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Live webchat with Baroness Glenys Kinnock, Monday 14th May, 12noon

(55 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 10-May-12 11:11:10

Hello

We're very pleased to announce that Baroness Kinnock will be joining us for a live webchat on Monday 14 May from 12:00-13:00.

Baroness Glenys Kinnock is the Shadow International Development Minister in the House of Lords. She previously served as Minister of State for Africa and the UN. She's married to former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, and together they have a son, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Baroness Kinnock is one of Save the Children's parliamentary champions and a key supporter of the No Child Born to Die campaign. She's backing the campaign's push to end global hunger, an issue which is high on the agenda at the G8 Summit next week. Currently 300 children die every hour of every day because they can't get enough nutritious food to eat, and Glenys, along with Save The Children, is calling on G8 leaders to break the chains of hunger for millions of children - find their petition here.

Glenys is very happy to answer any questions you might have on global hunger; or on her work in the House of Lords, her political career to date - or British politics more generally. Do post them here if you can't join us on Monday.

MNHQ

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 13:03:55

Thank you very much for having me and for asking so many challenging questions. I think I enjoyed myself!

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 13:02:26

thebestisyettocome

Hi Glenys.

Have 'career politicians' destroyed the Labour Party?

I think they have but if you disagree why do you think it isn't important for people to have experienced a real job prior to entering the House of Commons.

Thanks.

I was a teacher in Wales and in London in primary and secondary schools for many years and do think my experience made me better able to relate to my job as an MEP and indeed as a Minister. The vital thing however is that MPs are authentic representatives and really in touch with their voters, whatever their age or background.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 13:00:42

LineRunner

Hello Glenys, I won't be able to join you live as I'll be at work.

My question is:

I always felt that the famous falling-in-the-sea moment really damaged Neil's political career, and he knew it as soon as it happened, because of the power of a vindictive right-wing press. I thought then that there was too much glee about destroying a good man in politics - it was a bit frightening. Do you think that Levenson is changing things for the better?

i think that Levison and Jay are doing a great job. It will only be really productive if their recommendations are strong and implemented. That will be a real test of political leadership and press integrity.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:58:40

lockitt

I read an article a couple of days ago about millions of tons of wheat rotting in India as they dont have sufficient warehouses to store it and "economists say selling the grain to the poor at subsidized prices is not a viable solution because it would expand the fiscal deficit."

This to me is disgusting when we know there are people around the world starving. Surely there is a solution to get this food to the people that need it?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Link here for anyone who is interested.

Huge quantities of wheat and rice under tarpaulins is just not acceptable when nearly half of India's children under 5 are malnourished. Appalling to say that selling to the poor at subsidised prices isn't an option.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:57:14

Arana

I had a dream about her the other night where she was a cross between Angela Merkel and a Sith lord. She was project director, and I was project manager for a project to make realistic looking fake rocks in a secret military base.

On a separate note, what are her opinions on the illegal occupation of the Western Sahara by Morocco, the generation of Saharawi children being brought up in refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, and what can she do in her position to help find a peaceful solution.

Thanks.

(Sorry about the dream, I have some really weird ones! It's nothing personal!)

On the Western Sahara, I have for many years supported the Saharawi's claims to independence. For too long Morocco has resisted pressure to give them their rights.

And be careful with fake rocks. MI6 used them in Moscow and got caught by the KGB with embarrassing results!

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:55:06

KikkiK

Hello Glenys, and thank you for coming on to do a web chat.
There are some excellent questions already, and I have a lighthearted one so please put it to the bottom of the pile!
Did you watch Borgen on BBC4 recently, and if so how do you think the fictional Danish PM compares to the real one, your daughter-in-law Helle Thorning-Schmidt?
I loved the programme and am looking forward to a trip to Denmark later this year.
<goes off to sign petition to make up for asking such a trivial question>

I loved the series but I would say that there are some similarities but Helle's husband (my son Steve) is nicer than her husband!

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:53:34

MissAnneThrope

Another quick one, related to the Save The Children campaign.

I have some Tory acquaintances who are increasingly vociferous and confident in their argument that, in this economic climate, aid to the developing world is a luxury 'we' can't afford.

I've failed in appealing to their morals - how can I appeal to their self-interest?

In a globalised world it makes sense to understand that our own stability and prosperity are inextricably linked with countries across the world.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:50:12

StarBellySneetch

Hello Glenys! Your husband taught my brother rugby at London Welsh! <thems-were-the-days-face>

So, my question: I hear more and more people argue that aid is pointless because endemic corruption means so little of it gets where it's needed. What can be done to counter this narrative? What's the best way of delivering aid so that it gets to the people who need it, and who will use it for the benefit of their entire community?

I do of course hear these arguments too and there is a lot of pessimism around about the value of aid. But you try telling a woman whose children sleep under an anti-malarial net and whose children's education is made possible by aid, that it's not working. Corruption does of couse have to be dealt with and the capacity of governments to manage finances is an issue. However, many governments have earned the right to have direct budget support and and many countries like Ghana, Rwanda, Indonesia have massively reduced aid dependency.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:46:25

TheStandard

Hi Glenys,

I read an article Neil wrote about a year ago in which he was completely furious with 'gutless' anonymous anti-Ed briefers in the Labour Party. Are you an Ed fan? And what's your take on the briefers (who seem to have gone a bit quiet now that EM 'has Cameron on the run' grin)

Yes I am an Ed fan and believe him to be a man of integrity and honesty. I saw yesterday that his poll ratings are still improving but we should note that he is never triumphant and says we have a lot to do.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:44:47

LindsayWagner

Hello Glenys

When we became involved in Afghanistan, one rationale which was consistently put forward was that we had a moral duty to rescue girls and women from the subjection and effective slavery in which they lived under the Taliban.

Now, as the West prepares to leave Afghanistan, that argument has been quietly dropped.

It seems pretty clear that, once we leave, the kind of state-sponsored gender terrorism which previously existed will soon become the norm again; I feel sick to think that we're abandoning these girls, to whom we've given false hope.

What is your position, and what if anything can be done?

How right you are. Many Afghan women are still denied basic rights and forced marriages and domestic abuse are common. Only one women in eight can read and write. It really is time that they are included in the discussions now about the withdrawal of troops and the peace talks with the Taliban.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:42:49

DerbysKangaskhan

Following on from KlickKlackknobsac's ideal - what can everyday people and families do to help, other than give more money? I constantly get the message that real helping is for 'other people' (and certain not for children), but we can do our part by handing over cash. It's very frustrating to hear about all the things going wrong and not be able to do anything about it. My kids and I would love to be able to do something useful, but there aren't any obvious avenues any more. All the volunteering opportunities I did as a child seem no longer options and when my kids have asked to volunteer, the only option they get is cleaning up parks when really they want to help and be with people.

If we focus ib the G8 at the end of the week, what we are saying is that when we are talking about tackling poverty we actually know that malnutrition is an invisible element - it is a hidden killer and doesn't appear on death certificates. Every child has the right to life and to reach ful potentional. As Save The Children says we are demanding action to save precious lives and prevent the stunting of children who are disadvantaged for life by poor nutrition in their early years. I would say that Save the Children focuses on all the issues that you identify. Campaigning for Save the Children is incredibly important. Save the Children tries to engage people like to you to help show political leaders the extent of the support that there is in the UK to address malnutrition and other issues affecting children globally. I can't stress enough the importance of you getting involved in this latest campaign. www.savethchildren.org.uk/breakthechains

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:37:14

marygoround

Hi Glenys

I am a lefty but under New Labour the gap between rich and poor grew wider.

What do you needs to be done to create a more equal society?

I would say that whats being done now will not contribte to creating a more equal society. Poverty, unemployment, threats to the NHS and more will exacerbate the problems which British people face. The main thing is that austerity measures as they are now being promoted are failing to generate the jobs people need.

I was a teacher for many years and believe that the key to opportunity and progress is investment in education. And it trobles me, that now that targets have gone we are told by nurses that patients are now on trolleys in corridors waiting for attention.

Inequality, is of course a global concern as countries grapple with for instance, the effects of food and fuel price rises.

MmeLindor

Hi Glenys, welcome to Mumsnet.

What do you think of the Belinda Gates initiative on Birth Control?

The withdrawal of funding in this area, by the George W Bush government, had far reaching effects around the world.

According to Michelle Goldberg in her book "The Means of Reproduction", providing women with birth control and access to abortions enables them to limit their family, so that they can return to work and so secure futures of the children that they do have. Not to mention could save the lives of thousands of women who die in childbirth every year.

Is this the future for charitable work? That privately funded foundations take over when governments pull out?

Thanks Mme Lindor,

The Gates Foundation do excellent work, offering private/public partnerships on a range of development priorities. I don't think it is a case of taking over, because I have seen for myself how effective their investments are. Melinda Gates is right to prioritise reproductive health rights and to work to ensure that women can make choices. We're looking froward to a UK summit on family planning which will be held in July. The George Bush policies did a lot of harm.

LynnCSchreiber Mon 14-May-12 12:30:39

Hi Glenys, welcome to Mumsnet.

What do you think of the Belinda Gates initiative on Birth Control?

The withdrawal of funding in this area, by the George W Bush government, had far reaching effects around the world.

According to Michelle Goldberg in her book "The Means of Reproduction", providing women with birth control and access to abortions enables them to limit their family, so that they can return to work and so secure futures of the children that they do have. Not to mention could save the lives of thousands of women who die in childbirth every year.

Is this the future for charitable work? That privately funded foundations take over when governments pull out?

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:28:34

marygoround

Hi Glenys

I am a lefty but under New Labour the gap between rich and poor grew wider.

What do you needs to be done to create a more equal society?

I would say that whats being done now will not contribte to creating a more equal society. Poverty, unemployment, threats to the NHS and more will exacerbate the problems which British people face. The main thing is that austerity measures as they are now being promoted are failing to generate the jobs people need.

I was a teacher for many years and believe that the key to opportunity and progress is investment in education. And it trobles me, that now that targets have gone we are told by nurses that patients are now on trolleys in corridors waiting for attention.

Inequality, is of course a global concern as countries grapple with for instance, the effects of food and fuel price rises.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:18:34

TheBlackShiksa

Hi Glenys, whats it like being the wife of a politician? Is it hard having to deal with all the insults thrown at your partner? What advice would you give Sam Cam, Ed Miliband's wife Justine and Nick Clegg's wife Miriam Gonzales?

I'm not in the business of giving advice I'm afraid, but I would say that I have always been strongly political, but dodging the swings and arrows is not always easy. Also, Neil is married to a politician! I was an MEP for 15 years and I'm still politically involved, especially in international development.

marygoround Mon 14-May-12 12:16:21

Hi Glenys

I am a lefty but under New Labour the gap between rich and poor grew wider.

What do you needs to be done to create a more equal society?

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:15:05

Belinda495

What, in your opinion, is the single most important Key factor we, in Britain, should be concentrating on changing, in order to eliminate child poverty?

Where do I start on this one? I think that first and foremost support to mothers to strenghthen family income and also to enable mothers where possible, and to earn a living wage, not just a minimum wage. Mothers are the key to tackiling child poverty- and thats true across the world.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:12:53

ohmeohmy

Say hi to your granddaughter. We were behind you once on a plane to tenerife and my daughter was smiling at her and they were admiring each other's hand luggage.

Do you think the trading in futures is responsible for much of the hunger in the world?

Certainly, volatility caused by speculation on food marketrs contributes to hunger and there has to be regulation.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:11:20

ohmeohmy

Say hi to your granddaughter. We were behind you once on a plane to tenerife and my daughter was smiling at her and they were admiring each other's hand luggage.

Do you think the trading in futures is responsible for much of the hunger in the world?

My granddaughter Grace is as delightful as ever, and I'm sure would want to catch up with your daughter on the subject of hand luggage.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:09:48

Gleek

What are your thoughts on House of Lords reform?

Labour is commited to Lords reform as I am, by electing the whole of the Lords as a second chmaber. Law making boddies should be democratically elected.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:08:14

MomOrMum

I know that the G8 will be announcing new plans to tackle hunger in developing countries. But how do we make sure that any pledges and commitment they make this week actually happen? From what I?ve read, the G8 made similar commitments to address world hunger in L?Aquila, Italy back in 2009 and only 22% of the money pledged actually came through!

What can we do to hold them accountable for their commitments this time?

You are absolutely right, pledges and promises have to be delivered by the G8, the UK will host the G8 next year and this will be David Cameron's opportunity to ensue that promises are kept and that we can see real progress on this important issue.

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:05:17

MomOrMum

....and one more from me if you have time! How do we make sure that the G8 plans to reduce hunger aren't just about putting money in the pockets of major agri-business and other corporations? How can we make sure that this is really about nutrition of the poorest children and ensuring that families can earn enough money to buy nutritious food?

Great that you're working on this! The fact that the world has the dual problem of obesity in some countries and severe malnutrition in others is an absolute scandal. I feel guilty every time I scrape another pile of uneaten food from the table into the bin (fussy children....angry).

We need to see a much greater emphasis on nutrition by G8 leaders at the end of this week. We need an agreement that prioritises nutrition and of course, you are right to say that these efforts must also protect food production and distribution from explotiation. The focus has to be on the well being of children, when we know that malnutrition is the underlying cause of one third of all preventable child deaths. Your pressure to ensure that this happen will really make a difference. Please sign the petition www.savethechildren.co.uk/breakthechains

GlenysKinnock Mon 14-May-12 12:00:34

Hello, great to be here in this busy office and looking forward to you questions

MomOrMum Mon 14-May-12 11:58:34

ooops....cross posted on the accountability question with bebee. Sorry!

MomOrMum Mon 14-May-12 11:57:50

....and one more from me if you have time! How do we make sure that the G8 plans to reduce hunger aren't just about putting money in the pockets of major agri-business and other corporations? How can we make sure that this is really about nutrition of the poorest children and ensuring that families can earn enough money to buy nutritious food?

Great that you're working on this! The fact that the world has the dual problem of obesity in some countries and severe malnutrition in others is an absolute scandal. I feel guilty every time I scrape another pile of uneaten food from the table into the bin (fussy children....angry).

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