Anneliese Dodds MEP

The South East's Voice in Europe

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The 30th of November is the last day of Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Following the divisive events of 2016, Islamophobia awareness should not be confined to only one month in the year.

Recent figures released by the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have shown that there was a ‘dramatic’ and ‘clear’ 41% increase in the incidents of reported racially and religiously aggravated offences in July following the result of the EU referendum, compared to the previous 2015 statistics. These statistics support previous news reports documenting an increase in reported hate crimes.

Whilst these statistics on their own are hugely concerning, this spike is part and parcel of a larger and more general picture of intolerance and Islamophobia. Figures released by MEND, an anti-Islamophobia think tank, have shown that this year, there have been 5,209 reported religious hate crimes; a rise of 60% from 2014-2015.

This taps into growing Islamophobic sentiment, which, unfortunately, seems to have been fuelled in part by media coverage. A study by the Cardiff School of Journalism, which looked at 1,000 newspaper articles between 2000 and 2008, found that news articles generally presented Islam as a dangerous religion, with the most common adjectives used in articles focusing on Islam being, amongst others, ‘radical’ and ‘extremist.’ References to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by seventeen to one.

Right across Europe, Islamophobic attacks seem to disproportionately affect women. According to statistics from the Fundamental Rights Agency, 70% of all attacks on Muslims in Europe are against Muslim women. This seems to be due to the fact that one of the most visible signs of Islam is the wearing of a headscarf, which is traditionally worn by some Muslim women. Furthermore, in some EU member states, there has been evidence of institutional and legislative Islamophobia. Bans on headscarves, and more recently, birkinis, have only inflamed anti-Islamic rhetoric.

For all these reasons it is great to see that MEND and Stand Up to Racism are hosting a variety of nationwide events to raise awareness of Islamophobia and how to combat it.

I have dedicated a section of my website http://www.anneliesedoddsmep.uk/stopping_hate_crimes to help residents of the South East report hate crime they've experienced, and provide guidance to people who have witnessed a hate crime incident.  

 

 

The 30th of November is the last day of Islamophobia Awareness Month.

Following the divisive events of 2016, Islamophobia awareness should not be confined to only one month in the year.

Recent figures released by the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have shown that there was a ‘dramatic’ and ‘clear’ 41% increase in the incidents of reported racially and religiously aggravated offences in July following the result of the EU referendum, compared to the previous 2015 statistics. These statistics support previous news reports documenting an increase in reported hate crimes.

Whilst these statistics on their own are hugely concerning, this spike is part and parcel of a larger and more general picture of intolerance and Islamophobia. Figures released by MEND, an anti-Islamophobia think tank, have shown that this year, there have been 5,209 reported religious hate crimes; a rise of 60% from 2014-2015.

This taps into growing Islamophobic sentiment, which, unfortunately, seems to have been fuelled in part by media coverage. A study by the Cardiff School of Journalism, which looked at 1,000 newspaper articles between 2000 and 2008, found that news articles generally presented Islam as a dangerous religion, with the most common adjectives used in articles focusing on Islam being, amongst others, ‘radical’ and ‘extremist.’ References to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by seventeen to one.

Right across Europe, Islamophobic attacks seem to disproportionately affect women. According to statistics from the Fundamental Rights Agency, 70% of all attacks on Muslims in Europe are against Muslim women. This seems to be due to the fact that one of the most visible signs of Islam is the wearing of a headscarf, which is traditionally worn by some Muslim women. Furthermore, in some EU member states, there has been evidence of institutional and legislative Islamophobia. Bans on headscarves, and more recently, birkinis, have only inflamed anti-Islamic rhetoric.

For all these reasons it is great to see that MEND and Stand Up to Racism are hosting a variety of nationwide events to raise awareness of Islamophobia and how to combat it.

I have dedicated a section of my website http://www.anneliesedoddsmep.uk/stopping_hate_crimes to help residents of the South East report hate crime they've experienced, and provide guidance to people who have witnessed a hate crime incident.  

 

Anneliese Dodds marks Islamophobia Awareness month

  The 30th of November is the last day of Islamophobia Awareness Month. Following the divisive events of 2016, Islamophobia awareness should not be confined to only one month in...

On Saturday, I joined Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andrew Smith MP and hundreds of Labour activists to campaign in Oxford to #CareForTheNHS. 

Under the Tories, our NHS is in a critical condition. It is underfunded and understaffed, with the worst NHS deficits on record at £2.45 billion. Around 3.9 million people are now on the English waiting list to start treatment. 1.8 million people waited four or more hours in A&E last year- marking an astonishing increase since 2010. One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see a GP or nurse, or fail to get an appointment at all.

On Saturday, Jeremy and Andrew also visited Restore, a local mental health charity in Oxford, and rightly applauded the vital work they do there. Restore 
offer a range of services, from recovery groups to offering those with mental illnesses training and employment coaching to help them back into work.

Despite earlier Conservative pledges to achieve parity between the NHS’ physical and mental health provisions, analysis by the King’s Fund think tank suggest that 40% of the 58 NHS trusts in England saw budget cuts in 2015-2016. 

Following the referendum result, the situation looks set to deteriorate. The Autumn Statement was devoid of any credible mention of the NHS- a far cry from earlier promises by Brexiteers that the supposed £350 million a week Britons ‘give’ to the EU could be invested in the NHS.

Brexit also has the potential to cause further NHS staffing issues. Nationwide, the NHS is reliant on workers from the European Union, from doctors and nurses to catering staff and cleaners. This is particularly true within the South East of England. In the Thames Valley, over 10% of NHS hospital and community health staff are from EU countries, and in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, the figure is similar, with 9% of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visitors hailing from the European Union.

Unless the Tories strike the right Brexit deal, there will be growing, and ever more serious gaps in the NHS. It is more important than ever to hold Theresa May and the Tories to account to protect our NHS, and to make sure that we get the best Brexit deal for Britain.

 

On Saturday, I joined Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andrew Smith MP and hundreds of Labour activists to campaign in Oxford to #CareForTheNHS. 

Under the Tories, our NHS is in a critical condition. It is underfunded and understaffed, with the worst NHS deficits on record at £2.45 billion. Around 3.9 million people are now on the English waiting list to start treatment. 1.8 million people waited four or more hours in A&E last year- marking an astonishing increase since 2010. One in four patients have to wait a week or more to see a GP or nurse, or fail to get an appointment at all.

On Saturday, Jeremy and Andrew also visited Restore, a local mental health charity in Oxford, and rightly applauded the vital work they do there. Restore
offer a range of services, from recovery groups to offering those with mental illnesses training and employment coaching to help them back into work.

Despite earlier Conservative pledges to achieve parity between the NHS’ physical and mental health provisions, analysis by the King’s Fund think tank suggest that 40% of the 58 NHS trusts in England saw budget cuts in 2015-2016. 

Following the referendum result, the situation looks set to deteriorate. The Autumn Statement was devoid of any credible mention of the NHS- a far cry from earlier promises by Brexiteers that the supposed £350 million a week Britons ‘give’ to the EU could be invested in the NHS.

Brexit also has the potential to cause further NHS staffing issues. Nationwide, the NHS is reliant on workers from the European Union, from doctors and nurses to catering staff and cleaners. This is particularly true within the South East of England. In the Thames Valley, over 10% of NHS hospital and community health staff are from EU countries, and in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, the figure is similar, with 9% of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visitors hailing from the European Union.

Unless the Tories strike the right Brexit deal, there will be growing, and ever more serious gaps in the NHS. It is more important than ever to hold Theresa May and the Tories to account to protect our NHS, and to make sure that we get the best Brexit deal for Britain.

Anneliese joins Jeremy to #CareForTheNHS

On Saturday, I joined Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andrew Smith MP and hundreds of Labour activists to campaign in Oxford to #CareForTheNHS.  Under the Tories, our NHS is in a critical...

As a fundamentally cross-border industry, and one that has known its fair share of controversy in the past, financial services shows perhaps more starkly than any other sector the stark choices that Brexit will forces us to make: will we have a win-win trading situation, built on mutual cooperation and respect, or be firing the starting gun for a deregulatory race to the bottom?

Financial services account for 12% of our economic output, generating £66bn in tax revenues every year - and employ over 2 million people, right across the country.  They underpin much of the rest of the economy as well - providing the loans and financial support that allow our manufacturing, retail and other sectors to grow and provide more jobs.  A UK-EU deal that doesn’t work for our financial services sector is bad news for everyone. 

At the same time, we cannot and must not forget that it was the worst excesses of this sector that caused the financial crisis and the near-decade of pain which has followed: bankers racking up multi-million pound bonuses and expecting the taxpayer to pick up the tab when it all went wrong.

It should be possible for the UK and the EU to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal on financial services - one that allows UK firms to continue trading with their EU counterparts, while financial stability is preserved and both British and European consumers are protected. 

But while this is possible, to get there will require humility on the part of both British and European negotiators.  The British side will need to accept that this multi-billion pound industry has grown up in London precisely because of our membership of the single market, and the ability of financial services firms based in the UK to ‘passport’ into other EU countries.  Without the certainties of continued membership, the evidence suggests that we are already losing jobs to Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris and further afield.  Representatives of the other 27 EU countries, though, will also need to be convinced of the value of having access to the business that London provides: with EU businesses importing £20bn in banking services from the UK in 2014, and UK-based banks providing more than £1.1tn in cross-border lending to the EU this year.  By acknowledging shared benefits we can begin to see the path towards a positive new deal.

But there is a much darker alternative: an arrangement cooked up behind closed doors, with fanatically free market Tories finding common cause with the worst kind of hedge fund managers and speculative traders, who decide that the best thing possible for the UK’s financial services sector is to deregulate back to the heady days of the 1980s, with unlimited bonuses for those bankers who take the biggest risks with other people’s money.

From my conversations so far, I genuinely believe that most people in the financial services sector want the former outcome and not the latter.  But the longer we have an atmosphere of uncertainty created by our government’s refusal to set out any aspect of its negotiating strategy, the more the opportunity for the least scrupulous, deregulatory voices to start making themselves heard.  Unless we change course, it won’t be long before similar voices start popping up within the rest of the EU suggesting pre-emptive action.  We’re already seeing this kind of exercise taking place following Donald Trump’s election victory, with some responding to rumours of a deregulatory agenda in the US before Trump has even taken office.

Those of us who want to see a flourishing financial services sector which serves the needs of wider society need to do all we can to make sure we ensure a win-win situation at the end of the Brexit talks.  Theresa May’s government needs to pull its finger out if we’re going to keep financial services jobs in Britain, and prevent a return to the bad old days of casino banking - which British taxpayers are still paying for.

A Brexit deal could protect financial services jobs and still uphold high standards - but the government has to want it

As a fundamentally cross-border industry, and one that has known its fair share of controversy in the past, financial services shows perhaps more starkly than any other sector the stark...

The 20th of November is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

 

Started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to commemorate the death of Rita Hester, a transgender African American woman who was murdered in Massachusetts in 1998, Transgender Day of Remembrance has now been formalised into an annual, worldwide day of memorial.

 

It is hugely important that we continue remembering, and commemorating, the lives of trans victims of violence and hate crime. Being transgender, a term defined by the charity GLAAD as a term used to ‘describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate,’ can mean that a transgender person is more likely to encounter discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, and sexual violence.

 

There is a huge worldwide problem with hate crime against transgender people, including within the European Union. The EU LGBT survey, an anonymous online survey of citizens of the 27 member states of the European Union and Croatia conducted in 2013, revealed that 35% of transgender respondents stated that they had been attacked or threatened with violence between 2008 and 2013.

Equally concerningly, 28% of all transgender respondents said that they were victims of violence, or received threats of violence more than 3 times between 2012 and 2013. 

 

The survey also found that transgender respondents had ‘consistently indicated’ that they felt that their environments were ‘less tolerant’ towards them than that experienced by their lesbian, gay and bisexual survey respondents. Transgender respondents were also the most likely of all LGBT subgroups to feel that they had been personally discriminated against in the past year. This was especially the case in relation to employment and healthcare.  Concerningly too, many transgender people are reluctant to report any discrimination they encounter to the police, with a worrying 59% of those surveyed believing that nothing would happen or change, in addition to 44% of those who believed it was not worth reporting, ‘as it happens all the time.’

 

The European Union, in conjunction with the national governments of the 27 nation states of the EU, must do all that it can to support trans survivors of violence and discrimination, and encourage other nations worldwide to do the same. Alongside my Labour MEP colleagues, and as a member of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTQI affairs, I will continue to campaign for equal rights for those who are transgender, and campaign to end the disparity of rights between citizens in the various EU nations. It should not be the case that access to, and recognition of, the gender that a person identifies with, should vary between the nation states of the European Union, and neither should it be the case that discrimination legislation and protections should vary from country to country, I would love to see, and would fully support, an EU-initiated, cross-cutting framework imposed by the EU onto all nation states to ensure that discrimination, and gender recognition, protections are universal.

 

We must also ensure that the citizens of the EU are educated, and made aware of transgender issues. In the UK, broadcasters like the BBC have been producing more trans-inclusive content. The popular soap, Eastenders, was the first soap to feature a transgender actor to play a transgender character. CBBC have recently produced ‘Just a Girl’, a short docudrama of a young transgender girl featuring her experiences living as a girl. The comedy ‘Boy Meets Girl’ featured Rebecca Root, a transgender comedian and actress, with the series focusing on the relationship and eventual nuptials of Judy, a transgender woman, and her partner, Leon.

 

However, our next step must be to diversify these programmes, and ensure that more content is produced that includes the experiences of marginalised and minority trans groups.

 

There appears to be little representation of trans people of colour in the media, and this must be changed, especially considering that trans women of colour are the group most likely to be victims, or survivors, of fatal violence. Indeed, transgender women who are survivors of hate violence are more likely to experience physical violence, police violence, discrimination, sexual violence, and further threats and intimidation than other members of the transgender community.

 

Violence against transgender women of colour is an acute problem in the Americas, but is also a problem in countries closer to the European Union. Turkey has the highest rate of reported murders of trans people in Asia, and the Turkish government seems reluctant to legislate against this. As a European Union, we must work to pile on the international pressure on Turkey, and send a message that their LGBTQI discrimination is hugely unacceptable.

 

Alongside my Labour MEP colleagues, and as a member of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTQI Rights, I will continue to campaign for equal rights and recognition for all those who are transgender, regardless of their gender, race, colour or creed.

 

You can also send a message that LGBTQI discrimination is unacceptable by, if possible, challenging it if encountered, or reporting it to the police. You can find ways to do this on my website, by following this link: http://www.anneliesedoddsmep.uk/stopping_hate_crimes.

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Anneliese Dodds MEP is concerned that the gender pay gap in the South East of England is worse than the UK’s national average.

Due to the current gender pay gap worldwide, women effectively stop earning relative to men’s earnings on a designated day, and effectively work for free. This is called Equal Pay Day.

In the UK in 2016, the national Equal Pay Day is on the 10th of November, based on the UK’s average gender pay gap of 13.9%. However, if this day was arranged regionally, the South East Equal Pay Day would be on the 31st of October, reflecting the regional 16.8% gender pay gap.

This is, unfortunately, a problem not only confined to the United Kingdom. Across all 27 countries of the European Union, there is an average pay gap of 16.7%. There is a myriad of reasons why there is still a gender pay gap. For women, taking time off to have children seems to, sadly, hinder their career progression. When women return to the workplace after having time off, it is all too often the case that their male colleagues have received pay rises and promotions, with which women cannot catch up. There is also a divided labour market, despite 60% of the EU’s university graduates being female, with 80% of those working in the low paid care and leisure sector identifying as a woman. In some workplaces, there is still discrimination against women, with the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ hindering their career progression. This is especially worrying when analysing the profiles of various CEOs of big companies, with less than 4% being led by women.

Anneliese Dodds MEP stated: ‘We have come a long way since 1968 and the first equal pay walk-out staged by the Ford car machinists. However, we have not come far enough. Whilst the pay gap is closing slowly, the UK’s pay gap still currently sits at 13.9%. Worse still, it has been calculated that regionally, the South East’s pay gap is one of the worst in the UK, sitting at 16.8%. The gender pay gap is only closing by 0.2% per year. At this current rate, this will mean women will only achieve pay parity in 2063 - 47 years from now.

I was hugely disheartened to read the conclusions of the TUC’s recent report, which revealed that the pay penalty women receive over the course of their careers peaks in their 50s, with, on average, women earning £85,040 less than their male peers over the course of this decade. Inevitably, this affects the amount of money women are entitled to receive as a pension payment at the end of their careers, creating, on average, a 39% pension gap across the European Union.

Last year, I was very disappointed to see Tory MEPs vote against a European Parliamentary report calling for the law on equal opportunities in employment to be updated and strengthened across the EU, with targets to combat the gender pay gap. Little has improved since 2015, with the Tories’ austerity politics and cuts disproportionately hitting women the hardest.

Alongside my Labour colleagues, I am determined to continue pressing for equal pay for work of equal value, and support the implementation of policies to give support to women. Considering yesterday’s American election result, this message is needed more than ever before.’ 

Anneliese condemns the South East's larger-than-average pay gap

Anneliese Dodds MEP is concerned that the gender pay gap in the South East of England is worse than the UK’s national average. Due to the current gender pay gap...


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