Michael Lavalette

A callous disregard for kids' humanity

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The world of football has been thrown into turmoil by revelations of historic child abuse involving thousands of children at numerous professional clubs in England and Scotland. Police forces across Britain have launched criminal investigations into hundreds of incidents. Over 80 people are under investigation.

Safety net without stigma

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Trade unions and political parties are discussing the concept of a universal basic income (UBI) to replace the welfare system. Should socialists support the idea? Michael Lavalette looks at the pros and cons.

At its conference later this month the Unite union will debate a proposal for the implementation of a “universal basic income”. UBI, sometimes called the “citizens income”, would replace the social security system with a fixed monthly payment paid unconditionally to all citizens, as a right and without means test or work requirement.

Sport for all isn't part of the Olympic dream

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The Olympics saw some fantastic sport. The performances of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Almaz Ayana on the track were awe inspiring. Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps in the pool were completely dominant. In the velodrome Laura Trott was untouchable (again), while Nicola Adams boxed with grace and power.

But the Olympics are so full of the contradictions of capitalism that it leaves me conflicted.

Kick sexism out of football

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Last month saw yet another football crisis. Former England international and Sunderland player Adam Johnson was found guilty of grooming and engaging in sexual activity with a child.

Johnson had groomed the young girl via social media, exchanging over 830 WhatsApp messages with her. He admitted grooming and kissing the under-aged girl before the trial but after a court case he was additionally found guilty of sexual activity with a child. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Sporting addiction

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A string of drugs scandals have highlighted the contradictions of sport under capitalism.

For those of us interested in sport the last 18 months have witnessed a steady stream of stories about drug-taking, blood manipulation and "cheating" (or doping) in sport.

The list is startlingly long. Champion athletes Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, tennis player Marin Cilic and Australian cyclist Stuart O'Grady were just some of the high profile athletes identified as "dopers".

London 2012

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This edited collection brings a number of writers together to consider the impact of the 2012 Olympic Games on Britain.

Edited by Mark Perryman, of Philosophy Football, it gathers essays that were written at different points over the past 12 months - some during the Games, some immediately after and some with greater distance and reflection in the months since.

Most of the writers are keen sports fans and describe their joy when Mo Farah won the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events, and when Jessica Ennis won the Heptathlon and Nicola Adams the boxing gold.

When will Labour councillors fight the cuts?

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Over the next few weeks councils across the country will meet to vote on budgets that, if passed, will instigate the most savage cuts to services in living memory.

Budgets will be cut by an average of four percent (not the 1.7 percent that Eric Pickles, the Tory minister in charge of councils, suggested when he announced this year's local government budget in the minutes before his office closed down for Christmas on 21 December).

The announced settlement will also mean vicious cuts in 2014-15. An additional average cut of nine percent will kick in for the financial year 2014-15.

The decline and fall of Rangers FC

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Back in February Glasgow Rangers Football Club entered administration. The administrators claimed there were short-term problems and the club would be back to normal shortly. In the period since there have been almost daily revelations about toxic bank debt, tax avoidance, cheating on the football field and legal investigations that may result in charges of fraud and corruption. On 14 June Rangers' creditors refused to accept the administrators' offer of a 3p payment for every pound owed. The result was the liquidation of the club. How did this happen?

Pedalare Pedalare

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John Foot

In recent years there has been a large increase of high-quality books about the sport of cycling.
Writers like William Fotheringham and Matt Rendell have produced fascinating biographies of some of the sport's greats while also addressing broader social and political issues. Similarly the cultural historian Christopher Thompson has written an excellent history of the Tour de France that considers the development of the bike within industrial capitalism.
To this list we can now add John Foot's excellent history of Italian cycling.

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