In 2014, when talk of foodbanks had reached fever pitch for all the wrong reasons, I decided my Saturday mornings would be best spent helping out at my local one. But I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming reality.
The reality is that in a parliamentary democracy you can make all the impassioned speeches you like, hold meetings and marches but without winning a parliamentary majority you can't win. Those losing £30 per week ESA, or losing DLA as the switch to PIP continues , or facing the working tax credit cuts in the future, need us to win that majority.
Having been forced to suffer the debate between pro and anti Corbyn campaigners, and found myself summarising the content into an exchange between two imaginary people, Tom being in favour of Corbyn, and Jennifer being firmly against. If it were recorded as a transcript, it would have read something like this:
If you want the greatest honour in politics - to lead the Labour Party - then you have to be absolutely certain about why you want the job and what you plan to do with it.. Many people in our country rightly feel angry that as the challenges they face grow ever steeper, our politics is simply too timid to rise to the occasion. At a time where homes become ever more unaffordable, wages stagnate, public services are cut back, young people looking worriedly to the future the Labour Party has been guilty of being too timid in our vision. We've left people unsure if we have the ambition to seize the moment and offer real hope.
Having opted out of social media because of death threats, I've encountered the dark misogyny that seeks to silence opinionated women. So I despaired when I saw this very real malaise being hijacked by prominent Labour MPs, including Heidi Alexander and Angela Eagle, to score points against a man they want to oust. Women in politics face many threats, Jeremy Corbyn isn't one of them.
Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education from 2010 - 2014, saw the fallacy of the claim that knowledge had only instrumental value and took the opportunity to give a Conservative answer to the question 'what counts as knowledge' which is now, sadly, entrenched in Britain's educational policies and structures.
In October 2010 David Cameron set out his vision for the future at the Conservative Party Conference, explaining how the Government was going to tackl...
If ever there was a time for bold, brave focussed leadership in the voluntary and community sector, at both national and local level, surely it is now? And this must particularly be case in respect of the local community and small charity sector, which are the backbone of strong communities and the catalyst for local social action.
Alistair Burt, Health Minister, resigned this week. It's important news. It's not because of a scandal, nor (as he joked) because resignations are contagious. He's just stepping down. Hardly worthy of headlines compared to the Brexit story, the leadership contests or the Chilcot enquiry, is it? Well actually, yes.
This article is not arguing for more outsourcing but it is a call for the public sector to promote a public service ethos and for the business sector to develop and match it with comparable ethical business standards if and when services are outsourced.
HIV support services are a vital resource for people living with HIV. Research around the world has demonstrated the positive impact these services have on people's health and wellbeing. Despite this, funding for HIV support is rapidly being cut.
If tomorrow we wake up to find we've left the EU - the biggest single reason will be that the Leave campaign seized the hope agenda. In reality, I think voting to leave the EU is essentially a gesture of despair. The only hope we have as a region is to help Europe, and by doing help ourselves as part of Europe.
Despite being born and raised in England, I no longer identify as British. It feels unsettling to say so, and I should add that I still hold a UK passport and have a deep affection for my country of origin. However, having having spent almost a third of my life living in France and Belgium, and learned a second language, I now see myself as European.
As those of you who read these blogs regularly will know, plans to cut pharmacy services by what might be anything up to a quarter threaten our sector...
A youth-driven Brexit could play the initial role in dismantling the EU, and without this disintegration any hope for social progress may become much more distant. For the sake of the youth, you only live once: vote for exit! Or as I should say, YOLOEXIT.
So no doubt those at the Another Europe conference came away feeling good about themselves, in spite of the essential pessimism of their message. And no doubt they continue to believe they are serving the interests of working people by fighting for a remain vote. In reality, they are driving a further wedge between the Left and the millions for whom the EU's contempt for democracy and enthusiasm for austerity and open borders are compelling reasons to leave.