 December 2010


The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, is to announce reforms to the planning system in England giving more decision-making powers to local people. Do you welcome the shift to more local power?

As councils in England await news of funding cuts from central government, plans to give communities more power are also due to be outlined giving groups in local communities greater scope to take over control of some services from councils.

The minister said the Localism Bill would make it easier for local people to take ownership of buildings such as redundant pubs, redundant shops, redundant post offices and school buildings as well as introducing "neighbourhood planning" - to allow neighbourhoods to "determine the look and the shape of their communities".

Will the changes empower councils to handle services differently? Is this a good way of bringing power back to local communities?

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

Should Koran-protest pastor be banned from the UK?

08:26 UK time, Sunday, 12 December 2010


Campaigners are calling for a controversial US pastor to be banned from entering the UK to share his views on Islam with activists. Should the visit be prevented?

Terry Jones attracted condemnation when he threatened to burn copies of the Koran on this year's 9/11 anniversary.

The English Defence League has invited the pastor to speak at a rally in Luton in February next year. Anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate is urging the home secretary to stop the visit.

Should Mr Jones be allowed to speak freely, or should he be banned from visiting the UK? What would his visit achieve?

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

Will UN deal to curb climate change work?

10:37 UK time, Saturday, 11 December 2010


Delegates from 190 nations have reached a deal to curb climate change after UN talks in Cancun.

Nations endorsed compromise texts drawn up by the Mexican hosts, despite strong objections from Bolivia.

A fund will be set up to protect poor nations against climate impacts and assist them with low-carbon development.

What do you make of the deal? Will it make a difference? Will the countries who have agreed to the pledge, stick to it?

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

Is it time for the US to re-think their Israeli-Palestinian strategy?

09:57 UK time, Saturday, 11 December 2010


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed frustration at the latest setback to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks but insisted that the US would continue to push for progress.

She vowed to promote indirect talks on "core issues" including borders, settlements, refugees and Jerusalem.

Direct talks were set up by President Barack Obama but were suspended within weeks when Israel decided not to extend the 10-month freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.

What can the US do to get the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on? Do they need to re-think their strategy?

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

Is Xiaobo the best choice for Nobel Peace Prize?

09:44 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010


The Nobel committee prepares to name jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo as this year's Peace Prize winner, despite continuing anger from Beijing. Is Xiaobo the best choice for this year's award?

Dissident Liu Xiaobo - jailed in north-east China for political offences - will not be in Norway to get his prize.

China has waged a wide-ranging campaign to discredit the award in recent weeks.

Is Liu Xiaobo the best choice for this year's Nobel Peace Prize? Who else do you think could have been awarded the prize and why? Is the controversy around the decision a reflection of China's growing global influence?

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

What is the secret of Coronation Street's success?

11:15 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010


Coronation Street continues to attract millions of viewers after 50 years on our screens. How has the soap endured for so long?

The live 50th anniversary episode of Coronation Street attracted an average audience of 14 million people, according to overnight figures.

Dramatic scenes this week - including a murder, an explosion and a tram crash - have been planned for months and have attracted widespread praise for the world's longest-running soap opera.

The Guardian newspaper described the soap as "the greatest TV show on the planet" and former Cabinet minister Lord Hattersley, an unashamed fan, said "Coronation Street is a national institution which has won its way into the hearts of 18 million people".

What is Coronation Street's appeal? What makes a good soap? What is your favourite Corrie moment or character?

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

Do you support the changes to tuition fees?

11:46 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010


A car containing Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall has been attacked amid protests after MPs voted to raise university tuition fees in England. Are the changes to funding fair?

Home Secretary Theresa May said she "utterly condemned" the violence. "What we are seeing in London tonight, the wanton vandalism, smashing of windows, has nothing to do with peaceful protest," she said.

The vote will mean fees will almost treble to £9,000 a year. The government's majority was cut by three-quarters to 21 in a backbench rebellion. Three ministerial aides resigned.

Are you affected by the changes to tuition fees? Are you a student protester? What do you think about the concessions? Are there better ways of funding university education?

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

Middle East peace talks crisis: Your reaction

11:40 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says Middle East peace talks are in crisis following Israel's refusal to stop building settlements on occupied land. What are the prospects for peace in the region?

Mr Abbas' comments come hours after the US admitted that it had failed to get Israel to renew its settlement curbs.

Direct talks were suspended by the Palestinian leader in September after a 10-month freeze on Israeli building in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, expired.

How significant is the latest development? What is the future for Middle East peace? What should happen next? Should the US be doing more to bring the two sides together?

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

What is John Lennon's legacy?

09:11 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010


On the 8 December 1980 John Lennon was shot dead outside his home in New York. What are your memories of him?

His death shocked the world and thirty years on, he is still mourned by fans and music lovers.

In Liverpool, home city of the Beatles, several events will honour the singer and political activist.

Are you a fan of his music? What is his legacy? Is his music still relevant?

Read Tom Brook's account of the night John Lennon was shot.

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

How should the prison system be changed?

15:48 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010


The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has outlined plans to end the "remorseless rise" in prisoner numbers by tackling the causes of reoffending. Do the plans go far enough?

In a Green Paper announced today, the justice secretary said there would be extra help to deal with inmates' drug and alcohol addiction and greater emphasis on treating mental illness and preparing those released from prison for a productive later life.

Sue Hall, chair of the Probation Chiefs Association, said "The reality is that straight punishment in prison may make the public feel better but it doesn't work in relation to reoffending."

What do you think of the planned reforms? Do you work within the prison system? Are too many people being sent to prison? Are community sentences an effective way to deal with reoffending?

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

How should products aimed at children be monitored?

09:36 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010


Retailers selling sexualised products aimed at children could face restrictions under plans being considered by the government. What measures would you like to see introduced?

An inquiry is getting under way to explore whether new rules should prevent the marketing of items such as "Porn star" T-shirts or padded bras to children. Among the measures being considered is a code of conduct on "age appropriate" marketing, or setting up a watchdog.

Children's Minister Sarah Teather said parents faced a tidal wave of pressure to buy these products. She said: "There are huge pressures on children to grow up too quickly and to buy stuff, some of which is completely unsuitable."

Should there be a watchdog that monitors children's products? Should retailers selling sexualised products aimed at children be penalised? Do your children pressurise you to buy things you think are unsuitable?

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

Do we need more elected mayors?

08:57 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010


From Boris Johnson in London to Michael Bloomberg in New York, elected mayors are intended to be the face of the place they represent. Are mayors needed in all cities?

The government's Localism Bill is expected to propose referenda in 12 of the biggest cities in England, giving voters the opportunity to decide if they want a mayor.

The new mayors would be encouraged to drive forward efficiencies and make better use of council budgets - to deliver more for less.

Do you want to have city mayors? Can elected mayors reinvigorate local politics? Or will they add more bureaucracy? Should cities stick with their current system of leadership?

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

Russia and Qatar win World Cup bids: Your reaction

15:47 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010


The acting chairman of the Football Association, Roger Burden, has withdrawn his application for the permanent job in protest at FIFA's treatment of England's World Cup bid. What is your reaction to the governing body's decision?

England missed out on the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Fifa chose Russia to stage the event for the first time.

Meanwhile, Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup after beating competition from Australia, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Have Fifa made the right decision? What do you think of Roger Burden's decision? What are the implications for English football? What impact will the World Cup in Russia and Qatar have on them? Do you live in either country?

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

Have you been affected by the big freeze?

14:08 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Snow and freezing temperatures are continuing to cause major problems for road, rail and air services across much of the UK - with thousands of schools also shut. How have you been affected?

The disruption caused by snow continued overnight, with temperatures falling as low as -20C in Braemar, Aberdeenshire and -7C in Birmingham.

Travellers face more misery as airports, roads and rail continue to be badly hit. Gatwick Airport has reopened after two days of closure, but passengers are warned of delays and cancellations. Southern and Southeastern rail have reduced services, trains in East Yorkshire are cancelled, and there are virtually no services north of Glasgow.

Have you been stranded in the snow? Have your travel plans been disrupted by the weather? Have you noticed other problems resulting from the weather?

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

Is Christianity 'under attack'?

11:07 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Christians who claim their faith is "under attack" are organising a campaign to defend it. Is the religion being "air brushed" from British society?

Campaign group Christian Concern and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey will launch "Not Ashamed Day" outside the House of Lords to encourage Christians to "wear their faith with pride".

Lord Carey says hostility towards the religion came from a combination of "well-meaning" political correctness, multiculturalism and "overt opposition to Christianity". However, The National Secular Society said "zealots" were wrong to claim the faith was being deliberately undermined.

Are you a Christian living in the UK? What are your experiences? Will the "Not Ashamed Day" make a difference?

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

How would you promote responsible drinking?

09:15 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Ministers have launched this year's Christmas drink drive road safety campaign, but without TV adverts due to budget restraints. What is the best way to encourage people to drink more responsibly?

Adverts will be shown on radio and online as well as in pubs. Some 8,000 pubs will also take part in the scheme, offering a buy one, get one free deal on soft drinks for designated drivers.

Launching the campaign, road safety minister Mike Penning said: "Drivers should be in no doubt that if they get behind the wheel after drinking this Christmas, they risk losing their licence as well as facing a fine and even a prison sentence".

What do you think of this year's drink-driving campaign? Will it encourage you not to drink and drive? How would you promote safe drinking?

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

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