Inside Lines: Yes minister, time to speak out about all these scandals

Sports and equality minister Helen Grant needs to make a point about Malky Mackay

Will there be a timely word soon from the sports minister on the latest unsavoury sporting scandal, the allegations of racism, sexism and homophobia involving the former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay and ex-club official Iain Moody?

So far Helen Grant, who was appointed last October, has remained silent on controversial issues – not least England’s abysmal football World Cup performance – but last week’s shocking revelations surely need some high-level comment, especially as one of the other hats she wears is that of equalities minister. I have some sympathy with Grant.

Her popular predecessor Hugh Robertson, who invariably had a quotable view on contentious matters, has proved a hard act to follow. After her early “Question of Sport” quiz failures in her constituency, Britain’s first black sports minister seems to have purposely adopted a low-profile approach to a role which the Government erroneously appears to consider of less significance now that 2012 is done and dusted.

She prefers digging away quietly at the grass roots of sport than mixing it with the big hitters and has genuine enthusiasm for issues such as greater participation by women and young people. When she took over she assured me: “My door will always be open”, yet some sports bodies complain she is hard to pin down.

British basketball’s performance chief, Roger Moreland, says he requested a meeting with her in June to discuss Government-backed UK Sport’s withdrawal of funding, which has had a crippling effect on the sport, and others similarly hit, but was told he must wait until October because of the summer recess, party conferences and her other ministerial commitments, which also include tourism. PM David Cameron obviously has more pressing matters to deal with on his return from holiday but surely it is now time to make her position as sports minister a full-time job.Kellie’s eye on Audley

Has anyone here seen Kellie? On Celebrity Big Brother that is. Apparently Kellie, né Frank, Maloney, has told housemates on the TV reality show that he “hates being a woman” and is thinking of returning to his male gender. If we didn’t know better we’d think it sounds like the sort of stuff the  ex-boxing promoter used to dream up to hype his shows. Much-in-demand Kellie, has renewed an acquaintance with heavyweight boxer Audley Harrison on CBB. Last time they met, Maloney was hoisting a stricken “Fraudley” off the deck after a first-round knock-out by David Price two years ago. Kellie’s purse for the Channel 5 show is reputedly £400,000, considerably more, we suspect, than the devalued Harrison, who might be better changing from Audley to Audrey.

Dilemma for the Beeb

We hear rumblings of a possible dilemma at the BBC over the Sports Personality award. Will present incumbent Andy Murray and other Scots still be eligible if Scotland votes yes in next month’s referendum? The award goes to British personalities but should Scotland no longer be part of the UK surely that would rule out the Scots, among them gold medal-winning Commonwealth Games stars such as swimmer Hannah Miley and hurdler Eilidh Child? Moreover, 14-year-old Maria Lyle (pictured), a record-breaking sprinter in the International Paralympic Committee European championships, and Shetland schoolgirl swimmer Erraid Davies, at 13 the youngest winner of a Commonwealth Games medal, are strong contenders for the Young Personality award. Meanwhile, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, the Open golf champion, must be a shoo-in for the main gong this year. But will he be blacklisted rather than shortlisted in 2016 after opting to represent Ireland in the inaugural Olympic tournament?

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory